Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Retirement Savings Gap

Among typical working households with a 401(k)/IRA, the median balance in their plan(s) as they approach retirement is $135,000, according to the Center for Retirement Research's analysis of the Federal Reserve Board's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. This is not enough to provide much financial support in retirement and is well below what they should have saved over the years, according to Center for Retirement Research calculations.

The CRR's calculations assume an individual has median earnings and contributes 6 percent of his/her salary to a 401(k)/IRA from age 25 in 1981 to age 60 in 2016, with a 50 percent employer match, a 50/50 stock/bond portfolio, and actual stock market returns over the time period. The accumulated total would be $364,000 in 2016. But after subtracting fees and the average leakage (cashing out) rate, retirement savings falls to $228,000. That's still a lot more than the actual amount ($135,000) in the 401(k)/IRA accounts of older households. What accounts for the gap? Failure to contribute, say the researchers.

"A number of factors contribute to low balances," conclude the researchers—"less than full participation, low contributions, high fees, and leakages." By fixing these problems, "outcomes could be greatly improved."

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 401(k)/IRA Holdings in 2016: An Update from the SCF

Monday, October 16, 2017

Steep Drop in Republican Fans of Pro Football

Professional football remains the nation's most popular sport, but it's not as popular as it used to be. The 57 percent majority of American aged 18 or older say they are fans of pro football, according to a Gallup survey. But that's down by a full 10 percentage points from the 67 percent of 2012 (the last time Gallup asked the question). The decline has been especially steep among Republicans (–15 percentage points) and independents (–12 percentage points)...

Fans of professional football in 2017 (and 2012)
Democrats: 66% (69%)
Independents: 53% (65%)
Republicans: 55% (70%)

"It is uncertain how much the national anthem controversy has contributed to the decline in pro football fans compared with other controversies or factors," concludes Gallup.

Source: Gallup, Pro Football Losing Fans; Other Sports Holding Steady

Friday, October 13, 2017

Suicide Rate Highest in Nonmetro/Rural Areas

Yet another study has found a widening health gap between rural and urban areas. In an analysis of suicide rates by urban status over the past decade, the CDC finds much higher suicide rates in nonmetropolitan and rural areas than in metropolitan areas. To make matters worse, suicide rates are rising faster in the hinterlands than in the rest of the U.S.

In 2013–15, the suicide rate in nonmetro/rural areas (19.74 suicides per 100,000 population aged 10 or older) was 18 percent higher than the rate in medium/small metro areas (16.77), 32 percent higher than the national average (14.98), and 55 percent higher than the rate in large metropolitan areas (12.72). Since 2001–03, the suicide rate has climbed across the nation, but nowhere more so than in nonmetropolitan/rural areas. Between 2001–03 and 2013–15, the suicide rate climbed 14 percent in the largest metros, 19 percent nationally, 25 percent in medium/small metro areas, and 27 percent in nonmetro/rural areas.

The pattern in the suicide rate is the same for both males and females, in every age group, and for every race and Hispanic origin group except Blacks—whose relatively low suicide rate has not increased much and is highest in medium/small metros.

Suicide rates are "consistently higher in rural communities," concludes the CDC. "Findings from this study underscore the need to identify protective factors as part of comprehensive suicide prevention efforts, particularly in rural areas."

Source: CDC, Suicide Trends among and within Urbanization Levels by Sex, Race/Ethnicity, Age Group, and Mechanism of Death—United States, 2001–2015

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Jobs in the Retail Apocalypse

The year 2012 may have been the beginning of the retail apocalypse, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York analysis, which compares job growth over the years in two types of retail establishments—department stores and nonstore (online) retailers. Before 2012, the number of jobs in both types of establishments closely followed the ups and downs of the business cycle. But in 2012 everything changed. Department stores began to shed jobs by the tens and hundreds of thousands while online retailers have been adding to their payrolls.

To make matters worse for those laid-off department store workers, say the researchers, the stores eliminating jobs are often in different locations from the online retailers who are hiring—a geographic disparity documented in their study. Even if laid-off department store workers moved to where online retailers are hiring, they aren't likely to land a job because skillsets are different, as evidenced by average pay levels— about $20,000 a year for department store workers versus about $59,000 a year for those employed by online retailers.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, How Is Online Shopping Affecting Retail Employment?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Few First-Generation College Students Earn Degree

First-generation college students face an uphill battle. They are far less likely than their peers with college-educated parents to earn a bachelor's degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics' Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, which is tracking a nationally representative sample of 2002 high school sophomores.

Among first-generation students (defined as those whose parents have no postsecondary education experience) who enrolled in college, only 23 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree by 2012—a decade after their sophomore year in high school. Among continuing-generation students (defined as those whose parents have a bachelor's degree), a much larger 55 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree by 2012.

Fully 47 percent of first-generation students who enrolled in college had no degree or certificate to show for it a decade later. Among continuing-generation students, a smaller 30 percent left school empty-handed. What caused so many first-generation students to drop out before receiving any credentials? The single biggest factor, cited by 54 percent, was affordability—they couldn't afford to continue in school. Among continuing-generation students, the single biggest reason for dropping out, cited by 49 percent, was a desire to work and make money.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students: A Comparison of High School and Postsecondary Experiences

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Long Half Life of Student Loans

Most college students take out loans to pay for their education, and many are still paying them back decades later, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics. Among first-time beginning postsecondary students who began school in 1995–96, the 55 percent majority took out federal education loans. Among those who began school in 2003–04, a larger 63 percent took out loans.

Those loans never die, apparently. The 1995–96 students still owed 70 percent of the amount of their education loans 12 years later. The 2003–04 students still owed an even larger 78 percent 12 years later. After 20 years (!) the 1994–95 students still owed 22 percent of their education loan amount.

The difficulty in paying back student loans explains why the share of American households with education debt has reached dizzying heights. According to the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances, nearly half of householders under age 35 had education loans in 2016, as did one-third of householders aged 35 to 44, one-fourth of householders aged 45 to 54, and one-eighth of householders aged 55 to 64...

Percent of households with education loans in 2016 (and 2001)
Under age 35: 44.8% (26.1%)
Aged 35 to 44: 34.4% (12.5%)
Aged 45 to 54: 23.8% (11.0%)
Aged 55 to 64: 12.9% (5.2%)

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Repayment of Student Loans as of 2015 among 1995–96 and 2003–04 First-Time Beginning Students

Monday, October 09, 2017

Children with Glasses or Contact Lenses

Many children wear glasses or contact lenses, according to the National Health Interview Survey. Among children ranging in age from 6 to 17, fully 36 percent of girls and 29 percent of boys wear them. Here are the percentages by age...

Boys who wear glasses or contact lenses
Aged 6 to 9: 14.9%
Aged 10 to 13: 33.5%
Aged 14 to 17: 38.8%

Girls who wear glasses or contact lenses
Aged 6 to 9: 20.2%
Aged 10 to 13: 35.9%
Aged 14 to 17: 51.9%

Source: CDC, QuickStats: Percentage of Children Aged 6—17 Who Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses, by Sex and Age Group—National Health Interview Survey, 2016

Friday, October 06, 2017

56% Do Not Want to Ride in a Driverless Vehicle

When Americans are asked whether they would ride in a driverless vehicle if given the chance, the naysayers outnumber the yaysayers. The 56 percent majority of Americans aged 18 or older would say no to riding in a driverless vehicle, according to a Pew Research Center survey, and 44 percent would say yes. Here are the not-so-surprising demographics of those who would say yes...

Percent who would want to ride in a driverless vehicle
Men: 53%
Women: 35%

Under age 50: 51%
Aged 50-plus: 35%

College graduate: 56%
Some college: 44%
High school or less: 33%

Urban: 52%
Suburban: 40%
Rural: 36%

Why are so many people hesitant to ride in a driverless vehicle? The single biggest reason, cited by 42 percent according to Pew, is lack of trust in technology/unwillingness to cede control to a machine. Before you wring your hands in despair over America's Luddite majority, keep in mind that if Pew had been around to survey the public about horseless carriages, the naysayers likely would have been just as numerous and for the same reason.

Source: Pew Research Center, Automation in Everyday Life

Thursday, October 05, 2017

What Explains the Black-White Wealth Gap?

The median net worth of non-Hispanic White households was 9.7 times the net worth of Black households in 2016—$171,000 versus $17,600, according to the Federal Reserve Board's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. The wealth gap is larger today than it was in the early 2000s, when the average non-Hispanic White household had "only" 6 to 7 times the wealth of the average Black household.

What's behind the growing wealth gap? Since non-Hispanic White and Black households are equally likely to be in debt (77.5 and 77.1 percent, respectively) and since non-Hispanic Whites owe more (a median of $74,100) than Blacks ($31,100), the wealth gap is not about debt.

