Friday, August 30, 2013

Homeschooling, 2011-12

Nearly 2 million children in the United States are homeschooled, according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics. In the 2011-12 school year, 1,770,000 children aged 5 to 17 were taught at home, or 3.4 percent of the nation's school-aged children.

The rate of homeschooling is significantly above average among children in rural areas (4.5 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (4.5 percent).

The reasons for homeschooling, cited by more than half of parents who homeschool, are concern about the school environment (91 percent), the desire to provide moral instruction (77 percent), dissatisfaction with academic instruction at school (74 percent), and the desire to provide religious instruction (64 percent).

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education, from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Health Insurance Dummies

Let's face it: most of the public does not understand health insurance. That's the finding of a Carnegie Mellon University economist who quizzed Americans on the meaning of common health insurance terms such as co-pay, co-insurance, and deductible. Only 14 percent could answer the four questions on the simple test correctly, according to the Washington Post.

With so little understanding of health insurance, asking the public what it thinks about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an exercise in futility. Many pollsters are doing just that, however, and the answers are all over the place. According to the most recent Kaiser poll, only 37 percent of the public has a favorable view of the ACA. Yet the 51 percent majority says it doesn't have enough information about the law to understand how it will affect them. But 71 percent think the law won't affect them or that it will make things worse for them. Yet 57 percent live in a household in which someone has a pre-existing condition. Apparently, the public doesn't know that the Affordable Care Act will prevent insurance companies from denying insurance to those with pre-existing conditions. And so it goes.

The confusion about the Affordable Care Act springs from the fact that Americans are sheltered from health insurance realities. Only 8 percent purchase insurance on their own and know the difficulty of navigating the marketplace. Americans are health insurance dummies because most are shielded from the truth by employers and federal programs. Forty-eight percent get health insurance through an employer who pays the bulk of the premium. Another 16 percent are covered by Medicare, a program for the nation's elderly, many of whom are unaware that the federal government and the nation's taxpayers foot most of the bill.

Right now it doesn't matter what the public thinks about the Affordable Care Act, because the public doesn't know much. During the next few months, millions of Americans will be getting an education about health insurance. Once schooled, their opinions may start to matter.

Sleep Aids

Many Americans depend on prescription drugs to help them sleep. According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, 4 percent of adults aged 20 or older used a prescription sleep aid in the past 30 days. Use of sleep aids rises fairly steadily with age, from a low of 1.8 percent among 20-to-39-year-olds to a high of 7 percent among people aged 80 or older.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Prescription Sleep Aid Use among Adults: United States, 2005-2010

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Those Who Have Nothing

Forty-two percent of Americans do not have a 401(k), or an IRA, or a pension plan, or stocks, or mutual funds. Here is the percentage with none of these by generation...

Millennials: 53%
Generation X: 43%
Baby Boomers: 37%
Older Americans: 27%

Source: Harris Interactive, Almost Half of Americans Rate Job Market in their Region as Bad

Multigenerational Households: 2012

Among the nation's 81 million family households in 2012, only 3.7 million (or 4.6 percent) were multigenerational—defined as three generations of relatives living in one home. Most multigenerational families (64 percent of the total) are householders who live with a child and grandchild.

Minorities account for the majority of multigenerational family households. Here is the distribution of multigenerational households by race (alone) and Hispanic origin...

Asian: 7%
Black: 21%
Hispanic: 26%
Non-Hispanic white: 44%

Among both blacks and Hispanics, 8 percent of families are multigenerational. Among Asians the figure is 6 percent, and among non-Hispanic whites 3 percent.

Source: Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2012

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Health Care's Big Spenders

In any given year, a small proportion of Americans spend big on health care. The big spenders are those unfortunate enough to have a heart attack, car accident, serious illness, costly chronic condition, or some other health catastrophe.

According to data collected by the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the top 5 percent of health care spenders in 2010 accounted for half the $1.263 trillion spent by the nation on health care. The top 50 percent of spenders accounted for 97 percent of 2010 health care spending.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Differentials in the Concentration in the Level of Health Expenditures across Population Subgroups in the U.S., 2010 

Broadband and Smartphones

Fully 70 percent of Americans have a broadband connection to the Internet at home, according to a Pew survey. The figure rises to 80 percent if you count smartphone owners in the definition of broadband adopters. When smartphones are counted, says Pew, differences in broadband adoption by race and Hispanic origin almost disappear...

