Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trends in First-Time Homebuying

During the past five years, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds has fallen more steeply than the rate of any other age group. This is bad news for the housing market because, typically, the majority of Americans first become homeowners in their early thirties. Between the third quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2012, the homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 fell from 55.3 to 46.9 percent. The rate fell because most 25-to-29-year-olds of 2007, who entered their early thirties during the next five years, were unable or unwilling to buy a home.

The homeownership rate of 25-to-29-year-olds was 40.5 percent in the third quarter of 2007. Five years later in the third quarter of 2012, the homeownership rate of the cohort, now aged 30 to 34, had grown to 46.9 percent. The cohort boosted its homeownership rate by 6.4 percentage points as it aged from its late twenties to its early thirties. Sounds good for the housing market, right?

Wrong. That 6.4 percentage point increase pales in comparison to past gains in homeownership as people aged from their late twenties to their early thirties. For example, in 2002 the homeownership rate of 25-to-29-year-olds was 39.6 percent. Five years later in 2007, the homeownership rate of the same cohort, aged 30 to 34, was 55.3 percent--a gain of 15.7 percentage points! If the homeownership rate of today's 30-to-34-year-olds had grown that much between 2007 and 2012, their current rate would be 56.2 percent--nearly 10 percentage points higher than it is today.

For the housing market to recover, it has to get those first-time homebuyers back.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Having our Cake and Eating It Too

Americans want all the goodies, but they don't want to pay for them. When the public is asked which aspects of the Affordable Care Act they would like to keep, the majority favors almost every element of the plan...

70% want to prevent health insurers from denying coverage for preexisting conditions
63% want children to be able to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26
61% want new health insurance exchanges set up where people can shop for insurance
57% want to limit health insurance companies' profit margins
57% want research to measure the effectiveness of different medical treatments
55% want employers with 50+ employees to provide health insurance or pay a penalty

But only 26% want to keep the provision that requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty--the mechanism by which all of the above becomes possible.

Source: Harris Interactive, Partisanship Guides Americans' Attitudes on Health-Care Reform Law: Poll

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 3rd Quarter, 2012

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, third quarter 2012: 46.9%

The 3rd quarter homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 fell to 46.9 percent, well below the 50 percent threshold and 3.0 percentage points lower than a year ago. Overall, the homeownership rate in the nation as whole was 65.5 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and 0.8 percentage points below the 66.3 percent in the third 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.

Most age groups experienced a decline in homeownership between the third quarters of 2011 and 2012. The steepest decline in homeownership occurred in the 30-to-34 age group.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Monday, October 29, 2012

119 Million Home Improvement Projects

In the past two years, homeowners have undertaken 119 million home improvement projects, according to the 2011 American Housing Survey. They spent $358 billion remodeling rooms, upgrading systems, and replacing interior or exterior features of their house.

Most often homeowners hire professionals to do the job. Nearly two out of three home improvement projects undertaken in the past two years were done by professionals. Homeowners spent $295 billion on these projects--or 82 percent of total home improvement spending. The median cost of a professional project was $3,900, but the cost ranged from $30,000 for a kitchen addition to just $500 for appliance replacement and installation.

Some homeowners are brave enough to do it themselves. Homeowners have tackled 44 million do-it-yourself projects in the past two years, spending a total of $64 million. The median cost of a do-it-yourself project was $950, with the cost ranging from $5,000 for a kitchen renovation or a new garage to just $150 for plumbing work. The data do not reveal how many do-it-yourselfers ended up calling a professional to tidy things up.

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Households with Stairs

Stairs can be found in nearly half of American homes. According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, 54 million households have inside stairs--or 47 percent of the total. Owner-occupied houses are much more likely to have stairs (57 percent) than renter-occupied homes (26 percent). In households headed by people aged 65 or older, 45 percent have stairs.

The presence of stairs in homes varies greatly by region. In the Northeast and Midwest, from 65 to 66 percent of houses have indoor stairs. In the South and West, only 34 to 35 percent of houses have stairs.

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Households with Smokers

It is a well-known public health fact that 21 percent of Americans aged 18 or older smoke cigarettes. But here's a different way to look at the prevalence of smoking: what percentage of households include smokers?

