Monday, December 31, 2012

Older Americans Adopt E-Books

Older Americans are strangely resistant to the allure of the Internet. They have been slow to go online and reluctant to buy smartphones. E-books may be different. Among book readers aged 65 or older, a substantial 20 percent read an e-book in the past year, according to a Pew survey. This is only 11 percentage points less than the 31 percent of 18-to-29-year-old book readers who read an e-book. The e-book generation gap is tiny compared with these technology gaps, all reported by Pew...
  • 43 percentage point gap in using the Internet: 18-to-29 (95%); 65-plus (52%).
  • 55 percentage point gap in smartphone ownership: 18-to-29 (66%); 65-plus (11%).
  • 64 percentage point gap in accessing the Internet on a phone: 18-to-29 (77%); 65-plus (13%).
Source: Pew Research Center, E-Book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Sixteen percent of Americans aged 18 or older have trouble hearing when not using a hearing aid or other listening device. Here is the percentage with hearing trouble by age...

Aged 18 to 44: 6%
Aged 45 to 64: 19%
Aged 65 to 74: 30%
Aged 75-plus: 47%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2011

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Household Income Stable in November 2012

Median household income did not change between October and November 2012, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The November median of $51,310 was $176 greater than the October median, a change that was not statistically significant.

Median household income in November 2012 was 4.4 percent lower than the median in June 2009, the end of the Great Recession. It was 6.9 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 7.8 percent lower than the median in January 2000. The Household Income Index for November 2012 was 92.1 (January 2000 = 100.0). 

For details on monthly changes in household income since January 2000, a spreadsheet is available from Sentier's web site for $25.00.

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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Marital Status of Same-Sex Couples

Same-sex couples are increasingly likely to identify their household relationship as married rather than unmarried partner, according to the Census Bureau. Among the nation's 605,000 same-sex couples, 28 percent reported their relationship as spouse, according to the 2011 American Community Survey--greater than the number of legally married same-sex couples.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Is Not Your Father's Earning Power

Median income of men who work full-time, by age (in 2011 dollars)...

2011 1981      change
Total    $50,316   $51,204 -1.7%
15-24   $24,423  $30,705 -20.5%
25-34   $41,433 $47,475 -12.7%
35-44    $51,926 $57,826 -10.2%
45-54   $56,675 $59,627 -5.0%
55-64   $60,388 $56,947 6.0%

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Health Care Ratings Depend on Age

How do Americans feel about their health care? According to a recent Gallup survey, 67 percent of the public rates their health care coverage as good to excellent and 82 percent rate the quality of the health care they receive as good to excellent.

These are meaningless numbers. Health care coverage in the United States ranges from universal national health insurance for people aged 65 or older to no health insurance for more than 20 percent of people aged 18 to 44 and minimal coverage for many others. Because age determines the health care experience, attitudes toward health care must be analyzed by age to produce meaningful data.

The federal government's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey results show how much of a difference age makes in attitudes toward health care. Fully 64 percent of people aged 65 or older give the quality of the health care they receive the highest rating (9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10). In contrast, only 44 percent of people aged 18 to 44 give their health care the highest rating. The figure drops to 39 percent among people under age 65 who do not have health insurance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Percent of Americans who have visited a brick-and-mortar store to examine a product before buying it elsewhere online: 43%.

Source: Harris Interactive survey

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Midnight Hour

Percentage of Americans who are asleep at midnight: 82.6%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Gift Problem

Americans spend much less on gifts than they once did. In 2011, the average household spent $1,037 on gifts for people in other households, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This is much less than the $1,415 spent on gifts in 2000. The average household cut its spending on gifts for people in other households by 27 percent between 2000 and 2011, after adjusting for inflation. What happened?

One reason for the steep decline in spending on gifts is that there is less to give. The Internet has deleted a range of physical objects from the pantheon of traditional gifts: books, CDs, DVDs, video games--a growing percentage of the population no longer welcomes these physical gifts, preferring downloads instead. It seems the only option left for modern gift givers is Amazon and iTunes gift certificates. If you're grappling with the Gift Problem, the list below might help. These are the ten categories of gifts for people in other households on which the average household spends the most... 

