Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How Have Attitudes Changed among Boomers?

The Baby-Boom generation is becoming more liberal as Boomers age into their seventies, according to a Demo Memo analysis of General Social Survey. Comparing the attitudes of Boomers when they were younger (aged 26 to 44 in 1990) with their attitudes today (aged 52 to 70 in 2016) reveals the liberalization of the generation...
  • Same-sex relations are always wrong: Although a substantial 45% of Boomers still feel same-sex relations are always wrong, the share is down from 70% in 1990. 
  • Marijuana should be legal: The 59% majority of Boomers think marijuana use should be legalized, up from just 18 percent in 1990. 
  • Working mothers hurt children: When they were younger adults in 1990, fully 69% of Boomers did not believe working mothers harmed children. Now older and wiser, an even larger 77 percent of older Boomers don't believe working mothers are harmful.
  • Support for capital punishment: Boomers are less supportive of capital punishment for convicted murderers today (63%) than they were in 1990 (80%).
  • Identify themselves as Democrats: A larger percentage of Boomers identified themselves as Democrats in 2016 (47%) than in 1990 (43%). 
  • Identify themselves as Republicans: A smaller percentage of Boomers identified themselves as Republicans in 2016 (36%) than in 1990 (43%). 
Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Monday, May 22, 2017

Vaping More Popular than Cigarettes, Marijuana

In past 30 days, percent of high school students (grades 9 through 12) who have used...

Cigarettes: 10.8%
Marijuana: 21.7%
Vaping: 24.1%
Alcohol: 32.8%

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015

Friday, May 19, 2017

How Many Have Retirement Accounts?

How many households have an IRA and/or a defined-contribution retirement account? According to an Employee Benefit Research Institute analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, 61 percent of households headed by workers aged 25 to 64 have at least one of these types of retirement savings. Here is the percentage by age of householder...

Total, 25 to 64: 61.1%
Aged 25 to 34: 50.4%
Aged 35 to 44: 60.0%
Aged 45 to 54: 63.6%
Aged 55 to 64: 71.4%

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Importance of Individual Account Retirement Plans and Home Equity in Family Total Wealth

Thursday, May 18, 2017

42% of Older Americans Own a Smartphone

The percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who own a smartphone has more than doubled in three years—rising from just 18 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2016, according to Pew Research Center. One factor behind the increase is the aging of the baby-boom generation into the 65-plus age group. Here is the percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who owned a smartphone in 2016, by age...

Own a smartphone, 2016
Aged 65 to 69: 59%
Aged 70 to 74: 49%
Aged 75 to 79: 31%
Aged 80-plus: 17%

Source: Pew Research Center, Tech Adoption Climbs among Older Adults

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Did Not Like Candidates" Nearly Doubled in 2016

Among the 19 million registered voters aged 18 or older who who did not vote in the 2016 election, the single biggest reason given for not showing up at their polling place was that they "did not like the candidates." The percentage who cited this reason nearly doubled since the last presidential election, rising from 12.7 percent in 2012 to 24.8 percent in 2016.

Reason for not voting in 2016 (and 2012)
Did not like candidates: 24.8% (12.7%)
Not interested: 15.4% (15.7%)
Too busy/conflicting schedule: 14.3% (18.9%)
Illness/disability: 11.7% (14.0%)
Out of town: 7.9% (8.6%)
Registration problems: 4.4% (5.5%)
Forgot to vote: 3.0% (3.9%)
Transportation problems: 2.6% (3.3%)
Inconvenient polling place: 2.1% (2.7%)
Other reasons: 13.8% (14.9%)

Source: Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2016

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When Do Americans Eat?

Nearly everyone (95 percent) engages in primary eating and drinking at least once a day, reports the USDA's Economic Research Service. Analyzing data from the American Time Use Survey, ERS researchers examined when Americans eat and whether eating is a primary or secondary activity. Primary eating occurs when eating is the main activity at the time. Secondary eating occurs when another activity—such as watching TV—is the main activity.

On an average day, 77 percent of Americans aged 15 or older engage in primary eating and drinking at dinnertime—between 5:00 pm and 7:59 pm. A smaller 62 percent report primary eating and drinking during lunchtime—between 11:00 am and 1:59 pm. Only 40 percent report eating as a primary activity during the breakfast hours of 7:00 am to 9:59 am.

More than half the public (54 percent) eats as a secondary activity during an average day. Watching television, working, and socializing are the most frequently cited primary activities engaged in while eating.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, What Time of Day Do Americans Engage in Primary and Secondary Eating?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Is Your Mother Still Alive?

Millions of Americans celebrated Mother's Day yesterday by honoring the memory of their mother rather than spending time with her. While the 60 percent majority of adults still have Mom in their life, a substantial 40 percent do not. The percentage of adults whose mother is no longer alive becomes the majority in the 55-to-64 age group...

Mother is no longer alive
Total 18-plus:   39.8%
Aged 18 to 29:  3.4%
Aged 30 to 44: 16.2%
Aged 45 to 54: 32.7%
Aged 55 to 64: 62.8%
Aged 65-plus:  96.8%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Friday, May 12, 2017

Educational Attainment of American Workers

Among the 161 million Americans with earnings in 2015, more than one-third had a bachelor's degree or more education...

Educational attainment of people aged 18 or older with earnings, 2015
8.2% do not have a high school diploma
26.3% have a high school diploma only
29.8% have some college or an associate's degree
22.6% have a bachelor's degree only
13.2% have an advanced degree

Source: Census Bureau, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2016

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Voting Rate of Non-Hispanic Whites Climbed in 2016

The long-awaited and much anticipated report on voting in the 2016 presidential election was released by the Census Bureau yesterday. What does it reveal? Most notably, an increase in the voting rate of non-Hispanic Whites and a decline in the voting rate of Blacks. The percentage of non-Hispanic Whites who voted in 2016 was 1.2 percentage points higher than in 2012. The percentage of Blacks who voted in 2016 was 7.0 percentage points lower.

Voting rate of citizens in 2016 (and 2012)
Total: 61.4% (61.8%)
Asians: 49.9% (47.9%)
Blacks: 58.9% (65.9%)
Hispanics: 47.6% (48.0%)
Non-Hispanic Whites: 65.3% (64.1%)

Another interesting finding: Non-Hispanic Whites aged 65 or older accounted for a larger share of voters in 2016 (20 percent) than in 2012 (18 percent). The number of non-Hispanic White voters aged 65 or older climbed by 2.8 million between 2012 and 2016, thanks in large part to the aging of the baby-boom generation. The number of Black voters fell by 683,000. Those shifts may have determined the election outcome.

Source: Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2016

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

54% of Women Aged 25 to 29 Are Childless

Nearly half of American women aged 15 to 44 were childless in 2016, up from about one-third in 1976. The dramatic rise in childlessness among women of reproductive age has been fueled by the especially large increases among women aged 25 to 34. The percentage of women aged 25 to 29 who have not (yet) had a child climbed 23 percentage points between 1976 and 2016. Among 30-to-34-year-olds, the percent childless nearly doubled those years...

Percent of women who are childless, 2016 (and 1976)
Aged 15 to 44: 48.6% (35.1%)
Aged 20 to 24: 75.8% (69.0%)
Aged 25 to 29: 53.8% (30.8%)
Aged 30 to 34: 30.8% (15.6%)
Aged 35 to 39: 18.5% (10.5%)
Aged 40 to 44: 14.4% (10.2%)

Source: Census Bureau, Fertility of Women in the United States: 2016

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

$45,800 Student Loan Balance for College Graduates

Seventy-two percent of 2007-08 bachelor's degree recipients borrowed to pay for their college education, according to a National Center for Education Statistics report. At graduation, they owed an average of $45,800. Four years later in 2012, the 63 percent majority still owed an average of $41,900. Here are the amounts borrowed and owed by 2007–08 college graduates by their post-secondary school enrollment status ...

