Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More with Multiple Chronic Conditions

Among adults aged 45 or older, a growing share has two or more of nine chronic conditions, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Among 45-to-64-year-olds, the percentage with two or more conditions increased from 16 to 21 percent during the past decade, and among people aged 65 or older the figure grew from 37 to 45 percent. The nine chronic conditions are hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, current asthma, and kidney disease.

Among people aged 45 to 64 with at least two of these chronic conditions, more than one in five delayed getting medical care or did not get prescription drugs in the past year because of cost.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Multiple Chronic Conditions among Adults Aged 45 and Over: Trends Over the Past 10 Years

Big Jobs and Average Pay in 2011

The 10 largest occupations account for more than one in five jobs in the United States. Here are the occupations and their annual average wage in 2011...

Retail salesperson: $25,130
Cashier: $20,230
Office clerk: $28,920
Food prep worker: $18,790
Registered nurse: $69,110
Waiter or waitress: $20,890
Customer service rep: $33,120
Janitor or cleaner: $24,840
Laborer: $26,240
Secretary: $33,020

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, An Overview of U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages in 2011

Monday, July 30, 2012

Household Income Stable in June

Median household income held steady between May and June 2012 after adjusting for inflation, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The June median of $50,964 was $265 greater than the May median, but the gain was not statistically significant. 

"The trend in real median annual household income over the past several months has followed a noticeably uneven pattern...consistent with a struggling economy," notes Sentier in its report. The June median was 4.8 percent lower than median household income in June 2009--the end of the Great Recession. It was 7.2 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 8.1 percent lower than the median in January 2000.

The Household Income Index for June 2012 was 91.9 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier Research, Household Income Trends: June 2012

Homeownership Rates by Region: 2nd Quarter, 2012

Here are second quarter 2012 homeownership rates by region, and the percentage point (pp) decline from the record high annual homeownership rate for each region...

U.S. total: 65.5% (down 3.5 pp from 69.0% in 2004)
Northeast: 63.7% (down 1.5 pp from 65.2% in 2006)
Midwest: 69.6% (down 4.2 pp from 73.8% in 2004)
South: 67.4% (down 3.5 pp from 70.9% in 2004)
West: 59.7% (down 5.0 pp from 64.7% in 2006)

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Few Vegetarians

Only 5 percent of Americans aged 18 or older are vegetarians, according to a Gallup survey.
Vegetarianism does not vary much by demographic characteristic, with the largest percentage found among women (7 percent), people aged 50 or older (7 percent), liberals (7 percent), and the unmarried (8 percent).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Job Hopping among Boomers

Question: How many jobs have baby boomers had in their lifetime?
Answer: 11.3

We know this thanks to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a representative survey of people born from 1957 through 1964--or younger boomers. These boomers were first interviewed when they ranged in age from 14 to 22, then reinterviewed every year or two through 2010-11 when they were aged 45 to 53. As far as surveys go, it doesn't get much better.

Not surprisingly, this cohort held the largest number of jobs when they first entered the labor force--5.5 jobs between the ages of 18 and 24, on average. They held 3.0 jobs between the ages of 25 and 29, 2.4 jobs between the ages of 30 and 34, 2.1 jobs from ages 35 to 39, and another 2.1 jobs between the ages of 40 and 46.

If this sounds like a lot of job hopping, you're right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics remarks about the frequency of job change: "Although job duration tends to be longer the older a worker is when starting the job, these baby boomers continued to have large numbers of short-duration jobs even at middle age. Among jobs started by 40-to-46-year-olds, 33 percent ended in less than a year, and 69 percent ended in less than 5 years."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey

Friday, July 27, 2012

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 2nd Quarter, 2012

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, second quarter 2012: 47.5%

The 2nd quarter homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 fell to 47.5 percent, well below the 50 percent threshold and 2.0 percentage points lower than a year ago. Overall, the homeownership rate in the nation as whole was 65.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, only 0.4 percentage points below the 65.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

The homeownership rate of the 30-to-34 age group is the bellwether for the housing industry. Historically, the majority of householders have become homeowners in their early thirties. That is no longer the case as adults in their early thirties--many burdened by student loans--cannot afford to buy a home. In 2011, the annual homeownership rate of the 30-to-34 age group fell below 50 percent (to 48.9 percent) for the first time in the data series, which dates back to 1982.

