Thursday, March 26, 2015

Big-City Counties Grew the Most

The nation's most urban counties continue to attract Americans by the millions, according to the Census Bureau's 2014 county population estimates. A Demo Memo analysis of 2010-to-2014 county population trends along the Rural-Urban Continuum documents strong city growth (the bigger, the better) and unrelenting rural decline.

The Rural-Urban Continuum is the federal government's way of classifying counties by their degree of urbanity. The continuum is a scale ranging from 1 (the most urban counties, in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more) to 9 (the most rural counties, lacking any settlements of 2,500 or more people and not adjacent to a metropolitan area). If you sort the nation's 3,142 counties by their rank on the continuum, then measure population change between 2010 and 2014 for each rank, this is the result...

County population change 2010-2014 by Rural-Urban Continuum Rank
1. 4.2% for rank 1 counties, in metros with 1 million or more people
2. 3.0% for rank 2 counties, in metros of 250,000 to 1 million people
3. 2.1% for rank 3 counties, in metros with less than 250,000 people
4. 0.1% for rank 4 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
5. 1.4% for rank 5 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
6. -0.7% for rank 6 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
7. -0.5% for rank 7 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
8. -1.4% for rank 8 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop less than 2,500
9. -0.9% for rank 9 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro, urban pop less than 2,500

The most urban counties (a 1 on the scale) grew the fastest between 2010 and 2014. The most rural counties (8 and 9 on the scale) experienced the biggest declines.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes and Census Bureau, Population Estimates, County Totals: Vintage 2014

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Investigating the Hispanic Paradox

Hispanics live longer than non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks, despite the fact that they are less educated and have lower incomes. This phenomenon is called the Hispanic Paradox. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Hispanic life expectancy at birth was 81.4 years in 2011 versus 78.8 years for non-Hispanic Whites and 75.3 years for Blacks.

An investigation into the Hispanic Paradox reveals an even bigger mystery. By comparing the life expectancy of foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics, a study in Demography shows foreign-born Hispanics to have the advantage while U.S.-born Hispanics have about the same life expectancy as Whites. "Why is this foreign-born Hispanic mortality advantage erased for U.S.-born Hispanics?" ask the researchers. "Negative acculturation may deteriorate the positive health behaviors among Hispanic immigrants over time and across generations," they conclude.

Source: Demography, "Hispanic Older Adult Mortality in the United States: New Estimates and an Assessment of Factors Shaping the Hispanic Paradox" ($39.95)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stress is the Norm for New Mothers

In the year before they give birth, 71 percent of new mothers experience what the CDC calls a "stressful life event." The government defines 13 types of stressful life events and categorizes them into four types: financial (moved to a new address, lost job, partner lost job, unable to pay bills); emotional (family member ill and hospitalized, someone close died); partner-associated (separation/divorce, argue more than usual with partner/husband, husband/partner said he did not want pregnancy); and traumatic (homeless, involved in physical fight, partner went to jail, someone close had a problem with drinking/drugs).

The average new mother experiences 1.8 stressful life events in the year before her infants' birth. The 51 percent majority experiences a financial stressor, 30 percent an emotional stressor, 29 percent a partner-associated stressor, and 18 percent a traumatic stressor. Most women are vulnerable to stressful life events, but some are more vulnerable than others. Fully 80 percent of new mothers under age 25, for example, experienced one or more stressors compared with a smaller but still substantial 63 percent of new mothers aged 30 or older. Among the least educated, 76 percent experienced a stressor. Among the best-educated, the figure was 60 percent.

Source: CDC, Stressful Life Events Experienced by Women in the Year Before Their Infants' Births—United States, 2000-2010

Monday, March 23, 2015

Millions Want to Move

A substantial 9.6 percent of American households say they want to move, according to a Census Bureau study of residential mobility. But few actually follow through on that desire. With geographic mobility at a record low, the timing could not be better for an analysis of who wants to move and what they do about it.

