Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Growing Wealth Gap between Young and Old

Americans aged 65 or older are the beneficiaries of a growing share of the nation's resources, studies show, while children must make do with less. A paper published in Demography takes a look at the consequences of this disparity, and the results are troubling. Analyzing Survey of Consumer Finance data from 1989 to 2013, researchers Christina M. Gibson-Davis and Christine Percheski compare the wealth, income, assets, and debt of two types of households—those with children under age 18 (child households), and those with a householder or spouse aged 65 or older and no children under age 18 (elderly households).

Not surprisingly, elderly households have much greater wealth than child households, which is to be expected because older householders have had more time to accumulate wealth. The trouble lies in the growing gap between the two types of households. "In 1989, elderly households had a median net worth that was approximately 3.8 time that of child households ($106,647 vs. $27,889)," say the researchers, "by 2013, their median net worth was 12.5 times as high ($154,998 vs. $12,413)." Other findings:
  • The median net worth of elderly households grew 45 percent between 1989 and 2013, after adjusting for inflation, while the net worth of child households fell 56 percent. 
  • The median income of child households fell 1 percent between 1989 and 2013, while the income of elderly households increased 29 percent.
  • The median assets of child households grew only 13 percent during those years while their median debt climbed 68 percent—from $29,915 to $50,300. The assets of elderly households grew by a much larger 75 percent, and their debt grew from a median of $0 to a modest $900.
  • The homeownership rate of child households fell 2.6 percentage points between 1989 and 2013, and their home equity dropped 28 percent. The homeownership rate of elderly households climbed 10.8 percentage points and their home equity increased 28 percent. 
"The declining absolute and relative wealth holdings of most families with children is likely to impede the human capital development of the next generation of Americans," the researchers conclude. "We posit that such underinvestments in children are likely to have negative long-term societal consequences for the United States."

Source: Demography, Children and the Elderly: Wealth Inequality among America's Dependents ($39.95)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Males Aged 15 to 19 Are Spending More Time Gaming

On an average day in 2017, teenaged boys aged 15 to 19 spent 1.3 hours playing games as a primary activity, according to the American Time Use Survey. The "playing games" category includes computer and video games as well as board and card games. A decade ago, males in the age group spent only about half as much time playing games—0.72 hours per day.

The averages mask the depth of the obsession, however. Males aged 15 to 19 are more likely than any other segment of the population to play games—fully 43 percent (!) played games on an average day in 2017, and those who played spent an average of 3.03 hours (!) doing so. These figures are substantially higher than they were a decade ago. In 2007, a smaller 31 percent of 15-to-19-year-olds males played games on an average day, and those who did spent 2.29 hours doing so.

The growing percentage of 15-to-19-year-olds who game on an average day, coupled with the increasing amount of time spent gaming, means that gaming is likely crowding out other activities. In 2017, 15-to-19-year-old male gamers spent more time with a joystick than they did watching television (2.77 hours on average for 15-to-19-year-old male participants), playing sports (2.34 hours), or doing homework (2.16 hours).

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey

Monday, July 16, 2018

Who Has Had a Biological Child?

Yes, the nation's fertility rate is at an all-time low. Yes, the number of births has fallen to levels not seen in 30 years. Nevertheless, most Americans will have children. In fact, most women aged 25 or older and most men aged 30 or older are parents, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Here is the percentage who have had a biological child by age...

Percentage of women who have had a biological child
Aged 15 to 24: 17.1%
Aged 25 to 29: 52.1%
Aged 30 to 34: 76.2%
Aged 35 to 39: 80.0%
Aged 40 to 44: 85.0%

Percentage of men who have had a biological child
Aged 15 to 24: 7.6%
Aged 25 to 29: 37.2%
Aged 30 to 34: 58.6%
Aged 35 to 39: 74.8%
Aged 40 to 44: 80.4%

Overall, 44 percent of men and 55 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have had a biological child.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15–44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011–2015

Friday, July 13, 2018

Are You Having Trouble Remembering Things?

"During the past 12 months, have you experienced confusion or memory loss that is happening more often or is getting worse?" This question was posed to Americans aged 45 or older in the 2015–16 surveys of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

A substantial 11 percent of people aged 45 or older answered "yes" to the question. They are experiencing what is called "subjective cognitive decline," reports the CDC. Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) can be a symptom of early-stage dementia. Among those who said they were experiencing SCD, the 51 percent majority also reported functional limitations due to their cognitive problems.

Interestingly, the percentage who reported SCD does not vary all that much by age, ranging from 10 percent among 45-to-54-year-olds to 14 percent among people aged 75 or older. By race and Hispanic origin, American Indians are most likely to report SCD (20 percent) and Asians least likely (7 percent). Education has a big impact on the prevalence of SCD, with 18 percent of high school dropouts reporting SCD versus 7 percent of people with a bachelor's degree. By state, the percentage with SCD is highest in Nevada (16.3 percent) and lowest in South Dakota (6.0 percent).