Have broadband at home
Blacks: 64%
Hispanics: 53%
Non-Hispanic whites: 74%

Have broadband at home or a smartphone
Blacks: 79%
Hispanics: 75%
Non-Hispanic whites: 80%

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project, Home Broadband 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Education is Getting Better

Percentage of Americans with children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade who think their child is getting a better education than they received as a child: 61%.

Source: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, National Education Survey

Circumcision: 1979 and 2010

In 2010, 58.3 percent of male newborns discharged from hospitals had been circumcised during their hospitalization, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This figure is down from 64.5 percent in 1979, but up from the low of 55.4 percent in 2007.

Circumcision rates have dropped sharply in the West since 1979. In that year, 63.9 percent of newborn males were circumcised. The figure fell to a low of 31.4 percent in 2003 and rebounded to 40.2 percent by 2010. Circumcision rates in the other regions have been more stable over the years. In 2010 the rates were 58.4 percent in the South, 66.3 percent in the Northeast, and 71.0 percent in the Midwest.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did Your Mother Work?

Percentage of Americans whose mother worked for at least one year while they were growing up, by generation...

83% of Millennials
80% of Gen Xers
68% of Boomers
48% of older Americans

Source: 2012 General Social Survey

Friday, August 23, 2013

Can You Live Without It?

Percentage of Millennials (aged 18 to 36) who say they could live without...

TV: 35%
Sex: 20%
Internet: 17%

Source: Harris Interactive, The Not-So-United States of Technology

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Discrimination in Past Year

Percent of people aged 18 or older who say they have "experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of race or ethnicity" in the past 12 months, by race and Hispanic origin...

Blacks: 35%
Hispanics: 20%
Whites: 10%

Note: Blacks and whites are non-Hispanic.
Source: Pew Research Center, King's Dream Remains an Elusive Goal; Many Americans See Racial Disparities

The 4th Anniversary of the Economic Recovery

So how are we doing? That's the question asked by Sentier Research in its review of our economic status on the 4th anniversary of the end of the Great Recession, from June 2009 through June 2013.

The answer is we're doing better, but we're still behind. Median household income in June 2013 was above the low point of August 2011, but still 4.4 percent below the median of June 2009. In other words, rather than experiencing a rebound in income during the so-called economic recovery, we experienced a post-recession decline, and now we're crawling our way out of that. Take a look at the trend in median household income (all in June 2013 dollars):

Median household income
$55,480 at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007
$54,478 at the end of the Great Recession in June 2009
$50,722 at the low point in August 2011
$52,098 as of June 2013

Sentier's report analyzes the socioeconomics of the post-recession struggle to recover, examining changes in household income between 2009 and 2013 by a variety of demographics such as household type, age of householder, educational attainment, race and Hispanic origin, number of earners, and region. One striking finding: of the 46 demographic segments analyzed by Sentier, only one segment experienced a statistically significant increase in median household income between 2009 and 2013. The single exception was households headed by people aged 65 to 74, their median income climbing 5.1 percent during those years.

Source: Sentier Research, Household Income on the Fourth Anniversary of the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Disappearing Summer Job

Only 60.5 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds were working or looking for work last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, the labor force participation of young adults peaks in July. Over the decades, however, the percentage of 16-to-24-year-olds with a summer job has declined. In July 1989, more than three out of four (77.5 percent) 16-to-24-year-olds were in the labor force.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Unemployment among Youth—Summer 2013

The Minimum Wage: Then and Now

After adjusting for inflation, the federal minimum wage declined by 22 percent between 1979 and 2013. Here is the federal minimum wage in both years (in 2013 dollars)...

1979: $9.33
2013: $7.25

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Physician Beliefs Drive Health Care Spending

It's not patients, but physicians who cause the variation in Medicare expenditures by region, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study.

"Differences in physician beliefs about the effectiveness of treatments are the primary source of variation in Medicare expenditures," say the researchers. "As much as 36 percent of end-of-life Medicare expenditures, and 17 percent of overall Medicare expenditures, are explained by physician beliefs that cannot be justified either by patient preferences or by clinical effectiveness."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Physician Beliefs and Patient Preferences: A New Look at Regional Variation in Health Care Spending, NBER Working Paper 19320

The Experience of Long-Term Unemployment

More than one in five men (22 percent) have experienced long-term unemployment during their career, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics' analysis of panel survey data. Long-term unemployment is defined as 27 or more weeks without a job. This finding comes from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which has been tracking the experiences of people born from 1957 through 1964 for more than three decades. The cohort being tracked is the younger half of the baby-boom generation and now aged 48 to 56.

Long-term unemployment has affected some men more than others. Among non-Hispanic white men in the cohort, 19 percent had experienced a spell of long-term unemployment by 2010. The figure was more than twice as high among black men—41 percent had experienced long-term unemployment during their career. Only 10 percent of men with a bachelor's degree had been unemployment for more than half a year versus 25 percent of high school graduates and 40 percent of high school dropouts.

The average spell of long-term unemployment lasted 55 weeks and reduced men's earnings even years later. Four years after the first long-term unemployment spell, men's average hourly wages were 7 percent below what they had been four years before the unemployment began.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Long-Term Unemployment over Men's Careers

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Shocking Truth about How the Government Measures the Income of the Elderly

Older Americans are faring much better than younger ones, and they have been for well more than a decade. Between 2000 and 2011, the median income of households headed by people aged 65 or older grew 10 percent, after adjusting for inflation. At the same time, the median income of households headed by adults under age 55 fell by a steep 12 to 16 percent.

Now we find out it's even worse than we thought. Little known fact: when measuring household income, the government does not count money withdrawn from defined-contribution retirement accounts. That's right, the Current Population Survey, the American Community Survey, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation do not count withdrawals from IRAs and 401(k)s unless they are taken as annuities—a rare occurrence these days.

We're not talking pocket change here. According to a Social Security Bulletin study, one in five households headed by a person aged 65 or older withdrew money from a defined-contribution retirement account in 2009 (the most recent year analyzed). The median withdrawal was $3,300. Among those who took distributions, median household income grew from $42,000 to $50,000—an 18 percent boost.

The authors of the study conclude with this warning: "If household surveys—especially the CPS, which is used to develop official estimates of household income and the number of persons in poverty—do not accurately identify sources and amounts of income, they will provide misleading results. Inaccurate statistics about household income could lead to inappropriate policies."

If nothing else, a more accurate estimate of the incomes of the elderly will fully reveal the expanding economic sinkhole into which younger generations are disappearing.

Source: Social Security Bulletin, The Impact of Retirement Account Distributions on Measures of Family Income

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Health Insurance Status of Children, 1996 and 2011

Children under age 18 by health insurance status in 2011 (and in 1996), by type of insurance...

Private insurance: 56% (68%)
Public insurance: 38% (22%)
No insurance: 6% (10%)

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, The Uninsured in America, 1996-2012: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population under Age 65

Friday, August 16, 2013

Children Cost 23% More

Raising a child costs 23 percent more today than in 1960, according to the USDA. The average middle-income married couple can expect to spend $13,000 to $15,000 per year raising a child to age 18, for a total expenditure of $241,080. This is up from $195,690 in 1960, after adjusting for inflation. The cost estimate includes housing, clothing, food, transportation, health care, and child care/education. It excludes the cost of college.

Some of the expense of raising a child has declined over the decades. Food costs less in 2012 than in 1960, and so does clothing. But health care costs have climbed from 4 to 8 percent of the total cost of raising a child, and child care/education costs have grown even more as mothers went to work. In 2012, child care/education accounted for 18 percent of the total cost of raising a child, making it the second largest expense of childrearing after housing.

Source: USDA, Expenditures on Children by Families

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Household Energy Consumption by State

Want to know how household energy consumption differs by state? Check out the 16 state fact sheets on household energy use now available from the Energy Information Administration. Each fact sheet compares state averages with national averages on a range of energy consumption topics from housing type to number of televisions owned, use of programmable thermostats, and whether a car is parked within 20 feet of an electrical outlet.

In Florida, 27 percent of household electrical consumption is used for air conditioning. In Texas, it's 18 percent and in Wisconsin 1 percent. State fact sheets are also available for Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Would You Stop Working?

If they won $10 million in a lottery, only 31 percent of American workers say they would stop working. But the percentage who would stop working differs greatly by age...