1. Clothing for females
2. Clothing for males
3. Shoes
4. Toys
5. Clothing for infants
6. Stationary and gift wrap
7. Jewelry
8. Household decorative items
9. Wine
10. Cosmetics, perfume, and bath products

Note that books, CDs, DVDs, and video games appear nowhere on the list.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hunting, Fishing, and Feeding Birds

Every five years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sponsors a survey to determine how many Americans hunt, fish, or watch wildlife.

According to the latest survey results, 14 million Americans hunt (6 percent of the population aged 16 or older), 33 million fish (14 percent of the population), and 72 million watch wildlife (30 percent of the population). Feeding birds is the single most popular wildlife-associated recreational activity, with 53 million Americans participating.

Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

Friday, December 21, 2012

State Populations: Five Year Trend

The population of the United States grew 4.2 percent during the five years between 2007 (before the start of the Great Recession) and 2012--increasing from 301 million to 314 million. These were the ten fastest growing states during those five years and the percent increase in their population...

1. District of Columbia, 10.1%
2. Utah, 9.9%
3. Texas, 9.3%
4. Colorado, 8.0%
5. Wyoming, 7.8%
6. Alaska, 7.5%
7. North Dakota, 7.2%
8. North Carolina, 7.0%
9. Washington, 6.7%
10. South Carolina, 6.3%

How does state population growth between 2007 and 2012 compare with state growth in the previous five years, from 2002 to 2007?

  • Four states appear on the top-ten list in both time periods: Utah, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All four states grew more slowly in the 2007-2012 time period than in the previous five years.
  • The fastest growing "state" in the most recent five-year time period was one of the slowest growing in the previous five years. The District of Columbia was the fifth slowest growing state between 2002 and 2007, its population increasing by only 0.2 percent. 
  • Nevada grew the fastest in the earlier five-year time period, with a 20 percent increase in population. In comparison, Nevada's population grew by a smaller 6 percent between 2007 and 2012 and the state ranked 13th in growth. 
  • Two states lost population between 2007 and 2012: Rhode Island (-0.7%) and Michigan (-1.2%). Four states lost population in the previous five-year time period: New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Louisiana.

Bottom line: There was much less variation in state population growth between 2007 and 2012 than in the previous five years. The gap between the fastest growing and fastest declining states in the 2002-2007 time period was 22 percentage points (Nevada, up 20 percent; Louisiana, down 2 percent). The gap shrank to just 11 percentage points in the 2007-2012 time period (District of Columbia, up 10 percent; Michigan, down 1 percent). Less variation in state growth is evidence of an economy struggling to recover from the Great Recession. Americans are hunkered down.

Source: Census Bureau, Population Estimates

Thursday, December 20, 2012

North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota is the nation's fastest growing state, according to the Census Bureau's latest state population estimates. With an increase of 2.17 percent between July 2011 and July 2012, North Dakota's population ranked first in growth followed by Washington, D.C., Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.

Source: Census Bureau, Population Estimates, State Totals: Vintage 2012

Career Job a Myth

The idea that our fathers and grandfathers had long-term careers with one employer is mostly a myth, says the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Median job tenure (length of time with current employer) for men in their prime working years--aged 25 to 64--was never all that high and is not much different today than it was in the past.

Among men aged 55 to 64--the age group most likely to have been with their current employer for the longest period of time--median job tenure was just 9.3 years in 1951, climbed to a peak of 15.3 years in 1983, fell to 9.5 years in 2006, and stood at 10.7 years in 2012. "Career jobs never existed for most workers and have continued not to exist for most workers," EBRI concludes.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Employee Tenure Trends, 1983-2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Latest Numbers on Cell-Phone-Only Households

Thirty-four percent of adults and 41 percent of children lived in a cell-phone-only household as of January-June 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The NCHS has been reporting on the telephone status of Americans every six months since 2008.

