Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Start-Up Firms Boost Employment

If you've ever wondered how many startup firms are in the United States, it's your lucky day because the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts them: in 2017, there were 415,226 startups. The BLS defines startups as firms that are no more than 1 year old. The annual number of startups has climbed 27 percent since hitting a low in 2010. But the 2017 number is still 9 percent below the 2006 peak...

Number of startup firms
2017: 415,226
2010: 326,091 (low)
2006: 457,223 (high)
2000: 417,515
1994: 403,747 (start of data series)

In every year since 1994, startups have accounted for most job growth. Of the 2.1 million net increase in jobs in 2017, startups accounted 1.7 million—or 84 percent of the total.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Gains among Startup Firms in 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

College Graduates in the Labor Force, 1970 to 2016

The educational attainment of American workers has soared since the 1970s, when well-educated Boomers began pouring into the labor force. Among workers aged 25 to 64 in 1970, fully 36 percent had not even graduated from high school. Only 14 percent had four or more years of college. By 2016, the percentage of workers without a high school diploma had plummeted to 8 percent, and the percentage with a bachelor's degree or more education had climbed to 39 percent.

The gains in educational attainment have been especially large for women. In 1970, female workers were less likely than male workers to have four or more years of college. By 2016, they were far more likely than men to be college graduates...

Women aged 25 to 64 in labor force by educational attainment in 2016 (and 1970)
Not a high school graduate: 6.0% (33.5%)
High school graduate only: 22.9% (44.3%)
Some college/assoc. degree: 29.6% (10.9%)
Bachelor's degree or more: 41.6% (11.2%)

Men aged 25 to 64 in labor force by educational attainment in 2016 (and 1970)
Not a high school graduate: 9.3% (37.5%)
High school graduate only: 28.6% (34.5%)
Some college/assoc. degree: 25.9% (12.2%)
Bachelor's degree or more: 36.2% (15.7%)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook

Monday, November 20, 2017

Biggest Spending Declines, 2006 to 2016

Average household spending is finally catching up to what it used to be. In 2016, the average household spent $57,311—just 0.5 percent less than it spent in 2006 (the year average household spending peaked), after adjusting for inflation. But some categories are well below their 2006 level. Here are some of the steepest declines during the decade...

–54 percent: landline telephone service
–42 percent: clothes for children under age 2
–35 percent: mortgage interest
–28 percent: gasoline
–28 percent: postage and stationery
–15 percent: reading material

At the other extreme, average household spending has surged in a handful of categories. Some of the categories with the biggest increases in spending during the past decade are cell phone service (up 80 percent), pets (55 percent), and rent (31 percent).

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Consumer Expenditure Survey

Friday, November 17, 2017

19 Million Felons in the United States

There were 19 million current or former felons in the United States in 2010—nearly four times the 5 million of 1980, according to a study published in the journal Demography. "Development of the population with felony convictions since 1980 has been one of widespread, racialized growth," reports the study.

Felons (current or former) accounted for 8 percent of the adult population in 2010—more than double the 3 percent of 1980, according to the analysis. Among African Americans, the share grew from 8 percent in 1980 to 23 percent in 2010. "Depending on the state," say the researchers, "between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 African American adults are confronting the daily reality of limited citizenship rights, diminished job prospects, and stigmatization." Among Black men, 33 percent had a felony conviction as of 2010, up from 13 percent in 1980. The only bit of good news is that the 33 percent of 2010 was slightly lower than the 36 percent of 2000.

"The United States' decades-long 'grand experiment' with mass incarceration may be at a crossroads," conclude the researchers, "but at current rates of decline, some estimate it would take 80 years to return to 1980 levels nationwide."

Source: Demography, Volume 54, Issue 5, The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People with Felony Records in the United States, 1948–2010, ($39.95)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Another New Low in 2017: Households with Children

Only 27.2 percent of the nation's households include children under age 18, according to the Census Bureau—a record low. The decline in the percentage of households with children has been ongoing for decades. Here is the trend since 1960...

Households with own children under age 18
2017: 27.2%
2010: 30.0%
2000: 33.0%
1990: 34.6%
1980: 38.4%
1970: 45.4%
1960: 48.7%

Source: Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mobility Rate Falls to New Low in 2017

The geographic mobility rate fell to a new all-time low in 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Only 11.0 percent of U.S. residents aged 1 or older as of March 2017 had moved in the previous 12 months. Not since 1960 have so few people moved (35 million).