Would stop working if won $10 million
Aged 18 to 34: 18%
Aged 35 to 54: 33%
Aged 55-plus: 49%

Source: Gallup, In U.S., Most Would Still Work Even if They Won Millions

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fertility Status of American Men

Among men aged 15 to 44, more than three out of four (77 percent) are "presumed fertile," according to the National Survey of Family Growth. Here is the fertility status of men by age...

Aged 15 to 24: 94.3%
Aged 25 to 29: 87.8%
Aged 30 to 34: 73.9%
Aged 35 to 39: 60.8%
Aged 40 to 44: 48.1%

What accounts for the decline in the fertility of men by age? Mostly their own or their partner's surgical sterility. By their early forties, 40 percent of men (or their partners) are surgically sterile. A much smaller percentage of men are "subfertile" (meaning they would have difficulty fathering a child). The figure ranges from a low of 3 to 4 percent among men under age 30 to between 6 and 8 percent among men aged 30 to 44.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Infertility and Impaired Fecundity in the United States, 1982-2010: Data from the National Survey of Family Growth

Fecundity Status of American Women

Among American women aged 15 to 44, two out of three (66.5 percent) are fecund (meaning they are able to have children), according to the National Survey of Family Growth. Another 22.7 percent are surgically sterile, and 10.9 percent have impaired fecundity (difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term). By age, here is the percentage of women who are "presumed fecund"...

Aged 15 to 24: 92.0%
Aged 25 to 29: 74.3%
Aged 30 to 34: 61.1%
Aged 35 to 39: 46.0%
Aged 40 to 44: 33.5%

What accounts for the plunge in fecundity with age? Surgical sterilization. The percentage of women who have been surgically sterilized rises from essentially zero among the youngest women to 49 percent among those aged 40 to 44. Interestingly, the percentage of women with impaired fecundity shows little variation by age. It is 7 percent among the youngest women and ranges from 12 to 14 percent among women aged 25 to 44. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Online Bankers

Among the nation's Internet users, the 61 percent majority bank online. The percentage of Internet users who do any banking online peaks among those with a college degree (75 percent) and a household income of $75,000 or more (also 75 percent). By age, the online bankers are...

Aged 18 to 29: 67%
Aged 30 to 49: 65%
Aged 50 to 64: 55%
Aged 65-plus: 47%

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project, Online Banking

Are Young Borrowers Bad Borrowers?

The notion that young borrowers are bad borrowers is tested in a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Using data on young adults who obtained credit cards after passage of the 2009 Credit Card Accountability and Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, the researchers examined the default rates of those who made the effort to obtain credit cards early. The Act made it illegal to issue credit cards to people under age 21 unless they had a cosigner.

Those who self-select into getting credit cards before age 21 are (perhaps not surprisingly) less likely to default than older adults and those who enter the credit card market at an older age. Interestingly, the young adults who opted for an early credit card were also more likely to get a mortgage at a younger age. "The relation between mortgages and early credit card use indicates that young people may choose to enter the credit card market to build a strong credit history to later access homeownership," say the researchers. They conclude: "The results caution against interpreting early entry into the credit card market as a consequence of suboptimal or myopic behavior."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Are Young Borrowers Bad Borrowers? Evidence from the Credit CARD Act of 2009

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Mystery of the Urban Renaissance

Why are the nation's urban centers growing again? The reasons are complex and not easily explained, often resulting in circular arguments such as "Millennials apparently drive less because they prefer walkable places and they prefer walkable places because they drive less," says Robert Steuteville, editor and publisher of Better! Cities and Towns.

Steuteville unravels the mystery of why cities are growing in one of the most insightful pieces on the topic to date. He thinks four factors are behind the growing preference for urban life. Although his analysis doesn't get into details (whole books could be written about each factor), by identifying and linking the processes driving urban growth Steuteville goes a long way toward explaining one of the most important trends of our time.

1. Millennials "looked around their home towns and saw something missing," says Steuteville. Take a drive and you soon see what he means. In the decades since the baby-boom generation populated small town and suburban America, those areas have lost their soul. Mom and Pop establishments, once the foundation of community, have been replaced by Dollar stores, AutoZones, Walmarts, and McDonalds staffed by minimum wage workers and vacuuming local dollars away from the community. Today's small towns and suburbs are devoid of a sense of place and offer little economic opportunity for the most highly educated generation in history.