Every five-year age group ranging from 25-to-29 to 60-to-64 experienced a decline in homeownership between the second quarters of 2011 and 2012. The steepest decline in homeownership occurred in the 35-to-39 age group. The homeownership rate of householders aged 35 to 39 fell 2.9 percentage points between the 2nd quarter of 2011 (60.5 percent) and the 2nd quarter of 2012 (57.6 percent).

Source: Bureau of the Census, Housing Vacancy Survey

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New: Census Apps

Want to know how many 24-year-olds live in the city of Pittsburgh? There's an app for that, and in the near future there are likely to be many more apps providing easier access to demographic data. That's because the Census Bureau has released its first public Application Programming Interface (API), which allows developers to create apps for retrieving census and American Community Survey data.

Check out the Census Bureau's app gallery where you can experiment with new apps. Already available is the Age Finder app. Select a state, pick a county or city if so desired, choose a race and any age group or single year of age. Voila: 3,730 men (and 3,528 women) age 24 live in the city of Pittsburgh.

Millions Are Disabled

One in five Americans aged 15 or older and half aged 65 or older have a disability, according to the Census Bureau. Difficulty walking is one of the most widespread problems, reported by 10 percent of people aged 15 or older and 31 percent of people aged 65 or older.

When asked what accounts for their disability, the most common causes are arthritis (25 percent), back problems (25 percent), diabetes (10 percent), and heart trouble (10 percent).

Of the 51 million people aged 15 or older with a disability, only 12 million require help from others. Eighty-nine percent get that help for free--mostly from family members.

Source: Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities: 2010

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homeownership: Paradigm Shift?

Did the Great Recession and the collapse of the housing market scare away potential home buyers? A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston suggests that younger people--but not older--may see the Great Recession as a regime change and are adjusting their attitudes toward homeownership accordingly.

By adding questions to the Michigan Survey of Consumers in 2011, the authors of the study looked at attitudes toward homeownership by demographic characteristic and zip code to determine whether residents of areas most affected by the bursting of the housing bubble are more wary of homeownership than those who live in areas less affected. Two important findings emerge from the study: only those personally affected by the housing crash (or who knew someone who was) have doubts about the financial soundness of buying a home--and only if they are younger than age 58.

Why did the housing crash freak out younger generations more than older adults? Because younger adults, suggest the authors, can imagine a paradigm shift occurring in the housing market. "In terms of the striking age differential," the authors note, "one possibility is that relatively younger respondents were indeed more malleable in terms of their outlook, and hence they internalized the sharp drop in housing prices as a regime change. In the new perceived regime, housing is a risky investment and thus (relatively) to be eschewed."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Shifting Confidence in Homeownership: The Great Recession

Soda vs. Coffee

Young adults are more likely to drink soda than coffee on an average day. According to a Gallup survey, the 56 percent majority of people aged 18 to 34 drink at least one soda on an average day versus a smaller 44 percent who drink at least one cup of coffee.

Among Americans aged 35 or older, only 42 to 46 percent drink soda on an average day and a much larger 70 to 74 percent drink coffee.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Accidental Births

More than one-third (37 percent) of babies born to American women are unintended--either the birth was mistimed or not wanted at all, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Since 1982 there has been little change in the percentage of unintended births, which has ranged from 31 to 39 percent of total births. According to the latest data, 63 percent of births are intended, 23 percent are mistimed, and 14 percent are unwanted.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Intended and Unintended Births in the United States: 1982-2006

Trends among Young Adults

How do the lives of today's young adults differ from the lives of their parents (baby boomers) when they were young? The National Center for Education Statistics has answers. A new NCES study examines four cohorts of young adults two years after graduating from high school. The high school graduates of 1972, 1980, 1992, and 2004 were surveyed two years later (in 1974, 1982, 1994, and 2006) about their education, living arrangements, voter participation, and job experience. Note that the most recent data (the status of 2004 high school graduates in 2006) reflect the time period before the start of the Great Recession...