No further school enrollment
At time of college graduation: 66.4% had borrowed an average of $29,600
Four years after college graduation: 56.5% still owed an average of $24,200

Attended master's degree program
At time of college graduation: 79.1% had borrowed an average of $55,400
Four years after college graduation: 71.4% still owed an average of $52,300

Attended academic doctorate program
At time of college graduation: 59.9% had borrowed an average of $73,600
Four years after college graduation: 54.2% still owed an average of $75,200

Attended professional doctorate program
At time of college graduation: 89.7% had borrowed an average of $131,000
Four years after college graduation: 83.9% still owed an average of $134,100

While these levels of debt are disturbing, there's also good news in the report: "Despite rising student debt levels, the average increase in lifetime earnings from a bachelor's degree relative to a high school diploma still exceeds average student loan debt."

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, The Debt Burden of Bachelor's Degree Recipients

Monday, May 08, 2017

How Many Had Working Mothers?

When asked whether their mother ever worked for pay for as long as a year when they were growing up, 76 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say yes. Here are the figures by generation...

Percent with mother who worked
iGeneration (18 to 21): 89.6%
Millennials (22 to 39): 87.4%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 76.8%
Boomers (52 to 70): 69.9%
Older (71 or older): 49.9%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Sexual Orientation by Generation, 2016

Among adults aged 18 or older, 5 percent identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The percentage is as high as 12 percent among the youngest adults...

Percent identifying themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual
iGeneration (18 to 21): 12.3%
Millennials (22 to 39): 6.9%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 5.2%
Boomers (52 to 70): 3.6%
Older (71 or older): 1.7%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

51% Majority of Households Are Wireless-Only

Most American households are now wireless-only, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The 50-percent threshold was crossed in the last half of 2016, when 50.8 percent of households reported having only wireless telephone service and no landline, up from 49.3 percent in the first half of 2016. 

Most adults are now wireless only as well. In the last half of 2016, 50.5 percent of people aged 18 or older reported having cell phone service and no landline service, up from 49.0 percent in the first half of 2016. The nation's children have been majority wireless-only since 2014. 

Percentage of adults who are wireless-only by age, July-December 2016
Aged 18 to 24: 61.7%
Aged 25 to 29: 72.7%
Aged 30 to 34: 71.0%
Aged 35 to 44: 62.5%
Aged 45 to 64: 45.2%
Aged 65-plus: 23.5%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, July-December 2016

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Big Decline in Chronically Uninsured

The percentage of 18-to-64-year-olds who are "chronically uninsured"—meaning they have not had health insurance for more than one year—has fallen by more than half, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Percent of people aged 18 to 64 who are chronically uninsured 
2016: 7.6%
2015: 9.1%
2014: 12.3%
2013: 15.7%
2012: 16.2%
2011: 16.3%
2010: 16.8%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Changes in the Characteristics of Chronically Uninsured Adults: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010–September 2016

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 1st Quarter 2017

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2017: 44.6%

The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 fell in the first quarter of 2017. The age group's 44.6 percent homeownership rate is a new record low, although not statistically different from the previous record low. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds appears to have found a new normal in the mid-forties.  


Historically, homeownership became the norm in the 30-to-34 age group—rising above 50 percent. But beginning in 2007, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds went into a tailspin. In the second quarter of 2011, the rate fell below 50 percent for the first time. It's been stuck there ever since. The new age of first-time home buying is 35 to 39, but even this age group has slipped toward the 50-percent threshold. In the first quarter of 2017 the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds was 56.6 percent, down from a peak of 65.7 percent a decade ago in the first quarter of 2007.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 63.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017, not statistically different from the 63.5 percent of a year earlier. 

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Monday, May 01, 2017

Median Household Income Stable in March 2017

Median household income in March 2017 stood at $58,673, according to Sentier Research—not significantly different from the February 2017 median or the March 2016 median, after adjusting for inflation.  

"Median annual household income has displayed a somewhat erratic pattern over the past several years," reports Sentier. "More broadly, there has been a general upward trend in median household income since the post-recession low point reached in August 2011." The March 2017 median was 10.3 percent higher than the August 2011 median of $53,176, the low point in Sentier's household income series. Sentier's figures are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in March 2017 was 2.9 percent higher than the median of June 2009, which marked the end of the Great Recession. It was 1.1 percent higher than the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. The March 2017 median was just 0.1 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index in March 2017 was 99.9 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: March 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Snapchat Use by Generation

Nearly one in four Americans (24.6%) use Snapchat, according to the General Social Survey. Here are the percentages by generation...

Percent who use Snapchat
iGeneration (18 to 21): 64.0%
Millennials (22 to 39): 37.0%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 14.8%
Boomers (52 to 70): 6.8%
Older (71 or older): 5.3%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Instagram Use by Generation

Nearly one in three Americans (32.8%) use Instagram, according to the General Social Survey. Here are the percentages by generation...

Percent who use Instagram
iGeneration (18 to 21): 68.9%
Millennials (22 to 39): 46.4%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 27.4%
Boomers (52 to 70): 12.2%
Older (71 or older): 9.7%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Population by Generation, 2016

Boomers and their elders now account for less than one-third of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau's 2016 population estimates. Millennials and younger generations account for the 52 percent majority of Americans.

Generational power is shifting as older generations shrink and younger ones grow. In the past year, the number of Gen Xers fell by 57,000, Boomers lost 652,000 of their peers, and the number of older Americans (born in 1945 or earlier) dropped by 1.7 million. Since 2010, the number of older Americans has fallen by more than 10 million.

Between 2015 and 2016 the number of Millennials grew by 348,000, the iGeneration by 280,000, and the Recession generation by a whopping 4 million as births during the year expanded its ranks. In 2017, the Recession generation will surpass older Americans in size.

Size of generations in 2016 (and % of total population)
323,127,513 (100.0%): Total population
27,989,207 (  8.7%): Recession generation (aged 0 to 6)
62,788,936 (19.4%): iGeneration (aged 7 to 21)
79,159,101 (24.5%): Millennial generation (aged 22 to 39)  
49,151,059 (15.2%): Generation X (aged 40 to 51)  
74,102,309 (22.9%): Baby Boom (aged 52 to 70)  
29,936,901 (  9.3%): Older Americans (aged 71-plus)  

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's National Population by Characteristics Datasets: 2010–2016

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Is Life Expectancy Falling among the Least Educated?

Not according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research. The least-educated Americans are not who they used to be, say CRR researchers, and that must be taken into account when determining trends in life expectancy.

Back when dropping out of high school was practically the norm, the least educated were part of the economic mainstream. Today, they are an increasingly disadvantaged economic minority. That's why comparing the life expectancy of high school dropouts over time is like comparing apples and oranges. To solve this problem, CRR researchers took a different approach. They examined life expectancy trends between 1979 and 2011 by dividing the population in each year into educational attainment quartiles. By defining educational attainment relatively rather than absolutely, the decline in life expectancy among the least educated disappears.

In fact, the life expectancy of the least educated increased between 1979 and 2011, as did the life expectancy of every other educational attainment quartile. But the gains were bigger for the better-educated groups and biggest among the most highly educated. Life expectancy is increasing for all, conclude the researchers. But "mortality inequality is worsening over time."

Source: Center for Retirement Research, Rising Inequality in Life Expectancy by Socioeconomic Status

Monday, April 24, 2017

Living Arrangements of Young Adults, 1975 and 2016

The lives of young adults have changed dramatically over the past 40 years, according to a Census Bureau report. A comparison of the living arrangements of 18-to-34-year-olds in 2016 with the living arrangements of their counterparts more than 40 years ago in 1975 shows just how much has changed...

  • Only 27% live with a spouse, down from the 57% majority in 1975.
  • Nearly one-third (31%) live with their parents, up from 26% in 1975.
  • One in eight (12%) lives with an unmarried partner, up from just 1% in 1975.
  • More live alone—8% in 2016, up from 5% in 1975.
  • One in five (21%) has some other living arrangement, up from 11% of 1975. 

Perhaps the biggest difference between then and now is that there's no longer a dominant type of living arrangement for the age group, making young adults increasingly difficult to target.

Source: Census Bureau, The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016

Friday, April 21, 2017

Twitter Use by Generation

Nearly one in five Americans (18.9%) use Twitter, according to the General Social Survey. Here are the percentages by generation...

Percent who use Twitter
iGeneration (18 to 21): 41.1%
Millennials (22 to 39): 23.9%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 16.3%
Boomers (52 to 70): 10.6%
Older (71 or older): 5.1%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Facebook Use by Generation

Three out of four Americans (74.2%) use Facebook, according to the General Social Survey. Here are the percentages by generation...