Percentage of adults who live in a cell-phone-only household by age...
Aged 18 to 24: 49.5%
Aged 25 to 29: 60.1%
Aged 30 to 34: 55.1%
Aged 35 to 44: 39.1%
Aged 45 to 64: 25.8%
Aged 65 or older: 10.5%

Note that 18-to-24-year-olds are less likely than 25-to-34-year-olds to live in a cell-phone-only household because many live with their parents or are college students in dorms and counted as living with their parents.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-June 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Entitled Americans

The 55 percent majority of Americans aged 18 or older have ever received government entitlements, according to Pew Research Center. Here is the percentage by age...

Aged 18 to 29: 33%
Aged 30 to 49: 45%
Aged 50 to 64: 59%
Aged 65 or older: 97%

Note: Government entitlements are defined as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment benefits, or food stamps.
Source: Pew Research Center, A Bipartisan Nation of Beneficiaries

End Times

Percentage of Americans who believe the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of what the Bible calls the end times: 36%

Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Americans More Likely to Attribute Increasingly Severe Weather to Climate Change, Not End Times

Monday, December 17, 2012

Degrees of Stress

Percentage of adults who have experienced serious psychological distress in the past 30 days, ranked from most to least...

5.0 percent: women aged 45 to 64
3.4 percent: women aged 18 to 44
3.3 percent: men aged 45 to 64
2.6 percent: women aged 65 or older
1.8 percent: men aged 18 to 44
0.9 percent: men aged 65 or older

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Serious Psychological Distress, Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the January-Juen 2012 National Health Interview Survey

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guns Are a Rural Thing

The fact is, guns are a rural thing, a relic of our past and a consequence of our wide open spaces. This is a problem because the United States is now an urban nation, with densely packed concentrations of people. Fully 81 percent of Americans live in urban areas. Most urban residents--whether in central cities or suburbs--think gun control is more important than gun rights, according to a Pew Research Center survey. This includes the 57 percent majority of central city residents and 50 percent of suburban residents. Only 38 percent of the residents of central cities and 46 percent of suburban residents think gun rights should trump gun control.

But rural America disagrees, and rural attitudes toward guns and gun control have prevailed. Among the 19 percent of Americans who live in rural areas, only 33 percent think it is more important to control guns and nearly two out of three--63 percent--think it is more important to protect their right to own a gun. And they do own guns: 65 percent of rural residents have a gun in their home versus 30 percent of suburban and 22 percent of central city residents, according to the 2001 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center.

So how come the rural fringe controls the nation's gun laws? One explanation is that our political system grants disproportionate power to the most sparsely populated (rural) states. Each state is allotted two senators regardless of population size. So, for example, a resident of the most rural state (Maine) has 28 times the political power in the Senate as a resident of the most urban state (California). This may be why rural America gets to call the shots in the gun control debate.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Americans Think about Gun Control

American "attitudes" toward gun control depend on how the question is asked...

"Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?"
Should not be a law: 73%
Should be a law: 26%

Pew Research Center
"Is it more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns or to control gun ownership?"
More important to protect right of Americans to own guns: 46%
More important to control gun ownership: 47%

General Social Survey
"Would you favor or oppose a law which would require a person to obtain a police permit before he or she could buy a gun?"
Oppose a law: 26%
Favor a law: 74%

Friday, December 14, 2012

Travel Spending, 2005 to 2011

Because of the Great Recession and slow economic recovery, Americans have been less likely to travel and consequently are spending less on it. A new analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows how much they've cut.

Overall, 29 percent of households spent on travel in 2011, down from 32 percent in 2005. This decline may seem trivial, but as the BLS notes it represents a 10 percent decline in the number of traveling households. Every travel subcategory from airline fares to lodging, restaurant meals, and gasoline on trips, experienced a decline in household spending. The average household spent $1,372 on travel in 2011, down from $1,489 in 2005 after adjusting for inflation. Among the 29 percent of households that spent on travel in 2011, the average amount spent was $4,700.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Travel Expenditures, 2005-2011: Spending Slows during Recent Recession

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paying by Smartphone

Percent of Americans aged 18 or older who are "somewhat" or "very" interested in being able to use their smartphone rather than cash or credit cards to make in-person payments, by generation...

