Monday, January 16, 2017

Death Rates Higher in Nonmetro Areas

With the Affordable Care Act and expanded access to health care services under threat, the CDC has released a report suggesting any erosion of care will be a bigger problem for the residents of nonmetropolitan America than for those living in metro areas.

The CDC report compares age-adjusted death rates in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas for the five leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, accidents (including drug poisonings), chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Result: death rates in nonmetropolitan areas are higher for all five causes of death.

What accounts for the higher death rates? A cluster of characteristics, reports the CDC. The residents of nonmetropolitan areas "tend to have less access to health care services and to be less likely to receive preventive services," explains the report. "In addition, they are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured, delay seeking care, live in poverty, and have lower educational attainment."

Source: CDC, Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas—United States, 1999–2014

Friday, January 13, 2017

Dinner at Restaurants by Age

Most of us eat dinner at a restaurant at least once a week, according to a Gallup survey. When Americans are asked how many nights in the past week they had eaten dinner at a restaurant of any kind, the 61 percent majority said they had done so at least once, a percentage that has been stable for nearly a decade. Not surprisingly, age is an important factor in the frequency of dining out...

Percent who ate dinner at a restaurant in past week
Aged 18-to-34: 72%
Aged 35 to 54: 65%
Aged 50-plus: 50%

The stability in eating out is good news for restaurants, says Gallup, especially as fresh meal delivery services and food bars at grocery stores become increasingly popular. The fact that young adults are the most frequent customers is also good news, Gallup concludes.

Source: Gallup, Americans' Dining-Out Frequency Little Changed from 2008

Thursday, January 12, 2017

LGBT Identification by Generation

Overall, 4.1 percent of Americans aged 18 or older personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, according to a Gallup survey. This figure is up from 3.5 percent in 2012. By generation, the percentage who identify themselves as LGBT looks like this...

LGBT identification by generation
7.3% of Millennials
3.2% of Gen Xers
2.4% of Baby Boomers
1.4% of older Americans

Why are Millennials more likely than older generations to identify themselves as LGBT? "Millennials are the first generation in the U.S. to grow up in an environment where social acceptance of the LGBT community markedly increased," says Gallup. "This may be an important factor in explaining their greater willingness to identify as LGBT."

Source: Gallup, In U.S., More Adults Identifying as LGBT

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Childrearing Costs Up 16% Since 1960

It costs more to raise a child than it once did, but not all that much more. According to USDA estimates for middle America (middle-income, married couples), the inflation-adjusted cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 climbed from $202,020 in 1960 to $233,610 in 2015—a 16 percent increase. The cost of childrearing has grown in some categories and declined in others. The biggest increase has been for the category "child care and education," with parents in 2015 spending more than eight times as much than their counterparts in 1960—and the increase doesn't include college costs because the accounting stops at a child's 18th birthday. Here are comparisons of 2015 costs with those in 1960 (in 2015 dollars)...

  • Housing is the biggest expense for parents. The cost of housing a child from birth through age 17 was $66,240 in 2015, 6 percent more than the $62,630 of 1960.
  • Food is the second largest expense of childrearing. In 2015 this cost was $41,400—15 percent less than the $48,490 of 1960.
  • Child care and education is the third largest childrearing expense for parents today. Not so in 1960. The $38,040 cost of child care for 2015 parents is over eight times more than the $4,040 spent by parents in 1960.
  • Transportation is the fourth largest expense of childrearing for parents in 2015, with $35,490 spent on transportation from birth through age 17—10 percent more than the $32,320 cost in 1960.
  • Health care is the fifth largest expense of childrearing for parents in 2015. The $21,720 needed for a child's health care is nearly triple the $8,080 of 1960.
  • Clothing expenses for children have fallen steeply since 1960. In 2015, the cost of clothing a child from birth through age 17 was $13,260— 40 percent less than the $22,220 of 1960, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Miscellaneous expenses include personal care products and services, entertainment, and reading material. In 2015, the cost of these expenses for a child from birth through age 17 was $17,460, 28 percent less than the $24,240 of 1960.

Source: USDA, Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Favorable Views of Obama

Overall, 54 percent of American adults have a favorable view of President Obama, according to PRRI's 2016 American Values Survey. Not surprisingly the percentage with a favorable view varies the most by political party identification, ranging from a high of 91 percent among Democrats to a low of 12 percent among Republicans. Obama's favorability also varies greatly by demographic characteristic...