According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, only 12 percent of the nation's households include smokers. But, not surprisingly, the percentage varies greatly by household characteristic. Sixteen percent of renter-occupied households include smokers compared with 10 percent of owner-occupied households. Among renter-occupied mobile homes, 29 percent have smokers--the highest percentage found in the survey.

By region, households with smokers are most common in the Midwest (15 percent) and least common in the West (7 percent). In the suburbs of metropolitan areas, 10 percent of households have smokers. The figure is a higher 13 percent in central cities and an even higher 15 percent in nonmetropolitan areas. Among households in poverty, 20 percent have smokers.

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey

Friday, October 26, 2012

MMWR iPad App

If you want to follow the latest health statistics on your iPad, then this might be the app for you: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, now available free from the iTunes store. Using this app you can easily access current or past volumes of the CDC's MMWR, Surveillance Summaries, Recommendations & Reports, and Vital Signs.

But wait...there's a problem. The "current" volume accessed through the app is October 5, 2012--a couple weeks behind the October 26 issue now available. As this new app gets up and running, let's hope it gets more current.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Minorities More Multigenerational

Multigenerational households have gotten a lot of press lately, thanks to their rise during the Great Recession. Despite the media attention, they are not all that common. In the 2009-2011 time period, only 4.3 million of the nation's 76 million family households were home to three or more generations--or 5.6 percent. The Census Bureau defines a multigenerational household as one that includes three or four generations (grandparents, parents, and children, and possibly great-grandparents). Not included are households in which parents live with adult children.

Probably the most interesting thing about multigenerational households is how their importance varies among Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites. Take a look at the share of family households that are multigenerational by race and Hispanic origin:

Asian: 9.4%
Black: 9.5%
Hispanic: 10.3%
Non-Hispanic white: 3.7%

These numbers reflect both economic and cultural differences among race and Hispanic origin groups. The Census Bureau report examines the multigenerational share of households by state, and by race and Hispanic origin within states. Among Hispanics, for example, the multigenerational share of family households ranges from a low of 2.3 percent in North Dakota to a high of 12.7 percent in California.

Source: Census Bureau, Multigenerational Households: 2009-2011

Book Reading by Age

Percent of Americans aged 16 or older who have read a book in whole or in part, in any format, in the past 12 months...

Total, 16-plus: 78%
Aged 16 to 17: 86%
Aged 18 to 24: 88%
Aged 25 to 29: 76%
Aged 30 to 39: 84%
Aged 40 to 49: 79%
Aged 50 to 64: 77%
Aged 65-plus: 68%

Source: Pew Research Center, Younger Americans' Reading and Library Habits

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Household Income Up in September 2012

Median household income climbed 1.0 percent between August and September 2012 after adjusting for inflation, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The September median of $51,438 was $534 greater than the August median, a statistically significant increase.

Households are still struggling to make up for all the ground lost not just during the Great Recession, but during the entire 2000-to-2012 time period. Median household income in September 2012 was 4.7 percent lower than the median in June 2009--the end of the Great Recession. It was 7.1 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 8.0 percent lower than the median in January 2000. The Household Income Index for September 2012 was 92.0 (January 2000 = 100.0). 

For those interested in how household income has changed by household characteristic, you can get a copy of "Changes in Household Income During the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2012," from Sentier's web site for $25.00.

Source: Sentier Research, Trends in Household Income: September 2012

Weight Update

Every few years the federal government reports on the weight of Americans--not how much they say they weigh (which tends to be underreported), but their actual measured weight. These data are collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The latest findings, for the 2007-2010 time period, show the following for people aged 20 or older...

Average weight
Men: 195.5 pounds
Women: 166.2 pounds

Average height
Men: 69.3 inches
Women: 63.8 inches

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007-2010

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

6.8 Million Homeowners Are Underwater

Fully 6.8 million homeowners were underwater on their mortgage in 2011, up from 5.8 million in 2009 and 2.5 million in 2007, according to newly released data from the American Housing Survey. Underwater homeowners are those with an outstanding balance on their mortgage greater than or equal to the value of their home. The percentage of homeowners with a mortgage who are in this financial squeeze climbed to 14 percent in 2011, up from 12 percent in 2007 and 5 percent in 2007.

One reason for the growing number of underwater homeowners is the decline in home value. Between 2007 and 2011, the median value of owned homes fell by 23 percent, after adjusting for inflation. In 2011, median housing value was just $160,000, down from $178,000 in 2007 and $208,000 in 2007 (in 2011 dollars). For all homeowners with a mortgage, the outstanding balance on their mortgage as a percentage of home value grew to a median of 71 percent in 2011, up from 63 percent in 2009 and 54 percent in 2007.

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey

Few Older Americans Use Social Media

It's a good thing most Americans aged 50-plus are retired, because they would be unable to earn a living in the Internet Age. The latest confirmation of this finding is an AARP survey on social media use. Only 38 percent of people aged 50 or older use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter versus 69 percent of people aged 18 to 49. When asked why they do not use social media, most nonusers aged 50-plus say they're not interested or it's a waste of time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Homeowners and Renters: 25 Years of Spending

How has the spending of homeowners and renters changed over the past 25 years? A comparison of 2010 and 1986 Consumer Expenditure Survey data shows that, on the surface at least, the spending of homeowners and renters is remarkably unchanged.

In 2010, households headed by homeowners spent an average of $55,780, slightly less than the $56,050 spent by homeowners in 1986, after adjusting for inflation. The spending of households headed by renters was also about the same in both years--$33,460 in 2010, down slightly from $33,520 in 1986.

Changes in spending emerge in the details, however. Both homeowners and renters spent much more on  health insurance and much less on transportation in 2010 versus 1986. Both spent more on housing and less on food away from home. The only major category in which homeowners and renters have diverged in their spending is entertainment. Homeowners spent 11 percent more on entertainment in 2010 than in 1986, after adjusting for inflation. Renters spent 6 percent less.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, A Comparison of 25 Years of Consumer Expenditures by Homeowners and Renters

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prescription Medicine Use

The 57 percent majority of Americans did not take any prescription medication in 2010, according to a Census Bureau study, while 35 percent were regular users of prescription medicine. The percentage who regularly take prescription medication rises with age...

Regular users of prescription medicine in 2010
Total population: 34.6%
Under age 18: 12.5%
Aged 18 to 24: 15.7%
Aged 25 to 44: 24.1%
Aged 45 to 64: 50.7%
Aged 65 or older: 80.0%

Source: Census Bureau, Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Who Doesn't Go to the Doctor?

Percentage of Americans who did not see a doctor/medical provider in the past year...

Total population: 27.3%
Under age 18: 35.4%
Aged 18 to 24: 37.2%
Aged 25 to 44: 32.7%
Aged 45 to 64: 20.4%
Aged 65 or older: 7.5%

Source: Census Bureau, Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010

Friday, October 19, 2012

Counting Gays and Lesbians

Determining how many Americans are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) has been attempted many times over the years with varying results. The biggest problem is underreporting, since many gays and lesbians will not say so on a survey. Another problem is how to ask the question. Terms such as "heterosexual," "homosexual," "bisexual," and "transgender" can stump the less-educated portion of the population. This is why the federal government modified categories on the 2006-08 National Survey of Family Growth from "heterosexual" to "heterosexual or straight" and from "homosexual" to "homosexual or gay" (for men) and "homosexual, gay, or lesbian" (for women). Too many uneducated respondents did not understand what they were being asked.

Now Gallup has waded into the water, asking more than 120,000 respondents the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" The result: 3.4 percent of adults aged 18 or older identify themselves as LGBT.

Some may raise issue with the way Gallup asked the question--is it too complex for comprehension? Does it suggest political as well as sexual orientation? Despite these issues, the results are interesting--particularly by age. The percentage who identify themselves as LGBT is highest among 18-to-29-year-olds (6.4 percent) and falls with age to just 1.9 percent of people aged 65 or older. It's no surprise that younger Americans are more likely than older adults to identify themselves as LGBT because their peers are more accepting. Delving into the data more deeply, however, there is a portion of the population that says "don't know" or refuses to answer the question entirely. This proportion is smallest among young adults (3.5 percent) and rises with age to 6.5 percent of people aged 65 or older. If you sum the percentage of people who identify as LGBT and the percentage who "don't know" or refuse to answer, differences by age shrink considerably...

Percentage who identify as LGBT plus "don't know"/refused to answer:
Total, 18-plus: 3.4 + 4.4 = 7.8%
18-29: 6.4 + 3.5 = 9.9%
30-49: 3.2 + 3.2 = 6.4%
50-64: 2.6 + 4.3 = 6.7%
65-plus: 1.9 + 6.5 = 8.4%

This sum may do a better job of estimating the true size of the LGBT population.

Source: Gallup, Special Report: 3.4% of U.S. Adults Identify as LGBT

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Birth Control Is a Big Deal

Nearly every American woman at risk of becoming pregnant is currently using birth control. According to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 89 percent of women aged 15 to 44 who are at risk of becoming pregnant (meaning they are sexually active and not pregnant) are using birth control. There is almost no variation in birth control use by demographic characteristic.

Percent who use birth control by religion
No religion: 86.9%
Catholic: 88.7%
Baptist/fundamentalist Protestant: 89.9%
Other Protestant: 90.2%

Percent who use birth control by education
Not a high school graduate: 88.3%
High school graduate only: 90.2%
Some college, no degree: 91.5%
Bachelor's degree or more: 89.6%

Percent who use birth control by race/Hispanic origin
Asian: 89.7%
Black: 82.8%
Hispanic, born in US: 89.5%
Hispanic, foreign born: 89.7%
Non-Hispanic white: 90.5%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Current Contraceptive Use in the United States, 2006-2010, and Changes in Patterns of Use Since 1995

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cell-Phone-Only by State

Cell phones are already a problem for pollsters. To make matter worse, the cell-phone-only population varies by state. Only 15 percent of adults live in a cell-phone-only household in Rhode Island, according to the latest state-level estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics. The figure is a much larger 42 percent in North Dakota. Within states, the cell-phone-only population varies from county to county as well. In Dallas County, Texas, the 53 percent majority of adults live in a cell-phone-only household. In Texas counties outside the state's large metros, only 38 percent are cell-phone-only.

What's a pollster to do? Experiment, tinker, reformulate, and recalculate in an attempt to reach the increasingly elusive American public. On November 6 the pollsters and the public will find out who got it right and who has to go back to the drawing board.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Wireless Substitution: State-Level Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010-2011

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Minority Majority: Not So Fast

A few months ago there was quite a hullabaloo when the Census Bureau's population estimates showed minorities to be the majority among the nation's newborns for the first time, with non-Hispanic whites accounting for only 49.6 percent of births between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011. But the bureau may have been getting ahead of itself and not accounting for the ongoing baby bust, which has affected Hispanics and blacks more than non-Hispanic whites.

According to estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics, non-Hispanic whites accounted for the 54 percent majority of babies born in the United States in 2010 and 2011--a considerably larger share than had been estimated. The reason for the larger-than-expected non-Hispanic white share of births is the Great Recession and its disproportionate impact on the childbearing of Hispanic women and, to a lesser extent, black women.

The fertility rate of Hispanic women plummeted between 2007 and 2011, falling from 97.4 to 75.7 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44--a 22 percent decline. The fertility rate of non-Hispanic black women fell 8 percent during those years--from 71.4 to 65.5. Meanwhile, non-Hispanic white fertility fell by a smaller 4 percent, from 61.0 to 58.8. Consequently, the Hispanic share of births is shrinking rather than growing. Hispanics accounted for 23 percent of births in 2011, down from 25 percent in 2007 and well below the 26 percent that had been estimated by the Census Bureau. The minority majority will get here, just not as soon as we thought.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Preliminary Data for 2011

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who Needs the Federal Government?

Percentage of households receiving benefits from the federal government in 2011...

Social Security: 31.6%
Medicare: 28.9%
Medicaid: 19.5%
Food stamps: 12.7%
School lunch/breakfast: 11.2%
Supplemental Security Income: 5.8%
Public or subsidized housing: 5.0%
Women, Infants, and Children program: 4.2%
Unemployment compensation: 4.0%
Veterans compensation: 2.6%
Energy assistance: 2.1%
Cash assistance (welfare): 1.7%

Note: Households may receive benefits from more than one type of program.
Source: Census Bureau, Economic Characteristics of Households in the United States, 2011

Free and Clear

Among the nation's 74 million homeowners, the percentage who own their home free and clear rises with age to the majority in the 65-to-74 age group. Nevertheless, a large proportion of older homeowners face mortgage payments well into their golden years.

Percentage of homeowners without a mortgage
Total homeowners: 34%
Under age 35: 13%
Aged 35 to 44: 12%
Aged 45 to 54: 20%
Aged 55 to 59: 30%
Aged 60 to 64: 39%
Aged 65 to 74: 55%
Aged 75 or older: 79%

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Young Adults Less Religious

Growing numbers of Americans are not affiliated with a religion, according to a Pew survey. Nearly 20 percent of the population (19.6 percent) reported no religious affiliation in 2012. Compare that figure to the one reported four decades ago by the General Social Survey: in 1972, only 5 percent of the population had no religious affiliation.

What explains the rise? The most important factor is generational replacement, with younger generations less likely than older adults to identify with a religion. Fully 32 percent of people aged 18 to 29 have no religious affiliation, finds the Pew survey. This compares with 21 percent of 30-to-49-year-olds, 15 percent of 50-to-64-year-olds, and just 9 percent of people aged 65 or older.

American society is becoming increasingly secular, with each succeeding generation of young adults less likely than its predecessor to affiliate with a religion. Forty years ago in 1972, only 10 percent of young adults aged 18-to-29 had no religious affiliation. That figure has more than tripled over the decades. Aging does not appear to boost religious affiliation, either. If you track one cohort over the decades using General Social Survey data, the 10 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds who had no religious affiliation in 1972 grew to 16 percent of 56-to-67-year-olds in 2010 (the latest GSS year available).

Source: Pew Research Center, "Nones" on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation; and General Social Survey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Diet Drink Demographics

One in five Americans drinks a diet soda on an average day, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Women aged 40 to 59 are most likely to drink diet soft drinks, with 28 percent consuming one or more on an average day.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Consumption of Diet Drinks in the United States, 2009-2010

Friday, October 12, 2012

Life Expectancy, 2011

Life expectancy at birth in the United States was unchanged in 2011, at 78.7 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. For females, life expectancy is 81.1 years at birth, and for males it is 76.3 years. Life expectancy differs by race and Hispanic origin as follows...

Hispanic females: 83.7
Non-Hispanic white females: 81.1
Hispanic males: 78.9
Non-Hispanic black females: 77.8
Non-Hispanic white males: 76.4
Non-Hispanic black males: 71.6

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fewer Non-Hispanic Whites Under Age 45

The nation's demographics are changing rapidly. Nowhere is this more evident than among Americans under age 45. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of non-Hispanic whites under age 45 fell by 10 percent--a decline of 12 million. In contrast, the number of Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities in the under-45 age group grew by 22 percent--an increase of 14.5 million.

Between 2000 and 2010, the non-Hispanic white share of the under-age-45 population fell from 64 to 57 percent, while the minority share climbed from 36 to 43 percent.

Source: Census Bureau, National Intercensal Estimates (2000-2010)

Earnings by College Major

Is a bachelor's degree still worth the investment? According to two reports by the Census Bureau, the answer is yes. The median earnings of college graduates who work full-time is well above average at $64,396 (versus about $35,000 for high school grads), and lifetime earnings are far above average at $2.4 million (versus $1.4 million for high school grads). Annual median and lifetime earnings vary greatly by college major, however. Take a look:

Median annual earnings: $91,611
Lifetime earnings: $3.5 million

Computers and Math
Median annual earnings: $80,180
Lifetime earnings: $3.1 million

Median annual earnings: $66,605
Lifetime earnings: $2.6 million

Liberal Arts
Median annual earnings: $58,761
Lifetime earnings: $2.1 million

Median annual earnings: $50,902
Lifetime earnings: $1.8 million

Source: Census Bureau, Field of Degree and Earnings by Selected Employment Characteristics: 2011 and Work-Life Earnings by Field of Degree and Occupation for People with a Bachelor's Degree: 2011

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rich or Poor, Asian Kids Go to College

It is a well known fact that low-income families in the United States are less likely than the affluent to send their children to college. Unless they're Asian, that is.

Asian families with children aged 5 to 24 are equally likely to have a child in college regardless of family income. Among Asian families with incomes below $20,000, 27 percent have a child in college. Among Asian families with incomes of $75,000 or more, an identical 27 percent have a child in college. In contrast, among low-income non-Hispanic white families, only 9 percent have a child in college versus a much larger 22 percent of the affluent families. The figures are about the same for black families (10 versus 21 percent) and Hispanic families (9 versus 22 percent). 

Source: Census Bureau, School Enrollment

Rapid Growth in the Yogurt Market

Pounds of yogurt consumed per person per year...
2010: 9.4
2000: 4.5
1990: 2.9
1980: 1.7
1970: 0.6

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

2011 College Enrollment

The number of students enrolled in the nation's colleges climbed yet again, reaching a record high of 20.4 million in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. The 122,000 increase in enrollment between 2010 and 2011 was the smallest rise in the past five years.

Enrollment in four-year colleges grew to a record high of 10.9 million in 2011, which was 470,000 more students than in 2010. In contrast, enrollment in two-year colleges and graduate schools retreated during the time period. Two-year college enrollment fell to 5.7 million in 2011 (down 199,000), and graduate school enrollment fell to 3.8 million (down 148,000).

Source: Census Bureau, School Enrollment

Family Distances

This is how far Americans aged 50 or older live from their children and siblings...

Distance from children
A child lives less than a 1-hour drive from home: 71%
A child lives from a 1- to 5-hour drive from home:  26%
A child lives more than a 5-hour drive from home: 40%

Distance from siblings
A sibling lives less than a 1-hour drive from home: 40%
A sibling lives from a 1- to 5-hour drive from home:  26%
A sibling lives more than a 5-hour drive from home: 55%

Source: AARP, Family Today: A Study of U.S. Families

Monday, October 08, 2012

How People Get to Work

The Great Recession did little to change the way people get to work and the time it takes to get there. Average travel time to work was 25.5 minutes in 2011--about the same as the 25.3 minutes of 2007, according to the American Community Survey. This is how people got to work in 2011 (and in 2007)...

Drove alone: 76.4% (76.1%)
Carpooled: 9.7% (10.4%)
Public transportation: 5.0% (4.9%)
Walked: 2.8% (2.8%)
Other means: 1.7% (1.7%)
Worked at home: 4.3% (4.1%)

Source: Census Bureau, American Community Survey

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Hispanics by Place of Birth

Among the nation's 52 million Hispanics, the 64 percent majority are native-born. Only 36 percent are foreign born. Here is the breakdown of Hispanics by place of birth..

Total Hispanics: 100.0%
Born in state of residence: 48.6%
Born in another US state: 11.3%
Native; born outside US: 3.9%
Foreign born: 36.2%

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Who's Getting Married?

Every year since 2008, the American Community Survey has collected data on marriage and divorce in the United States. Here are some of the findings from the 2011 survey...

Men who got married in 2011
Number: 2,144,467
Median age: 31.6 years
College graduate: 28.5%
In labor force: 88.9%
Has a child under age 18: 33.6%
Homeowner: 50.0%

Women who got married in 2011
Number: 2,096,359
Median age: 29.5 years
College graduate: 32.9%
In labor force: 76.7%
Has a child under age 18: 36.1%
Homeowner: 50.3%

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey

Friday, October 05, 2012

Not Many Work at Home

Working at home was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Turns out, not so much. According to the American Community survey, 6 million people worked primarily from home in 2010. That number grew 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, an impressive gain, but the proportion who work at home climbed from only 3.3 to 4.3 percent during those years.

About one-third of those who work from home are aged 55 or older, half are self-employed or unpaid family workers, and half earn less than $25,000 a year. The earnings of those who work at home account for only about one-third of their household's total median earnings.

Source: Census Bureau, Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Boomer Troubles

Once upon a time, a whole bunch of businesses were salivating at the thought of the impending retirement of the massive baby-boom generation. Boomers were going to inherit trillions, said economists. Boomers were going to retire early, said sociologists. Businesses looked forward to an unprecedented expansion in the number of well-heeled retirees.

Then the troubles began. Let's start with those inheritances, which have been aspirated away by the health care industry as it circles the long-lived parents of the baby-boom generation. And those eagerly awaited retirements? They have been postponed as aging boomers discovered too late that 401(k)s are poor substitutes for pensions. Then the Great Recession hit and, according to a new AARP survey, boomers lost their mojo. The AARP survey, which probed the financial wellbeing and attitudes of workers aged 50 to 64 during and after the Great Recession, found boomers to be decidedly downbeat.

"One of the survey's most striking findings is the gloomy view participants take of the economic environment," notes AARP. When asked how their standard of living in retirement would or does compare to that of their parents, this is what boomers had to say...

Better: 22%
Same: 23%
Worse: 48%

When asked how their economic security in retirement would or does compare to that of their parents, here is what boomers had to say...

More secure: 14%
Same security: 20%
Less secure: 51%

Insecurity is bad for business. Insecurity means boomers will work longer, save more, and spend less. The 54 percent majority of boomers have taken steps to beef up their retirement security, finds AARP. Those steps include working more, saving more, and spending less.

Source: AARP, Boomers and the Great Recession: Struggling to Recover

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Update on the New Baby Bust

Today the National Center for Health Statistics released its preliminary report on births in 2011, confirming the big trend of this post-Great Recession era: a baby bust is in progress. If the government's writers were permitted to use exclamation marks in their reports, this particular report would be littered with them. Take a look...

  • In 2011, there were 3,953,593 births in the United States. This was 1 percent fewer than the 3,999,386 final count for 2010 and 8 percent below the all-time high of 4,316,233 births in 2007.
  • The 2011 fertility rate fell to an all-time low of 63.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Did you get that? All time low!
  • The birth rate for women aged 20 to 24 is the lowest ever recorded--85.3 births per 1,000 women in the age group. Young adults are postponing childbearing as they struggle in the wake of the Great Recession. 
  • Among women aged 25 to 29, the birth rate fell to 107.2 births per 1,000 women in the age group--the lowest rate since 1976, a baby-bust year. 
  • By race and Hispanic origin, the birth rate dropped the most among Hispanics--down 6 percent between 2010 and 2011 to 75.7 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. The rate fell 2 percent among black women to 65.5 and was unchanged among non-Hispanic white women at 58.8. 
  • Births to unmarried women fell between 2010 and 2011, but the percentage of births to unmarried women remains above 40 percent.   
  • Teenagers accounted for only 18 percent of births to unmarried women in 2011, the smallest percentage ever recorded and down from 50 percent in 1970. 
  • The first-birth rate fell to an all-time low in 2011 as young women postponed motherhood. The second-birth rate fell to the lowest level since 1940.

Bottom line: demographers will tell you that postponed childbearing means less childbearing--fewer lifetime births, smaller families, and the arrival of another baby-bust generation.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Preliminary Data for 2011

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Getting the News

Preferred way to get news, by generation in percent...
    TV  Online     Print
Total pop: 503610
Millennials: 34 55 5
Gen Xers: 52 38 7
Boomers: 59 27 13
Matures: 60 17 22

Source: Harris Interactive, TV is America's Preferred News Mode Overall, but Online is Matching or Outpacing It in Some Segments

Many Wives Depend on Husband for Health Insurance

Among married women under age 65, fully 72 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance, but only 36 percent have employment-based health insurance in their own name.

Source: Census Bureau, Health Insurance

Monday, October 01, 2012

Doctor Visits Decline

Americans are going to the doctor much less frequently as they try to control their out-of-pocket health care spending. The number of times people aged 18 to 64 visited a medical provider in the past 12 months fell from an average of 4.8 visits in 2001 to 3.9 visits in 2010.

Source: Census Bureau, Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010

Paper Losses

A shrinking share of the public uses paper to get news and information on a typical day, according to Pew Research Center. Between 2002 and 2012, the percentage of Americans who read a print newspaper yesterday fell from 41 to 23 percent. Printed book readership declined from 34 to 30 percent, and printed magazine readership from 23 to 17 percent.

Only 12 percent of the public received or wrote a letter on paper yesterday, down from 20 percent in 2006. Among regular readers of the venerable New York Times, the 55 percent majority usually reads the newspaper digitally. This is all very bad news for Dunder Mifflin.

Source: Pew Research Center, In Changing News Landscape, Even Television is Vulnerable