Total population: 27%
Smartphone users: 40%

Millennials: 40%
Gen Xers: 34%
Boomers: 18%
Matures: 7%

Source: Harris Interactive, Majority of Americans Foresee Smartphone Payments Replacing Cards and Cash

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slowing Growth Will Not Slow Diversity

The Census Bureau's new population projections forecast much slower growth than had been projected a few years ago. The U.S. population is projected to grow to 399.8 million rather than 439.0 million by 2050--a difference of 39 million people! But this slower growth does not mean the population will diversify any more slowly. Only 46.6 percent of Americans will be non-Hispanic white in 2050, according to the new projections, almost identical to the 46.3 percent forecast by the old projections.

Here are the Census Bureau's latest projections of the size (numerical and percent) of each race and Hispanic origin group in 2015 and 2050:

Asian (alone or in combination)
2015: 20 million (6.2%)
2050: 38 million (9.6%)

Black (alone or in combination)
2015: 46 million (14.4%)
2050: 70 million (17.4%)

2015: 57 million (17.8%)
2050: 112 million (27.9%)

Non-Hispanic white
2015: 198 million (61.8%)
2050: 186 million (46.6%)

Source: Census Bureau, 2012 National Population Projections

New Projections Show Much Slower Population Growth

A lot has happened since the last time the Census Bureau produced national population projections: a recession, a baby bust, a 2010 census that counted 3 million fewer non-Hispanic whites than expected, and two elections in which minorities flexed their political muscle with profound results. How do the Census Bureau's new projections capture these events and what will be their impact on the nation's future population? Let's take a look.

Much slower population growth. The Census Bureau's new projections show a population of just 399.8 million in 2050. This is much less than the 439.0 million projected for 2050 in the previous set of projections (produced in 2008).

Non-Hispanic white decline. The new projections show the number of non-Hispanic whites peaking in 2024 at just under 200 million and declining steadily after that. As a share of the population, however, non-Hispanic whites will remain above 50 percent until 2043. Non-Hispanic whites are already in decline among Americans under age 45. The non-Hispanic white share of the younger population will fall below 50 percent in 2027. Among the nation's children (under age 18), the non-Hispanic white share is projected to fall below 50 percent in 2018.

No baby bust in projections. The Census Bureau's forecast of slowing population growth may not be conservative enough. The projections assume the addition of well more than 4 million infants (under age 1) each year, including 4.2 million in 2012. Yet, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the provisional number of births for the 12 months ending in June 2012 was just 3.9 million.

Source: Census Bureau, 2012 National Population Projections

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Far People Move

Most moves are local. Among the 35 million Americans aged 1 or older who moved within the United States between March 2011 and March 2012, two out of three stayed in the same county. For the one-third (or 12 million) who moved across a county line, the Census Bureau has calculated how far they moved...

Less than 50 miles: 40%
From 50 to 199 miles: 21%
From 200 to 499 miles: 14%
More than 500 miles: 25%

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic Mobility: United States, 2011 to 2012

Distance to a Supermarket

Median distance Americans live from the nearest supermarket: 0.83 miles.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Updated Estimates of Distance to Supermarkets Using 2010 Data

Monday, December 10, 2012

Homeowner Mobility Lowest Ever

The overall mobility rate climbed slightly in 2011-12, but the mobility rate of the nation's homeowners sunk deeper into record-low territory. Between March 2011 and March 2012, only 4.739 percent of the nation's homeowners moved, slightly less than the 4.741 percent of 2010-11. While this decline is not statistically significant, it indicates continued trouble in the housing market. The mobility rate of homeowners peaked at 9.5 percent in the late 1980s.

The number of homeowners who moved in 2011-12 fell to a new record low of 9,701,000, slightly less than the 9,724,000 homeowners who moved in 2010-11. The number of homeowners who moved peaked at more than 17 million in 1999-2000.

In contrast to the moribund mobility rate of homeowners, the mobility of renters climbed to 26.7 percent in 2011-12, up from 26.2 percent in 2010-11. The number of renters who moved climbed by 1.4 million to 26,787,000. This is the largest number of renters who moved since 1998-99 and signals an improving economy but not necessarily an improving housing market.

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic Mobility: 2011 to 2012

Mobility Rate Inches Up

After reaching a record low in 2010-11, the nation's geographic mobility rate inched up slightly in 2011-12, according to the Census Bureau. The percentage of Americans aged 1 or older who lived in a different house in March 2012 than in March 2011 rose to 12.0 percent, up from the all-time low of 11.6 percent a year earlier. Here is the annual mobility rate since 2000...

2011-12: 12.0%
2010-11: 11.6%
2009-10: 12.5%
2008-09: 12.5%
2007-08: 11.9%
2006-07: 13.2%
2005-06: 13.7%
2004-05: 13.9%
2003-04: 13.7%
2002-03: 14.2%
2001-02: 14.8%
2000-01: 14.2%

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic Mobility: 2011 to 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

1 in 34

Correctional authorities were supervising 6,977,700 adults in the United States in 2011. That's an astounding 2.9 percent of Americans aged 18 or older, or 1 in 34 adults.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Correctional Populations in the United States, 2011

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Rabies in Dogs and Cats

Number of rabies cases reported in 2009 (latest data available) in the United States...

Dogs: 81
Cats: 300

Source: CDC, The Burden of Rabies

Friday, December 07, 2012

Native-Born Americans

Percent of Americans whose mother and father were born in the United States: 76%.

Source: Census Bureau, Age and Sex Composition in the United States: 2011

Three Meals a Day

Americans aged 50 or older are more likely than younger adults to eat three meals a day, every day. Forty-two percent of people aged 50 or older say they never skip a meal compared with only 27 percent of younger adults who never miss a meal.

Breakfast is the meal most often skipped. Half of adults under age 50 skip breakfast regularly as do 31 percent of those aged 50 or older. The pattern is reversed for lunch, with younger adults less likely than older adults to skip lunch (16 versus 24 percent). Almost no one regularly skips dinner--just 6 percent of adults under age 50 and 4 percent of those aged 50 or older.

Source: AARP, Dietary Habits--An AARP Bulletin Poll

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Easy Stats

Today was a big day for the Census Bureau. The five-year estimates from the American Community Survey were released for  the third time since the survey's beginning. These detailed statistics from 2007-2011 for 700,000 communities across the country are the replacement for the census long form, which was discontinued in 2000. Rather than getting demographic and economic statistics only once a decade, we now get them every five years. Progress!

There are three different ways to access these very local numbers. The hard way is to go to the Census Bureau's American Factfinder site and compile your data. An easier route is to go to the Census Bureau's QuickFacts site, select your geography (as small as incorporated places with 5,000 people), and get a summary profile of the most popular statistics. The third way is to go to the Census Bureau's Easy Stats site, choose a table from the topics (financial, jobs, housing, people, and education) and select a geography (state, county, or place) and generate a table that can be downloaded in Excel. Have fun!

News Junkies

Only 13 percent of Americans are news junkies, agreeing with the statement, "I am a news junkie; it's a favorite leisure time activity." The largest share (69 percent) say they "like to keep up with the news, but it's just one of many ways I spend my leisure time." Eighteen percent of the public is not interested in the news.

Half of Americans prefer to get news from television, 36 percent prefer to get news online, and 10 percent prefer print. What catches their attention? The 54 percent majority say a headline, 44 percent say a picture, and 43 percent say interesting data captures their attention.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Non-Hispanic White Married Couples

Non-Hispanic whites as a share of married couples with children under age 18 at home: 65%
Non-Hispanic whites as a share of married couples without children under age 18 at home: 80%

Source: Census Bureau, 2012 Current Population Survey

Why Aren't Young Women Having Babies?

The United States is in the midst of another baby bust. Births have declined 9 percent from their 2007 peak, the overall fertility rate is at a record low of 63.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, and the birth rate of women in their prime childbearing years--aged 20 to 24--is also at an all-time low. Take a look at the trend in the birth rate of 20-to-24-year-olds...