Among the 11 million householders who said they wanted to move in 2010, only 18 percent actually moved in the following 12 months. And as fate would have it, millions of householders who did not express a desire to move in 2010 ended up moving, although at a lower rate (10 percent). Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Census Bureau analyzed the characteristics of those who wanted to move in 2010 and those who did move in the following 12 months. Among the many characteristics examined in the report, age was one of the most important. Americans under age 35 are most likely to want to move (14.6 percent wanted to move in 2010), and they are also most likely to actually move (27.8 percent moved between 2010 and 2011). Many of the households that ended up moving, however, were not the ones who wanted to move, and many of those who wanted to move were in the same residence a year later. 

Many people change their minds about wanting to move. The 56 percent majority of those who said they wanted to move in 2010 but stayed put no longer expressed a desire to move when re-interviewed in 2011. "Desiring to move because of residential dissatisfaction appeared to be dynamic," explains the Census Bureau's Peter J. Mateyka, "with many respondents' reports of desiring to move changing one year later, despite living in the same residence."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Crossing the "Freedom Threshold"

When do people cross the "Freedom Threshold," able to choose where they want to live free from the constraints of work and family? According to a Merrill Lynch survey, they cross that threshold at age 61. The survey, conducted in partnership with Age Wave, examines the housing choices of retirees. Among the questions included in the survey, respondents were asked whether they agreed with the following two statements:
  • Where I live is determined by life responsibilities, such as family or work obligations.
  • At this point in my life, I am free to choose where I most want to live.
The percentage who feel free to choose where they want to live climbs above the 50 percent "Freedom Threshold" at age 61. Most people aged 61 or older feel free. Most younger do not. 

Source: Merrill Lynch, Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Geographic Mobility, 2013-14

Many will be disappointed with the latest report on the nation's geographic mobility. Fewer Americans moved between 2013 and 2014 than in the previous year, and the mobility rate fell to a record low. Although the Census Bureau calls the trend in mobility "stable," the numbers are not good news for housing and other industries awaiting the return of the mobile American.

Only 11.5 percent of people aged 1 or older moved from one house to another between March 2013 and March 2014—an all-time low. The number who moved fell by 237,000 between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Here is the trend in the mobility rate since 2006-07, before the start of the Great Recession…

Geographic mobility rate
2013-14: 11.5%
2012-13: 11.7%
2011-12: 12.0%
2010-11: 11.6%
2009-10: 12.5%
2008-09: 12.5%
2007-08: 11.9%
2006-07: 13.2%

The mobility rate fell slightly for both homeowners and renters. Among homeowners, only 5.0 percent moved between 2013 and 2014. While this rate is above the record low of 4.7 percent recorded in the years 2010-11 and 2011-12, it remains far below the 7 to 9 percent that was typical in the the years prior to the Great Recession. Renters account for the 71 percent majority of movers. Among renters, 24.5 percent moved between 2013 and 2014, an all-time low. Before the Great Recession, the renter mobility rate typically exceeded 30 percent.

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic Mobility: 2013 to 2014

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Majority of Public Supports Legalization of Marijuana

The majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana, according to results from the 2014 General Social Survey. Fully 55.4 percent of people aged 18 or older favor legalizing marijuana, up from 46.9 percent in 2012 and just 32.9 percent in 2000. Nearly every demographic segment favors legalization, with Millennials most supportive...

Percent in favor of legalizing marijuana by generation
Millennials (20-37): 65%
Gen Xers (38-49): 52%
Boomers (50-68): 57%
Older Americans: 36%

Source: 2014 General Social Survey, Computer-assisted Survey Methods Program of the University of California, Berkeley

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Big Decline in Consumption of Fresh Potatoes

Over the decades, Americans have been eating fewer fresh potatoes. Behind the decline in fresh potato consumption is the greater availability of processed potatoes (especially frozen), according to the USDA, as well as the growing popularity of low-carb diets.

Pounds of fresh potatoes consumed per capita
2014: 26.8
2010: 27.8
2000: 35.5
1990: 35.2
1980: 38.5
1970: 46.6

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Americans Are Eating Fewer Potatoes and Less Cabbage than Previous Generations

Monday, March 16, 2015

Educational Attainment of the Labor Force in 2014

Among the nation's 135 million workers aged 25 or older in the civilian labor force, 50 million had a bachelor's degree or more education—37 percent of the total. By race and Hispanic origin, this is the percentage of workers with a bachelor's degree...