The gap is about assets—in particular, homeownership. Only 44.7 percent of Black households were homeowners in 2016 versus a much larger 72.5 percent of non-Hispanic Whites. Black homeownership fell more than non-Hispanic White as the housing market collapsed with the Great Recession, and Black homeowners saw their houses lose much more value. For Black homeowners, median housing value fell 29 percent between 2007 and 2016—to $124,000, after adjusting for inflation. For non-Hispanic White homeowners, median housing value fell by a smaller 14 percent during those years—to $200,000. Since owned homes are the single largest asset for the average American household, these differences explain not only the large wealth gap but also why it has grown.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Federal Reserve Board's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Grandparents Are #2 Day Care Provider

Grandparents are the second-biggest day care providers in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey finds more than 4 million preschoolers being cared for regularly at least once a week by their grandparents.

Of the nation's 21 million children from ages 0 through 5 and not yet in kindergarten, 13 million (60 percent) are in a regularly scheduled nonparental care arrangement at least once a week. This is who cares for those children...

7.6 million are in center-based care (59%)
4.1 million are cared for by a grandparent (32%)
2.8 million are cared for by nonrelatives (22%)
1.1 million are cared for by other relatives (9%)

Note: Numbers will add to more than 100 percent because children may have more than one type of regularly scheduled nonparental care arrangement.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Program Participation, Results from the National Household Education Survey Program of 2016

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

How Does 2016 Net Worth Compare?

Median household net worth climbed to $97,300 in 2016, reports the triennial Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. The 2016 figure was 16 percent higher than in 2013, after adjusting for inflation, but fully 30 percent below net worth in 2007.

But comparing today's net worth with 2007 is perhaps a stretch because the 2007 figure was inflated by the housing bubble. So forget about 2007. Let's compare today's median household net worth with earlier years beginning with 1989, after adjusting for inflation...

$97,300 net worth of 2016 was higher than:
1989: $87,500
1992: $83,100
1995: $90,600

$97,300 net worth of 2016 was lower than:
1998: $105,800
2001: $117,300
2004: $118,400
2007: $139,700

The fact that net worth in 2016 was lower than in the years 1998 to 2004 is troubling. Net worth rises with age and should be at or near an all-time high today because of the aging of the baby-boom generation. Instead, net worth is well below the levels reached when the demographics were far less favorable.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, SCF Chartbook

Monday, October 02, 2017

10 Most Commonly Treated Health Conditions

In a year's time, 85 percent of Americans incur health care expenses, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, at a total cost of $1.5 trillion in 2014. These are the 10 conditions for which the largest number of people incurred expenses in 2014...

62.0 million treated for hypertension
49.8 million treated for mental disorders
47.4 million treated for COPD, asthma
47.2 million treated for high cholesterol
40.6 million treated for osteoarthritis
36.4 million treated for trauma
29.9 million treated for acute bronchitis
26.2 million treated for skin disorders
25.8 million treated for upper GI disorders
25.6 million treated for diabetes

Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Friday, September 29, 2017

Most Children Are Expected to Earn Bachelor's Degree

The nation's parents have high expectations for their children—too high, in fact. Fully 68 percent of the 26 million students in grades 6 through 12 are expected to earn at least a bachelor's degree, according to a National Center for Education Statistics survey of parent and family involvement in education. Most children attempt to fulfill their parents' expectations. The college enrollment rate—defined as the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in college within a year of their graduation—is in fact almost identical to parents' expectations at 69 percent. But only about half of those who enroll eventually earn a bachelor's degree.

Percent of students in 6th to 12th grade whose parents expect them to earn at least a bachelor's degree, by highest level of parental education, 2016
55% of parents without a high school diploma
45% of parents who went no further than high school
59% of parents with some college
84% of parents with a bachelor's degree
91% of parents with a graduate or professional degree

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Median Household Net Worth: $97,300 in 2016

After years of decline, household wealth is growing again, according to the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. Median household net worth rose to $97,300 in 2016, 16 percent more than the $83,700 of 2013, after adjusting for inflation. Net worth is still 30 percent below the 2007 peak...

Median household net worth, 2007 to 2016 (in 2016 dollars)
2016: $97,300
2013: $83,700
2010: $85,400
2007: $139,700

Behind the rise in net worth are modest increases in the value of household assets. The median value of financial assets ($23,500) grew 7 percent between 2013 and 2016, after adjusting for inflation, but was still 30 percent below the 2007 level. The median value of nonfinancial assets ($158,900) climbed 4 percent during those years, but was still 23 percent below the 2007 peak. Meanwhile, median household debt ($59,800) was 4 percent lower in 2016 than in 2013 and a substantial 23 percent lower than in 2007.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cable vs Streaming: Is 2016 a Turning Point?

We might be at the turning point. In 2016, growth in spending on cable/satellite television service came to a halt. The average household spent $764 on the service in 2016—the same as in 2015, after adjusting for inflation. This isn't the first time cable spending has come to a standstill. It stagnated between 2010 and 2011 too, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, then resumed its climb. This time might be different, with spending declines to come.

Evidence of the turning point is in the eroding customer base. The percentage of households that pay for cable/satellite television service has drifted downward since hitting the peak of 74 percent during the average quarter of 2010. A smaller 68 percent of households purchased cable/satellite service during the average quarter of 2016. The drop has been especially steep among younger householders...

Percentage of households spending on cable/satellite service during an average quarter of 2016 (and percentage-point change since 2010)
Under age 25: 32% (–17)
Aged 25 to 34: 56% (–12)
Aged 35 to 44: 68% (–7)
Aged 45 to 54: 74% (–3)
Aged 55 to 64: 75% (–3)
Aged 65-plus: 75% (–3)

According to a recent Pew survey, only about one in four Americans (28 percent) watches television primarily through online streaming. Among people under age 30, however, the 61 percent majority primarily streams.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Are Gig Workers Happy?

Gig workers don't earn as much as full-time employees, according to a Prudential study, which defines gig workers as those who work for themselves and provide a service or labor. On average gig workers earn $36,500 a year versus the $62,700 earned by full-time employees.

That's not the only drawback to gig work. There's also the lack of employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. That may be why only 44 percent of gig workers say they are satisfied with their work situation versus 55 percent of full-time employees. But there are differences in attitudes by age of gig worker. Most Millennial (aged 18 to 34) and Boomer (aged 56-plus) gig workers are satisfied with their work—67 and 75 percent, respectively. Many Millennial gig workers say they are using their gig status to move forward on their long-term aspirations. Many Boomer gig workers say they are using it to better prepare for retirement or to supplement their retirement income.

Gen Xers (aged 36 to 55) are the least satisfied with their gig work (45 percent). Most Gen Xers say it's just a way to pay the bills. They are more interested than younger or older gig workers in switching to traditional work and most likely to say they are struggling financially.

Source: Prudential, Gig Workers in America

Monday, September 25, 2017

Financial Instability = Postponed Marriage

Most people who have never married (58 percent) say they want to marry someday, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Only 14 percent don't want to marry and another 27 percent are not sure.

What's keeping those who want to marry from tying the knot? The 59 percent majority say they haven't found the right person. But that's not the only obstacle. A substantial 41 percent of the never-married say a major reason for their single status is that they are not financially stable enough to marry. Among 18-to-29-year-olds, fully 51 percent say financial instability is a major reason for remaining single.

Source: Pew Research Center, As U.S. Marriage Rate Hovers at 50%, Education Gap in Marital Status Widens

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Rise of Obesity, 1997 to 2017

One in three Americans is obese, up from one in five two decades ago. Here is the trend...

Percent of people aged 20 or older who are obese (body mass index of 30kg/m^2 or higher)
2017: 32.0%
2007: 26.7%
1997: 19.4%

These numbers, from the National Health Interview Survey, are  based on self-reported heights and weights and likely understate obesity. After all, who doesn't trim a few pounds and add a few inches when asked to report their dimensions. For an unbiased measure of obesity, the National Center for Health Statistics actually measures the heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of the population through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those efforts revealed a larger 36 percent of adults to be obese in 2011–14, up from 22 percent in 1988–94.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the January-March 2017 National Health Interview Survey

Thursday, September 21, 2017

41 Million Eldercare Providers

Millions of Americans provide informal, unpaid care for people aged 65 or older with aging-related problems—helping them with household chores, taking them to the doctor or grocery store, managing their finances, and so on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey collects data about this informal caregiving and the BLS regularly publishes reports on the extent of eldercare and the characteristics of caregivers. Here are a few of the highlights from the 2015-16 report...

More than 1 in 10 Americans provide eldercare: The 41 million who provided eldercare in the past three or four months are a substantial 16 percent of the population aged 15 or older. 

Eldercare providers are in every age group: More than 1 in 10 young adults (aged 15 to 24) provide eldercare. The figure climbs as high as 24 percent among 55-to-64-year-olds.

Men account for 44 percent of eldercare providers: Although women are the majority of providers, men account for a substantial share in every age group.

Many eldercare providers are caring for more than one person: 71 percent of eldercare providers are caring for one person, while 29 percent are caring for two or more.

Caring for a friend or neighbor is common: 16 percent of eldercare providers are caring for a friend or neighbor. Among caregivers aged 65 or older, the figure is 27 percent.