Source: CDC, Subjective Cognitive Decline among Adults Aged ≥ 45 Years—United States, 2015–2016

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nearly Half of Americans Are Trying to Lose Weight

Most Americans are overweight, and many are trying to do something about it, You could almost call it a national obsession.

In the past 12 months, nearly half (49.1%) of adults aged 20 or older tried to lose weight, according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. The attempt to shed pounds is embraced by 52 percent of 40-to-49-year-olds, 50 percent of 20-to-39-year-olds, and 43 percent of those aged 60-plus. The 56 percent majority of women are trying to lose weight, as are 42 percent of men. Even those who don't have a weight problem have gotten caught up in the frenzy. Among adults who are underweight or normal weight, 26.5 percent are trying to lose weight. The figure is 49 percent among those who are overweight and rises to 67 percent among the obese.

Here are the ways Americans are trying to lose weight (multiple responses allowed):

63 percent exercised
63 percent ate less
50 percent ate more fruits, vegetables, or salads
45 percent drank a lot of water
42 percent ate less junk food or fast food
39 percent changed eating habits
39 percent ate less sugar, candy, or sweets
35 percent switched to foods with lower calories
30 percent ate fewer carbohydrates
29 percent ate less fat
16 percent skipped meals

It isn't working. Despite all the frenzied attempts to lose weight, obesity has been rising steadily for years. The latest NCHS report on obesity, based on the measured heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of people aged 20 or older, found 40 percent of Americans to be obese in 2015–2016, up from 36 percent in 2009–2010 and 30.5 percent in 1999–2000.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Attempts to Lose Weight among Adults in the United States, 2013–2016

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wineries Have Quadrupled in U.S.

A few months ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics profiled the nation's breweries and their explosive growth. Breweries are in their heyday, and they are not alone. Wineries are also enjoying good times.

The number of wineries in the United States quadrupled over the past 16 years, rising from just 1,066 in 2001 to 4,308 in 2017, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Winery employment more than doubled, climbing from 25,363 to 64,139 during those years. California accounts for 58 percent of the nation's winery jobs—fully 36,924 in 2017.

Here's a comparison of the nation's brewery (2016) and winery (2017) numbers:

Number of establishments
Wineries: 4,308
Breweries: 2,843

Wineries: 64,139
Breweries: 58,580

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment in Wineries Up 153 Percent from 2001 to 2017

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

14% of Millennials Identify as LGBTQ

A large portion of the Millennial generation identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, according to the latest survey from the GenForward Project at the University of Chicago. Overall, 14 percent of Millennials identify as LGBTQ. By race and Hispanic origin, here are the numbers...

Millennials who identify as LGBTQ
Asians: 9%
Blacks: 14%
Hispanics: 22%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 13%

These figures are higher than those found in other surveys. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 7.3 percent of Millennials identify as LGBT. According to the 2016 General Social Survey, 6.9 percent of Millennials identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. According to the 2011–13 National Survey of Family Growth, 6.6 percent of women and 3.8 percent of men aged 25 to 34 report their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. 

Monday, July 09, 2018

Student Loans = Less Retirement Savings

Do student loans prevent young adults from saving for retirement? Yes, finds a study by the Center for Retirement Research. Analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers at CRR examined differences in 401(k) participation and retirement plan assets at age 30 by student loan status at age 25 for the 1980 to 1984 birth cohort.

The findings: 1) Having student loans at age 25 had no impact on 401(k) participation at age 30, the study found. Among college graduates, 61 to 62 percent participated in a 401(k) regardless of student loan status or size of loan. 2) Having student loans at age 25 had a big impact on retirement plan assets at age 30. Those with no education debt had amassed $18,200 in retirement plan assets by age 30, while those with student loans had saved only half as much, regardless of the amount of debt. "The presence of the loan may be more important than the size of the payments," the study concludes.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Do Young Adults with Student Debt Save Less for Retirement?

Friday, July 06, 2018

Forty Years of Bigger Houses

New single-family houses have been getting bigger. Those built in 2017 had a median of 2,426 square feet of floor area. While this is not the record high, it's close. The record was set in 2015 when new single-family homes had a median of 2,467 square feet...

Median square feet of floor area in new single-family houses completed
2017: 2,426
2016: 2,422
2015: 2,467 (record high)
2007: 2,277
1997: 1,975
1987: 1,755
1977: 1,610

Single-family homes built in 2017 are 51 percent larger than those built in 1977.

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of New Housing

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Extremely Proud to be an American?

Only 47 percent of the U.S. public is "extremely proud" to be American, finds a recent Gallup survey. The year 2018 marks the first time extreme pride has fallen below 50 percent in the 18 years Gallup has been asking the question.

Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to feel extremely proud to be Americans— 74 to 32 percent. Most men (51 percent) but fewer than half of women (44 percent) feel extreme pride. The 54 percent majority of whites feel it versus only 33 percent of nonwhites. Feelings also differ greatly by age...

Extremely proud to be an American
Aged 18 to 29: 33%
Aged 30 to 49: 42%
Aged 50 to 64: 56%
Aged 65-plus: 58%

Source: Gallup, In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Why the Decline in TV Time among 25-to-34-Year-Olds?

Young adults aren't watching as much television as they once did, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. People aged 25 to 34 watched TV as a primary activity (meaning the main activity) an average of 2.01 hours a day in 2017, down from 2.22 hours a day in 2007. What's behind the decline?

To answer this type of question, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has created a new query tool that lets researchers dig deeper into its time use data. With the tool, you can extract time use data from 2003 to 2017 for more than 100 primary activities by sex, age, employment status, parenting status, and type of day (average, weekday, or weekend). This is what the data reveal about the television time of young adults...
  • The decline in TV time is limited to men. Men aged 25 to 34 watched TV as a primary activity an average of 2.06 hours per day in 2017, down from 2.56 hours in 2007. Women in the age group spent slightly more time watching television in 2017 (1.95 hours) than in 2007 (1.88 hours). 
  • Two factors are behind the decline in men's television viewing. First, on any given day, fewer men watched TV in 2017 (72 percent) than in 2007 (77 percent). Second, those who watched TV spent less time doing so—an average of 2.87 hours in 2017, down from 3.32 hours in 2007. 
  • In contrast, among women in the age group, there has been no significant decline in the percentage who watch TV on an average day (about 75 percent). Not only that, but women who watched TV spent more time doing so in 2017 (2.62 hours) than in 2007 (2.48 hours). 
What could account for the decline in television viewing among young men? Further exploration with the query tool provides a probable answer: gaming. Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of men aged 25 to 34 who play games (a category that includes computer games) as a primary activity on an average day grew from 9 to 15 percent. Those who play games are spending more time doing so, the average rising from 2.32 hours per day in 2007 to 2.97 hours per day in 2017. Among women, there has been no increase in the percentage who play games on an average day (7 percent), nor in the time spent gaming among women who play. Gaming, then, is the likely explanation for the decline in television viewing among men aged 25 to 34.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the American Time Use Survey, One-Screen Data Search—American Time Use

Monday, July 02, 2018

True or False: Most Immigrants Are Here Legally

True, but most Americans do not know that. Only 45 percent of the public knows that most immigrants in the United States are here legally, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Nearly as many (42 percent) think most immigrants are here illegally, and 13 percent say they do not know. By age, here is the percentage of Americans who say (correctly) that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally...

Most immigrants are in the U.S. legally 
Aged 18 to 29: 58%
Aged 30 to 49: 47%
Aged 50 to 64: 39%
Aged 65-plus: 35%

Among people aged 50 or older, the share who think most immigrants in the U.S. are here illegally (45 to 46 percent) surpasses the share who think most are legal.

Source: Pew Research Center, Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration into the U.S.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Median Household Income Grew in May 2018

Median household income in May 2018 climbed to $61,858, according to Sentier Research. This is a higher median than in any month since January 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The May 2018 median was 1.8 percent higher than the May 2017 median. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis. 

Median household income in May was 3.7 percent higher than the median of December 2007, when the Great Recession began. It was 13.3 percent higher than the post-Great Recession low of June 2011. "We are at a point now where real median household income is 2.4 percent higher than January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series," reports Sentier's Gordon Green. "Not an impressive performance by any means over a period spanning almost two decades, but the trend line has been positive for nearly seven years."

Sentier's Household Income Index in May 2018 was 102.4 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: May 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Student Loans Delay Homeownership by 7 Years

Student loans are preventing many younger adults from buying a home, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors and American Student Assistance. Survey respondents were Millennials aged 22 to 35 who are currently repaying their student loans.

Eighty percent of respondents do not own a home, the survey found, and the single biggest reason is student debt. Fully 83 percent of respondents say student loans are causing them to delay home buying. The biggest reason for the delay is their inability to save for a downpayment (cited by 86 percent), followed by feeling financially insecure because of their debt (74 percent). How long will they delay buying a home? A median of seven years.

Student loan debt is also causing younger adults to delay other life decisions. The 55 percent majority of survey respondents say their  debt is causing them to delay starting a family, and 41 percent say it is causing them to delay getting married.

Source: National Association of Realtors and American Student Assistance, Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2017—When Debt Holds You Back