Percentage of young adults currently enrolled in postsecondary courses
1974: 39.6%
1982: 48.5%
1994: 60.2%
2006: 62.3%
Percentage of young adults ever married
1974: 25.9%
1982: 11.6%
1994:   7.5%
2006:   4.0%
Percentage of young adults living with their parents
1974: 39.1%
1982: 49.9%
1994: 51.2%
2006: 45.5%
Percentage of young adults ever voting in an election
1974: 62.3%
1982: 51.1%
1994: 56.1%
2006: 57.5%

Jobs have changed as well. In each cohort, the young adults who did not go to college were asked about their first job. The percentage whose first job was clerical or skilled operative fell from 48 percent to 23 percent between 1974 and 2006. Conversely, the percentage whose first job was in sales or service climbed from 24 to 44 percent during those years.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Trends among Young Adults Over Three Decades, 1974-2006

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cost of Health Insurance: 2011

Average total health insurance premium per enrolled employee in the private sector, 2011...
Single coverage: $5,222
Employee-plus-one: $10,329
Family coverage: $15,022

Average employee contribution toward health insurance premium in the private sector, 2011...
Single coverage: $1,090
Employee-plus-one: $2,736
Family coverage: $3,962

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One, and Family Health Insurance Coverage in the Private Sector: Selection and Cost, 2011

Mental Health of Prisoners

Percentage of prison inmates with mental health problems...
In state prisons: 56%
In federal prisons: 45%
In local jails: 64%

Source: Mental Health, United States, 2010

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Money for Kids

Ten percent of the federal budget is devoted to the nation's children, including programs such as Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, Social Security dependent benefits, and federal spending on education. During the next decade, the Urban Institute projects that the share of the budget devoted to children will drop to 8 percent. Here's how federal spending breaks down in 2011...

41% for elderly and other adult portions of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
20% for defense
10% for children
6% for interest payments on debt
23% for all other government programs

Source: Urban Institute, Kids' Share 2012: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2011

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mouth Conditions

Percent distribution of Americans aged 18 or older by how they describe the condition of their mouth and teeth...

Very good: 34%
Good: 42%
Fair: 17%
Poor: 7%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Oral Health Status and Access to Oral Health Care for U.S. Adults Aged 18-64: National Health Interview Survey, 2008

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Problem with Employment-Based Coverage

Percentage of workers in private industry whose employer offers health care benefits...

All workers: 70%
Service workers: 41%
Part-time workers: 24%
Workers in lowest wage decile: 19%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits in the United States -- March 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Trends

Books sales fell 2.5 percent in 2011 (to $27 billion), Publishers Weekly reports, while unit sales climbed 3.4 percent (to 2.77 billion) as lower-priced e-books gained market share.

Does Walmart Lower House Prices?

That's often the claim when Walmart comes to town. But a National Bureau of Economic Research study of house prices near 159 new Walmart stores finds the opposite effect. House prices increase 2 to 3 percent if within a half mile of the new store and 1 to 2 percent if within 0.5 to 1.0 miles of the new store.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, When Walmart Comes to Town: Always Low Housing Prices? Always? Working Paper 1811 ($5)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Snail Mail Decline

The U.S. Postal Service survived the early years of the Internet relatively intact. In 1993 (the year of the first graphical Internet browser, Mosaic), the postal service handled 171 billion pieces of mail. The volume of mail grew handily for the next seven years, peaking at 208 billion in 2000.

Last year, the postal service handled 168 billion pieces of mail, 19 percent below the peak. Before you write off the Postal Service, consider this: the decline in mail volume since 2000 is not unprecedented. Mail volume fell by a larger 29 percent between 1929 and 1933.

Source: U.S. Postal Service, Postage Rates and Historical Statistics

From Owning to Renting among Older Americans

Homeownership is highest among older Americans, with a peak rate of 81 percent for householders aged 65. The rate falls with age to 54 percent among householders aged 95. Is the decline in homeownership a choice older people make or a response to reduced circumstances? This question is examined in a new report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which analyzes data from the University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study--a biennial survey that tracks the socioeconomic status of people aged 50 or older.

The EBRI analysis finds three factors to be most important in determining who transitions from owning to renting: a loss of income, the death of a spouse, and nursing home entry. Among householders aged 50 or older who had transitioned from owning to renting, 41.9 percent had experienced the death of a spouse--making widowhood the number one reason for housing change. Second was a decline in income (30.5 percent). Third, some homeowners who became renters did so after the householder or spouse entered a nursing home (10.9 percent).

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Own-to-Rent Transitions and Changes in Housing Equity for Older Americans

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Housing Recovery: Vital Signs

Like a doctor examining a patient, an analysis by economists at the New York Fed checks the vital signs of the housing recovery at the county level. These are the findings...

1. Price changes: At the height of the housing market crash, housing prices were falling in 75 percent of counties. As of mid-2012, housing prices were declining in half the nation's counties.