Favorable view of Obama
Women: 59%
Men: 48%

Aged 18 to 29: 62%
Aged 30 to 49: 56%
Aged 50 to 64: 48%
Aged 65-plus: 47%

Blacks: 91%
Hispanics: 69%
College-educated whites: 54%
Working-class whites: 37%

Source: PRRI 2016 American Values Survey, Widely Varying Views of Obama at the End of His Presidency

Monday, January 09, 2017

Few Smokers Are Able to Quit

Among current cigarette smokers, more than two out of three—68 percent—would like to quit. The 55 percent majority tried to quit in the past year. But few were successful, reports the CDC. Only 7 percent managed to quit.

There is little variation in these findings by demographic characteristic. The majority of smokers in every demographic segment wanted to quit—including men, women, young, old, Asian, Black, Hispanic, non-Hispanic White, high school drops outs, and college graduates. The majority in nearly every demographic segment had tried to quit in the past year. The success rate was in the single digits for most.

Source: CDC, Quitting Smoking among Adults—United States, 2000–2015

Friday, January 06, 2017

Race and Hispanic Origin of the Baby Bust

Who is behind the ongoing baby bust—the years-long decline in the number of births. In 2015, there were 338,000 fewer babies born (3,978,497) than in the peak year of 2007 (4,316,233)—an 8 percent decline. But births have fallen more for some women than for others, and not everyone is participating in the bust...

  • Births to Asian women climbed 11 percent between 2007 and 2015, the only race or Hispanic origin group that has not contributed to the baby bust. Asian births now account for 7.0 percent of the nation's total, up from 5.9 percent in 2007.
  • Births to Black women fell 6 percent between 2007 and 2015, a decline of 38,000. Black births climbed as a share of total births, however—from 14.5 to 14.8 percent.
  • Births to non-Hispanic White women fell 8 percent between 2007 and 2015, a drop of more than 180,000. The non-Hispanic White share of births, at 53.5 percent, has not changed since 2007.
  • Births to Hispanic women fell the most—a 13 percent decline between 2007 and 2015. The Hispanic share of births fell from 25 to 23 percent during those years. Among Hispanic women of Mexican origin, births fell by an even larger 24 percent—down by nearly 176,000.  

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Final Data for 2015

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Wireless-Only the Majority in Three Regions

Nationally, 49 percent of adults live in wireless-only households, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In three of four regions, adults who live in wireless-only households are in the majority. Only in the Northeast are they a minority.

Percentage of adults in wireless-only households
Northeast: 32.4%
Midwest: 51.7%
South: 52.3%
West: 54.4%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2016

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

10 Questions for 2017 (Part 2)

As demographic trends unfold, questions arise. This is the second of a two-part post with 10 vital questions about ongoing demographic trends. The fresh data to be released in 2017 may answer some of these questions. (Click here for Part 1.)

6. Is the average American getting richer? It's been a long three years since we had an update on American household wealth. This year, the wait is over. In a few months, the Federal Reserve Board will release the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, providing the first comprehensive look at household net worth and asset ownership since 2013. The past two surveys have produced unsettling results, with a steep decline in net worth recorded in 2010 and a continuing decline in 2013. The new numbers will tell us whether American households have begun to rebuild their wealth.

7. Who voted in the 2016 election? Another important piece of the demographic puzzle will be revealed in a few months when the Census Bureau releases results from the Voting and Registration supplement to the November 2016 Current Population Survey. Shortly after the election, the Census Bureau was in the field asking a nationally representative sample of Americans whether they voted and linking answers to demographics. Was there a surge in voting among older, non-Hispanic whites? Soon we will know.

8. Are we back to square one with health insurance? Between 2013 and 2015, the percentage of Americans without health insurance plunged from 20.4 percent to 12.9 percent—an unprecedented, historic decline. Are we about to see a reversal of this trend? If Republicans carry out their threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of Americans without health insurance is projected to climb all the way back up to 21 percent by 2019.

9. How big is the gig economy? This year the Bureau of Labor Statistics will field a long awaited and much needed update to its 2005 "contingent" workforce survey. A number of studies have revealed tremendous growth in the gig economy, a phenomenon transforming the American workforce. The BLS update, hopefully, will capture this growth and give us a better picture of the gig economy and its workers.

10. Are we over the automobile? Transportation spending may have peaked. In 2015, the average household devoted slightly less than 17 percent of its budget to transportation, down from more than 19 percent in the early 2000s. Americans are keeping their vehicles longer, increasing their use of public transportation, and adopting ride-sharing with enthusiasm. This year is likely to provide more evidence of the cooling American love affair with the automobile.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

10 Questions for 2017 (Part 1)

As demographic trends unfold, questions arise. This is the first of a two-part post with 10 vital questions about ongoing demographic trends. The fresh data to be released in 2017 may answer these questions. (Click here for Part 2.)