60% of Asians
42% of non-Hispanic Whites
27% of Blacks
19% of Hispanics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Friday, March 13, 2015

Attitudes toward Gay Marriage, 2004 to 2014

When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement, "Homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another," the 57 percent majority of Americans agree. The change in attitudes toward gay marriage has been swift...

Percent in favor of gay marriage
2014: 56.7%
2012: 48.9%
2010: 46.5%
2008: 39.2%
2006: 35.4%
2004: 30.8%

Among Millennials (aged 20 to 37 in 2014), the 70 percent majority supports gay marriage. The figure is 55 percent among Gen Xers (aged 38 to 49) and 51 percent among Boomers (aged 50 to 68). Among the oldest Americans (aged 69 or older), only 39 percent agree.

Source: General Social Survey, 2004 to 2014

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Homeownership Rate of Householders Aged 30 to 34 by Region: 2004 to 2014

The homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 fell by more than 10 percentage points between 2004 (the year the nation's homeownership rate peaked) and 2014. Historically, 30-to-34-year-olds had been the nation's first-time homebuyers, the age group in which the homeownership rate climbed above 50 percent. But between 2004 and 2014 the homeownership rate of the age group fell from well above 50 percent (57.4) to well below (47.1). No longer is 30-to-34 the age of first-time home buying, except in the Midwest...

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34
2014: 41.8%
2004: 51.9%
Change: -10.1 percentage points

2014: 57.6%
2004: 65.0%
Change: -7.4 percentage points

2014: 47.7%
2004: 58.8%
Change: -11.1 percentage points

2014: 39.9%
2004: 52.1%
Change: -12.2 percentage points

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Married Three or More Times

Among Americans aged 15 or older, 52.3 percent have married only once, 13.5 percent have married twice, and 3.6 percent have married three or more times. Those most likely to have married three or more times are the oldest members of the baby-boom generation. Among people in their sixties, fully 9.1 percent of men and 7.6 percent of women have married at least three times.

Source: Census Bureau, Remarriage in the United States

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

63% of Americans Live in a City

Nearly two out of three Americans (63 percent) live in a city, according to the Census Bureau. Cities are defined by their legal corporate limits. They differ from metropolitan areas, which are defined by the Office of Management and Budget and consist of counties with urban populations of 50,000 or more. The nation has more cities (19,508) than metro areas (381).

Between 2010 and 2013, the population of the nation's cities grew 3.1 percent—greater than the 2.4 percent growth rate for the nation as a whole. City growth occurs not just because of population gains, however, but also because of annexation. Boundary changes between 2010 and 2013, for example, added nearly 32,000 people to the city of Kirkland, Washington. City population also grows when new cities are created. Sixteen new cities were incorporated between 2010 and 2013, including James Island, South Carolina, and Jurupa Valley, California.

The most populous city in the United States is New York, with 8.4 million people in the city's 303 square miles of land. All those people in such a small geographic area make New York the most densely populated city in the United States, with 27,781 people per square mile. Close to the other extreme is Sitka, Alaska, which has more land area than any other city—2,870 square miles. Because only 9,020 people live there, however, Sitka's density is just 3.1 people per square mile. 

Source: Census Bureau, Population Trends in Incorporated Places: 2000 to 2013

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Demographics of Long-Haul Truckers

Among the 2.6 million Americans employed as truck drivers, many are long-haul truckers—meaning they drive heavy or tractor-trailer trucks on interstate routes. The CDC surveyed the health of long-haul truck drivers in 2010, with the following results...
  • Long-haul truckers are aged 48, on average, and have been on the job 16 years.
  • Most are men (93.5%) and White (73.5%). 
  • Long-haul truck drivers worked an average of 60.4 hours in the past week, with 46.2 hours behind the wheel and the remainder spent loading and unloading, completing paperwork, and performing truck maintenance.
  • In the past year, they drove an average of 107,700 miles.
  • In the past month, the 63% majority spent six or fewer nights at home.
Source: CDC, Vital Signs: Seat Belt Use among Long-Haul Truck Drivers—United States, 2010