2. Existing home sales: More than three out of four counties are experiencing a lower volume of sales relative to baseline sales in 2000-2002. "For the median county, the transaction volume today is less than 50 percent of the county's baseline flow rate," according to the authors.

3. Distressed sales: Foreclosures, short-sales, and deeds-in-lieu accounted for 5 percent of repeat sales in the median county of 2003. That figure is now 40 percent, but the authors find evidence that the distressed-sale share peaked in 2011.

Prognosis: "Local housing markets are making progress in their convalescence. However, our analysis indicates that most local housing markets still have a way to go to achieve a clean bill of health."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, Just Released: Housing Checkup--Has the Market Finally Bottomed Out?

Parents Push Back on College Costs

Parents are pushing back on the cost of college, according to Sallie Mae's latest survey. In 2012, parents with children in college spent an average of $5,955 from their income and savings on college costs--32 percent less than in 2010. Only 47 percent of parents now strongly agree that they would rather borrow than have their children not go to college, down from 59 percent who felt that way in 2010.

So far, their children have not gotten the message. Fully 62 percent of students strongly agree that they would rather borrow than not go to college. Thirty-four percent used federal student loans in the 2011-12 school year, up from 28 percent in 2009-10. They borrowed an average of $7,874 through the federal program in 2011-12, up from $5,807 in 2009-10.

So how does America pay for college? Sallie Mae has the breakdown for 2011-12...
  • Parents: 37% (down from 47% in 2009-10)
  • Students: 30% (up from 23% in 2009-10)
  • Grants and scholarships: 29% (up from 23% in 2009-10)
  • Relatives: 4% (down from 7% in 2009-10) 
Source: Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College: 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who's Online: Census Bureau Version

Three out of four Americans had Internet access at home in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. While this information is dated--being two years old--it is interesting in its detail. Among children aged 3 to 17, the 57 percent majority accesses the Internet at home. This is a remarkable figure, considering that many in the age group can barely read. The percentage with Internet access at home rises to 74 percent among 18-to-34-year-olds, peaks at 76 percent among 35-to-44-year-olds, and falls to 69 percent among 45-to-64-year-olds. It is 42 percent among people aged 65 or older.

Eighty-one percent of Americans have a computer in their household, with virtually all--80 percent--having a desktop or laptop computer. In 2010, more than one in five (21 percent) had a handheld computer at home. The report includes much more demographic detail as well as methods of accessing the Internet (cable is most popular), Internet access by state, and Internet activities.

Source: Census Bureau, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2010

Why Won't They Marry?

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article contrasting the lives of single and married parents, accompanied by the usual expert handwringing and tsk-tsking reader comments. I have said this before and I will say it again: the issue is not that single mothers are bad for society, but bad societies create single mothers.

The rise of out-of-wedlock childbearing is directly linked to the stagnation and decline in men's wages over the past four decades. Single parents are the canary in the coal mine, revealing the location of economic instability and decay. Look at the numbers and you can see the segments of the population in which men have the most difficulty finding a stable job that pays a living wage. The fact that "across Middle America, single motherhood has moved from an anomaly to a norm with head-turning speed," as the Times article notes, should set off alarm bells. 

It's not about morals. It's about men.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15-44 Years in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fun in the Great Outdoors

The five most popular outdoor recreational activities, ranked by the number of people aged 6 or older participating in the activity in 2011 (in 000s), and percent change in number participating since 2008...

1. Running/jogging: 50,713 (+23%)
2. Bicycling (paved surface): 40,349 (+6%)
3. Fishing (freshwater): 38,868 (-4%)
4. Hiking (day): 34,491 (+6%)
5. Camping (except RV and backpacking): 32,925 (-2%)

Source: Outdoor Foundation, Outdoor Recreation Participation: Topline Report 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Are You Richer than Your Parents?

Percentage of Americans with greater wealth than their parents: 50%.

Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project, Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life is Expensive

How much does it cost to have a baby? A lot, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The median cost of an uncomplicated pregnancy, from prenatal visits through delivery, was $8,170 in 2009. For those with private health insurance, 85 percent of the cost was covered by insurance and 10 percent was paid out-of-pocket.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Health Care Expenditures for Uncomplicated Pregnancies, 2009

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gloom, but not Doom

Percentage of Americans who say...
National economic situation is good: 31%
Personal economic situation is good: 68%

Source: Pew Research Center, Pervasive Gloom about the World Economy

What Do Older Workers Want?