2. "The higher the education level, the greater the demand for urban living," reports Steuteville. No wonder, then, that Millennials are flocking to cities—the generation is better educated than any other. Nearly two-thirds have college experience and one-third has a bachelor's degree. With so many Millennials spending years in walkable college neighborhoods, says Steuteville, they have tasted a higher quality of life and want more of it.

3. The fact is, of course, they can't afford to buy a house in the suburbs even if they wanted one. Student debt, says Steuteville, prevents Millennials from spending on houses and cars.

4. "But the biggest incentive may be their peers," Steuteville concludes. Millennials are moving to urban centers because that's where their friends are, he explains. With the median age at first marriage at a record high for both men and women, Millennials face a choice—live with Mom and Dad in a dead zone or join their friends in a vibrant urban area where jobs are growing and opportunities abound.

"The tide has shifted and it's carrying 80 million people inward," concludes Steuteville.

Source: Better! Cities and Towns, Why Are Young Adults Returning to the City?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Buying Groceries with Cash

When Americans shop for groceries, they are most likely to pay with cash, according to a Boston Fed analysis of Nielsen scanner data. Over a one month time period, cash is the payment type used in 48 percent of grocery store transactions, cards (debit or credit) are used in 45 percent of transactions, and checks in 7 percent.

Examine transactions by value, however, and the pattern changes. Cards account for 57 percent of the value of grocery store transactions, cash accounts for about a third, and checks account for the remaining 10 percent. The average cash expenditure in a grocery store is $35.36. The average card expenditure is $64.91. The average check expenditure is $79.20.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Payment Choice with Consumer Panel Data

Friday, August 09, 2013

How Many Are Bilingual?

Overall, 34 percent of Americans aged 18 or older know a second language well enough to hold a conversation. Here are the bilingual percentages by age group...

Aged 18 to 29: 52%
Aged 30 to 49: 36%
Aged 50 to 64: 27%
Aged 65-plus: 21%

Source: Gallup, Most in U.S. Say It's Essential that Immigrants Learn English

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Cable versus Netflix

The 53 percent majority of American households subscribe to cable television service. But boomers and older Americans are far more likely to get cable than Gen Xers or Millennials. Only 44 percent of households headed by Millennials are cable television subscribers, according to a Harris Interactive survey. Among Gen Xers, the figure is 47 percent. Most Boomers (56 percent) and older Americans (59 percent) subscribe to cable.

Netflix streaming service shows the opposite patten. Overall, 24 percent of households subscribe to Netflix streaming. Among Millennials, however, fully 40 percent subscribe to Netflix streaming—almost equal to cable service. The figure is 30 percent among Gen Xers, 18 percent among Boomers, and just 5 percent among older Americans.

Source: Harris Interactive, Growth in Ownership of Smartphones and Tablets Appears Largely Android-Driven

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Number of Americans who participate in selected leisure activities on an average day...

190,701,000 watch television
  57,231,000 read for personal interest
    3,311,000 attend a movie
    2,691,000 do arts and crafts
    2,647,000 attend a sports event
    1,411,000 attend performing arts event
       546,000 write for personal interest
       540,000 vist museums, zoos, art galleries, or gardens

Note: Performing arts include concerts, musicals, ballet, theater, dance, jazz bars, and comedy clubs.
Source: National Endowment for the Arts, An Average Day in the Arts: State Participation Patterns from the American Time Use Survey for 2006-2010

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Fast Food Facts

Nearly half (47 percent) of Americans eat fast food at least once a week, according to a Gallup survey. Just 8 percent say they eat fast food only a few times a year or never.

The percentage who eat fast food weekly peaks among 18-to-29-year-olds at 57 percent. The percentage who never or rarely eat it peaks among people aged 65 or older at 26 percent.

Source: Gallup, Fast Food Still Major Part of U.S. Diet

Living to Age 120

Most of the public does not want to live to the age of 120, according to a Pew survey. The 56 percent majority of Americans say they personally "would not want medical treatments that slow the aging process and allow the average person to live decades longer, to at least 120 years." Interestingly, however, 68 percent think others would choose to live that long.

Not so. The median ideal life span, according to the Pew survey, is 90 years. Even among people aged 65 or older, 90 remains the ideal.

Source: Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, Living to 120 and Beyond: Americans Views on Aging, Medical Advances and Radical Life Extension

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

61 Million Do Not Speak English at Home

Fully 61 million Americans aged 5 or older speak a language other than English at home—a substantial 21 percent of the population. A new Census Bureau report (Language Use in the United States: 2011) analyzes the languages Americans speak at home, which range from Spanish and Chinese to Arabic, Hebrew, and Navajo. The report also looks at the English-language ability of those who speak other languages at home.

Among those who do not speak English at home, nearly two out of three (38 million) speak Spanish. Among Spanish speakers, the 56 percent majority speak English "very well." Other languages spoken in the home by at least 1 million Americans are Chinese (2.9 million), Tagalog (1.6 million), Vietnamese (1.4 million), French (1.3 million), Korean (1.1 million), and German (1.1 million). Most of those who speak Tagalog, French, or German at home also speak English very well. Most of those who speak Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean at home do not speak English very well.

The report includes statistics for states and selected metropolitan areas. The Census Bureau also created an interactive language mapper that zooms in on areas as small as census tracts where at least 10 people speak one of 15 languages other than English at home.

Schools You Might Want to Avoid

These are the states in which more than 5 percent of children in kindergarten have not been vaccinated against diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, and whooping cough because of their parents' religious or philosophical objections...


Source: CDC, Vaccination Coverage among Children in Kindergarten—United States, 2012-13 School Year

Monday, August 05, 2013

Job Growth along the Rural-Urban Continuum

The more urban the county, the greater the population growth during the 2010-to-2012 time period, according to my analysis of the Census Bureau's county population estimates by county rank on the Rural-Urban Continuum. But what about job growth along the Rural-Urban Continuum? Not surprisingly, the pattern is the same...
  • The number of employed grew the fastest in the most urban counties between 2010 and 2012, up 2.9 percent. These are counties in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more people (a 1 on the Rural-Urban Continuum). 
  • In smaller metros (2 or 3 on the continuum), the number of employed grew between 1.4 and 1.9 percent during those years. 
  • In small-town America (nonmetropolitan counties ranking 4 to 7 on the continuum), the number of employed grew by only 0.8 percent. 
  • In rural counties (8 or 9 on the continuum), employment climbed just 0.7 percent.  
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Employment Statistics, County Data

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The For-Profit Enrollment Surge

A substantial 12 percent of the nation's four-year college students are enrolled in for-profit institutions, according to 2011 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Only 3 percent were enrolled in for-profit schools in 2000, and the figure was below 1 percent in 1990. Here are the enrollment figures for those years...

Students enrolled in for-profit four-year colleges
2011: 1,559,080
2000:    257,885
1990:      59,243

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2012 Digest of Education Statistics

Friday, August 02, 2013

Best Family Life

Most Americans long ago rejected "traditional" sex roles, defined as a husband who works outside the home and a wife who cares for the house and family. Only 32 percent of the public thought this arrangement was best in 2012, down from 66 percent who felt that way in 1977 when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

But as questions get more specific, attitudes toward sex roles get more traditional. When Americans are asked which is the best way to organize family life when a couple has a preschooler, the largest percentage (41 percent) say father should work full-time and mother should work part-time. Almost as many (40 percent) say mother should stay at home. Only 11 percent think both parents working full-time is the best solution. Women are more likely than men to think mother should work part-time, and men are more likely than women to say mother should not work at all.

Conversely, when Americans are asked which is the worst way to organize family life for a couple with a preschooler, the largest share (39 percent) say the worst way is a stay-at-home father and a mother who works full-time. Almost as many (36 percent) say both parents working full-time is the worst. Men and women are about equally likely to agree on the worst way to organize family life.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Profiting from Minorities

Minorities account for the 51 percent majority of four-year college students enrolled in the nation's private, for-profit schools.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2012 Digest of Education Statistics (table 268).

Night Shift

Among all full-time workers in the United States, 15 percent work nonstandard schedules—defined as working most hours in the evening or night (between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am) or working weekends, according to an Urban Institute study. Among low-wage workers, a larger 25 percent work nonstandard schedules. These occupations have the largest proportion of full-time workers on nonstandard schedules...

Security guards: 56%
Waiters and waitresses: 53%
Laborers, freight, stock, and material movers: 48%
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides: 44%
Stock clerks and order fillers: 40%
Janitors and building cleaners: 40%
Registered nurses: 36%
Cooks: 35%
Cashiers: 35%
Personal care aides: 34%

Source: Urban Institute, Nonstandard Work Schedules and the Well-Being of Low-Income Families