Percent who use Facebook
iGeneration (18 to 21): 72.6%
Millennials (22 to 39): 82.4%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 75.5%
Boomers (52 to 70): 63.2%
Older (71 or older): 67.9%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Students Much More Diverse than Teachers

The nation's elementary and secondary school students are much more diverse than their teachers. Half of public school students are Hispanic, Black, Asian or another minority, according to the Digest of Education Statistics. But only 18 percent of public school teachers are minorities, according to a National Center for Education Statistics report.

Although the minority share of school teachers is growing, the Black share of school teachers  is shrinking. Between 1987 and 2012, the Black share of elementary and secondary school teachers fell from 8 to 6 percent. Here is how the racial and ethnic diversity of school teachers has changed over the past quarter century...

Non-Hispanic White share of teachers
2012: 83%
1987: 88%

Black share of teachers
2012: 6%
1987: 8%

Hispanic share of teachers
2012: 7%
1987: 3%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, A Quarter Century of Changes in the Elementary and Secondary Teaching Force: From 1987 to 2012

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Migration Fuels Urban County Growth

The nation's most urban counties grew by a substantial 6.0 percent between 2010 and 2016, faster than any other type, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's 2016 county population estimates by Rural-Urban Continuum (RUC). Counties in smaller metros grew at a slower rate, and those in rural areas lost population. Both international and domestic migration contributed to the faster growth of big-city counties...

International migration is greater in big-city counties. Between 2010 and 2016, the rate of net international migration was 2.6 percent in counties ranking 1 on the Rural-Urban Continuum. Although international migration was positive in every type of county, the rate was lower in less urban counties and lowest (only 0.3 percent) in the most rural counties—those ranking 8 or 9 on the RUC.

Domestic migration is positive only in big-city counties. Between 2010 and 2016, the rate of net domestic migration was positive only for counties ranking 1 or 2 on the Rural-Urban Continuum. Nonmetropolitan counties (those ranking 4 or higher on the RUC) had a negative rate of net domestic migration, meaning they lost more people than they gained.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes and Census Bureau, County Population Totals Datasets: 2010–2016

Monday, April 17, 2017

Jobs with Heavy Lifting

Many jobs in the U.S. require physical strength. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines "heavy work" as jobs that require workers to constantly lift/carry at least 11 pounds, frequently lift/carry at least 26 pounds, or occasionally lift/carry 51 or more pounds. Overall, 14 percent of jobs require heavy work.

The occupations with the largest percentage of jobs requiring heavy work are the usual suspects—construction and extraction (45.5%); installation, maintenance, and repair (35.4%); and transportation and material moving (32.3%). A substantial 22 percent of workers in health support occupations are required to do heavy lifting.

At the other extreme, 13 percent of jobs are sedentary, requiring no heavy lifting nor much walking or standing. The occupations with the largest percentage of sedentary jobs are legal (40.3%), office and administrative support (31.1%), and management (27.5%). Among architecture and engineering occupations as well as community and social service, a substantial 25 percent of jobs are sedentary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physical Strength Required for Jobs in Different Occupations in 2016

Friday, April 14, 2017

Americans Don't Know Much about the ACA

Americans are really confused about the Affordable Care Act. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows just how confused they are. Kaiser says these are the five biggest misconceptions...
  1. Most do not know that the ACA reduced the percentage of Americans without health insurance. The 57 percent majority thinks the ACA increased the uninsured or had no effect on the number. In fact, the ACA reduced the uninsured to an historic low. 
  2. Half says the ACA covers undocumented immigrants. It does not.
  3. Half does not know that the ACA eliminated out-of-pocket costs for birth control, annual checkups, well-child visits and vaccinations. 
  4. Forty percent of the public think the ACA cut Medicare benefits. It did not.
  5. 29 percent of the public think most Americans get their health insurance through the ACA. In fact, only 10 percent of Americans are covered by ACA marketplace plans. Most Americans have employer-provided health insurance coverage.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Data Note: 5 Misconceptions Surrounding the ACA

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Many Workers Are Looking for a Better Job

The findings from a survey on job search behavior should worry the nation's employers. Many of their employees are actively looking for a better job.

Using data from a labor market supplement to the New York Fed's Survey of Consumer Expectations, researchers analyzed the job search behavior of 18-to-64-year-olds by employment status. Overall, 23 percent of employed workers had actively looked for another job in the previous four weeks, submitting an average of 4.58 job applications and receiving 0.43 job offers. Not only were a substantial percentage of employed workers actively looking for a better job, but they received more job offers than the unemployed, despite submitting fewer applications. The unemployed submitted an average of 8.08 applications in the previous four weeks and received 0.38 job offers.

Being employed, it seems, is a big advantage in the job hunt. "The job search process is more effective for currently employed workers than for the unemployed," the researchers conclude. Not only are the employed more likely to receive job offers, but they receive better offers: "Offers received by employed workers are better than those received by the unemployed. This is true even after controlling for detailed worker characteristics and prior work history."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, How Do People Find Jobs?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Decline in "Marriageable" Young Men

Marriage rates have fallen among younger adults over the past few decades, but they've fallen the most among the least educated. What is behind the disproportionate decline? NBER researchers answer that question by testing a hypothesis: marriage rates are down the most among the least-educated (high school or less education) because the supply of "marriageable" men has dried up.

The results confirm the hypothesis. The researchers uncover a hot mess of consequences in the aggregate and in local areas that have experienced adverse shocks in manufacturing employment over the past few decades, including...

  • a decline in male and female employment
  • a decline in men's relative earnings, especially among lower-income men
  • an increase in men's mortality from risky and unhealthful behaviors
  • a reduction in the availability of marriage-age males in affected labor markets
  • a reduction in the percentage of young adults getting married
  • a decline in fertility
  • an increase in the percentage of births to teen and unmarried mothers
  • an increase in the percentage of children living in poverty

Bottom line: "We conclude that the declining employment and earnings opportunities faced by young (i.e. under 40) U.S. males are a plausible contributor to the changing structure of marriage and childbirth in the United States."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men, Working Paper 23173 ($5)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Majority: Nothing Wrong with Gay, Lesbian Relationships

What a difference a decade makes. The percentage of Americans who think gay and lesbian relationships are "not wrong at all" climbed from just 32 percent in 2006 to the 51 percent majority in 2016, according to the General Social Survey.

Although every generation has contributed to the growing acceptance of same-sex relationships, the biggest driver of the increase is the surge in support among Millennials. The percentage of Millennials who think there's nothing wrong at all with gay and lesbian relationships climbed 27 percentage points during the decade, from 41 to 68 percent.

Support among Generation Xers grew the least over the decade (up only 9 percentage points). In 2016, still fewer than half of Gen Xers were in the "nothing wrong at all" camp. Same story for Boomers. Approval of same-sex relationships among the oldest Americans (aged 61 or older in 2006 and aged 71 or older in 2016) nearly doubled during the decade. But only about one-third of the oldest Americans see nothing wrong at all with same-sex sexual relationships.

"Nothing wrong at all" with same-sex sexual relationships, 2016 (and 2006)
Millennials: 68% (41%)
Gen Xers: 46% (37%)
Boomers: 44% (32%)
Older: 34% (18%)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2006 and 2016 General Social Surveys

Monday, April 10, 2017

Average Earnings of Female Workers by Education

Among women aged 18 or older with earnings, the average amount earned in 2015 was $39,929, according to the Census Bureau. This is how women's average earnings compare by educational attainment...

$17,162 for those who did not graduate from high school
$26,832 for those with a high school diploma only
$31,970 for those with some college/associate's degree
$50,856 for those with a bachelor's degree only
$72,006 for those with an advanced degree

Source: Census Bureau, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2016

Friday, April 07, 2017

Legalize Marijuana? Most Say Yes

Among all Americans aged 18 or older, fully 60.1 percent support legalizing the use of marijuana, according to the 2016 General Social Survey. The majority of all but the oldest Americans supports legalization...

Support legalizing marijuana
Millennials: 68.3%
Gen Xers: 56.8%
Boomers: 59.2%
Older: 37.4%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Internet Overtakes TV as Main Source of News

Write this one down for the history books. The main source of news for the largest share of the public is now the internet, supplanting television in 2016 for the first time, according to the General Social Survey. Here's the trend since 2010...