Money and health insurance. That is the finding of an AARP survey of workers aged 50 or older. When older workers are asked whether their primary reason for working is financial or non-financial, fully 78 percent say they are working for financial reasons such as the need for money or health insurance. Only 19 percent are working for the fun of it.

Source: AARP, What Are Older Workers Seeking?: An AARP/SHRM Survey of 50+ Workers

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Retirement Readiness: What the SCF Reveals

Boomers are not ready for retirement. That's the finding of a new report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which analyzes 2010 Survey of Consumer Finance data to determine the retirement readiness of older householders.

The typical household headed by a 55-to-64-year-old has only $120,000 in 401(k)/IRA savings--about the same as in 2007, according to CRR director and author of the report, Alicia H. Munnell. She warns that these households will be surprised at how little their retirement savings provides them in retirement. If a couple, for example, uses this savings to purchase a joint-survivor annuity, it would pay out only $575 a month. Except for Social Security, that $575 per month is likely to be the couple's only source of income, says Munnell, because the typical older householder has "virtually no financial assets outside of its 401(k) plan."

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 401(k) Plans in 2010: An Update from the SCF 

I Don't Think So

Which states will be the best places to live in 20 years? Gallup threw some "metrics" in a hat, gave it a tap and a twirl, and this is what they pulled out: the best places to live in 2032 will be the West North Central states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Source: Gallup, Where You'll Want to Live in 2032

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Glimmer of Hope?

Question: "Are they [economists] really the only social scientists with anything useful to contribute to the efficient running of a government?" asks Richard H. Thaler in an article in the New York Times (Watching Behavior Before Writing the Rules).

Answer: Of course not, but try telling that to the U.S. government.

Economists monopolize government policymaking in the United States, says Thaler. Not so in Britain, where a few years ago the government decided to try something different. It created a Behavioral Insights Team manned by other kinds of social scientists (such as sociologists and psychologists) with the aim of helping government agencies function more efficiently by making it easier for people to do the right thing--like pay their taxes on time or weatherize their home. It worked. The team has already paid for itself many times over. Let's hope the U.S. government takes notice.

The Rise of Student Debt

The percentage of households with education loans has more than doubled over the past two decades, according to new numbers from the Survey of Consumer Finances. In 2010, nearly one in five households (19 percent) had outstanding student debt, up from 9 percent in 1989. Among households with student debt, the median amount owed climbed from $5,100 to $13,000 during those years, after adjusting for inflation.

The numbers are worse for householders under age 35. Fully 40 percent had education loans in 2010, up from 17 percent in 1989. Young householders were once far more likely to have mortgage debt, vehicle loans, or credit card debt than student loans. Not anymore. The 40 percent of householders under age 35 with education loans surpasses the 34 percent with mortgage debt, the 32 percent with vehicle loans, and even the 39 percent with credit card debt.  

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Survey of Consumer Finances

Monday, July 09, 2012

Where Do Women Feel the Safest?

When women in 143 countries were asked whether they would feel safe walking alone at night in the area where they live, Gallup found big differences in feelings of security.

At the top of the list, 90 percent of women (and 93 percent of men) in the nation of Georgia say they would feel safe walking alone at night. At the bottom of the list, only 21 percent of women (and 36 percent of men) in Afghanistan feel safe. In the United States, 62 percent of women (and 89 percent of men) feel safe walking alone at night.

Source: Gallup, Women Feel Less Safe than Men in Many Developed Countries

Telecommuting: No Utopia

Be careful what you wish for. Telecommuting was once heralded as a way to reduce energy consumption, traffic congestion, and work-family conflict. Dream on. According to an analysis published in the Monthly Labor Review, telecommuting is instead being used by harried workers and demanding employers to cram additional hours of labor into an already full workweek.

About one in four employed Americans report working at least some hours at home each week, according to sociologists Mary C. Noonan and Jennifer L. Glass in their study "The Hard Truth about Telecommuting." Rather than being a benefit to workers, they write, "telecommuting appears to have become instrumental in the general expansion of work hours, facilitating workers' needs for additional work time beyond the standard workweek and/or the ability of employers to increase or intensify work demands among their salaried employees."