Among people living in owned homes, 5.5 percent moved from one house to another between 2016 and 2017, above the all-time low of 4.7 percent recorded in 2011 and 2012. Among people living in rented homes, the mobility rate fell to a new all-time low of 21.7 percent in 2017.

Mobility rate in 2017
Total US: 11.0%
Owners: 5.5%
Renters: 21.7% 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2012 Square Feet in Average American Home

The nation's 118 million occupied housing units contain a total of 238 billion square feet of space, according to the Energy Information Administration's 2015 Residential Energy Consumption survey. That's an average of 2,012 square feet per home. The average size of occupied housing units varies by a number of factors, including...

Region: The smallest homes (1,685 square feet, on average) are in the Pacific states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington). The largest homes (2,337 square feet) are in the West North Central states (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota).

Climate: The smallest homes are in mixed dry/hot dry climates (1,665 square feet). The largest homes are in very cold/cold climates (2,239 square feet).

Year built: The smallest homes were built in the 1950s (1,866 square feet). The largest homes were built during the housing bubble—from 2000 to 2009 (2,381 square feet).

Household income: The average size of homes rises with household income. The smallest homes are those whose residents have a household income below $20,000 (1,325 square feet). The largest homes are those whose residents have a household income of $140,000 or more (3,051 square feet). On a per capita basis, the poorest households have 602 square feet per person and the richest households have 1,018.

Source: Energy Information Administration, 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey

Monday, November 13, 2017

Evolution: Humans vs. Elephants

Americans are more likely to say they believe in evolution when they are asked about elephants than about humans, according to the 2016 General Social Survey. Take a look at how the public responded to these two true-or-false questions on the survey...

"Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals" 
Percent saying statement is true: 59%
Percent saying statement is false: 41%

"Elephants, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals"
Percent saying statement is true: 86%
Percent saying statement is false: 14%

The difference in belief is especially large in the South, where 81 percent believe in evolution for elephants but only 44 percent for humans—a 37 percentage-point gap. The gap is only 8 percentage points in the Northeast, where 86 percent believe in elephant evolution and 78 percent in human.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Friday, November 10, 2017

Interracial Violence Has Declined

Of the 5.8 million violent victimizations that occurred annually in the 2012–15 time period, the 51 percent majority were intraracial, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, meaning both victim and offender were of the same race or Hispanic origin. The BJS defines violent victimization as aggravated or simple assault, rape or sexual assault, and robbery. The data on these victimizations come from the BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey.

Among White victims responding to the survey, 57 percent reported that the offender was White. Among Black victims, 63 percent said the offender was Black. Among Hispanic victims, the 40 percent plurality said the offender was Hispanic. Both White and Black intraracial violence has declined steeply over the past two decades (there is no historical data for Hispanics). Between 1994 and 2015, the annual rate of White-on-White violence fell 79 percent, from 52.5 to 10.8 victimizations per 1,000 White persons. The rate of Black-on-Black violence fell 78 percent, from 66.6 to 14.5 victimizations per 1,000 Black persons.

The rate of interracial violent victimization—meaning victim and offender were of a different race or Hispanic origin—also fell steeply during those years. The rate of White-on-Black violence dropped 74 percent, from 10.2 to 2.6 victimizations per 1,000 Black persons. The rate of Black-on-White violence fell 80 percent, from 14.9 to 3.0 victimizations per 1,000 White persons.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Race and Hispanic Origin of Victims and Offenders, 2012–15

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Dying Slowly from Serious Health Conditions

Dying has changed. It has become a slow process rather than a sudden event, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Due to medical advances and the ability to manage chronic conditions in older adults, more people are living longer and, rather than dying from acute episodes of illness, they are dying after long periods of sickness and declining health," says Kaiser. After surveying a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18 or older, Kaiser finds most Americans (74 percent) are aware of this fact.

What are the primary conditions that cause this slow death? The Kaiser survey probed a large subset of its survey sample—respondents aged 65 or older who are experiencing a serious illness that has resulted in functional limitations or who have been diagnosed with specific conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, cancer, or dementia. Also included in this subset were family members whose loved ones aged 65 or older are (or were) experiencing serious illness (prior to their death). For the seriously ill, these were the most commonly diagnosed conditions (many had more than one)...

