Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Big Boost in Spending in 2015

The average household spent $55,978 in 2015, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, a substantial 4.5 percent more than in 2014 after adjusting for inflation. Spending in 2015 was still 1.6 percent below the peak-spending year of 2006, but the gap is closing. Every age group gained ground in 2015. For households headed by 45-to-54-year-olds and people aged 65-plus, spending has never been higher...

Average household spending in 2015 (% change since peak-spending year of 2006, in 2015$)
Average household: $55,978 (–1.6%)
Under age 25: $32,797 (–1.0%)
Aged 25 to 34: $52,062 (–6.9%)
Aged 35 to 44: $65,334 (–3.3%)
Aged 45 to 54: $69,753 (+3.1%)
Aged 55 to 64: $58,781 (–1.6%)
Aged 65-plus: $44,664 (+8.4%)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Changes in Time Use: 2005 to 2015

Americans are less likely to read on an average day than they were 10 years ago, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the American Time Use Survey. Only 21 percent of people aged 15 or older read for personal interest as a primary activity on an average day in 2015, down from 27 percent in 2005. But more used a computer for leisure (excluding playing games) in 2015 than in 2005. More also played games (including computer games).

Declining Participation: percent participating on average day in 2015 (and 2005)
Working: 42.1% (44.5%)
Shopping: 40.4% (41.4%)
Reading: 21.1% (26.8%)
Caring for children: 20.3% (21.7%)
Telephone calls: 13.6% (15.2%)
Lawn/garden/houseplant care: 9.8% (10.4%)
Attending sports/recreational events: 0.7% (1.3%)

Growing Participation: percent participating on average day in 2015 (and 2005)
Participating in sports/exercise/recreation: 21.0% (18.4%)
Caring for animals/pets: 17.0% (13.6%)
Computer use for leisure (except games): 13.0% (9.3%)
Playing games (including computer): 11.2% (9.0%)
Health-related self-care: 7.0% (6.1%)
Receiving medical services: 3.6% (3.3%)
Job search and interviewing: 1.3% (1.0%)

What's behind these changes? The aging of the population is one factor. Others include the ongoing baby bust and a shift in leisure preferences from reading to surfing the internet.

Note: Primary activities are those respondents identify as their main activity. 
Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Is...Declining?

That's right. Fruit and vegetable consumption fell by 27 pounds per capita during the past decade—from 299 pounds per person in 2003 to 272 pounds per person in 2013, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service. But only three items account for most of the decline: orange juice, potatoes, and head lettuce.

So who isn't eating their vegetables? Most Americans have cut back, according to USDA researchers. Children (aged 2 to 19) and men (aged 20 or older) ate fewer vegetables in 2007-08 (the latest data available by demographic characteristic) than in 1994-98. Women, in contrast, are eating more vegetables—except for potatoes and tomatoes. Vegetable consumption (except potatoes) has also increased among the college educated.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, A Closer Look at Declining Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Using Linked Data Sources

Friday, August 26, 2016

Non-Hispanic Whites Decline in Northeast and Midwest

The non-Hispanic White population in the United States grew by just 0.3 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to Census Bureau population estimates. In the Northeast and Midwest, the non-Hispanic White population declined...

Percent change in non-Hispanic Whites by region, 2010 to 2015
Northeast: –2.2%
Midwest: –0.6%
South: 1.7%
West: 1.4%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Census Bureau population estimates, American Factfinder

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Driving Troubles of Older Americans

Getting from here to there is a growing problem for many as they age. Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft may solve this problem in the future. The potential market is huge. One in four Americans aged 65 or older reports having trouble getting places, according to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. One in five has given up driving altogether, and one in three drives only in the daytime. Here are the percentages by age...

Has trouble getting places
65 to 74: 18.5%
75 to 84: 26.5%
85-plus: 44.6%

Limits driving to daytime
65 to 74: 24.8%
75 to 84: 39.2%
85-plus: 55.3%

Has given up driving altogether
65 to 74: 11.3%
75 to 84: 21.2%
85-plus: 46.5%

Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Early Retirement Peaked in 1995

Baby-Boom men aren't opting for early retirement like their fathers did. Early retirement peaked in 1995, when the labor force participation rate of men aged 62 to 64 (born in 1931-33) fell to an all-time low of 45.0 percent. Today, a larger 55.8 percent of men aged 62 to 64 (born in 1951-53) are in the labor force. Although higher than it was, the current labor force participation rate of men aged 62 to 64 is still well below the rate of the early 1960s, when three out of four were in the labor force.

Labor force participation rate of men aged 62 to 64
2015: 55.8%
2005: 52.5%
1995: 45.0%
1990: 46.5%
1980: 52.6%
1970: 69.4%
1963: 75.8%

Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Educational Attainment of Hispanics

Hispanics are the least educated population segment in the United States. More than one-third of Hispanics aged 25 or older (35 percent) do not have a high school diploma, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics. This compares with only 16 percent of Blacks, 14 percent of Asians, and 8 percent of non-Hispanic Whites. Among Hispanics, the percentage without a high school diploma varies greatly by ethnicity...

Percent of Hispanics without a high school diploma by ethnic origin
15% of South Americans
21% of Cubans
23% of Puerto Ricans
32% of Dominicans
41% of Mexicans
48% of Salvadorans

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Educational Attainment of Asians

Asians are the mostly highly educated population segment in the United States. More than half of Asians aged 25 or older (52 percent) have a bachelor's degree, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics. This compares with 33 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, 19 percent of Blacks, and 14 percent of Hispanics. Among Asians, the percentage with a bachelor's degree varies greatly by ethnicity...

Percent of Asians with a bachelor's degree by ethnic origin
73% of Asian Indians
54% of Koreans
52% of Chinese
49% of Japanese
48% of Filipinos
28% of Vietnamese

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sexual Identity of High School Students

More than 1 in 10 high school students identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or "not sure," according to a government survey. The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey asked a representative sample of students in grades 9 through 12 about their sexual identity with these results...

Sexual identity of high school students
Heterosexual: 88.8%
Gay or lesbian: 2.0%
Bisexual: 6.0%
Not sure: 3.2%

Among high school girls, 84.5 percent identify themselves as heterosexual or straight. Among high school boys, the figure is 93.1 percent.

Source: CDC, Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors among Students in Grades 9–12—United States and Selected Sites, 2015

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Internet Use: Urban vs. Rural

As internet use has become the norm over the years, the gap in internet use between urban and rural residents has remained the same, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Among Americans aged 3 or older in 2015, 75 percent of those in urban areas used the internet—6 percentage points greater than the 69 percent among rural residents. The same-sized gap existed as far back as 1998, says the NTIA. That's when the NTIA began to collect data on internet use through the biennial Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. In the olden days of 1998, 34 percent of urban residents and 28 percent of rural residents used the internet.

Interestingly, the rural-urban gap almost disappears among people with a college degree (88% urban vs. 87% rural). But the gap in internet use widens with less education: 4 percentage points for those with some college (84% urban vs. 80% rural), 6 percentage points for those with a high school diploma only (69% urban vs. 63% rural), and 7 percentage points for those without a high school diploma (59% urban vs. 52% rural).

Urban residents are also more likely to use every type of internet-connected device...

2015 device use by urban (and rural) residents aged 3 or older
Smartphone: 54% (45%)
Laptop computer: 48% (39%)
Desktop computer: 35% (29%)
Tablet computer: 30% (24%)

Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, The State of the Urban/Rural Digital Divide

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

4.6 Million Information Technology Workers

The number of Americans employed in information technology has increased 10-fold in the past four-plus decades, according to a Census Bureau report. Only 450,000 workers were employed in IT in 1970. By 2014 the number was 4.6 million, accounting for 2.9 percent of the work force.

There are big differences between IT workers and the labor force as a whole. IT workers are younger: the 55 percent majority are aged 25 to 44 versus 43 percent of all workers. IT workers are less likely to be female: only 25 percent are women versus 47 percent of all workers. Perhaps the biggest difference is in earnings: IT workers earn more than average, and their earnings are growing. Men who work full-time in IT saw their earnings grow 9 percent between 1970 and 2014, after adjusting for inflation. In contrast, earnings fell 12 percent for male workers overall. Women's earnings increased regardless of occupation during those years. In 2014, women in IT earned 80 percent more than the average working woman and 43 percent more than the average working man.

Median earnings of men who work full-time (and % increase since 1970; in 2014 dollars)
IT occupations: $80,895 (+9%)
All occupations: $49,150 (–12%)

Median earnings of women who work full-time (and % increase since 1970; in 2014 dollars)
IT occupations: $70,385 (+23%)
All occupations: $39,055 (+23%)

Source: Census Bureau, Occupations in Information Technology

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

41% of Full-Service Restaurants Are Ethnic

What is the single most popular type of restaurant in the United States? Fast-food restaurants serving hamburgers, of course. There are 53,000 of them, according to the 2012 economic census. They account for 23.6 percent of the nation's 225,000 fast-food restaurants with employees. After hamburgers are sandwich/sub shops (18.5%), pizza (15.8%), Chinese (10.0%), and Mexican (8.8%).

What's the most popular type of full-service restaurant in the United States? The answer is "other ethnic"—a category that includes Thai, Indian, Cambodian, Japanese, Ethiopian, and all other ethnic restaurants except Mexican, Italian, and Chinese. There are 31,000 "other ethnic" restaurants, accounting for 13.5 percent of the nation's 232,000 full-service restaurants with employees. Second in popularity is Mexican (9.4%) followed by Italian (9.2%) and Chinese (8.6%). The four ethnic categories account for a substantial 41 percent of the nation's full-service restaurants.

Source: Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census

Monday, August 15, 2016

Healthy Heart Scores by Occupation

How do you determine the cardiovascular health of Americans by occupation? You measure seven different cardiovascular health metrics (not smoking, physically active, healthy diet, and normal blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, and cholesterol) of a representative sample of the population and then analyze those metrics by occupation using 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.

It's not an easy task, but the results are enlightening. Of all workers, one in ten (9.6 percent) have the poorest cardiovascular health—defined as meeting only two or fewer of the seven metrics. By occupation, community and social service workers are most likely to come up short, at 14.6 percent. Transportation and material moving workers had the second poorest performance, with 14.3 percent at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease. At the other extreme, only 5.0 percent of workers in farming, forestry, and fishing, 5.9 percent of workers in arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media, and 7.7 percent of workers in production fell into the poorest cardiovascular health category.

Source: CDC, Cardiovascular Health Status by Occupational Group—21 States, 2013

Friday, August 12, 2016

Population Change, 2014 to 2015

The U.S. population grew by 2.5 million between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, according to the Census Bureau. International migration accounted for 46 percent of the gain. Natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for 54 percent.

Population change, 2014-15
Total increase: 2,511,419
Natural increase: 1,360,891
Net migration: 1,150,528

Source: Census Bureau, Population Estimates, National Characteristics: Vintage 2015

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Smartphones: #1 Online Device

How Americans go online is changing. Those changes are being documented by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as it analyzes the biennial Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Among Americans aged 3 or older who go online at home, these are the devices they used in 2015 and 2011...

Go online at home using device, 2015 (and 2011)
Smartphone: 53% (27%)
Laptop computer: 46% (42%)
Desktop computer: 34% (45%)
Tablet computer: 29% (6%)
TV-connected device: 27% (14%)
Wearable device: 1% (0%)

Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Evolving Technologies Change the Nature of Internet Use and Majority of Americans Use Multiple Internet-Connected Devices, Data Shows

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Height by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2011-14

You can't blame Americans' growing weight on an increase in height because we aren't getting any taller. The average woman aged 20 or older is 63.7 inches tall and her male counterpart is 69.2 inches in height, according to 2011-14 data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The heights of men and women are almost identical to what they were in 1999-2002.

Men's average height by race and Hispanic origin (in inches)
Asian: 67.0
Black: 69.5
Hispanic: 67.4
Non-Hispanic White: 69.7

Women's average height by race and Hispanic origin (in inches)
Asian: 61.8
Black: 64.2
Hispanic: 62.0
Non-Hispanic White: 64.1

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2011-2014

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Average Weight by Age, 2011-2014

The average woman weighed 168.5 pounds in 2011-14, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, five-plus pounds more than the 163.3 of 1999-2002. The average man weighed 195.7 pounds in 2011-14, also five-plus pounds more than the 190.4 pounds of 1999-2002. These numbers come from weigh-ins of a representative sample of the population performed in mobile examination units across the country. Weight peaks among men in their forties and women in their fifties...

Men's average weight by age (pounds)
Aged 20-plus: 195.7
Aged 20 to 29: 186.8
Aged 30 to 39: 198.8
Aged 40 to 49: 201.7
Aged 50 to 59: 199.5
Aged 60 to 69: 199.7
Aged 70 to 79: 189.3
Aged 80-plus: 174.6

Women's average weight by age (pounds)
Aged 20-plus: 168.5
Aged 20 to 29: 161.8
Aged 30 to 39: 172.9
Aged 40 to 49: 173.1
Aged 50 to 59: 174.4
Aged 60 to 69: 168.8
Aged 70 to 79: 165.8
Aged 80-plus: 141.9

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2011-2014

Monday, August 08, 2016

11% Have Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Only 11 percent of adults aged 65 or older have private, long-term care insurance, according to an Urban Institute analysis of Health and Retirement Study data. Even among older Americans with a net worth of $1 million or more, only 25 percent have insurance...

People aged 65-plus with private, long-term care insurance by net worth
Less than $50,000: 3%
$50,000 to $99,999: 4%
$100,000 to $499,999: 8%
$500,000 to $999,999: 20%
$1,000,000 or more: 25%

Source: Urban Institute, Who Is Covered by Private Long-Term Care Insurance?

Friday, August 05, 2016

Hate-Related Words at School

One in four teenagers aged 12 to 18 saw hate-related graffiti at school in 2013, according to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. Seven percent say they were called a hate-related word. The percentage of students who have experienced hate-related graffiti or hate-related words has declined over the past decade...

Percent seeing hate-related graffiti at school
2013: 25%
2003: 36%

Percent called a hate-related word at school
2013: 7%
2003: 12%

Among those who were called hate-related words in 2013, 50 percent said the words were about their race, 29 percent their ethnicity, 18 percent their religion, 16 percent their sexual orientation, 15 percent their gender, and 12 percent their disability. (Note: numbers sum to more than 100 percent because students could report being called more than one hate-related word).

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Trends in Hate-Related Words at School Among Students Ages 12 to 18

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Where Americans Get Their Food

Americans get their food from a wide variety of places, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service. During an average week, most of us get food from large grocery stores and restaurants. More than one-third of us acquire food at the homes of friends or family. Overall, households average 11 separate "food acquisition events" per week.

These findings come from the government's National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS), which collected data over a seven-day reporting period in 2012-13. The survey categorizes food acquisition events into nine venues. USDA researchers examined how often households acquire food from each venue...

  • Large grocery stores: 87 percent of households acquire food from large grocery stores during an average week. Those who visit large grocery stores make 2.8 trips to the store, spending an average of $45 at each visit (including nonfood items).
  • Restaurants: 85 percent of households acquire food from restaurants during an average week. Those who get food from restaurants do so 5.4 times a week (twice as often as going to a large grocery store) and spend $25 per visit (including tips). 
  • Convenience stores: 42 percent of households acquire food from convenience stores, dollar stores, pharmacies, etc. during an average week. Those who do average 2.2 visits a week and spend $5 per visit. 
  • Family and friends: 37 percent of households acquire food from family or friends during an average week. Those who acquire food from this source do so an average of 2.7 times a week. Almost all of this food (95 percent) is free.
  • Work: 22 percent of households acquire food at work during an average week, and those who do average 3.5 events a week. Seventy percent of this food is free.
  • Small specialty food stores: 18 percent of households acquire food from small and specialty food stores during an average week, visiting 1.4 times.
  • Schools: 14 percent of households acquire food at school or day care during an average week, doing so an average of 6.3 times a week.
  • Own production: 6 percent of households acquire food from their own or other's hunting, fishing, or gardening during an average week. Those who acquire food through their own or other's production do so 1.9 times a week.
  • Food banks/Meals on Wheels: 1 percent of households acquire food from food banks or Meals on Wheels during an average week. Those who obtain food from this source do so 1.7 times a week.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Where Households Get Food in a Typical Week: Findings from USDA's FoodAPS

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Who Claims Social Security at Age 62?

Are those who claim Social Security benefits early—at age 62—and receive a reduced benefit for life better or worse off than those who wait? That question was posed by the Center for Retirement Research in an analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study. The answer: those who claim at age 62 are a mixture of the "disadvantaged," described as those with little education and poor job prospects, and the "advantaged" who have at least some college and more financial resources such as defined-benefit pension plans. The results of the study show...

  • Most Americans have gotten the message and are waiting to claim Social Security, which will boost their retirement income. The percentage of households claiming Social Security at age 62 has fallen from 52 percent among the cohort of beneficiaries born in 1931-36 to 47 percent among those born in 1942-47. 
  • Despite the decline in early claiming, nearly half of households still claim early. And the 66 percent majority are not prepared for retirement, the study finds—meaning their projected retirement income is not high enough to meet the recommended replacement rate. About 80 percent of the disadvantaged are unprepared. Among the advantaged, a smaller 40 percent are unprepared because many have the additional stable income provided by a defined-benefit pension plan.

"The results are discouraging," say the researchers, because they reveal the importance of defined-benefit plans to retirement preparedness. "These plans may persist in the public sector, but are not coming back in the private sector. The challenge is whether 401(k)s can be enhanced enough to fill that gap."

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Are Early Claimers Making a Mistake?

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Characteristics of Households with Negative Wealth

Fourteen percent of American households have negative wealth—meaning their debts exceed their assets, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Analyzing 2015 data from the Fed's Survey of Consumer Expectations, the researchers compared the characteristics of negative wealth households to households with nonnegative wealth, finding such things as...

Households with negative wealth (vs. households with nonnegative wealth)
Average age of householder is 43 (versus 51)
Average annual household income of $39,077 (versus $86,309)
19% are homeowners (versus 75%)
24% are Black or Hispanic (versus 17%)
24% are single mothers (versus 6%)
18% experienced worsening health in past year (versus 11%)

Among households with smallest amount of negative wealth (less than $12,400), credit cards account for the largest share of debt. That's not so for households with greater negative wealth. For those with negative wealth between $-12,500 and -$46,300, student loans are the largest component of debt and account for 40 percent of the total. For those with the most negative wealth (-$47,500 or more), student loans account for an even larger 47 percent of the total.

"Given the importance of student debt in explaining negative household wealth," the researchers conclude, "it is likely that the steady growth in student debt and borrowing, combined with the very slow rate of student loan repayment...has materially contributed and will continue to contribute to negative household wealth and wealth inequality."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, Which Households Have Negative Wealth?

Monday, August 01, 2016

Student Loan Debt by Race and Hispanic Origin

Thirty-one percent of Americans aged 25 to 55 have student loan debt, according to an Urban Institute analysis of the Federal Reserve Board's 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Seven percent have debt for a child's or grandchild's education. Blacks are significantly more likely than other race/Hispanic origin groups to have student loan debt, and their loans are larger. But they are not significantly more likely to have debt for a child's or grandchild's education.

Percent of 25-to-55-year-olds with any student loan debt
Blacks: 39.2%
Hispanics: 29.6%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 30.5%
Other race/ethnicity: 23.8%

Percent of 25-to-55-year-olds with student loan debt for child's/grandchild's education
Blacks: 9.1%
Hispanics: 7.6%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 6.9%
Other race/ethnicity: 3.9%

Average amount of all student loan debt for 25-to-55-year-olds with debt
Blacks: $43,725
Hispanics: $32,075
Non-Hispanic Whites: $31,367
Other race/ethnicity: $27,106

Source: Urban Institute, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Family Student Loan Debt