In their study, the authors examine whether workers use telecommuting as a substitute for office hours or on top of their 40-hour work week. They find that one-half to two-thirds of the hours workers spend telecommuting is on top of a full workweek--in short, overtime. Telecommuting is being used by workers to relocate overtime hours from the office to the home. "The ability of employees to work at home may actually allow employers to raise expectations for work availability during evenings and weekends and foster longer workdays and workweeks," they conclude.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

21-Year-Olds in School

Percentage of 21-year-olds enrolled in school...

2010: 51%
2000: 40%

Source: Census Bureau, School Enrollment

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Life Events among Older Americans

Percentage of Americans aged 50 or older who have experienced selected life events in the past five years...

Changed lifestyle due to medical condition: 23%
Became a grandparent: 19%
Retired from a job: 15%
Had an adult child move back home: 14%
Had a spouse/partner die: 4%

Source: AARP, How Insights on 50+ Adults Can be Useful to Local Businesses

Friday, July 06, 2012

Who's Ready to Retire?

Percentage of householders aged 50 to 59 who will be financially ready to retire (able to maintain their current living standards) by...

Age 62: 40%
Age 66: 66%
Age 70: 89%

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, National Retirement Risk Index: How Much Longer Do We Need to Work?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Homeowner Wealth

The median net worth of the nation's homeowners was $163,856 in 2010, down from $215,619 in 2005--a decline of 24 percent after adjusting for inflation, according to the Census Bureau. Excluding home equity, the median net worth of homeowners was $44,260 in 2010, down from $55,580 in 2005.

Source: Census Bureau, Wealth and Asset Ownership

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

New Americans

Last year, 694,193 foreign-born residents of the United States became naturalized citizens. Twelve countries account for slightly more than half the total: Mexico (13.7%), India (6.6%), Philippines (6.1%), China (4.7%), Colombia (3.3%), Cuba (3.0%), Vietnam (3.0%), Dominican Republic (3.0%), Jamaica (2.1%), Haiti (2.0%), El Salvador (2.0), and South Korea (1.8%).

Source: Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Naturalizations: 2011

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Pregnancy Outcomes

More than 6 million women become pregnant each year in the United States, yet only 4 million babies are born. That's because only 65 percent of pregnancies result in a live birth. Another 18 percent end in induced abortion and 17 percent in miscarriage.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Estimated Pregnancy Rates and Rates of Pregnancy Outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008

Household Income Rises in May

Median household income climbed 0.7 percent between April and May 2012 after adjusting for inflation, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The May median of $50,773 was $346 greater than the April median, a statistically significant increase. Falling prices were behind the increase--specifically the decline in the price of gasoline.

Despite the increase in median household income, the May median was 5.3 percent lower than median household income in June 2009--the end of the Great Recession. It was 7.7 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 8.6 percent lower than the median in January 2000. 

The Household Income Index for May 2012 was 91.4 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier Research, Household Income Trends: May 2012 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Spending: The Top Ten List

The ten items on which the average household spends the most were the same in 2010 as a decade earlier, although the order had changed and spending trends for the top ten items ranged from a 47 percent increase (health insurance) to a 63 percent decrease (federal income tax), after adjusting for inflation.

Here is the 2010 top ten list in rank order, along with how much the average household spent on those items and the percent change in spending since 2000, after adjusting for inflation...

1. Deductions for Social Security: $3,903 (+44%)
2. Groceries: $3,624 (-5%)
3. Mortgage interest: $3,154 (+1%); or Rent: $2,773 (+11%)
4. Vehicle purchases: $2,588 (-40%)
5. Gasoline and motor oil: $2,132 (+30%)
6. Restaurants: $2,081 (-6%)
7. Health insurance: $1,831 (+47%)
8. Property tax: $1,814 (+26%)
9. Electricity: $1,413 (+22%)
10. Federal income tax: $1,136 (-63%)

The average household spent $48,109 in 2010, almost identical to the $48,176 it spent in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. Some notable changes in the rankings of items on which the average household spends the most: Cell phone service surged from 66th to 14th place; College tuition climbed from 24th to 16th place; and Cable television service rose from 28th to 18th in the rankings.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Your Chance of Going to Prison

The likelihood that you will be imprisoned at some point in your life depends greatly on your demographic characteristics...

Lifetime Likelihood of Imprisonment
Black men: 1 in 3
Hispanic men: 1 in 6
White men: 1 in 17
Black women: 1 in 18
Hispanic women: 1 in 45
White women: 1 in 111

Source: The Sentencing Project, Trends in U.S. Corrections