On an average day, about one in four caregivers provides eldercare: Those who provide care spend an average of 2.8 hours doing so.

Most eldercare providers have been helping for years: More than half of caregivers have been providing eldercare for three or more years.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unpaid Eldercare in the United States—2015-16 Summary

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Median IRA Balance: $31,742

Individual retirement accounts hold 25 percent of all retirement plan assets in the U.S., reports the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In the 7th annual update of its IRA Database, EBRI estimates a median balance of $31,742 in the IRAs of individual owners in 2015. The average balance was $125,045. Here are median balances by age of owner...

Median IRA account balances
Under age 25: $3,565
Aged 25 to 29: $4,622
Aged 30 to 34: $7,113
Aged 35 to 39: $11,244
Aged 40 to 44: $16,738
Aged 45 to 49: $23,439
Aged 50 to 54: $31,440
Aged 55 to 59: $41,733
Aged 60 to 64: $57,859
Aged 65 to 69: $78,612
Aged 70-plus: $80,968

IRA balances are modest because few owners contribute in a year's time—only 14.1 percent contributed in 2015. Those with Roth IRAs are more likely to contribute (26 percent) than those with traditional IRAs (7 percent). Among those who contributed, only 54 percent contributed the maximum allowable amount.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015 Update of the EBRI IRA Database: IRA Balances, Contributions, Rollovers, Withdrawals, and Asset Allocation

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mental Distress: Where It's the Worst

The CDC regularly monitors health conditions by state and metro area. Its latest analysis examines data collected in 2013—pre Trump, Harvey, and Irma. At that time, these five states had the largest proportion of adults who reported experiencing 14 or more days of mental distress during the past 30 days...

States with highest mental distress
1. West Virginia: 15.2%
2. Alabama: 14.4%
3. Kentucky: 14.3%
4. Oklahoma: 14.3%
5. Mississippi: 14.2%

North and South Dakota had the smallest proportion of residents reporting mental distress (7.7 and 7.9 percent, respectively).

These were the five metropolitan areas with the largest proportion of adults who reported experiencing 14 or more days of mental distress during the past 30 days...

Metros with highest mental distress
1. Akron, OH: 19.4%
2. Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA: 18.0%
3. Fort Smith, AR-OK: 17.6%
4. Winston-Salem, NC: 16.8%
5. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS: 16.6%

The metros with the smallest proportions of residents reporting mental distress were Minot, ND (6.3 percent), Grand Forks, ND-MN (6.3 percent), and Sioux Falls, SD (6.5 percent).

Source: CDC, Surveillance for Certain Health Behaviors and Conditions among States and Selected Local Areas—Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2013 and 2014

Monday, September 18, 2017

6.3% Increase in Black Median Household Income

Black households registered a larger gain in median income than any other race or Hispanic origin group, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The Black (alone or in combination) 2016 median of $40,065 was 6.3 percent higher than the $37,681 median of 2015, after adjusting for inflation. The median income of non-Hispanic White households grew 2 percent, and the Asian (alone or in combination) and Hispanic medians grew 4.0 and 4.3 percent, respectively...

Median household income in 2016 (and % change 2015-16; in 2016 dollars)
Asians: $80,822 (4.0%)
Blacks: $40,065 (6.3%)
Hispanics: $47,675 (4.3%)
Non-Hispanic Whites: $65,041 (2.0%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016

Friday, September 15, 2017

Census Bureau Documents Computer Revolution

The Census Bureau first collected data on household computer ownership in 1984 and internet use in 1997. This is how the figures have changed since then...

Percentage of households with a computer (desktop, laptop, or handheld)
2015: 79%
2000: 51%
1984: 8%

Percentage of households that use the internet
2015: 73%
2007: 62%
1997: 18%

Source: Census Bureau, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2015

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Household Growth Slowed to a Crawl Again in 2017

Average annual household growth in 2017 retreated to the sluggish pace recorded in the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The estimated 126.2 million households of 2017 are just 0.3 percent more than the number in 2016—a lowly rate growth last seen in 2009 and 2010.

Number of households (and % increase from previous year), 2008 to 2017
2017: 126,224,000 (0.3%)
2016: 125,819,000 (1.0%)
2015: 124,587,000 (0.5%)
2014: 123,931,000 (1.2%)
2013: 122,459,000 (1.1%)
2012: 121,084,000 (2.0%)
2011: 118,682,000 (1.0%)
2010: 117,538,000 (0.3%)
2009: 117,181,000 (0.3%)
2008: 116,783,000 (0.7%)

One factor behind the slow growth is the hesitancy of the Millennial generation to establish households. Since 2007, the number of households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds has increased by just 3.5 percent versus an 8.8 percent overall gain. Another factor behind the slow growth is stagnation in households headed by non-Hispanic Whites, the number falling slightly between 2016 and 2017. In contrast, the number of households headed by Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics grew by at least 1 percent.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Current Population Survey

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2016 Median Household Income Still Below 1999 Peak

Median household income climbed 3.2 percent in 2016 to $59,039, according to the Census Bureau. This median appears to be a record high, surpassing the long-standing 1999 median of $58,665 (in 2016 dollars). Unfortunately, the two medians are not comparable because of a redesign of the Current Population Survey's income questions in 2014. The new income questions capture much more income from IRA and 401(k) withdrawals, which resulted in a methodological boost to median household income.

So how does the $59,039 median of 2016 compare with the 1999 all-time high after accounting for changes in methodology? We still haven't caught up, according to the Economic Policy Institute, which for comparative purposes adjusted the medians prior to 2013 for changes in CPS methodology. Here are the results of the Institute's analysis...

Median household income (in 2016 dollars)
2016: $59,039
2007: $59,993 (adjusted)
1999: $60,506 (adjusted)

With the 1999 and 2007 medians adjusted to reflect new CPS methodology, the 2016 median is 1.6 percent below the 2007 median, when the Great Recession began. The 2016 median is 2.4 percent below the 1999 median, which is still the all-time high.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, By the Numbers: Income and Poverty, 2016

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

3.2% Increase in Median Household Income in 2016

Median household income registered another gain in 2016. The $59,039 median household income of 2016 was 3.2 percent higher than the $57,230 median of 2015, after adjusting for inflation. This is the second year in a row of statistically significant gains in median household income since the Great Recession. Income growth was especially large for younger adults. Here are the 2015–16 changes in median household income by age of householder...

Median household income in 2016 (and % change 2015-16; in 2016 dollars)
Under age 25: $41,655 (13.9%)
Aged 25 to 34: $60,932 (4.9%)
Aged 35 to 44: $74,481 (3.0%)
Aged 45 to 54: $77,213 (3.2%)
Aged 55 to 64: $65,239 (2.6%)
Aged 65-plus: $39,823 (2.1%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016

Monday, September 11, 2017

Who Plays Video Games?

Millions of Americans play video games, according to a Pew Research Center survey. This is the percentage who play (on a computer, TV, game console, cellphone, or other portable device) by age...

Often or sometimes play video games
Aged 18 to 29: 60%
Aged 30 to 49: 53%
Aged 50 to 64: 32%
Aged 65-plus: 24%

Young men are most likely to play video games. Among men under age 30, 72 percent often or sometimes play games versus 49 percent of their female counterparts. Among people aged 50 or older, however, men and women are about equally likely to often or sometimes play video games—27 percent of men and 30 percent of women.

Source: Pew Research Center, Younger Men Play Video Games, But So Do a Diverse Group of Other Americans

Friday, September 08, 2017

Can You Speak a Language Other than English?

Twenty-nine percent of Americans aged 18 or older can speak a language other than English, according to the 2016 General Social Survey, up from 25 percent a decade ago in 2006. By generation, these are the percentages who are multilingual...

iGeneration (18 to 21): 40%
Millennials (22 to 39): 38%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 30%
Boomers: (52 to 70): 23%
Older: (71 or older): 17%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Retirees with Dementia: Who Has Help with Finances?

How many retirees with mild cognitive impairment or dementia have someone to help them with their finances? That's the question posed by a Center for Retirement Research study. The question is critical, the researchers say, because studies show that 18 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment and 80 percent of those with dementia need help with their finances.

Analyzing data from the Health and Retirement Study, the researchers determined first the percentage of retirees aged 70 or older with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, then examined how many had potential helpers. Mild cognitive impairment is more common than dementia, affecting 33 percent of 70-to-74-year-olds and rising with age to 45 percent of people aged 85 or older. Dementia affects 2.7 percent of 70-to-74-year-olds and rises with age to 26.5 percent of those aged 85 or older.

"Fortunately, most individuals do have some help," the researchers find. Among those with mild cognitive impairment, 85 percent have available assistance. Among those with dementia, the figure is an even higher 95 percent. The types of helpers range from a non-impaired spouse or caregiving child to nursing home care. Those least likely to have help are what the researchers call "isolated"—defined as not having a non-impaired spouse and not having children within 10 miles. Others who are less likely to have help are high school dropouts and non-whites.

Source: Center for Retirement Research, Are Many Retirees with Dementia Lacking Help?

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

81% Increase in Minority College Enrollment

Minority students have accounted for nearly all of the increase in college enrollment since 2000, according to the Census Bureau's school enrollment data. The number of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and other minorities enrolled in the nation's colleges (including two-year, four-year, and graduate schools) grew 81 percent between 2000 and 2016. Non-Hispanic White enrollment inched up by 1.1 percent during those years. Consequently, minorities are a growing share of college students.

Minority share of college students
2016: 44.0%
2015: 42.9%
2010: 37.8%
2005: 33.0%
2000: 30.5%

Asian, Black, Hispanic, and other minority students account for the 51 percent majority of students at two-year schools. They are 42 percent of students at four-year schools, and 41 percent of students at graduate schools.

Source: Census Bureau, CPS Historical Time Series Tables on School Enrollment

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Year Moved into Home

Half of American households moved into their current home in 2008 or later, according to the American Housing Survey. For homeowners, 2003 is the median year they moved into their home. For renters, the median year is 2013. Here is the distribution of households by the year the householder moved into the unit...

Year householder moved into home
2010 or later: 44.2%
2005 to 2009: 16.0%
2000 to 2004: 11.8%
Before 2000: 28.0%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Monday, September 04, 2017

Boomer Earnings Over a Lifetime

How much have earnings climbed for baby boomers over their lifetime? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has captured the data with its National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which is tracking a nationally representative sample of Americans born between 1957 and 1964. The panel was first interviewed in 1979 when they were aged 14 to 22. By the time the latest findings were collected in 2014–15, these "youth" were 49-to-58-years-old and approaching the end of their work life. This is how their earnings grew as they passed through each age group...

Average annual percent change in inflation-adjusted hourly earnings
From age 18 to 24: 6.4%
From age 25 to 34: 3.3%
From age 35 to 44: 1.8%
From age 45 to 50: –0.1%

College graduates fared much better than those with less education over the years, with their average annual earnings growing twice as fast as those with no more than a high school diploma through age 34, and then about one-third faster between ages 35 and 44. From age 45 to 50, the hourly earnings of college graduate grew by just 0.4 percent per year, but that was better than what happened to those with no more than a high school diploma—from age 45 to 50, their earnings fell 0.2 percent per year.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth among Americans at 50: Results from a Longitudinal Survey

Friday, September 01, 2017

Will Move for Job

Forty percent of American workers agree that they would be willing to move within the United States to avoid unemployment, according to results of the 2016 General Social Survey. But only 17 percent would be willing to move to another country. Here are the results by generation...

Workers willing to move in U.S. to avoid unemployment
iGeneration (18 to 21): 45%
Millennials (22 to 39): 47%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 47%
Boomers (52 to 70): 26%

Workers willing to move to another country to avoid unemployment
iGeneration (18 to 21): 19%
Millennials (22 to 39): 19%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 22%
Boomers (52 to 70): 10%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Spending by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2016

Asian, Black, and non-Hispanic White households spent more in 2016 than in 2015, after adjusting for inflation. The 2015–16 rise in average household spending was 4.3 percent for Asians, 3.0 percent for Blacks, 1.4 percent for non-Hispanic Whites, and 1.1 percent for the average household. In contrast to these gains, Hispanic households spent 2.6 percent less in 2016 than in 2015.

The 2016 spending of Black and non-Hispanic White households has never been greater, finally surpassing the peak of the pre-Great Recession years. Asians and Hispanics have yet to close the gap...

Average household spending in 2016 (and % change since 2006; in 2016 dollars)
Average household: $57,311 (–0.5%)
Asian households: $67,267 (–1.8%)
Black households: $42,127 (+2.3%)
Hispanic households: $47,023 (–8.3%)
Non-Hispanic White households: $61,697 (+0.9%)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Household Spending in 2016

American households spent an average of $57,311 in 2016, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. That's a bit more than they spent in 2015 ($56,684), after adjusting for inflation, but still 0.5 percent below what they spent a decade ago in 2006 ($57,618)—the year household spending peaked.

Most age groups spent more in 2016 than in 2006, however. Householders aged 65 or older boosted their spending the most, with a 10 percent increase in spending during those years, after adjusting for inflation. Households headed by adults ranging in age from 25 to 44 still haven't caught up to the spending of their counterparts in 2006, in part because fewer households in the age group are headed by married couples—the biggest spenders.

Average household spending, 2016 (and % change since 2006; in 2016$)
Under age 25: $34,438 (+2.6%)
Aged 25 to 34: $52,838 (–6.7%)
Aged 35 to 44: $66,444 (–2.9%)
Aged 45 to 54: $71,166 (+3.8%)
Aged 55 to 64: $61,346 (+1.5%)
Aged 65-plus: $45,756 (+9.6%)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Four-Year College Enrollment Hits All-Time High in 2016

College enrollment—including two-year, four-year, and graduate schools—climbed to 19.2 million in in 2016 after falling each year since 2011. Four-year college enrollment reached an all-time high of 11.2 million in 2016. Enrollment at two-year schools fell to the lowest level since 2006 and was 26 percent below its 2010 peak. Graduate school enrollment was stable.

College enrollment in 2016 
Total enrollment: 19.2 million (peak of 20.4 million in 2011)
Two-year schools: 4.3 million (peak of 5.9 million in 2010)
Four-year schools: 11.2 million (all-time high)
Graduate schools: 3.7 million (peak of 3.9 million in 2010)

Source: Census Bureau, CPS Historical Time Series Tables on School Enrollment

Monday, August 28, 2017

Reason for Move: Natural Disaster

Americans move for many reasons, such as for better housing, to be closer to family, or for a new job. The Census Bureau collects data on the reasons people move. In 2006, it added the reason "natural disaster" to the list following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Between 2015–16, only 17,000 people moved because of natural disaster, making it the least common reason for moving during the year. In 2005–06, following Katrina, an astonishing 669,000 people moved because of natural disaster—nearly 2 percent of all moves during the year and outnumbering those who moved because of retirement, for a change of climate, health reasons, or to look for work. Since then, the number of people who have been forced to move because of a natural disaster has ranged from a handful to 177,000—well below the Katrina level. Next year when the Census Bureau releases geographic mobility data for 2017–18, we will see what Hurricane Harvey does to these numbers.

Source: Census Bureau, CPS Historical Migration/Geographic Mobility Tables

Friday, August 25, 2017

Spending Equivalence: Pet Food

The average household spent $230 on pet food in 2015. Here are some of the other items on which the average household spends about the same amount...

Credit card interest payments
Major appliances
Prescription drugs
Fresh vegetables
Child support

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Boomers May Have A Debt Problem

Debt is a growing burden for Boomers nearing retirement. That's the prognosis of a National Bureau of Economic Research study, which examined three cohorts of Americans approaching retirement using data from the Health and Retirement Study—the original HRS cohort (born from 1931 to 1941), War Babies (born from 1942 to 1947), and Early Boomers (born from 1948 to 1953). With each succeeding cohort, debt has grown...

Percentage with debt and median amount of debt at age 56 to 61 by cohort (in 2015$)
HRS cohort: 64% ($6,750)
War babies: 70% ($31,250)
Early boomers: 71% ($32,700)

Mortgages are the biggest reason for rising debt among older Americans. The percentage of 56-to-61-year-olds with mortgage debt grew from 41 percent in the HRS cohort to 49 percent among Early Boomers, the researchers report. Mortgage debt is growing because each succeeding cohort has purchased more expensive homes with smaller down payments. The median value of the homes owned by Early Boomers at ages 56 to 61 was $218,000 versus the $187,000 for War Babies and the $144,000 for the HRS cohort (in constant dollars). Early Boomers were also more highly leveraged at ages 56 to 61 than were the other cohorts. Mortgage debt relative to housing value was 30 percent for Early Boomers versus 22 percent for War Babies and just 5 percent for the original HRS cohort.

"Debt among older persons may increasingly be a factor in elder bankruptcy, and even in determining lifetime wealth sufficiency and retirement security," the researchers conclude. "Our research suggests that analysts and policymakers should explore ways to enhance debt management practices as they examine factors driving retirement security."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Debt and Financial Vulnerability on the Verge of Retirement, Working Paper 23664 ($5)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Labor Market Survey Provides Rare Details

A new survey promises to provide interesting details on labor force trends. The New York Fed's Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) Labor Market Survey will examine, every four months, labor market experiences, job transitions, job search efforts, job offers, offer wages, acceptable wages, wage satisfaction, retirement expectations, and much more.

The results from the July 2017 survey—the first to be released, with comparable quarterly data back to 2014—show that 17 percent of survey respondents (a nationally representative sample of adults) had received at least one job offer in the past four months. The average wage offered was $49,250. Among the currently employed, 10.5% expect to be working for a new employer within the next four months.

The minimum acceptable wage respondents would be willing to take for a new job is $57,964, the survey finds. Among college graduates, the minimum acceptable wage (reservation wage) is $76,610. Among those without a college degree, $47,202. There are many more juicy tidbits in the first data release, including findings by age, sex, and income as well as education.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Just Released: Introducing the SCE Labor Market Survey

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top 10 Emerging Trends of the 2000s

The 21st century has been a wild ride so far, and it has only just begun. The speed with which events are unfolding is creating turmoil and confusion, necessitating a step back to see the big picture—the emerging trends behind so many of today's headlines. This is no idle exercise, but imperative for businesses intent on surviving the next decade and for policymakers struggling to adapt to profound changes in the way we live.

What are the emerging trends of the 21st century, the tipping points that have occurred since 2000? Many trends are important, but a handful stand out because of their far-reaching consequences. These are documented in New Strategist's Demographics of the U.S.: Trends and Projections, a reference tool for trend trackers. Using consequences as a measure of importance, these are the 10 most important emergent trends of the 2000s.

1. The income decline: The decline began long before the Great Recession, and it has hit the American middle class hard. Men's incomes were falling well before 2000, the household income decline began in 2000, and women's steady income growth came to a halt in the 2000s. The political repercussions of the resulting economic anxiety are well known.

2. The wealth decline: To rub salt into the economic wound of waning incomes, household net worth collapsed with the Great Recession as the housing bubble burst. Median household net worth fell 40 percent between 2007 and 2013, after adjusting for inflation.

3. The homeownership decline: The homeownership rate peaked in 2004. The number of homeowners peaked in 2006. By 2015, there were 1.4 million fewer homeowners than in the peak year. The homeownership rate in 2015 was the lowest since 1967.

4. Majority acceptance of gay marriage: The percentage of Americans who support the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry climbed from just 31 percent in 2004 (the first year the General Social Survey asked the question) to 59 percent in 2016. Rarely has massive social change occurred so rapidly.

5. Increase in health insurance coverage: The percentage of Americans without health insurance fell to a record low in 2015, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Although still reviled by many, the ACA has grown in popularity now that Americans better understand the alternatives. But continual threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act are taking their toll on the nation's already fragile sense of wellbeing.

6. The marriage decline: The Millennial generation is postponing marriage longer than any previous cohort of young adults. Delayed marriage has contributed to other emerging trends—the decline of homeownership, the baby bust, and population loss in nonmetropolitan areas.

7. The birth decline: The number of births in the U.S. peaked in 2007 at 4.3 million. Since then, births have fallen in nearly every year and have been stuck below 4 million since 2009. Fertility rates are at a record low for women under age 30, with Hispanic fertility falling the most. The steep decline in Hispanic fertility may delay by a few years the coming minority majority forecast for the 2040s.

8. The life expectancy decline: Life expectancy at birth fell in 2015 for the first time since 1993. All of the decline was due to rising death rates among people under age 65. What's going on? A big factor is a rise in "deaths of despair," a consequence of rural and small town stagnation.

9. City growth and rural decline: Urban centers have been experiencing a resurgence, thanks to Millennials seeking job opportunities. At the other extreme, since 2010 for the first time, nonmetropolitan America has been losing population. The disparity between flourishing urban centers and languishing small-town and rural America has upended the nation's politics.

10. The mobility decline: The geographic mobility rate hit an all-time low in 2015–16, in part because some residents of small towns and rural areas are trapped in their shrinking local economies. Many either cannot or will not move to pursue an American Dream in which they no longer believe.

These are the top emerging trends of the 21st century. Most are stories of decline—which is a trend of significance in itself. For more of the trends shaping American society right now, see New Strategist's Demographics of the U.S.: Trends and Projections.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Rural Americans More Likely to Distrust Others

Recent surveys are revealing big differences in the attitudes of rural and urban residents. Most rural residents think the values of urban residents are different from their values, for example, while urban residents are much less likely to feel that way. Fewer than half of rural residents still believe in the American Dream versus three out of four residents of large cities.

Here's another difference of opinion: rural residents are much more likely than urban residents to think others are getting government help they don't deserve, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post Survey of Rural America. Here's the survey question: "Which of these two situations do you think happens more often in America today—needy people going without government help, or irresponsible people getting government help they don't deserve?" Here are the answers by urban status...

Percent who think irresponsible people are getting government help they don't deserve
64% of rural residents
55% of suburban residents
48% of urban residents

Percent who think needy people are going without government help
32% of rural residents
40% of suburban residents
47% of urban residents

Among Republicans in rural areas, fully 83 percent think irresponsible people are getting help they don't deserve. The figure is 64 percent among rural independents and 44 percent among rural Democrats.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post, The Health Care Views and Experiences of Rural Americans

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wife Time Is Shrinking

Women are spending a shrinking share of their lives as wives, according to an analysis by the Center for Retirement Research. Examining data from the Health and Retirement Study, the researchers analyzed four birth cohorts—the original HRS cohort (born from 1931 to 1941), War Babies (1942 to 1947), Early Boomers (1948 to 1953) and Mid Boomers (1954 to 1959). Here are the researchers' estimates of the percentage of life, from age 20, women will have spent as wives by cohort...

Percentage of life from age 20 spent as a wife
HRS cohort: 72%
War Babies: 69%
Early Boomers: 56%
Mid Boomers: 51%

Behind the decline in years spent as a wife are several factors—the rising age at first marriage, the greater prevalence of singlehood, and more divorce. Because women are spending a growing share of their lives without husbands, "it probably makes sense to explore their savings and investment behavior separately from men," conclude the researchers.

Source: Center for Retirement Research, Do Women Still Spend Most of Their Lives Married?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the American Workplace

A new survey finds both good and bad conditions in workplaces across the country. According to RAND's American Working Conditions Survey, "the American workplace is very physically and emotionally taxing, both for workers themselves and their families." Here are some examples of common troublesome conditions...

  • Only 54% of workers work the same number of hours every day.
  • 36% say their work schedule is set by their company with no possibility for change.
  • In the past month, half have worked in their free time to meet work demands.
  • 41% of workers are in tiring or painful positions at least one-quarter of the time. 
  • 20% experienced abuse or harassment on the job in the past month/year.

On the positive side, the 56 percent majority of workers say they have very good friends at work, 58 percent have a supportive boss, and 79 percent like and respect their colleagues. More than 60 percent say their job provides them with a sense of personal accomplishment.

The survey was of a nationally representative sample of working men and women aged 25 to 71—all members of the RAND American Life Panel. The findings are shown for all workers as well as men and women in three age groups and two educational attainment groups.

Source: RAND, Working Conditions in the United States—Results of the 2015 American Working Conditions Survey

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More than 1 in 8 Americans Use Antidepressants

Millions of Americans are taking antidepressants, according to data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among the population aged 12 or older, more than one in eight (12.7 percent) took an antidepressant medication in the past month in the 2011–2014 time period. Women are far more likely to take antidepressants than men (16.5 versus 8.6 percent), and older women are most likely to take them—nearly one in four women aged 60 or older took an antidepressant in the past month.

Percent of women (and men) taking an antidepressant in past month
Aged 12 to 19: 5.0% (1.9%)
Aged 20 to 39: 9.8% (5.9%)
Aged 40 to 59: 21.2% (11.6%)
Aged 60-plus: 24.4% (12.6%)

Antidepressant use has increased since 1999–2002, when 7.7 percent of Americans aged 12 or older had taken the medication in the past month. One reason for the growing use of antidepressants is their long-term use. Among those taking an antidepressant in the past month, one in four had been taking the medication for 10 or more years.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Antidepressant Use among Persons Age 12 and Over: United States, 2011–2014

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Income Shocks Are the Norm for Men

In a study of men's incomes over time, researchers for the National Endowment for Financial Education found income shocks to be the norm. Fully 61 percent of male workers aged 25 to 70 had experienced the loss of an entire year's worth of income at least once. Among older men, such devastating losses are a nearly universal experience...

Percentage of male workers who have lost all earnings for at least one year
Aged 25 to 34: 40%
Aged 35 to 54: 56%
Aged 55 to 61: 75%
Aged 62 to 65: 87%
Aged 66 to 70: 93%

These income shocks lower the retirement savings of workers in the bottom 50 percent of the income distribution (with annual earnings of $26,531 or less), who struggle to save money. By linking data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation with Social Security and IRS records, the researchers tracked men's lifetime earnings as well as their contributions to retirement plans and account balances by demographic characteristic. The researchers found that lower-income men are most likely to experience income shocks—82 percent had experienced at least one versus 53 percent of middle-income men and 45 percent of high-income men (with annual earnings of $80,040 or more). When  lower-income men experience an income shock, their retirement savings take a hit. For each one-year episode of income loss, workers in the bottom 50 percent of the income distribution saw their retirement savings decline by an average of $3,786. There was no effect on the retirement savings of men in the top 50 percent of the income distribution.

"Nearly everyone will suffer multiple income shocks during their working lives," conclude the researchers." Educators and policymakers should "prepare individuals to expect income shocks and educate them on how to manage and recover from financial setbacks with the least possible impact on their retirement savings."

Source: National Endowment for Financial Education, Income Shocks and Life Events: Why Retirement Savings Fall Short

Monday, August 14, 2017

Americans May Be More Honest in Online Surveys

Phone surveys may be understating financial stress, according to a Pew Research Center experiment. In an effort to determine "mode effects," Pew randomly assigned survey respondents to telephone or online modes when asking them questions about financial stress. Respondents were more likely to report financial stress when answering online than when talking to an interviewer by phone.

"Survey researchers have long known that Americans may be more likely to give a 'socially desirable' response (and less likely to give a stigmatized or undesirable answer) in an interview-administered survey than in one that is self-administered," notes Pew.

Percent saying they received financial help from a relative in past year
Phone: 15%
Online: 26%

Percent saying their personal finances are in poor shape
Phone: 14%
Online: 20%

Regardless of income, Americans are more likely to report poor finances when answering online than by phone, says Pew. "Researchers studying financial stress should consider that phone surveys have, at least to some degree, been understating the share of Americans experiencing economic hardship."

Source: Pew Research Center, Personal Finance Questions Elicit Slightly Different Answers in Phone Surveys than Online

Friday, August 11, 2017

Who Shops for Groceries Online?

Grocery shopping is slowly moving online, according to the findings of a Gallup survey. Nearly 1 in 10 American families (9 percent) say they shop for groceries online for pickup or delivery at least once or twice a month. Here are the percentages by age...

Shop online for groceries
18 to 29: 15%
30 to 49: 12%
50 to 64: 10%
65-plus: 2%

Despite the significant presence of online grocery shopping, going to a store for groceries is still a universal activity. The percentage who shop for groceries in person at a store at least once or twice a month varies little by age, ranging from 97 to 99 percent.

Source: Gallup, So Far, American Grocery Shoppers Buck Online Shopping Trend

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Much Money Is In 401(k) Accounts?

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 54 million American workers were active 401(k) participants in 2015. Total 401(k) assets amounted to $4.4 trillion at the end of 2015—19 percent of all retirement assets. But how much have individual participants stashed away?

EBRI has the answers. The median 401(k) account balance was $16,732 in 2015. The average balance was $73,357. Here is the distribution of participants by the size of their account...

Distribution of 401(k) participants by size of account, 2015
$10,000 or less: 41.3%
$10,001 to $50,000: 28.2%
$50,001 to $100,000: 11.1%
$100,001 to $200,000: 9.1%
$200,001 or more: 10.2%

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances, and Loan Activity in 2015

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Research Shows 65-Plus Income May Be 30% Higher

The income of households headed by people aged 65-plus may be much higher than estimated by the Current Population Survey. An analysis of 2012 data by Census Bureau researchers finds substantial underreporting of retirement income when compared to administrative records. Among older Americans who receive retirement income, the researchers say, none of it is reported 46 percent of the time! Here are some other startling findings from the analysis...
  • The 2012 median income of householders aged 65 or older was 30 percent higher based on administrative records versus the Current Population Survey—$33,800 reported by the CPS and $44,400 based on administrative records.
  • The poverty rate of people aged 65 or older was 2.1 percentage points lower (6.9 percent instead of 9.0 percent). 
  • The income drop after retirement is much smaller than has been estimated based on CPS data. "We do not find large, abrupt declines in income or increases in poverty upon retirement," say the researchers. 
The analysis is based on 2012 CPS data, prior to the Census Bureau's 2014 redesign of the Current Population Survey to better capture retirement income. In the future, the researchers hope to evaluate the effectiveness of the redesign in capturing more retirement income.

Source: Census Bureau, Do Older Americans Have More Income Than We Think?

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Who Can Count On Family for Financial Help?

Many Millennials would have a lot of trouble paying an unexpected bill of $1,000, according to a GenForward Survey, which defines Millennials as 18-to-34-year-olds. The bimonthly survey is a project of the University of Chicago and administered by NORC. The survey's purpose is to examine "how race and ethnicity influence how young adults or Millennials experience and think about the world."

Percent saying they would have a lot of difficulty paying an unexpected $1,000 bill
Asians: 28%
Blacks: 50%
Hispanics: 43%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 35%

One factor that would make it difficult for many to pay an unexpected bill is the lack of family resources. When asked whether they could turn to their family for help in paying an unexpected $1,000 bill, the percentage who say yes ranges from a low of 38 percent among Blacks to a high of 64 percent among Asians...

Percent saying they could turn to family for help paying an unexpected $1,000 bill
Asians: 64%
Blacks: 38%
Hispanics: 54%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 56%

Asians also are most likely to say their family could help with a down payment for a new car (51 percent) or house (49 percent). They are also most likely to say their family could help them with college tuition or paying off student loans (58 percent).

Source: GenForward University of Chicago: June 2017 Report

Monday, August 07, 2017

Private-Sector Health Insurance Costs, 2016

Several years ago Demo Memo noted that most Americans were "health insurance dummies," sheltered from an understanding of the full cost of health insurance by employer-provided plans. Here is how much those employer-provided plans cost in 2016...

Average total cost of employer-provided health insurance in the private sector, 2016
Single coverage: $6,101
Family coverage: $17,710

Fortunately for most private-sector workers, their employer pays the bulk of the bill. For single coverage, the average employee paid $1,325 of the $6,101 cost in 2016. For family coverage, the average employee paid $4,956 of the $17,710 premium.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Results from the 2016 MEPS-IC Private-Sector National Tables

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Ability to Think for Oneself Is Losing Importance

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but thinking for oneself is not as important as it used to be. The percentage of Americans who believe "thinking for himself or herself" is the most important thing a child should learn to prepare for life has fallen—and the decline has been especially steep since 2006.

Thinking for himself/herself is the most important thing a child should learn
2016: 41%
2006: 47%
1996: 51%
1986: 51%

Despite the decline, thinking for oneself is still the most important thing a child should learn according to the plurality of Americans. In second place is "learning to work hard," cited as most important by 27 percent of the public in 2016, more than double the 11 percent who felt this way in 1986. Third in importance is "learning to help others" (19 percent), followed by "learning to obey" (12 percent), and in last place "learning to be popular" (0.6 percent).

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Households Spend the Most on These 12 Items

The average American household spends more than $1,000 a year on only 12 items according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Here are the items...

1. Social security deductions: $4,457
2. Groceries: $4,015
3. Vehicle purchases: $3,997
4. Rent: $3,600
5. Health insurance: $2,977
6. Mortgage interest: $2,859
7. Restaurants: $2,575
8. Gasoline: $2,028
9. Property taxes: $1,913
10. Electricity: $1,460
11. Vehicle insurance: $1,079
12. Cell phone service: $1,023

Note that both rent and mortgage interest appear on the list, yet few households have both expenses. But subtract either rent or mortgage interest from the expenses on the list, and the result is the same. The average American household devoted more than half of the $55,978 it spent in 2015 to this short list of items.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Glory Days Are Here Again for Tech

Since 2010, employment in the tech industry has been growing twice as fast as private-sector employment overall, and tech wages are outpacing the average. The glory days are back for tech, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which defines the sector as comprised of seven industries...

Industries in the tech sector (and publicly-owned firm with largest revenue)
1. Computer manufacturing (Apple)
2. Electronic shopping (Amazon)
3. Software publishing (Microsoft)
4. Data processing, hosting, and related services (Xerox)
5. Internet publishing, broadcasting, and web search portals (Google)
6. Computer systems design (IBM)
7. Scientific research and development (QuintilesIMS)

The tech sector has seen ups and downs over the decades. Tech employment as a share of total private employment climbed through 1990s and hit a high of 4 percent in 2000, then fell as low as 3.4 percent after the tech bubble burst in 2001. The Great Recession also shook the industry, but in 2010 the turnaround had begun. Tech employment as a share of total private employment reached 3.9 percent in 2015—nearly matching the all-time high of 2000.

Between 2010 and 2015, jobs in the tech sector grew 20 percent versus an 11 percent gain for all private-sector employment. Tech-sector wages grew 5 percent annually during those years. Wage growth has lifted the earnings of tech workers far above those of the average private-sector worker. In 1990, the average tech worker made 1.6 times as much as the average private-sector workers. By 2015, tech workers made 2.2 times as much.

"Innovations in digital computing systems and automation have triggered tectonic shifts in consumer and business behaviors across the economy" says the St. Louis Fed. All true, but the tectonic shifts to come may be even greater than the ones in our past—especially if a theory about the low productivity growth of recent years turns out to be correct (see the New York Times article, Maybe We've Been Thinking about the Productivity Slump All Wrong). The theory goes like this: depressed wages have discouraged businesses from widespread deployment of productivity-boosting technologies. Why bother investing in capital equipment and software when workers are so cheap? As the labor market tightens and workers become more costly, businesses will deploy labor-saving technologies on a massive scale. The glory days may turn into glory years.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Growth in Tech Sector Returns to Glory Days of the 1990s

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

American Dream Disappearing in Rural America

In rural areas, the American Dream is slipping away. At least that's how those who live there feel, according to the General Social Survey.

The GSS asks respondents whether they agree or disagree with the statement: "The way things are in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living." This is the percentage who agree that the American Dream still applies to them by urban status...

Belief in the American Dream by urban status, 2016
74% of those who live in the central cities of the 12 largest metropolitan areas
60% of those who live in the central cities of the 13 to 100 largest metropolitan areas
58% of those who live in the suburbs of the 12 largest metropolitan areas
58% of those who live in the suburbs of the 13 to 100 largest metropolitan areas
57% of those who live in other urban areas
47% of those who live in rural areas

Only 47 percent of Americans who live in rural areas have faith in the American dream versus 74 percent of the residents of the largest central cities. It gets worse. Analyzing the data by race and Hispanic origin shows that only 40 percent of non-Hispanic Whites in rural areas think the American Dream works for them. This pessimism is not shared by their counterparts in cities and suburbs, most of whom still believe in the American Dream—including 71 percent of non-Hispanic Whites in the largest cities. Blacks, too, do not share the pessimism of rural non-Hispanic Whites. About two-thirds of Blacks have faith in the dream, whether they live in rural areas, suburbs, or cities.

Belief in the American Dream among non-Hispanic Whites in rural areas was much greater in 2000, when 68 percent believed they had a good chance of improving their living standard. By 2010, the figure had fallen to 54 percent. Because of the Great Recession, belief in the Dream also took a hit during those years among non-Hispanic Whites in central cities and suburbs. Since 2010, faith in the American Dream among non-Hispanic Whites in cities and suburbs has rebounded. There has been no rebound for non-Hispanic Whites in rural areas.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Monday, July 31, 2017

Frequency of Cooking a Hot Meal

Every few years the government surveys the energy use of a representative sample of American households. Among the questions included in the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey is the frequency with which households cook a hot meal...

Frequency of cooking a hot meal during an average week
Less than daily: 22%
Once a day: 30%
Twice a day: 32%
3+ times a day: 15%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Survey

Friday, July 28, 2017

Right-to-Carry Laws Boost Violent Crime

Right-to-carry leads to an increase in violent crime, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. A state-level analysis of trends in crime shows violent crime rising 13 to 15 percent 10 years after a state passes a right-to-carry concealed weapons law. States that pass right-to-carry laws would have to double their prison population to counteract the increase in violent crime, the authors note.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Controls Analysis, Working Paper 23510 ($5)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 2nd Quarter 2017

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, second quarter 2017: 45.2%

The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 inched upwards in the second quarter of 2017. The age group's 45.2 percent homeownership rate was not statistically different from the record low of 44.6 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2017. 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 second quarter of 2017 the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds was 55.8 percent, down from a peak of 65.7 percent in the first quarter of 2007.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 63.7 percent in the second quarter of 2017, a bit higher than the 62.9 percent of a year earlier. 

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Widening Work Gap among Older Americans

College graduates are a big reason for the rising rate of labor force participation among people aged 65 or older, according to an Urban Institute study. Not only are college graduates more likely to be in the labor force than those with less education, but the labor force participation rate of older Americans is rising faster among the college-educated...

Labor force participation rate of people aged 65 or older, 2016
No high school diploma: 10.0%
High school graduate only: 15.3%
Some college/associate's degree: 22.0%
Bachelor's degree or more education: 29.3%

Between 1995 and 2016, the labor force participation rate of people aged 65 or older with a bachelor's degree climbed 7.5 percentage points. This compares with a gain of 5.3 percentage points for those with some college, a 3.8 percentage point gain for those with no more than a high school diploma, and a 2.5 percentage point gain for those without a high school diploma.

"As economic security in old age increasingly depends on delaying retirement, less-educated older adults who retire early will likely face financial challenges in later life and fall further behind their better-educated counterparts," notes the study.

Source: Urban Institute, Educational Differences in Employment at Older Ages

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Analyzing 10,000 Murders

Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women under age 45, reports the CDC. What are the characteristics of women who become homicide victims? To find out, the CDC analyzed 10,018 murders of women aged 18 or older occurring from 2003 to 2014 and reported to the National Violent Death Reporting System, which includes data from 18 states. These are some of their characteristics...

Age of homicide victim
18 to 29: 29%
30 to 39: 22%
40 to 49: 21%
50-plus: 28%

Marital status of homicide victim
Married/partner: 32%
Never married: 38%
Separated/divorced: 30%

Education of homicide victim
Less than high school: 25%
High school graduate: 41%
Some college or more: 34%

Women who die by homicide are young and old, from all educational backgrounds, and about evenly split by marital status. What they have in common is that most were murdered by a current or former intimate partner (55 percent) and most were killed by guns (54 percent).

Source: CDC, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Homicides of Adult Women and the Role of Intimate Partner Violence—United States, 2003–2014

Monday, July 24, 2017

12% Currently Smoke Marijuana

Nearly half of Americans aged 18 or older have tried marijuana, according to a 2017 Gallup survey. The 45 percent who have ever tried marijuana is the highest figure recorded in all the years Gallup has been tracking marijuana use beginning in 1969 (when only 4 percent had ever tried it). A substantial 12 percent of Americans currently smoke marijuana, with younger adults most likely to do so...

Currently smoke marijuana
Aged 18 to 29: 18%
Aged 30 to 49: 10%
Aged 50 to 64: 8%
Aged 65-plus: 3%

Source: Gallup, In U.S., 45% Say They Have Tried Marijuana

Friday, July 21, 2017

Liquor Hits High in Popularity

Beer is America's number-one alcoholic beverage, according to Gallup's annual Consumption Habits poll. But liquor is surging. When Gallup asked those who drink alcohol which beverage they are most likely to choose, 26 percent said liquor in the 2017 poll—the highest percentage in the 25 years Gallup has been tracking the trend.

Do you most often drink liquor, wine, or beer?
Beer: 40%
Wine: 30%
Liquor: 26%

"Future measurements will help determine whether the current figure marks the beginning of a trend toward an increased preference for liquor," says Gallup.

Source: Gallup, Beer Remains the Preferred Alcoholic Beverage in the U.S.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Going Online for Science and Technology Information

The majority of Americans get most of their information about science and technology from the internet (56 percent), according to the 2016 General Social Survey. But where do they go online for most of that science and tech news? According to a follow-up question, these are the main online sources for those who get most of their science and tech information from the internet...

Main online source of science and tech information
Search engine: 37%
Online newspaper: 25%
Online magazine: 15%
Online news site: 6%
Online science site: 5%
Social media: 4%
Wikipedia: 1%
Other site: 7%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Science Makes Our Way of Life Change Too Fast

The 52 percent majority of Americans agree with the statement, "Science makes our way of life change too fast," according to the General Social Survey. Ten years ago, a smaller 45 percent agreed. Every generation is becoming more anxious about how rapidly science is changing our way of life, but alarm is growing the most among the oldest generation—people aged 71 or older in 2016 (61 or older in 2006)...

Agree that "science makes our way of life change too fast," 2016 (and 2006)
Millennials: 48% (40%)
Gen Xers: 53% (47%)
Boomers: 49% (43%)
Older: 68% (53%)

Note: In 2016 Millennials were 22 to 39, Gen Xers were 40 to 51, and Boomers were 52 to 70.
Source: Demo Memo Analysis of the General Social Survey

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

47% Took Prescription Drug in Past 30 Days

Nearly half of Americans (47%) took at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days, according to the 2011–14 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The use of prescription drugs rises with age to more than 90 percent of people aged 65 or older...

Percent who took at least one prescription drug in past 30 days
Under age 18: 21.5%
Aged 18 to 44: 37.1%
Aged 45 to 64: 69.0%
Aged 65-plus: 90.6%

The use of multiple prescription drugs is becoming more common, especially among people aged 65 or older. Overall, 21.5 percent of Americans took three or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days in 2011–14, up from 11.8 percent who did so two decades earlier in 1988–94. Among people aged 65 or older, 67 percent took three or more prescription drugs in the past month, up from 31 percent in 1988–94.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2016

Monday, July 17, 2017

Millennials Living with Parents

Twenty-three percent of high school sophomores of 2002 were living with their parents ten years later in 2012, according to the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. The longitudinal survey is tracking a representative sample of 2002 high school sophomores as they confront the challenges of adulthood.

Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be living with their parents. Here are the percentages of 2002 high school sophomores who were living with their parents in 2012, by race and Hispanic origin...

Asians: 39.2%
Blacks: 28.3%
Hispanics: 32.2%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 18.1% 

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Early Millennials: The Sophomore Class of 2002 a Decade Later

Friday, July 14, 2017

Some Good News for USPS

First-class mail volume has dropped since its 2001 peak, but it's not all bad news for USPS. In contrast to the first-class mail decline, parcel delivery is booming. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of packages handled by the Postal Service climbed from 3.1 billion to 5.2 billion—a 68 percent increase. Thanks, Amazon!

Source: USPS, A Decade of Facts and Figures

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making Health Insurance Unaffordable

How much would essential health benefits cost if they were no longer required, as they currently are under the Affordable Care Act, and only those who opted for the service financed the cost? An Urban Institute study has calculated the cost, and it's steep.

The average nongroup marketplace premium was $4,700 in 2017, reports the Urban Institute. But start cherry-picking benefits, and premiums will be much higher. Take maternity care for example. Maternity care accounts for just $278 of the $4,700 annual cost of a typical health insurance plan—not all that much. But if health insurance buyers could opt out of maternity care benefits so that only those who needed maternity care had to pay for it, then those who chose maternity care would see their annual health insurance premium rise by $13,388.

Cherry picking health benefits will greatly increase the cost of health insurance for those who need essential services...

Additional health insurance premium cost if only users finance the service
Inpatient care: $19,071
Maternity care: $13,388
Outpatient care: $5,755
Emergency care: $4,251
Rehabilitative care: $2,247
Office-based care: $1,947
Prescription drugs: $1,836

Source: Urban Institute, The Implications of Cutting Essential Health Benefits: An Analysis of Nongroup Insurance Premiums Under the ACA

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Decline of First Class Mail

First-class mail is in a steep decline, not surprisingly. The number of pieces of first class mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service peaked in 2001 at nearly 104 billion. By 2016, the number had slipped to 61 billion—a 41 percent decline and about what it was in 1981.

The biggest decline in first-class mail volume occurred after the introduction of the smartphone in 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, first-class mail fell by nearly 24 billion pieces—a decline of more than 5 billion pieces a year. Those years account for 56 percent of the overall decline in first-class mail volume since the 2001 peak. In more recent years, the decline in first-class mail volume has slowed to about 1.3 billion pieces a year.

Volume of first-class mail (in billions)
2016: 61.2
2015: 62.6
2011: 72.5
2007: 96.2
2001: 103.7 (peak year)

Source: USPS, Postage Rates and Historical Statistics

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Big Decline in Reading, 2006 to 2016

Fewer Americans are reading on an average day, according to the American Time Use Survey. In every age group, a shrinking share is reading for personal interest as a primary activity on an average day. Overall, the percentage of Americans aged 15 or older who read on an average day fell from 26 percent in 2006 to 19 percent in 2016. The biggest drops have occurred among older Americans, with double-digit declines among people ranging in age from 45 to 74...

Percent reading on an average day, 2016 (and percentage point change since 2006)
Aged 15 to 19: 8.7% (–1.2)
Aged 20 to 24: 10.1% (–0.5)
Aged 25 to 34: 12.0% (–3.4)
Aged 35 to 44: 13.9% (–7.5)
Aged 45 to 54: 15.3% (–12.2)
Aged 55 to 64: 25.5% (–13.2)
Aged 65 to 74: 33.0% (–14.8)
Aged 75-plus: 46.1% (–8.6)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 American Time Use Survey

Monday, July 10, 2017

Household Income Volatility, 2009 to 2012

In the difficult three-year period between 2009 and 2012, when the United States was struggling to recover from the Great Recession, nearly half of households experienced a dramatic swing in their income—either up or down. A new Census Bureau report examines fluctuations in household income during that time period, using data from the longitudinal Survey of Income and Program Participation. While nearly half of households experienced income volatility, much of it was positive. Despite the difficult economy, the Census Bureau notes that more households saw their income rise than fall.

Change in household income, 2009 to 2012 (in 2012 dollars)
Increased 50 percent or more: 15.9%
Increased 25 percent or more: 24.4%
Changed less than 25 percent: 53.5%
Decreased 25 percent or more: 22.1%
Decreased 50 percent or more: 9.0%

The report also examines the demographic characteristics of households that moved into higher or lower income quintiles during those years.

Source: Census Bureau, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Fluctuations in the U.S. Income Distribution: 2009–2012

Friday, July 07, 2017

Are Video Games Behind The Decline in Young Men's Work Hours?

Young men are working fewer hours than they once did, and a new study suggests a novel reason for the decline—better video games.

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of hours men aged 21 to 30 worked for pay fell 12 percent, report researchers in a National Bureau of Economic Research study. The percentage of young men who did not work at all, excluding full-time students, climbed from 8 to 15 percent during those years.

To find out why work hours fell, the researchers look at trends in the work hours and leisure time of young men between 2004–07 and 2012–15. As work hours fell, leisure time increased. Young men devoted three-quarters of their increased leisure time to gaming and computers. Using data from the Current Population Survey and the American Time Use Survey, the researchers test their theory that "improved leisure technology raised the return to non-market time and consequently increased the reservation wage of younger men." In other words, it takes more money than it once did to lure young men away from video games.

"Technology growth for recreational computer activities, by increasing the marginal value of leisure, accounts for 23 to 46 percent of the decline in market work for younger men during the 2000s," the researchers conclude.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men, Working Paper 23552 ($5)

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Fewer Births in 46 States

The ongoing baby bust is occurring in 46 states. Nationally, the number of births fell 8.7 percent between 2007 (the year when births peaked at 4.3 million) and 2016 (3.9 million births). By state, the decline during those years is in the double digits in 15 states, with New Mexico seeing the biggest drop...

States with a double-digit decline in births, 2007 to 2016
19% decline: New Mexico
18% decline: Mississippi and Arizona
15% decline: Illinois
14% decline: Georgia, California, and Connecticut
13% decline: New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Rhode Island
12% decline: New Jersey, Nevada, and Vermont
10% decline: Idaho and Maine

The number of births increased in only four states and the District of Columbia between 2007 and 2016: South Dakota (up 0.1%), Alaska (1.4%), Washington (1.7%), D.C. (11.3%), and North Dakota (28.7%).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Birth Data

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Going to College Leads to Postponed Parenting

One-third of the high school sophomores of 2002 were parents ten years later in 2012, according to the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. The longitudinal survey is tracking a representative sample of 2002 high school sophomores as they confront the challenges of adulthood. One of the key findings is how big a role higher education plays in the timing of childbearing. Here are the percentages of 2002 high school sophomores who had become parents by 2012, by educational attainment...

69.6% of high school dropouts
53.0% of high school diploma only
40.5% of those with some college
35.4% of those with an associate's degree
12.8% of those with a bachelor's degree
9.1% of those with a graduate degree

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Early Millennials: The Sophomore Class of 2002 a Decade Later

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Adults Under Age 45 Are Watching Less TV

Adults under age 45 are watching less TV on an average day than they did a decade ago, while those aged 45 or older are watching more. Overall, the amount of time people aged 15 or older spend watching television as a primary activity on an average day climbed from 2.57 hours in 2006 to 2.73 hours in 2016. Behind the increase is the aging of the population and the greater amount of time older Americans spend watching television. Here are the trends...

Hours per day spent watching TV in 2016 (and % change since 2006)
Aged 15 to 19: 1.94 (–8.1%)
Aged 20 to 24: 2.12 (–1.9%)
Aged 25 to 34: 1.95 (–11.4%)
Aged 35 to 44: 2.07 (–1.9%)
Aged 45 to 54: 2.66 (+11.8%)
Aged 55 to 64: 3.26 (+13.2%)
Aged 65 to 74: 4.10 (+7.0%)
Aged 75-plus: 4.33 (+3.6%)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 American Time Use Survey

Monday, July 03, 2017

Walking for Transportation or Leisure

A growing percentage of Americans are walking for transportation or leisure, according to results of the National Health Interview Survey. When Americans were asked whether they had spent 10 or more minutes walking for transportation or leisure in the past seven days, a larger percentage had done so in 2015 than in 2005: 65 percent of women (up from 57 percent) and 63 percent of men (up from 54 percent).

Source: CDC, Walking for Transportation or Leisure among U.S. Women and Men—National Health Interview Survey, 2005–2015

Friday, June 30, 2017

Baby Bust Continues in 2016

The number of births in the United States fell to 3,941,109 in 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That's about 37,000 fewer births than in 2015. Except for a small increase in 2014, the number of births has declined in every year since 2007, when births hit a record high of 4.3 million.

Number of births (in 000s)
2016: 3,941
2015: 3,978 
2014: 3,988
2013: 3,932
2012: 3,953
2011: 3,954
2010: 3,999 (start of baby bust)
2009: 4,131
2008: 4,248
2007: 4,316 (record high)

The nation's 
fertility rate fell to 62.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, an all-time low. The birth rates for women in every age group under age 30 fell to record lows in 2016, while the birth rates for women aged 30 or older increased. 

Here's the most interesting thing: the birth rate for women aged 30 to 34—for the first time—was higher than the rate for women aged 25 to 29. The 25-to-29 age group had held the distinction of being the peak childbearing years since 1983, when it overtook the 20-to-24 age group. Clearly, the peak childbearing years can advance only so far, and the Millennial generation is testing the limits.   

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2016