1. When will the baby bust end? Population growth in the U.S. has slowed to a crawl because of the ongoing baby bust. The annual number of births fell 8 percent between 2007 (the peak year) and 2015. The fertility rate is at an all-time low, and most childless women say they don't expect to have children anytime soon. How long will they wait?

2. Why is life expectancy declining? Life expectancy fell in 2015 for the first time since 1993, and death rates rose for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death. The experts are wondering what's going on. With so many focused on this troubling trend, we might get some answers in 2017.

3. Will homeownership make a comeback? The homeownership rate fell to 63.7 percent in 2015, the lowest since 1967 and 5.3 percentage points below the 2004 peak. Among 30-to-44-year-olds, the decline exceeded 10 percentage points. After waiting more than a decade for home buying to stage a comeback, will 2017 be the year we throw in the towel and declare lower rates to be the new normal?

4. What will save small town and rural America? We're in the midst of an urban renaissance. The population of the nation's most urban counties grew faster than others between 2010 and 2015, while rural counties lost population. Economic growth, too, is occurring disproportionately in large metro centers. Outside these hubs of activity, there's a male employment crisis. What can small town and rural residents do to get back in the game?

5. When will Millennials marry? The median age at first marriage is at a record high for both men and women as Millennials remain single longer than any other generation in history. The economic consequences are huge and include the urban renaissance, the baby bust, and the decline of homeownership. The Millennial generation, more than any other, will determine what we will be talking about this year.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Age of Housing Stock by Region

The average American household in 2015 occupied a housing unit with a median age of 39, built in 1976. The age of the housing stock varies greatly by region...

Occupied housing units: median year built (and age of average structure)
Northeast: 1959 (56 years)
Midwest: 1971 (44 years)
South: 1984 (31 years)
West: 1978 (37 years)

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Friday, December 30, 2016

Median Household Income Stable in November 2016

Median household income in November 2016 stood at $58,221, according to Sentier Research. This was greater, but not significantly so, than the October 2016 median, after adjusting for inflation. The November 2016 median was 0.7 percent higher than the November 2015 median and 10.1 percent above the $52,870 median of August 2011, which was the low point in Sentier's household income series. 

"Median annual household income in 2016 has not been able to maintain the momentum that it achieved during 2015," says Sentier's Gordon Green. But he notes, "real median income has increased by 1.2 percent from May 2016." Sentier's median household income estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in November 2016 was 2.7 percent higher than the median of June 2009, which marked the end of the Great Recession. It was 0.9 percent higher than the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. The November 2016 median was still 0.3 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index for November was 99.7 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: November 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Housing Stock is Aging

The nation's housing stock is aging. In 2015, the average household occupied a housing unit with a median age of 39 (built in 1976), according to the American Housing Survey. This is more than twice the median age of housing in 1975 (median age of 18, built in 1957).

The youth of the housing stock in 1975 was a consequence of the postwar baby boom, which was also a building boom providing a fresh supply of housing for a rapidly expanding and increasingly affluent population. In the following four decades, new housing has been a shrinking share of the total housing stock. Because of the aging of the housing stock, it will be many more years before new building technologies are a part of the average American home. But there's a silver lining—growing opportunities for renovation and building upgrades.

Occupied housing units: median year built (and age of average structure)
2015: 1976 (39 years)
2005: 1973 (32 years)
1995: 1967 (28 years)
1985: 1962 (23 years)
1975: 1957 (18 years)

Source: Census Bureau, American Housing Survey

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Medicare Is the Best Health Insurance

Americans with Medicare coverage, the government's single-payer health insurance program for people aged 65 or older, rate their health care much more highly than everyone else. Among adults of all ages who have been to a health care provider in the past year, just over half (53 percent) give the quality of the care they received the highest rating—a 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Among people aged 65 or older, a much larger two-thirds give their health care the highest rating...

Percent rating their health care a 9 or 10 by age
Aged 18 to 44: 45.8%
Aged 45 to 64: 53.4%
Aged 65-plus: 64.6%

By type of health insurance, the results are the same. Those on Medicare are by far the ones most satisfied with the health care they receive...

Percent rating their health care a 9 or 10 by type of health insurance
Under age 65, uninsured: 40.4%
Under age 65, public only: 41.4%
Under age 65, any private: 52.1%
Aged 65-plus, Medicare only: 65.9%
Aged 65-plus, Medicare and private: 66.1%

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2014 Quality of Care Tables