52% had dementia
47% had heart problems/stroke
35% had diabetes
28% had mental health problems (anxiety, depression)
26% had lung problems (asthma, emphysema, COPD)
24% had cancer
14% had chronic kidney disease or kidney failure

The prolonged process of dying places great demands on the health care system. Most Americans think the system comes up short. The 52 percent majority of the public says the health care provided to older people with serious health conditions is only fair or poor. To track the evolution of attitudes and policies to cope with serious illness in late life, Kaiser plans more surveys in the future.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Serious Illness in Late Life: The Public's Views and Experience

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Teens Are Drinking Less Soda

Americans are spending less on soda than they once did. In 2016, the average household spent $136 on carbonated beverages purchased at grocery stores, down from $152 in 2007, after adjusting for inflation. Households are spending less because people are drinking less, especially those known to drink the most—teenagers.

Fewer teens are drinking soda daily, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The YRBSS is the CDC's annual survey of students in 9th through 12th grade in states and metropolitan areas across the country, collecting information on teen health behaviors including smoking, drinking, sexual activity, weight, and diet. In 2015, just 20 percent of 9th through 12th graders drank at least one regular soda every day in the past seven days, down from 34 percent in 2007. Daily soda consumption ranges from a low of 12 percent among teens in Connecticut to a high of 32 percent among teens in Kentucky. Although the Kentucky figure is the highest among states in 2015, it's lower than it once was. In 2007, more than 40 percent of Kentucky teens drank a soda every day.

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Who Has Trouble Staying Warm?

Among the nation's 118 million households, a substantial 31 percent reported having problems paying their energy bills or maintaining adequate heating and/or cooling in their home in 2015, according to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. The survey defined energy insecurity as experiencing at least one of five heating/cooling problems—reducing or forgoing food or medicine to pay energy costs; leaving the home at an unhealthy temperature; receiving a disconnect or delivery stop notice; unable to use heating equipment; or unable to use cooling equipment.

Most low-income households are energy insecure. Energy insecurity is much greater among low-income Americans. Among households with incomes below $20,000, the 51 percent majority reported being energy insecure in 2015—that is, they experienced at least one of the five problems. The figure fell to 34 percent among households with incomes of $40,000 to $60,000, which is close to the national median. Among households with incomes of $140,000 or more, only 8 percent reported energy insecurity.

Climate doesn't matter. Among households located in very cold/cold climates, 30 percent reported energy insecurity. Among those in hot/humid climates, 34 percent reported energy insecurity.

Insulation cuts the problem in half. Among those who report that their home is well insulated, only 23 are energy insecure. Among those whose homes are poorly insulated, 49 percent are energy insecure.

Mobile homes are the worst. Among those who live in single-family detached homes, 27 percent report being energy insecure. The figure is about the same for those in apartment buildings with five or more units (30 percent). But for those in smaller apartment buildings of two to four units, a much larger 46 percent are energy insecure. For mobile homes, the figure is a whopping 59 percent.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey, One in Three U.S. Households Faced Challenges in Paying Energy Bills in 2015

Monday, November 06, 2017

Among Millennials, Whites Stand Apart

White Millennials are outliers—that's the finding of the latest GenForward survey of Americans aged 18 to 34. The survey probed the age group's attitudes about racial identity, race relations, and racial politics. "Our survey clearly outlines how whites are quickly becoming the outlier group in this generation," says the report. "No longer the baseline, norm, or default, white Millennials often, though not always, find themselves at odds with their peers of color."

Here is just one of many examples from the GenForward report, "The Woke Generation? Millennial Attitudes on Race in the US." When asked the question, "Do you personally see the Confederate flag more as a symbol of Southern pride or more as a symbol of racism," this is the percentage of 18-to-34-year-olds who answered "Southern Pride"...

Percent who believe Confederate flag is symbol of Southern Pride
Blacks: 16%
Asians: 25%
Hispanics: 29%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 55%

Note: For a detailed portrait of Millennials and other generations of Americans, see the all-new American Generations, available as a PDF for hardcopy from New Strategist Press.

Source: GenForward University of Chicago, October 2017 Report

Friday, November 03, 2017

Labor Force by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2026

Slowly but steadily, the labor force is becoming more diverse. The latest projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the non-Hispanic White share of the labor force falling from 63 to 58 percent between 2016 and 2026. The minority share of the labor force will climb from 37 to 42 percent. A decade from now, 21 percent of American workers will be Hispanic, 13 percent Black, and 7 percent Asian.

Numerical (and percent) change in labor force by race and Hispanic origin, 2016 to 2026
Asians: +2,647,000 (28%)
Blacks: +1,881,000 (10%)
Hispanics: +8,118,000 (30%)
Non-Hispanic Whites: –2,471,000 (–2%)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections