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)