Births per 1,000 women aged 20 to 24
1960: 258.1
1970: 167.8
1980: 115.1
1990: 116.5
2000: 109.7
2007: 106.3
2011: 85.3

What explains the precipitous decline in the birth rate of women aged 20 to 24? College explains it. Note that the birth rate of 20-to-24-year-olds declined sharply between 1960 and 1980 as women of the baby-boom generation went to college. Only 39 percent of women who graduated from high school in 1960 went to college. By 1980, the 52 percent majority were going to college. The figure grew to 68 percent by 2007, and the Great Recession pushed the enrollment rate as high as 74 percent in 2010.

With nearly three out of four young women in college, there aren't many 20-to-24-year-olds with the time or inclination to have a baby, not to mention the money. College enrollment also explains why women's median age at first marriage has grown from 20.3 years in 1960 to a record high of 26.6 years in 2012.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Three-legged Stool Now a Four-legged Chair

Once upon a time, workers were told to plan on a three-legged stool for their retirement income: Social Security, an employer-provided pension, and personal savings. Over the past two decades, the stool has morphed into a chair, with earnings becoming the fourth leg. Take a look at how the distribution of income for households headed by people aged 65-plus has changed over the past two decades...

2010 1990
Total 100.0 100.0
Earnings 31.2 18.4
Savings 11.3 24.5
Social Security 36.0 35.7
Pension 18.3 18.1

Earnings are now the second largest source of income for elderly householders. Income from savings has fallen from second place in 1990 to last place in 2010.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Changing Sources of Income among the Aged Population

Births Continue Downward Slide in 2012

The provisional count of births through the first half of 2012 shows a continued downward slide, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. During the 12 months ending in June 2012, 3,942,000 babies were born in the United States. This was 39,000 fewer births than during the same period ending in June 2011--a 1 percent decline. It was 374,233 fewer births than the 4,316,233 of 2007--the record high year.

So far in this newest baby bust, births have fallen 9 percent from the 2007 peak. During the baby bust of the 1970s, which created Generation X, births fell 37 percent from peak (1957) to trough (1973). We have a long way to go before we come close to that kind of decline.

The fertility rate for the 12 months ending in June 2012 fell to 63.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. This is an all-time low.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Recent Trends in Births and Fertility Rates through June 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Retirement in Tatters

Many Americans are no longer planning to retire. A new survey of workers aged 18 or older finds a substantial 43 percent planning to work past age 70 or not retire at all. The 54 percent majority say they will continue to work even after retirement. And 65 percent do not have a back-up plan if they find themselves unable to work before their planned retirement, according to the report by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Retirement has become an elusive dream because of the disappearance of traditional, defined-benefit pensions. Only 16 percent of employers now fund these guaranteed income streams for retirees. Most employers now offer cheaper (for them) and less dependable (for retirees) defined-contribution retirement savings plans, which require workers to save for their own retirement. Not surprisingly, the average worker falls far short of saving enough. In 2012, households headed by baby boomers had a median of $99,320 in total retirement savings (not counting Social Security benefits). Gen Xers had $41,821, and Millennials had $15,213. Since the average householder aged 65 or older spends about $38,000 a year, it becomes clear why so many Americans are giving up on retirement.

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, Weathering the Economic Storm: Retirement Plans in the United States, 2007-2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

College Grads Move Away

The higher your educational attainment, the less likely you are to live in your state of birth, according to the 2011 American Community Survey. Among Americans aged 25 or older with a bachelor's degree, only 42 percent live in their state of birth. In contrast, the 58 percent majority of those with no more than a high school diploma live in their state of birth.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Abortions Decline Slightly

There were 784,507 abortions in the United States in 2009 (the latest data available). This number counts only abortions in states that report to the CDC, which does not include the most populous state--California. In states that have continuously reported abortions to the CDC, the annual number fell from 826,123 in 2000 to 772,630 in 2009--a decline of 6 percent.

Source: CDC, Abortion Surveillance--United States, 2009