Percent who say internet/television is their main source of information about events in the news
2016: 46% internet versus 37% TV
2014: 35% internet versus 45% TV
2012: 30% internet versus 48% TV
2010: 22% internet versus 49% TV

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Expected Age of Retirement

More than one-third of American workers do not expect to retire until age 70 or later, according to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey. Only 4 percent of current retirees worked that long.

Expected age of retirement for workers (and actual age of retirement for retirees)
Under age 60:    9% (39%)
Aged 60 to 64: 17% (37%)
Aged 65 to 69: 37% (19%)
Aged 70-plus:  38% (  4%)

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

How Many Are Grandparents?

The Census Bureau's 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation included several questions rarely asked by the federal government...

Are you a grandparent? Turns out, being a grandparent is the norm among Americans aged 30 or older who have children aged 15 or older: 61 percent of women and 57 percent of men who meet those qualifications are grandparents.

Do you have children with multiple partners? Among all Americans aged 15 or older, 10.1 percent have children with multiple partners. Among parents aged 15 or older with two or more biological children, 20.6 percent have children with multiple partners.

Have you had children with someone other than your spouse/partner? Among married mothers aged 15 or older who do not have children with their spouse, 17.8 percent have children from a prior relationship and 12.8 percent say their spouse has children from a prior relationship. Among married fathers aged 15 or older, the equivalent figures are 16.5 and 12.6 percent. Among cohabiting parents, the percentages are much larger (50 and 32 percent for women, and 47 and 33 percent for men).

Source: Census Bureau, Fertility Research Brief and Multiple Partner Fertility Research Brief

Monday, April 03, 2017

Average Earnings of Male Workers by Education

Among men aged 18 or older with earnings, the average amount earned in 2015 was $58,944, according to the Census Bureau. This is how men's average earnings compare by educational attainment...

$30,230 for those who did not graduate from high school
$41,942 for those with a high school diploma only
$46,154 for those with some college/associate's degree
$79,927 for those with a bachelor's degree
$113,279 for those with an advanced degree

Source: Census Bureau, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2016

Friday, March 31, 2017

Median Household Income Rises in February 2017

Median household income in February 2017 stood at $58,714, according to Sentier Research, about 1 percent higher than the January 2017 median after adjusting for inflation. While this is good news, the rise only boosts median household income back to where it was a year earlier in February 2016. 

"The monthly pattern for median annual household income has been marked by some sharp increases and decreases over the past several years," reports Sentier. "More broadly, there has been a general upward trend in median household income since the post-recession low point reached in August 2011." The February 2017 median was 10.1. percent higher than the August 2011 median of $53,330, the low point. Sentier's household income figures are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in February 2017 was 2.7 percent higher than the median of June 2009, which marked the end of the Great Recession. It was 0.8 percent higher than the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. The February 2017 median was just 0.3 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index in February 2017 was 99.7 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: February 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

SIPP Data Reveals New Details on Living Arrangements

The Census Bureau's 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation provides new details about the living arrangements of Americans. This is who Americans lived with in 2013 (note: categories are not mutually exclusive)...

Living arrangements
Live with a spouse: 39.2%
   Opposite-sex spouse: 39.0%
   Same-sex spouse: 0.2%
Live with parent/child: 37.4%
Live alone: 11.6%
Live with unmarried partner: 6.1%
   Opposite-sex partners: 5.7%
   Same-sex partner: 0.4%
Live with other nonrelative: 2.9%
Live with grandparent/grandchild: 0.9%
Live with sibling: 0.9%
Live with other relative: 0.9%

The SIPP survey also looked at changes in household composition. For the great majority of Americans (84 percent) household size and composition did not change over a year's time. Another 11 percent of the population experienced one change in household composition during a year's time—such as a birth or death or someone moving in or out of the household. Five percent of the population experienced two or more changes in household composition.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Home Equity Accounts for 32% of Net Worth

The median net worth of the average household was $80,039 in 2013, according to a recently released report from the Census Bureau's 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation.

The 2014 SIPP includes improvements to questions designed to measure net worth, with new, topic-specific questions about types of assets such as annuities, trusts, businesses owned as investments, and educational savings accounts. Without these changes, notes the report, median net worth may have been as low as $74,083. The revised survey also included a question about student loans.

Here is the composition of net worth for American households, excluding households in the top 1 percent of net worth because their asset ownership is unlike the average...

Composition of household net worth, 2013
Home equity: 32.2%
401(k) accounts: 16.3%
IRA and Keoghs: 10.5%
Stocks, mutual funds: 9.6%
Assets at financial institutions: 9.4%
Business or profession: 5.2%
Rental property: 4.4%
Other real estate: 3.9%
Motor vehicles: 3.3%
Annuities and trusts: 3.0%
Cash value life insurance: 2.8%
Other assets: 3.6%
Unsecured liabilities: –4.7%

The 55 percent majority of households have unsecured liabilities, which include credit card debt,  student loans, medical debt, etc. Overall, 42 percent of households have credit card debt, with a median of $3,000 owed. Twenty percent of households have student loans, and those that do owe a median of $18,000.

Source: Census Bureau, Improvements to Measuring Net Worth of Households: 2013

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Big-City Counties Continue to Grow Faster

The nation's most urban counties continue to grow faster than any other county type according to the Census Bureau's 2016 county population estimates. A Demo Memo analysis of 2010-to-2016 county population trends along the Rural-Urban Continuum documents ongoing metro growth (the bigger, the better) and continuing rural decline.

The Rural-Urban Continuum is the federal government's way of classifying counties by their degree of urbanity. The continuum is a scale ranging from 1 (the most urban counties, in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more) to 9 (the most rural counties, lacking any settlements of 2,500 or more people and not adjacent to a metropolitan area). If you sort the nation's 3,000-plus counties by their rank on the continuum, then measure population change between 2010 and 2016 for each rank, this is the result...


County population change 2010-2016 by Rural-Urban Continuum Rank

1. 6.0% for rank 1 counties, in metros with 1 million or more people
2. 4.6% for rank 2 counties, in metros of 250,000 to 1 million people
3. 3.0% for rank 3 counties, in metros with less than 250,000 people
4. 0.2% for rank 4 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
5. 1.7% for rank 5 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
6. –1.0% for rank 6 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
7. –1.1% for rank 7 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
8. –1.3% for rank 8 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop less than 2,500
9. –1.6% for rank 9 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro, urban pop less than 2,500

An examination of annual rates of population change by Rural-Urban Continuum shows population declines in every year between 2010 and 2016 for counties ranking 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the continuum. Counties with a rank of 1 on the continuum (the most urban) grew faster than any other county type in every year.  


Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes and Census Bureau, County Population Totals Datasets: 2010–2016

Monday, March 27, 2017

"Deaths of Despair"—Economists Document Rising Mortality among Less-Educated Non-Hispanic Whites

Death rates are rising for middle-aged non-Hispanic Whites with a high school diploma or less education, report Princeton economists Ann Case and Angus Deaton in a stunning analysis of this troubled segment of the American population. The rise in mortality rates is due to what Case and Deaton call "deaths of despair"—deaths due to drug use, alcohol abuse, and suicide.

Among non-Hispanic Whites with no more than a high school diploma, mortality rates in 2015 were higher than in 1999. During those years, mortality rates fell for other segments of the population—better educated non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. The mortality rates of non-Hispanic Whites with a high school diploma or less education were 30 percent lower than the mortality rates of Blacks in 1999. By 2015, they were 30 percent higher.

Case and Deaton see globalization and automation as the possible deep underlying causes of what they call the collapse of the white working class. The long-run stagnation of the wages of this group has led to a decline in marriage, greater social isolation, withdrawal from the labor force, a sense of hopelessness, and more deaths of despair.

Source: Brookings Institution, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century

Friday, March 24, 2017

Half of Same-Sex Households Are Married Couples

Among the nation's 858,896 same-sex households, nearly half (49.5 percent) are married couples, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. This figure is substantially higher than the 43 percent of 2014. There is little difference between men and women in the married share of same-sex couple households...

Male-male households
Spouses: 201,779
Partners: 210,222
Percent married: 49.0%

Female-female households
Spouses: 223,578
Partners: 223,317
Percent married: 50.0%

Source: Census Bureau, American Community Survey Data on Same Sex Couples

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Many Births Are Unplanned

Unplanned births are common, according to the Urban Institute. Fully 36 percent of respondents to the Urban Institute's nationally representative survey of women aged 18 to 44 reported experiencing an unplanned birth. Among women who had given birth, the 62 percent majority said they had experienced at least one unplanned birth.

How do women feel about these unplanned births? Among all women aged 18 to 44, the majority thought an unplanned birth would have a negative effect on four key aspects of a woman's life—education (66 percent negative), job (58 percent), income (63 percent), and mental health (59 percent). But among women who had actually experienced an unplanned birth, a smaller share reported negative effects in those four areas: education (36 percent negative), job (31.5 percent), income (47 percent), and mental health (40 percent).

"When considering the effects of an unplanned birth on women's lives in general, respondents who had experienced an unplanned birth were less likely than those who had not to perceive mostly negative effects," reports the Urban Institute. Still, a substantial share of women reported negative consequences. "For women who experience an unplanned birth, access to targeted services and supports could reduce the negative impact of an unplanned birth on a woman's life," concludes the report.

Source: Urban Institute, Prevalence and Perceptions of Unplanned Births

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How Much Have Workers Saved?

Most American workers are saving for retirement. Overall, 61 percent of workers aged 25 or older say they or their spouse have saved money for retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey. In every age group, most say they have saved for retirement, with the figure ranging from a low of 52 percent among workers aged 25 to 34 to a high of 70 percent among workers aged 55 or older.

But many workers have not saved much. Most aged 25 to 34 have less than $10,000 in savings and investments, not counting home equity or defined-benefit pensions. At the other extreme, the majority of workers aged 55 or older have saved at least $100,000, and 35 percent have saved $250,000 or more.

Less than $10,000 in savings
Aged 25 to 34: 58%
Aged 35 to 44: 31%
Aged 45 to 54: 33%
Aged 55-plus: 28%

$10,000 to $100,000 in savings
Aged 25 to 34: 29%
Aged 35 to 44: 35%
Aged 45 to 54: 26%
Aged 55-plus: 17%

$100,000 or more in savings
Aged 25 to 34: 13%
Aged 35 to 44: 34%
Aged 45 to 54: 42%
Aged 55-plus: 53%

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Can Google Street View Determine Local Demographics?

Can Google Street View combined with deep learning-based computer vision provide accurate and up-to-date demographic profiles of local areas? The answer is yes, according to an astonishing study appearing in arXiv, an online repository of scientific papers.

Using 50 million Google Street View images of cars in 200 American cities, the study's researchers determined, with the help of a "machine vision framework based on deep learning," the make, model, and year of each car (2,657 categories). They then used that information to "accurately estimate income, race, education, and voting patterns, with single-precinct resolution." The average precinct has a population of only about 1,000, say the researchers. Here are some of their findings, in their own words...

  • "We successfully detected 22 million distinct vehicles, comprising 32% of all the vehicles in the 200 cities we studied, and 8% of all vehicles in the United States."
  • "Our model detects strong associations between vehicle distribution and disparate socioeconomic trends."
  • "The vehicular feature that was most strongly associated with Democratic precincts was sedans, whereas Republican precincts were most strongly associated with extended-cab pickup trucks."
  • "Our estimates accurately determined that Seattle, Washington is 69% Caucasian."
  • "We estimated educational background in Milwaukee, Wisconsin zip codes, accurately determining the fraction of the population with less than a high school degree."

The researchers ask whether this type of analysis eventually could replace costly and time-consuming door-to-door efforts such as the American Community Survey. "As digital imagery becomes ubiquitous and machine vision techniques improve, automated data analysis may provide a cheaper and faster alternative," they suggest.

Source: arXiv, Using Deep Learning and Google Street View to Estimate the Demographic Makeup of the US

Monday, March 20, 2017

Younger Adults Have More Smartphones

Households headed by people under age 25 own more than two smartphones on average, or 0.83 smartphones per household member. This is a greater concentration of smartphones than in any other age group, according to the Energy Information Administration's 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey. Not far behind are households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds, with 0.80 smartphones per household member. Smartphone ownership is lowest among householders aged 75 or older, just 0.30 per household member.

The Residential Energy Consumption Survey examines household ownership of a variety of electronic devices including televisions and computers.

Smartphones per household member (and per household) by age, 2015
Under age 25:  0.83 (2.4)
Aged 25 to 34: 0.80 (2.3)
Aged 35 to 44: 0.69 (2.4)
Aged 45 to 54: 0.75 (2.1)
Aged 55 to 64: 0.64 (1.4)
Aged 65 to 74: 0.52 (1.0)
Aged 75-plus:  0.30 (0.5)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Average Number of Televisions in U.S. Homes Declining

Friday, March 17, 2017

Many Americans Have Past-Due Medical Debt

Among adults under age 65, a substantial 24 percent had past-due medical debt in 2015, according to a study by the Urban Institute. The figure varies by state, ranging from a low of 5.9 percent in Hawaii to a high of 37.4 percent in Mississippi. Among the 10 states with the highest rates of past-due medical debt, 8 are in the South...

States with largest percentage of 18-to-64-year-olds with past-due medical debt
Mississippi: 37.4%
Arkansas: 36.3%
West Virginia: 33.0%
Indiana: 32.5%
South Carolina: 32.4%
Kentucky: 30.9%
Missouri: 30.6%
Oklahoma: 30.0%
Alabama: 30.0%
Georgia: 29.2%

Hawaii is the only state in which the percentage of people aged 18 to 64 with past-due medical debt is below 10 percent. Minnesota has the second-lowest rate (13.3%), followed by California (16.0%), Massachusetts (16.1%), and Connecticut (16.3%).

Source: Urban Institute, Past-Due Medical Debt among Nonelderly Adults, 2012-15

Thursday, March 16, 2017

34% of Households Experience Income Volatility

More than one-third of American households experience income volatility in a year's time, according to Pew Charitable Trusts' 2015 Survey of American Family Finances. Pew defines volatility as a year-over-year change in annual household income of at least 25 percent. Here are the percentages who experienced volatility by generation...

Households with at least a 25% change in income, 2014-15 (and % gaining or losing)
Millennials: 43% (26% gain; 17% loss)
Gen Xers: 31% (18% gain; 13% loss)
Boomers: 31% (15% gain; 16% loss)
Silent: 31% (15% gain; 16% loss)

Income volatility is a hardship says Pew, and survey findings bear this out. The 34 percent of households experiencing income volatility between 2014 and 2015 were more likely than those with stable incomes to have experienced financial shortfalls in the past year. They were less likely to have savings or the ability to come up with $2,000 to pay for unexpected expenses. Households with a financial loss of 25 percent or more had median savings of just $1,550. Those with a financial gain of 25 percent or more had savings of $3,000. Those with stable incomes had median savings of $5,500.

The most commonly cited reason for income volatility is an irregular work schedule, says Pew.

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts, How Income Volatility Interacts with American Families' Financial Security

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Younger Adults Have More Laptop Computers

Households headed by people under age 35 have an average of 1.5 laptops per household—one for every two household members. This is a greater concentration of laptops than in any other age group, according to the Energy Information Administration's 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The RECS examines household ownership of a variety of electronic devices including televisions, computers, and smartphones.

Laptop computers per household member (and per household) by age, 2015
Under age 25:  0.52 (1.5)
Aged 25 to 34: 0.51 (1.5)
Aged 35 to 44: 0.40 (1.4)
Aged 45 to 54: 0.49 (1.4)
Aged 55 to 64: 0.48 (1.0)
Aged 65 to 74: 0.42 (0.8)
Aged 75-plus:  0.29 (0.5)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Average Number of Televisions in U.S. Homes Declining

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Many Households Unaware of Retirement Risk

Many Americans are not prepared for retirement. Some know it, but many don't. Conversely, among households that are adequately prepared for retirement, substantial numbers think they are at risk. A recent study by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) measured the size of each of these groups in an attempt to determine the accuracy with which households assess their retirement readiness.

The CRR study analyzed data from the National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI), which is based on the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. The NRRI defines households at risk as those whose retirement income will not be enough to replace a targeted percentage of pre-retirement earnings. The Survey of Consumer Finances also asks households how well prepared they think they are for retirement. Comparing those two measures—retirement readiness and perception of retirement readiness, the CRR study found the following...

52% of households are at risk
33% of households are at risk and they know it
19% of households are at risk and they don't know it

48% of households are not at risk
24% of households are well prepared for retirement and they know it
24% of households are well prepared for retirement and they don't know it

The 19 percent of households that are unaware of their retirement risk tend to be those with defined-contribution retirement plans and high incomes. The 24 percent that are well-prepared but think they are at risk tend to be homeowners with defined-benefit pension plans.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Do Households Have a Good Sense of their Retirement Preparedness?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Average Number of Televisions Is Declining

The number of televisions in the average American home is declining, according to newly released data from the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). In 2015, there were an average of 2.3 televisions per household, down from 2.6 in 2009. Fewer households have three or more TVs (39 percent, down from 44 percent in 2009), and more households have no TVs (2.6 percent, up from 1.3 percent in 2009).

The number of televisions per household member rises with age. Households headed by people aged 75 or older have twice as many televisions per household member (1.47) as the youngest householders (0.72).

Televisions per household member (and per household) by age, 2015
Under age 25:  0.72 (2.07)
Aged 25 to 34: 0.81 (2.36)
Aged 35 to 44: 0.83 (2.89)
Aged 45 to 54: 1.08 (3.06)
Aged 55 to 64: 1.27 (2.77)
Aged 65 to 74: 1.34 (2.55)
Aged 75-plus:  1.47 (2.40)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Average Number of Televisions in U.S. Homes Declining

Friday, March 10, 2017

Median Household Income Stable in January 2017

Median household income in January 2017 stood at $58,056, according to Sentier Research, not significantly different from the December 2016 median after adjusting for inflation. 

The 2015 rise in median household income appears to have stalled out in 2016. "With the exception of some minor ups and downs," reports Sentier, "median annual household income has essentially been flat since the fall of 2015." Nevertheless, the January 2017 median was 9.0 percent higher than the $53,265 median of August 2011—the low point in Sentier's household income series. 

"Although median annual household income did not decline significantly between December and January, it is down by $691 (or 1.2 percent) since November 2016," says Sentier's Gordon Green. "We continue to monitor the course of inflation, as this has a significant effect on the trend in real median annual household income." Sentier's median household income estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in January 2017 was 1.7 percent higher than the median of June 2009, which marked the end of the Great Recession. It was not significantly different from the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. The January 2017 median was 1.3 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index in January 2017 was 98.7 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: January 2017

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Drug Overdose Deaths by State, 2015

Drug overdose deaths are surging. The age-adjusted death rate nearly tripled between 1999 and 2015, rising from 6.1 to 16.3 deaths per 100,000 population. By race and Hispanic origin, non-Hispanic Whites have by far the highest drug overdose death rate—21.1 deaths per 100,000 population for non-Hispanic Whites versus 12.2 for Blacks and 7.7 for Hispanics. By age, the biggest increase in drug overdose deaths occurred among people aged 55 to 64, the rate rising five-fold from 4.2 to 21.8 deaths per 100,000 population between 1999 and 2015.

The age-adjusted drug overdose death rate is much higher in some states than in others. Here are the states with the highest and lowest death rates in 2015...

States with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population
West Virginia: 41.5
New Hampshire: 34.3
Kentucky: 29.9
Ohio: 29.9
Rhode Island: 28.2

States with the lowest rate of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population
Iowa: 10.3
Texas: 9.4
North Dakota: 8.6
South Dakota: 8.4
Nebraska: 6.9

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2015

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Difficulties in Physical Functioning, 2015

Among Americans aged 65 or older in 2015, a substantial 37 percent reported having great difficulty performing at least one of nine physical tasks, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The 37 percent figure is a bit higher than the 35 percent of people aged 65 or older who reported having great difficulty with these tasks in 2002, the first year the question was asked.

Percent of 65-plus who say physical task would be very difficult or impossible
Standing for two hours: 24.9%
Stooping, bending, or kneeling: 22.5%
Walking a quarter mile: 19.2%
Pushing or pulling large objects: 15.1%
Climbing 10 steps without resting: 14.5%
Lifting or carrying 10 pounds: 11.5%
Reaching over head: 5.6%
Sitting for two hours: 4.9%
Grasping or handling small objects: 4.6%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Minority Share of 10 Largest Metro Areas, 2015

Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities accounted for 38 percent of the total U.S. population in 2015. Minorities are the majority in 7 of the 10 largest metropolitan areas.

Minority share of 10 largest metropolitan areas
New York: 53.1%
Los Angeles: 70.1%
Chicago: 46.7%
Dallas: 52.3%
Houston: 62.7%
Washington, DC: 53.9%
Philadelphia: 37.4%
Miami: 68.2%
Atlanta: 51.7%
Boston: 28.3%

Note: Minorities are calculated by subtracting non-Hispanic Whites from the total population.
Source: Census Bureau, American Factfinder, 2015 American Community Survey

Monday, March 06, 2017

Health Status by Rural-Urban County Classification

The larger and more dense the urban county, the greater the percentage of residents who practice healthy habits, according to a study by the CDC. The habits examined by the CDC were smoking, drinking (moderately or not at all), maintaining normal body weight, meeting aerobic physical activity recommendations, and getting enough sleep. While differences by type of county were not large, they were statistically significant...

Percent of resident who practice at least 4 of 5 healthy behaviors, by county type
Large metropolitan center counties: 31.7%
Large fringe metropolitan counties: 30.2%
Median metropolitan counties: 30.5%
Small metropolitan counties: 29.5%
Micropolitan counties: 28.8%
Rural counties: 27.0%

Even after controlling for demographic characteristics, the pattern is the same. "Evidence-based strategies to improve the health-related behaviors of persons living in rural areas in the United States should be widely implemented," the report concludes.

Source: CDC, Health-Related Behaviors by Urban-Rural County Classification—United States, 2013

Friday, March 03, 2017

Last Dental Visit More than Five Years Ago

A substantial 13 percent of Americans aged 18 or older have not been to a dentist in more than five years. Because dental care often requires hefty out-of-pocket spending, low-income adults are more likely than the affluent to skip dental checkups. Among adults with family incomes below $35,000, 23 percent have not seen a dentist in five-plus years versus only 3 percent of those with family incomes of $100,000 or more. The dental care gap by educational attainment is even larger...

More than 5 years since last dental visit
30% of those without a high school diploma
19% of those with a high school diploma only
12% of those with some college but no bachelor's degree
4% of those with a bachelor's degree or more education

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Tables of Summary Health Statistics

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Crime Decline, 2000 to 2015

Crime has fallen substantially since 2000, according to the FBI. The number of violent crimes fell 16 percent between 2000 and 2015, and the violent crime rate fell 26 percent. The number of property crimes fell 21 percent during those years, and the property crime rate fell 31 percent.

Number of violent crimes (and rate per 100,000 population)
2015: 1.2 million (372.6)
2010: 1.3 million (404.5)
2005: 1.4 million (469.0)
2000: 1.4 million (506.5)

Number of property crimes (and rate per 100,000 population)
2015: 8.0 million (2,487.0)
2010: 9.1 million (2,945.9)
2005: 10.2 million (3,431.5)
2000: 10.2 million (3,618.3)

Note: Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2015 Crime in the United States

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Number of Children in Lifetime, 2015

American women will have an average of 1.84 children in their lifetime, an estimate based on birth rates by age in 2015. This is well below the average of two children per woman required to sustain the U.S. population at its current size absent immigration. Here is the average number of children women will have in their lifetime by race and Hispanic origin...

Average number of children in lifetime
2.12 children for Hispanics
1.86 children for non-Hispanic Blacks
1.75 children for non-Hispanic Whites
1.65 children for Asians
1.26 children for American Indians

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Final Data for 2015

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Age of Housing Stock by Metropolitan Area

The average American household lives in a housing unit with a median age of 39, built in 1976, according to the 2015 American housing survey. The AHS collected information about housing in the nation as a whole, in the 15 largest metro areas, and in 10 additional metros. Here are those 25 metros ranked by the age of their housing stock from youngest to oldest.

Occupied housing units: median year built (and age of average structure)
Raleigh: 1996 (19 years)
Atlanta: 1991 (24 years)
Phoenix: 1989 (26 years)
Dallas: 1987 (28 years)
Riverside-San Bernardino: 1986 (29 years)
Houston: 1985 (30 years)
Washington, DC: 1981 (34 years)
Denver: 1980 (35 years)
Memphis: 1980 (35 years)
Miami: 1980 (35 years)
Seattle: 1980 (35 years)
Portland: 1979 (36 years)
Kansas City: 1975 (40 years)
New Orleans: 1974 (41 years)
Cincinnati: 1972 (43 years)
Chicago: 1968 (47 years)
Detroit: 1967 (48 years)
Boston: 1957 (58 years)
Los Angeles: 1964 (51 years)
San Francisco: 1964 (51 years)
Cleveland: 1958 (57 years)
Philadelphia: 1963 (52 years)
Milwaukee: 1961 (54 years)
New York: 1957 (58 years)
Pittsburgh: 1957 (58 years)

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Monday, February 27, 2017

Modern Family: Why Children Are In Charge

Children rule, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research analysis of how parenting has changed over time. The outsized power of children in modern American families is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the NBER researchers theorize that children have become more powerful because competition within families has changed.

"The key intuition is that the rise in relative earnings of wives increased competition between spouses for the love and affection of their children," the researchers say, "while the decline in family size reduced competition between children for resources from their parents. The combined effect has empowered children."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, When Children Rule: Parenting in Modern Families, NBER Working Paper #23087 ($5)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Napping Increases with Age

A substantial 41 percent of adults are nappers, according to an AARP survey, which defines nappers as those who take naps at least once a week. Napping rises with age...

Percent who nap at least once a week
Under age 45: 32%
Aged 45 to 54: 37%
Aged 55 to 64: 42%
Aged 65 to 74: 47%
Aged 75-plus: 59%

Among people aged 40 or older, 10 percent nap daily and 42 percent nap at least once a week. Only 22 percent never take naps. The average nap lasts 28 minutes.

Source: AARP, 2016 AARP Sleep and Brain Health Survey

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Homeownership by Region, Peak Year to 2016

Nationally, the rate of homeownership fell to 63.4 percent in 2016, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey. To find a lower homeownership rate, you have to go all the way back to 1965. But homeownership trends vary by region...

Northeast homeownership rate
2016: 60.2% (lowest rate since 1976)
2015: 60.9%
2005: 65.2% (peak year)

Midwest homeownership rate
2016: 68.4% (slightly higher than 2015)
2015: 68.3% (lowest rate since 1989)
2004: 73.8% (peak year)

South homeownership rate
2016: 65.0% (lowest rate since 1965)
2015: 65.1%
2004: 70.9% (peak year)

West homeownership rate
2016: 58.5% (lowest rate since 1987)
2015: 58.7%
2006: 64.7% (peak year)

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Homeownership Rate by Age, 2016

The nation's homeownership rate fell to 63.4 percent in 2016, down from the peak of 69.0 percent in 2004—a 5.6 percentage point decline. Among householders ranging in age from 30 to 44, the decline was in the double digits, including a 12 percentage-point drop among householders aged 30 to 34 as the age of first-time home buying continues to advance. 

Homeownership rate in 2016 (and percentage-point decline since 2004 peak)
Total households: 63.4% (–5.6)
Under 25: 21.9% (–3.3)
25 to 29: 30.9% (–9.3)
30 to 34: 45.4% (–12.0)
35 to 39: 55.3% (–10.9)
40 to 44: 62.0% (–10.0)
45 to 54: 69.3% (–7.9)
55 to 64: 75.0% (–6.7)
65-plus: 78.8% (–2.3)

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2016 Homeownership Falls to 63.4%

The homeownership rate in 2016 fell to 63.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Survey—down another 0.3 percentage points in the past year. To find a lower homeownership rate, you have to go all the way back to 1965. Since homeownership peaked in 2004, the rate has fallen by 5.6 percentage points.

Homeownership rate
2016: 63.4%
2015: 63.7%
2010: 66.9%
2004: 69.0% (peak year)
2000: 67.4%
1990: 63.9%
1980: 65.6%
1970: 64.2%
1960: 62.1%

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Monday, February 20, 2017

Legal Immigrants: Top 5 States, 2015

Of the 1,051,031 immigrants who were granted legal permanent residence in the United States in 2015, the 58 percent majority settled in just five states.

Number (and percent) of legal immigrants, 2015
California:     209,568 (19.9%)
New York:     130,010 (12.4%)
Florida:          118,873 (11.3%)
Texas:              99,727 (9.5%)
New Jersey:     49,801 (4.7%)

Source: Department of Homeland Security, 2015 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics

Friday, February 17, 2017

Legal Immigrants: Top 10 Countries, 2015

The United States granted legal permanent residence to 1,051,031 immigrants in 2015. Ten countries accounted for the 52 percent majority of legal immigrants. Those countries are...

Legal immigrants in 2015
Mexico: 158,619
China: 74,558
India: 64,116
Philippines: 56,478
Cuba: 54,396
Dominican Republic: 50,610
Vietnam: 30,832
Iraq: 21,107
El Salvador: 19,487
Pakistan: 18,057

Source: Department of Homeland Security, 2015 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Labor Force Participation of Older Men, 2016

The labor force participation rate of men aged 65 or older climbed to 24.0 percent in 2016, the highest rate since 1972. From an all-time low of 15.6 percent in 1993, the labor force participation rate of older men has climbed more than 8 percentage points in the past two decades. But it will be a while before the rate matches what it was in 1950, when 45.8 percent of men aged 65 or older were in the labor force.

Labor force participation rate of men aged 65 or older
2016: 24.0%
2010: 22.1%
2000: 17.7%
1993: 15.6% (low point)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Changing Age Distribution of Homeowners with Mortgages

Homeowners with mortgages are getting older, report researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Analyzing CoreLogic and CRISM data, the researchers examined changes over the past decade in the age distribution of mortgage borrowers and the housing equity held by borrowers. The finding: older Americans (aged 61 or older) account for a growing share of mortgage borrowers as home buying slips among younger adults.

Distribution of mortgage borrowers in 2016 (and 2006)
Under age 45: 31% (42%)
Aged 45 to 60: 42% (43%)
Aged 61-plus: 27% (15%)

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, The Evolution of Home Equity Ownership

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Aren't Millennials Moving?

The nation's geographic mobility rate has dropped to a record low. One factor behind the decline is the Millennial generation—younger adults, the people most likely to move. But younger adults aren't moving like they once did, reports Pew Research Center's Richard Fry. He examined trends in the geographical mobility rate of 25-to-34-year-olds over the past 50-plus years. The mobility rate of the age group was at all-time low of 20 percent in 2016.

Percent of 25-to-34-year-olds who moved in past year
2016: 20%
2000: 26%
1990: 27%
1981: 25%
1963: 26%

What accounts for the decline? One reason is the modest jobs recovery, suggests Fry. Job opportunities are not good enough to entice Millennials to move. Student debt also may be a factor, he says, preventing Millennials from buying homes. A survey of student loan borrowers by American Student Assistance confirms the impact of student debt on mobility. Among people with student loans, 43 percent say their debt has forced them to delay moving out of their parents' home, 46 percent say it has forced them to delay living on their own without roommates, and 57 percent said it has affected their ability to purchase a home.

Source: Pew Research Center, Americans Are Moving at Historically Low Rates, in Part Because Millennials Are Staying Put

Monday, February 13, 2017

17.5 Teaspoons of Added Sugars Per Day

The average American adult (aged 20 or older) eats 17.5 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Added sugars are those added to foods and beverages during production or preparation, including high fructose corn syrup used in soft drinks, ketchup, and other processed food. Do the math, and those 17.5 teaspoons of added sugars are 70 grams a day—far above the 37.5 grams for men and 25.0 grams for women recommended by the American Heart Association. This is where those added sugars come from...

Added sugars consumed daily by adults
Total added sugars: 72.8 grams (100%)
Food at home: 54.8 grams (75%)
Sit-down restaurants: 4.2 grams (6%)
Take-out and fast food: 6.4 grams (9%)
School, other: 7.4 grams (10%)

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Food Consumption and Nutrient Intakes, Average Daily Intake of Food by Food Source and Demographic Characteristics, 2007–10

Friday, February 10, 2017

Assisted Reproductive Technology = 65,000 Births

Of the nearly 4 million babies born in the United States in 2014, a substantial 65,163 were born with the help of assisted reproductive technology—or 1.6 percent of births, reports the CDC. Assisted reproductive technologies are fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, in which eggs or embryos are handled in a laboratory. The percentage of babies born through assisted reproductive technology is larger in some states than in others. Here are the top five states...

Percentage of babies born with the help of assisted reproductive technology
Massachusetts: 4.7%
District of Columbia: 3.8%
New Jersey: 3.7%
Connecticut: 3.6%
New York: 2.7%

At the other extreme, in Alabama, Alaska, New Mexico, and West Virginia only 0.5 percent of babies were born through assisted reproductive technology.

Source: CDC, Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance—United States, 2014

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Can You Hear Me Now?

If you can, you still might have a hearing problem, according to the CDC. Among adults aged 20 to 69, a substantial 24 percent have noise-induced hearing loss. Even among those who think their hearing is good to excellent, nearly one in four has noise-induced hearing loss. These findings come from actual hearing tests administered to a nationally representative sample of adults aged 20 to 69 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Here are the key findings...
  • 32 percent of men had signs of hearing loss versus 17 percent of women.
  • Among adults aged 20 to 69, hearing loss was lowest among 20-to-29-year-olds (19 percent) and highest among 40-to-49-year-olds (29 percent).
  • Among race and Hispanic origin groups, Mexican Americans were most likely to have hearing loss (32 percent). Blacks were least likely (21 percent).
  • 23.5 percent of those who thought their hearing was good to excellent had hearing loss. Among those who reported having trouble with their hearing, an only slightly larger 28.3 percent had signs of hearing loss.
  • 33 percent of those with work exposure to loud noise had signs of hearing loss.
"Noise-induced hearing loss is a significant, often unrecognized health problem among U.S. adults," concludes the CDC. "Avoiding prolonged exposure to loud environments and using personal hearing protection devices can prevent noise-induced hearing loss."

Source: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vital Signs: Noice-Induced Hearing Loss Among Adults—United States 2011–2012

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Really Long Term Trends in Health Insurance Coverage

The number of Americans under age 65 who do not have health insurance is lower today than it was all the way back in 1972, reports the National Center for Health Statistics, despite a 46 percent increase in the population under age 65.

As recently as 2013, the percentage of the population under age 65 without health insurance was the same as in 1972—so, in four decades no progress had been made in expanding insurance coverage. Enter the Affordable Care Act, with marketplace plans up and running by January 2014, an effort that finally moved the needle. The percentage of Americans under age 65 who did not have health insurance fell from 16.7 percent in 2013 to the all-time low of 10.6 percent in 2015.

Number (and percent) of population under age 65 without health insurance
2015: 28.7 million (10.6%)
1972: 30.7 million (16.7%)

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, Long-Term Trends in Health Insurance Coverage

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

LGBT Identification by State

LGBT identification is increasing nationally and in most states, finds a Gallup survey. Nationally, 4.1 percent of Americans identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in 2016, up from 3.5 percent in 2012. In the District of Columbia, 8.6 percent of the population identifies as LGBT. By state, the figure ranges from a high of 5.3 percent in Vermont to a low of 2.0 percent in South Dakota

States with highest LGBT identification
5.3% in Vermont
4.9% in Massachusetts, California, and Oregon
4.8% in Nevada

States with lowest LGBT identification
2.8% in Idaho
2.7% in North Dakota
2.0% in South Dakota

Monday, February 06, 2017

Many Younger Adults Say Public Health Is Declining

The public is divided about whether public health is improving or getting worse, and the divide is by generation. Overall, 48 percent of the public say the health of American children is worse today than it was 20 years ago, but most people aged 18 to 64 say it is worse.

Health of U.S. children is worse than it was 20 years ago
Aged 18 to 49: 52%
Aged 50 to 64: 51%
Aged 65-plus: 31%

Attitudes toward the health of the adult population are also split by generation. Overall, 42 percent say the health of American adults is worse today than it was 20 years ago, with the near majority of people aged 18 to 64 saying it is worse.

Health of U.S. adults is worse than it was 20 years ago
Aged 18 to 49: 48%
Aged 50 to 64: 46%
Aged 65-plus: 20%

Only 27 percent of people aged 18 to 64 say the health of children is better today than it was 20 years ago versus nearly half (49 percent) of people aged 65 or older. Only 28 percent of 18-to-64-year-olds think the health of adults is better today than it was 20 years ago versus the 53 percent majority of people aged 65 or older.

Source: Pew Research Center, Vast Majority of American Say Benefits of Childhood Vaccines Outweigh Risks

Friday, February 03, 2017

Median Household Income Falls in December 2016

Hmmm, this is bad news. Median household income fell in December 2016 to $57,827—a substantial 1 percent lower than the November 2016 median, after adjusting for inflation. 

"The December decline in median annual household income wipes out most of the increase in income that had been evident since May 2016 and returns it to a level of income that is not significantly different than that at the beginning of the great recession," reports Sentier Research. The December 2016 median was 0.9 percent below the December 2015 median. It was 9.1 percent above the $53,019 median of August 2011, the low point in Sentier's household income series. 

"Not only has median annual household income in 2016 not been able to maintain the momentum that it achieved during 2015," says Sentier's Gordon Green, but "it slipped by a formidable 1.0 percent in our latest reading for December. We continue to monitor the course of inflation, as this has a significant effect on the trend in real median annual household income." Sentier's median household income estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in December 2016 was 1.8 percent higher than the median of June 2009, which marked the end of the Great Recession. It was not significantly different from the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. The December 2016 median is 1.3 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index in December 2016 was 98.7 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: December 2016

Thursday, February 02, 2017

American Health Care May Be "Uniquely Inefficient"

The U.S. health care system may be uniquely inefficient compared to other countries, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study. NBER researchers compared the diffusion of drugs of high and low quality (defined by relative therapeutic benefit) in the U.S. versus their diffusion in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Low quality drugs, they find, are adopted more quickly in the United States. This finding supports the theory that health care in the U.S. is inefficient relative to health care in other countries. "The U.S. health care system may be 'uniquely inefficient' in the sense of fueling the rapid adoption and diffusion of medical technologies with small or unknown benefits," the researchers conclude.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Is American Health Care Uniquely Inefficient? Evidence from Prescription Drugs, NBER Working Paper #23068

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Ad Blocking May Threaten the Internet

"Use of Ad-Blocking Software Rises by 30% Worldwide," reports the New York Times. That could be a problem:  "By using software to block digital advertising, critics say, users are breaking an unwritten pact with websites and digital publishers, many of which generate the bulk of their revenue from these ads."

A National Bureau of Economic Research study also sounds the alarm: "Ad blocking poses a substantial threat to the ad-supported web," say the authors of the study. According to their research, one-quarter of site visitors in 2016 used ad blockers and by doing so reduced the quality of web sites as determined by traffic ranks. After examining proprietary, site-specific data from 2013 to 2016, the researchers determine that each percentage-point increase in site visitors who use ad blockers worsens a site's traffic rank by 0.6 percent over a 35 month period. "We conclude that ad blocking poses a substantial threat to the ad-supported web."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Will Ad Blocking Break the Internet? NBER Working Paper #23058 ($5)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2016

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2016: 45.6%

The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 was unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2016. Their 45.6 percent homeownership rate in the 4th quarter was above the all-time low of 44.8 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2016. The difference in the rates is not statistically significant. The stability in the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds over the past two years suggests that after years of decline the rate may have bottomed out.  


Historically, homeownership became the norm in the 30-to-34 age group—rising above 50 percent. But beginning in 2007, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds went into a tailspin. In the second quarter of 2011, the rate fell below 50 percent for the first time. It's been stuck there ever since. The new age of first-time home buying is 35 to 39, but even this age group has been slipping toward the 50-percent threshold. In the fourth quarter of 2016 the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds fell to 55.0 percent, an all-time low. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds peaked in the first quarter of 2007 at 65.7 percent.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 63.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, a bit below the  63.8 percent of a year earlier. 

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey