Wednesday, September 19, 2018

44% Increase in Householders Aged 65 to 74

The number of households in the United States grew by 1.4 million between 2017 and 2018, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. Household growth appears to be back on track after anemic growth between 2016 and 2017.

Since 2010, the nation's households have expanded by 10 million, rising from 118 million to 128 million. But only one age group accounts for most of the increase. The number of householders aged 65 to 74 grew by a stunning 44 percent between 2010 and 2018, accounting for 58 percent of total household growth during those years..

Households by age of householder (and percent change, 2010 to 2018)
Total households: 127,586,000 (8.5%)
Under age 25: 6,211,000 (–0.4%)
Aged 25 to 34: 20,264,000 (5.2%)
Aged 35 to 44: 21,576,000 (0.3%)
Aged 45 to 54: 22,542,000 (–9.4%)
Aged 55 to 64: 24,020,000 (17.8%)
Aged 65 to 74: 19,006,000 (44.4%)
Aged 75-plus: 13,967,000 (15.4%)

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey Income Data Tables

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Householders Aged 65-Plus Are Spending 16% More

Average household spending reached a record high of $60,060 in 2017—finally surpassing by 2.1 percent the previous record set in 2006, after adjusting for inflation.

Households headed by people under age 45 are still spending less than their counterparts did in 2006, however. One reason for their lackluster spending is lower marriage rates, with fewer of these households being headed by married couples—the biggest spenders. At the other extreme, the spending of householders aged 65-plus has surged. Households headed by people aged 65 or older spent 16 percent more in 2017 than their counterparts spent in 2006. One factor behind the increased spending of older Americans is the influx of baby boomers into the age group. Studies have shown that the baby-boom cohort is more comfortable with debt than the generation it is replacing.

Average household spending, 2017 (and % change since 2006; in 2017$)
Under age 25: $33,629 (–1.9%)
Aged 25 to 34: $55,325 (–4.4%)
Aged 35 to 44: $69,034 (–1.2%)
Aged 45 to 54: $73,905 (+5.6%)
Aged 55 to 64: $64,972 (+5.2%)
Aged 65-plus: $49,542 (+16.2%)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, September 17, 2018

Soft Drinks Are 20% of Youth Beverage Consumption

Soft drinks account for a large share of youth beverage consumption, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey, which collects data on food and beverage consumption through a 24-hour dietary recall interview, provides a snapshot of what Americans  eat and drink on an average day. Among children and teenagers ranging in age from 2 to 19, this is the distribution of the beverages they consume in a 24-hour period...

Distribution of beverages consumed by 2-to-19-year-olds on an average day
43.7% water
21.5% milk
19.9% soft drinks
7.6% other beverages*
7.3% juice (100 percent)

Beverage consumption varies by age, of course. Among preschoolers aged 2 to 5, milk accounts for 32 percent of daily beverage consumption. The milk share falls to 24 percent among 6-to-11-year-olds and to 14.5 percent among 12-to-19-year-olds. What replaces milk? Primarily soft drinks, which account for 13 percent of the daily beverage consumption of 2-to-5-year-olds, 21 percent of the consumption of 6-to-11-year-olds, and 22 percent of the beverages consumed by 12-to-19-year-olds.

*Other beverages include coffee, tea, sports and energy drinks, and other miscellaneous beverages. Alcoholic beverages are not included.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Beverage Consumption among Youth in the United States, 2013–2016

Friday, September 14, 2018

Asians Least Likely to be Obese

Forty percent of Americans aged 20 or older are obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The obesity rate varies by race and Hispanic origin, with Asians least likely to be obese...

Percent of men aged 20 or older who are obese
10.1% of Asians
36.9% of Blacks
37.9% of Whites
43.1% of Hispanics

Percent of women aged 20 or older who are obese
14.8% of Asians
38.0% of Whites
50.6% of Hispanics
54.8% of Blacks

Note: These figures are based on the measured heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of Americans. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above 30 kg/m². Asians, Blacks, and Whites are non-Hispanic. Hispanics may be of any race.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Severe Obesity among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 1960–1962 through 2015–2016

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Rising Tide Is Not Lifting All Boats

Is there something to worry about here? Median household income grew 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, after adjusting for inflation. This gain was well below the increases recorded in the previous two years—3.8 percent between 2015-16 and 5.2 percent between 2014-15. That's not the only bad news in the latest income data. Many segments of the population are being left behind...

Young adults: Householders under age 25 lost ground between 2016 and 2017, their median income falling by 5.8 percent after adjusting for inflation. Those aged 25 to 34 barely kept pace with a tiny 0.1 percent increase.

Blacks: Black households are treading water. Their median income did not grow at all between 2016 and 2017. At the same time, the median income of households headed by non-Hispanic Whites grew 2.6 percent, and the Hispanic median rose by an even larger 3.7 percent.

Workers: Perhaps most disturbing, the earnings of full-time workers—both men and women—fell 1.1 percent between 2016 and 2017. With the earnings of full-time workers declining, it will be much harder for household income to continue to grow.

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Median Household Income Now Surpasses $61,000

Median household income climbed to $61,372 in 2017, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. This is 1.8 percent higher than the 2016 median, after adjusting for inflation. But not all age groups made gains. The youngest adults—householders under age 25—saw their median household income fall by 5.8 percent between 2016 and 2017. Householders aged 25 to 34 struggled to keep up, their median income rising by just 0.1 percent after adjusting for inflation. Here are the 2016–17 changes in median household income by age of householder...

Median household income in 2017 (and % change 2016-17; in 2017 dollars)
Under age 25: $40,093 (–5.8%)
Aged 25 to 34: $62,294 (+0.1%)
Aged 35 to 44: $78,368 (+3.0%)
Aged 45 to 54: $80,671 (+2.3%)
Aged 55 to 64: $68,567 (+2.9%)
Aged 65-plus: $41,125 (+1.1%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income Data Tables

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Finally—A New Record High in Household Spending

Average household spending reached a new record high in 2017, finally surpassing the previous high set in 2006. American households spent an average of $60,060 in 2017, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This is 2.1 percent more than the $58,846 of 2006, after adjusting for inflation. In the wake of the Great Recession, spending plunged as low as $51,526 in 2013. The 2017 spending figure is 16.6 percent higher than the 2013 low—an additional $8,500 of spending per year per household. No wonder the economy is booming.

Average household spending, 2006 to 2017 (in 2017 dollars)
2017: $60,060 (record high)
2016: $58,532
2015: $57,892
2013: $51,526 (post-Great Recession low)
2010: $54,080
2006: $58,846 (previous record high)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, September 10, 2018

Solar Panels Most Popular in Pacific States

How many of the nation's houses have solar panels? The 2017 American Housing Survey has the answer. Overall, 3.1 million occupied housing units in the United States had solar panels in 2017—or 2.6 percent of the total. This is the percentage of homes with solar panels by census division...

4.0% in New England
2.2% in Middle Atlantic
0.7% in East North Central
0.6% in West North Central
1.5% in South Atlantic
0.6% in East South Central
1.5% in West South Central
3.8% in Mountain
7.4% in Pacific

The 2017 American Housing Survey also asked about solar panels on houses in selected metropolitan areas. Here are the findings: in Riverside-San Bernardino, 9.7 percent of homes had solar panels; San Francisco 6.9 percent; Phoenix 6.5 percent; Los Angeles 5.0 percent; Atlanta 1.0 percent; and Seattle 0.8 percent.

Note: To see which states are in which census division, click here.
Source: Census Bureau, 2017 American Housing Survey

Friday, September 07, 2018

Census Bureau Releases Corrected 2017-Vintage Population Projections

Yesterday the Census Bureau released its corrected 2017-vintage population projections. The bureau had yanked the 2017 projections from its website a few weeks ago after finding an error in the calculation of infant mortality rates, which inflated future deaths.

The consequence of the correction is a slightly larger projected total population, with the 2060 total now at 404.5 million rather than the 403.7 million forecast by the flawed series. The correction does not change the date (2045) when minorities will become the majority of the U.S. population.

The bureau also corrected its March 2018 press release announcing the 2017-vintage projections. The corrected press release can be read here.

Source: Census Bureau, 2017 National Population Projections Tables

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Here Is a Definition of the Middle Class

If you're middle class in in the United States, then your household income is between $37,000 and $147,000 for a household of three people, reports Brookings. This is how it will define the middle class in its Future of the Middle Class Initiative, which aims "to improve the quality of life of America's middle class and to increase the number of people rising to join its ranks." Brookings is defining the middle class as the middle 60 percent of households—the 30 percent with incomes above and below the all-household median.

Brookings has acknowledged that there are many ways to define the middle class. Each falls into one of three broad categories—economic resources, education/occupation, and culture/mindset. Brookings has undertaken an examination of the many definitions of the middle class and finds most insufficient for its purposes. Take the educational attainment definition, for example. Having a bachelor's degree could be used as a minimum threshold for the middle-class. Brookings rejects this concept because it wants to understand what level of education leads to the middle class, and "we can't do that if we've set the answer into our definition."

Defining the middle class by culture or mindset, says Brookings, doesn't work because it is too inclusive. It encompasses not only those already in the middle class but also many who are working to get there. "This very inclusiveness gives the definition less bite," says Brookings. "Many people might aspire to a middle-class lifestyle, and work toward it, but not make it." The goal of Brookings' Initiative is to determine why some do not make it into the middle class, and an overly inclusive definition of the middle class does not allow for that.

This leaves Brookings with an economic resources model of the middle class. It has chosen to define the middle class as the 60 percent of households in the middle of the income distribution. One criticism of this approach is that the middle class can neither grow nor shrink. "For us, this is a feature rather than a bug," says Brookings. "We are able to evaluate changes in the share of income or wealth going to the middle class independently of changes in the share of households in the middle class." Brookings did just such an evaluation, finding that the share of income going to the middle class fell from half in 1979 to 40 percent in 2014. More to come.

Source: Brookings, There are Many Definitions of "Middle Class"—Here's Ours

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Shocking Rise in Obesity

Something is is not right with this picture. Since the early 1960s, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of Americans aged 20 to 74 who are obese has climbed from just 13 percent to fully 40 percent. If obesity were an infectious disease, the nation would be in a panic and demanding a cure.  

Percent of people aged 20 to 74 who are obese
2015–16: 40.0%
2009–10: 36.1%
1999–00: 30.9%
1976–80: 15.0%
1960–62: 13.4%

These figures are based on the measured heights and weights of nationally representative samples of Americans. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above 30 kg/m².

Both men and women have succumbed to obesity. Among men aged 20 to 74, the percentage who are obese climbed from 10.7 percent in 1960–62 to 38.3 percent in 2015–16. For women, the comparable figures are 15.8 and 41.6 percent. By age, the NCHS provides trends only back to 1988–94. Here are the numbers...

Obesity among people aged 20 to 39
2015–16: 35.7%
1988–94: 17.7%

Obesity among people aged 40 to 59
2015–16: 42.8%
1988–94: 27.9%

Obesity among people aged 60-plus
2015–16: 41.0%
1988–94: 23.7%

Interestingly, the percentage of Americans who are simply overweight and not obese has not increased over the years—31.5 percent in 1960–62, and 31.0 percent in 2015–16. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

One in Four Americans is First- or Second-Generation Foreign-Born

Twenty-five percent of Americans are either foreign-born (13.5 percent) or the child of at least one foreign-born parent (11.9 percent), according to the Census Bureau. Here is the percentage who are first- or second-generation foreign-born by age...

Percent of first- or second-generation foreign-born among total U.S. population by age, 2016
Under age 18: 26%
Aged 18 to 24: 28%
Aged 25 to 34: 29%
Aged 35 to 44: 30%
Aged 45 to 54: 25%
Aged 55 to 64: 20%
Aged 65-plus: 21%

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey—2016 Detailed Tables on the Foreign-Born

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Most and Least Religious Americans

There are many ways to segment the American population—age, sex, race, education, and so on. Pew Research Center has come up with a new way—religious typology. By asking a nationally representative sample of Americans to answer a handful of questions about religious beliefs and practices, Pew has identified seven religious types in the United States that "cut across many denominations," "unite people of different faiths," or even "divide people who have the same religious affiliation." The most religious of the seven types are the Sunday Stalwarts. The least religious are the Solidly Seculars. Here are some of Pew's findings about these groups...

Sunday Stalwarts: The members of this group account for 17 percent of the adult population. They are actively involved in their religious organization. Most attend religious services at least weekly and pray daily. Sixty-two percent think it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. Most are women, white, and aged 50 or older. The 59 percent majority is Republican.

Solidly Secular: The members of this group also account for 17 percent of the adult population. They seldom or never attend religious services and nearly all (97 percent) say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral. They do not describe themselves as religious, nor do they call themselves spiritual. Most are men, white, under age 50, and Democrats.

There are another five religious typologies between these two extremes: God-and-Country Believers, Diversely Devout, Relaxed Religious, Spiritually Awake, and Religion Resisters. Find out more about them by clicking the link below. Find out your type by taking the quiz here.

Source: Pew Research Center, The Religious Typology—A New Way to Categorize Americans by Religion

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Census Bureau Counts Ridesharing Workers

A few months ago the Bureau of Labor Statistics disappointed trend trackers with its incomplete update of alternative workers. The update did not include a big chunk of the workforce—all those workers (such as Uber and Lyft drivers) whose jobs depend on gig-enabling technologies. Now the Census Bureau has stepped into the breach. By analyzing the government's "nonemployer" statistics, researchers at the bureau have produced a count of the rideshare workforce and a glimpse of its changing characteristics.

The government defines nonemployers as businesses with no paid employees and annual receipts of $1,000 or more. Most nonemployers are self-employed, and their business is not necessarily their main source of income. The Census Bureau researchers took a look at nonemployers in the "taxi and limousine service" industry over time. What they found is shocking, but not surprising—the 700,565 nonemployers in the taxi and limousine service industry in 2016 were more than three times the 224,000 of 2013. Traditional taxi drivers are also included in these numbers, but the surge is entirely due to the rise of ridesharing.

Not only has the number of ridesharing workers ballooned, but their characteristics have changed. In 2013—before the industry disruption—most nonemployer drivers worked full-time. Only 18 percent also had wage and salary earnings in the same year. The great majority (83 percent) were foreign-born, and just 6 percent were women. The characteristics of nonemployers who started driving in 2015—after the industry disruption—were very different. Most were part-timers. The great majority (73 percent) also had wage and salary earnings in the same year. Only 48 percent were foreign-born, and a larger 21 percent were women. Perhaps the biggest difference between drivers before and after the industry disruption is in their earnings. The 2013 drivers, most of whom worked full-time, earned $41,840 (in 2015 dollars). The 2015 drivers, most of whom worked part-time, earned $11,450.

Source: Census Bureau, What May Be Driving Growth in the "Gig Economy?"—Detailed Look at Taxi, Limousine Services

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Median Household Income Rises in July 2018

Another month of gains. Median household income in July 2018 climbed to $62,450, reports Sentier Research. This is the highest median recorded by Sentier since the January 2000 start of its monthly household income series. The July 2018 median was 2.6 percent higher than the July 2017 median, after adjusting for inflation. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis. 

"We are at a point now where real median household income is 3.1 percent higher than January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series," reports Sentier's Gordon Green. "Not an impressive performance by any means over a period spanning almost two decades, but the trend line has been positive for about seven years." More impressive is the 14.1 percent rise in median household income since the post-Great Recession low of $54,736 in June 2011—two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index in July 2018 was 103.1 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: July 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Younger Generations More Comfortable with Debt

More than three out of four American households (77 percent) are in debt, according to the Federal Reserve Board's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances—not much higher than the 74 percent of 1998. This small increase masks a big rise in debt among older householders...

Percent of householders aged 65 or older in debt, 2016 (and 1998)
Aged 65 to 74: 70% (51%)
Aged 75-plus: 50% (25%)

What accounts for the large increase in debt among older Americans? A National Bureau of Economic Research paper sheds light on a possible reason for the rise. The analysis examines attitudes toward debt in Sweden by birth cohort. One of the key findings is that the percentage of Swedes who are uncomfortable with debt has fallen in more recent birth cohorts. Among survey respondents born from 1921 to 1940, 83 percent reported being uncomfortable with debt. Among those born from 1941 onward, a smaller 55 to 57 percent reported feeling uncomfortable with debt. Those who are uncomfortable with debt are less likely to be in debt, the study finds.

The same attitudinal shift has likely occurred in the United States, with the older debt-wary generations having been replaced by younger cohorts less concerned with debt. "A change in attitudes toward debt is potentially relevant for understanding the recently observed increase in debt," conclude the authors.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Attitudes Toward Debt and Debt Behavior, Working Paper 24935 ($5)

Monday, August 27, 2018

47% of Private-Sector Employers Provide Health Insurance

Only 47 percent of private-sector businesses provided health insurance for their employees in 2017, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. This is well below the 56 percent of 2008, but higher than the 45 percent of 2016. By size of establishment, this is the percentage of businesses that offer health insurance...

Percent of establishments offering health insurance to employees, 2017
Less than 10 employees: 23.5%
10 to 24 employees: 49.2%
25 to 99 employees: 74.6%
100 to 999 employees: 96.3%
1,000 or more employees: 99.3%

One factor behind the decline in the provision of employer-provided health insurance since 2008, says EBRI, was the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA allowed those working for smaller establishments to get health insurance in the marketplace. A factor behind the increase in the provision of health insurance between 2016 and 2017, says EBRI, is the low unemployment rate. The provision of health insurance has become a tool for recruiting and retaining workers in a tight labor market.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, After Years of Erosion, More Employers are Offering Health Coverage; Worker Eligibility Higher

Friday, August 24, 2018

Eating While Doing Something Else

If you've ever wondered why Americans are increasingly overweight, the American Time Use Survey may have the answer. Not only do we spend an average of 63.6 minutes a day eating and drinking mindfully (meaning as a primary activity—or our main activity at the time) but we spend another 17 minutes eating and drinking mindlessly (meaning as a secondary activity while we're focusing on something else). How many calories can we consume in 17 minutes? More than enough to tip the scales, apparently.

Five pursuits account for the 57 percent majority of the primary activities in which we engage while eating and drinking as a secondary activity. Number one is watching television. Twenty-three percent of mindless eating and drinking occurs while watching TV. Close behind is working at our main job, which accounts for another 23 percent. Socializing is number three. Food and drink preparation is fourth, which may explain why so many cooks claim not to be hungry when sitting down for dinner. Reading for personal interest is number five.

There are notable differences between men and women in the primary activities that account for most of their secondary eating and drinking. Among men, the top five activities are watching TV, working, socializing, playing games, and relaxing/thinking. For women, the top five are working, watching TV, food and drink preparation, socializing, and grooming.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Watching TV and Working Are the Top Activities that Accompany Secondary Eating

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Americans Drive 51 Minutes a Day

Eighty-eight percent of Americans aged 16 or older drive at least occasionally, according to the AAA Foundation's third annual American Driving Survey. Those who drive spend an average of 51 minutes a day behind the wheel on their 2.24 road trips. People aged 25 to 49 do the most driving and log the greatest number of daily trips...

Average number of minutes per day spent driving, 2016 (and number of trips)
Aged 16 to 19: 37.5 (1.96)
Aged 20 to 24: 50.2 (1.89)
Aged 25 to 34: 57.5 (2.45)
Aged 35 to 49: 59.1 (2.41)
Aged 50 to 64: 46.8 (2.35)
Aged 65 to 74: 51.0 (2.10)
Aged 75-plus: 33.9 (1.84)

Source: AAA Foundation, 2016 American Driving Survey 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Decline in Births Now Equals Great Depression Drop

Since peaking in 2007, the annual number of births in the United States has fallen 10.7 percent. This number has significance: it is equal to the decline in births that occurred during the Great Depression. Among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites, the decline has been even greater...

Number of births by race and Hispanic origin in 2017 (and percent change since 2007)
Total: 3,853,472 (–10.7)
Asian: 249,214 (–2.1%)
Black: 560,560 (–10.6%)
Hispanic: 897,518 (–15.5%)
Non-Hispanic White: 1,991,348 (–13.8%)

But the current birth decline differs from the Great Depression decline in two ways. One, the Great Depression decline occurred over a four-year period while the current decline is ten years old and counting. Two, the Great Depression decline ended as the economy improved while the current decline has deepened with the improving economy. According to the Center for Retirement Research, the ongoing decline in the midst of a booming economy suggests that we may be in "a slow drift" to the low fertility levels of some other developed countries.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Birth Data

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Retirement Years Have Expanded. Now What?

"The expansion of retirement years has been one of the most profound societal changes of the past eight decades in the United States," write Eugene Steurerle and Damir Cosic of the Urban Institute. This expansion is straining the Social Security system's finances.

Since the Social Security program first began to pay benefits in 1940, the length of retirement (i.e., receipt of Social Security benefits) has expanded by more than a decade due to rising life expectancy and early claiming. If men and women today were to collect Social Security benefits for the same number of years as their counterparts in 1940, they would have to delay claiming their benefits until age 74 (men) or 75 (women). Instead, the average age of Social Security claiming is 64, with many claiming as early as age 62.

Although Social Security's full retirement age is rising from 65 to 67, the earliest age allowed for Social Security claiming (62) remains the same. The consequence is this: a woman retiring at age 62 in 2022 will receive Social Security benefits for 29 percent of her life and 58 percent of her adulthood. Such lengthy retirements are not financially sustainable.

"Reform must address the unavoidable question posed in the title of this brief," conclude the authors. How should Social Security adjust when people live longer?

Source: Urban Institute, How Should Social Security Adjust When People Live Longer?

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Decline in Black Homeownership

Every race and Hispanic origin group has a lower homeownership rate today than in the early 2000s, but no group has seen a bigger decline in homeownership than Blacks. In 2017, just 42.3 percent of Black households owned their home—6.8 percentage points below the 49.1 percent peak of 2004. Hispanics saw their homeownership rate fall 3.5 percentage points from their peak, Asians experienced a 3.6 percentage-point loss, and the non-Hispanic White rate was down 3.7 percentage points.

Black homeownership rate
2017: 42.3%
2010: 45.4%
2004: 49.1% (peak)
2000: 47.2%

The gap in the homeownership rate of non-Hispanic White and Black households grew from 26.9 to 30.0 percent points between 2004 and 2017.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership, Annual Statistics: 2017

Friday, August 17, 2018

Pets Outnumber People in the U.S.

There are more pets than people in the United States, according to the 2017–2018 APPA (American Pet Products Association) National Pet Owners Survey. Our nation is home to 326 million people and 393 million pets. The 68 percent majority of households own at least one pet, and many own more than one...

Percentage of households owning pets by type (and average number owned)
Dogs: 48%(1.5)
Cats: 38% (2.0)
Fish, freshwater: 10% (11.1)
Birds: 6% (2.6)
Small animals: 5% (2.1)
Reptiles: 4% (2.0)
Horses: 2% (2.9)
Fish, saltwater: 2% (7.5)

Most owners dote on their pets by giving them treats and gifts. Nearly all dog owners (95 percent) dole out treats. So do 80 percent of cat owners and even 54 percent of the owners of reptiles. Gift giving is almost as prevalent as the provision of treats. Seventy-eight percent of dog owners give their dogs gifts, as do 67 percent of cat owners. Even reptile owners show generosity: 46 percent gave their reptile a gift in the past year, with 14 percent giving it a Christmas gift.

Source: APPA, 2017–18 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Who Thinks News Media is Enemy of the People?

"Which comes closer to your point of view: the news media is the enemy of the people, or the news media is an important part of democracy?"

Only 26 percent of Americans believe the news media is the enemy of the people, according to a Quinnipiac poll, with few differences by age...

News media is the enemy of the people
Aged 18 to 34: 29%
Aged 35 to 49: 27%
Aged 50 to 64: 27%
Aged 65-plus: 20%

But there is a huge difference in belief by political affiliation...

News media is the enemy of the people
Democrats: 5%
Republicans: 51%

Source: Quinnipiac University Poll, August 14 National Poll

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Feelings of Success Rise with Age

The percentage of Americans who believe they are successful is lowest among young adults and rises with age. The 2016 General Social Survey asked people aged 18 or older how they felt about the statement, "Right now I see myself as being pretty successful." Overall, 46 percent said the statement was mostly or definitely true for them. But the percentage was lowest among Millennials and highest among older Americans...

"I see myself as being pretty successful" (percent saying mostly/definitely true)
Millennials: 38%
Gen Xers: 41%
Boomers: 51%
Older: 57%

By education, only 42 percent of those without a bachelor's degree felt successful compared with a larger 56 percent of those with a bachelor's degree.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Who Does More, Men or Women?

Everyone knows that women do more housework than men. Each year the American Time Use Survey documents the difference. The 2017 survey finds women aged 15 or older spending an average of 2.2 hours a day doing what it calls "household activities," while men devote only 1.4 hours a day to these tasks. Household activities include cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, pet care, home repair, vehicle care, and household management such as paying bills.

In every age group, women do more housework. The gap is greatest among the youngest adults—under age 25—where women spend twice as much time as men engaged in household activities. The gap declines fairly steadily with age. Among people aged 65 or older, women do only 22 percent more housework than their male counterparts.

But there's more to a day's work than housework. There's also paid work and child care. Men spend 47 percent more time than women working for pay on an average day. Women spend twice as much time as men taking care of household children. What happens when you add up the time men and women devote to all three responsibilities? It turns out, there is near equality in the amount of time men and women spend doing housework, paid work, and childcare. Men devote 5.60 hours a day to these activities and women 5.35 hours—a difference of only 18 minutes a day, with men doing the extra time. Even if you break it down by age, men and women spend nearly equal amounts of time doing what needs to be done on an average day...

Difference in time women and men devote to housework, paid work, and child care
Aged 15 to 19: women, 24 minutes more
Aged 20 to 24: men, 1 minute more
Aged 25 to 34: women, 1 minute more
Aged 35 to 44: men, 13 minutes more
Aged 45 to 54: men, 11 minutes more
Aged 55 to 64: men, 17 minutes more
Aged 65-plus: women, 1 minute more

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 American Time Use Survey

Monday, August 13, 2018

47% of Millennials Have a Tattoo

With summer at its peak, tattoos are more visible than ever. Overall, 29 percent of Americans aged 18 or older have a tattoo, according to a 2015 Harris Poll. This is nearly double the 16 percent of 2003. With such rapid growth, the percentage with a tattoo today is certainly higher than the 29 percent of 2015. Here are the 2015 stats by generation...

Percent with at least one tattoo by generation
Millennials: 47%
Gen Xers: 36%
Boomers: 13%
Older: 10%

Source: The Harris Poll, Tattoo Takeover: Three in Ten Americans Have Tattoos, and Most Don't Stop at Just One

Friday, August 10, 2018

Median Age of Full-Time Workers: 45

Forty-five—that's the median age of the nation's full-time workers aged 25 or older, according to the Census Bureau, with almost no difference in the median age of men (44.8) and women (45.0) in the workforce. But in some occupations there are big differences in the median age of male and female workers. For example...

Dentists
Men: 51.6
Women: 41.6

Optometrists
Men: 50.8
Women: 35.7

Behind the differences in the median age of men and women in some occupations is the influx of (younger) women into these jobs over the past few decades. Women earned 49 percent of degrees in dentistry in 2015-16, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, up from 37 percent two decades earlier. They earned 65 percent of degrees in optometry, up from 53 percent in the mid-1990s. The gap in the median age of men and women in these and other professions is a sign of women's expanding presence in the workforce.

Source: Census Bureau, Detailed Occupation and Education Table Package

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Census Bureau Retracts 2017 Vintage Population Projections

Shocking demographers and other trend spotters across the nation, the Census Bureau has removed its 2017 vintage population projections from its web site. The projections, released in March 2018, updated the bureau's 2014 vintage projections. This terse explanation appears on the bureau's projections site:

"An error was identified in the 2017 population projections data release. All data files have been removed. Corrected news products and data files are forthcoming."

Demo Memo had analyzed the projections in two posts in March:
Minority Majority in 2045
Surprises in the 2017 Population Projections

Stay tuned for what went wrong and whether the corrections change our view of the future.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Nervous Breakdown?

"Have you ever felt you were going to have a nervous breakdown?" That's one of the mental health questions in the 2016 General Social Survey. A surprisingly large 36 percent of Americans aged 18 or older answered "yes."

Women are more likely than men to have ever felt like they were going to have a nervous breakdown—42 versus 27 percent. By race and Hispanic origin, Asians are most likely to have felt that way (43 percent) and Blacks least likely (28 percent). By generation, nearly half of Millennials have felt on the brink of a breakdown...

Ever felt you were going to have a nervous breakdown?
Millennials: 48%
Gen Xers: 37%
Boomers: 29%
Older: 14%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

How Many Are Lonely?

Nearly 1 in 12 Americans aged 18 or older reported feeling lonely most or all of the time during the past week, according to the 2016 General Social Survey. Several questions in the 2016 survey probed the public's emotional health. The good news is that few of us spent most of the past week feeling bad. The bad news is that some of us did. Five percent felt depressed most or all of the time in the past week, 6 percent felt sad, and 8 percent felt lonely.

Felt lonely most or all of the time in the past week
Aged 18 to 29: 7.4%
Aged 30 to 39: 4.4%
Aged 40 to 49: 9.4%
Aged 50 to 59: 11.9%
Aged 60 to 69: 7.4%
Aged 70-plus: 5.1%

Loneliness peaks among people in their 50s, with 12 percent saying they felt lonely most or all of the time. One factor that may cause loneliness in this age group is the emptying nest. Loneliness is least likely among people in their 30s, the crowded-nest years. The oldest Americans—people aged 70 or older—are one of the age groups least likely to feel lonely.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Monday, August 06, 2018

5% of Americans Are Vegetarian, 3% Vegan

Five percent of Americans are vegetarians, according to a Gallup survey, and another 3 percent are vegan. Vegetarians are those who do not eat meat, and vegans reject all animal products. By age, both vegetarians and vegans peak in the 30-to-49 age group...

Percent who are vegetarian
Aged 18 to 29: 7%
Aged 30 to 49: 8%
Aged 50 to 64: 3%
Aged 65-plus: 2%

Percent who are vegan
Aged 18 to 29: 3%
Aged 30 to 49: 4%
Aged 50 to 64: 1%
Aged 65-plus: 3%

Source: Gallup, Snapshot: Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan

Friday, August 03, 2018

55% in U.S. Pray Every Day

The United States is an outlier when it comes to prayer, according to Pew Research Center. It is the only wealthy country in the world in which the majority of the population prays daily. Here are some comparisons with other countries...

Percentage of adults who pray daily, for selected countries
United States: 55%
Mexico: 40%
Canada: 25%
Italy: 21%
Australia: 18%
Russia: 18%
Sweden: 11%
France: 10%
Germany: 9%
United Kingdom: 6%

The percentage of adults who pray every day is highest in Afghanistan (96 percent) and lowest in China (1 percent). Of 102 countries examined by Pew, the average is 49 percent. Sociologists theorize that countries with high levels of income inequality often have high levels of religiosity, reports Pew.

Source: Pew Research Center, The Age Gap in Religion Around the World and American Are Far More Religious than Adults in Other Wealthy Nations

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Record Low Fertility Rate Examined in Report

The nation's fertility rate hit a new low in the first quarter of 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The fertility rate (the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44) fell to 60.1 in the first quarter of the year, according to the NCHS's Vital Statistics Rapid Release Natality Dashboard. This is lower than the all-time annual low of 60.2 in 2017

The ongoing decline in the fertility rate is examined in a report by the Center for Retirement Research. The report analyzes whether the decline is a lingering effect of the Great Recession or a structural shift in childbearing in the United States. The conclusion: "the bulk of the evidence" points to a structural shift caused by four factors...
  • Hispanics are having fewer children
  • More women are earning college degrees
  • Those with no religious affiliation are having fewer children
  • The female-to-male wage ratio has increased
Because of these shifts, the nation's fertility rate is not likely to bounce back to pre-recession levels, concludes the report. Barring more immigration, lower fertility means the nation's social programs will become more expensive in the years ahead.

 Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Is the Drop in Fertility Temporary or Permanent?

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Student Loan Debt, 1992 to 2016

The percentage of households with student loan debt has more than doubled in the past 24 years, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute analysis of the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. In 2016, 22.3 percent of American households had outstanding student loans, up from 10.5 percent in 1992. The percentage of households with student loans increased substantially in every age group during those years...

Percentage of households with student loans in 2016 (and 1992)
Under age 35: 44.8% (24.4%)
Aged 35 to 44: 34.3% (11.7%)
Aged 45 to 54: 23.7% (5.7%)
Aged 55 to 64: 12.9% (2.9%)
Aged 65-plus: 2.4% (1.2%)

Among households with student loans, the median amount owed has more than tripled, after adjusting for inflation—rising from $5,363 in 1992 to $19,000 in 2016. In the 35-to-44 age group, debt has quadrupled...

Median amount owed for student loans by debtors in 2016 (and 1992); in 2016 dollars
Under age 35: $18,500 ($5,363)
Aged 35 to 44: $20,100 ($4,860)
Aged 45 to 54: $20,000 ($6,201)
Aged 55 to 64: $18,000 ($12,234)
Aged 65-plus: $12,000 ($10,223)

While households with and without student loans are equally likely to have saved in a defined-contribution retirement plan, those without student loans have saved much more. Among householders aged 45 to 54 with a college degree, those without student loans had a median balance of $126,000 in their defined-contribution retirement plan in 2016. Those with student loans had a median balance of $46,000.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Student Loan Debt: Trends and Implications

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Life Expectancy Gap Grew in 2016

In the United States, women live longer than men. But the female advantage has been shrinking for decades—until now. In 2016 the life expectancy gap between females and males widened for the first time since 1990, according to the National Center for Health Statistics report, Deaths: Final Data for 2016, increasing from 4.8 to 5.0 years between 2015 and 2016. Here is the trend since 1950...

Gap in female-male life expectancy
2016: 5.0 years (first increase since 1989-90)
2015: 4.8 years
2010: 4.8 years
2000: 5.2 years
1990: 7.0 years
1980: 7.4 years
1979: 7.8 years (biggest gap)
1970: 7.6 years
1960: 6.5 years
1950: 5.5 years

Since 1950, the life expectancy of both males and females has increased substantially—rising from 65.6 to 76.1 years (+10.5 years) for males, and from 71.1 to 81.1 years (+10.0 years) for females. During those years, the female-male life expectancy gap grew from 5.5 years in 1950 to a peak of 7.8 years in 1979. The gap then began to shrink, falling to 4.8 years from 2010 through 2015.

Behind the 1950-to-1979 increase in the female-male life expectancy gap were higher rates of smoking and heart disease among men. As smoking rates fell and heart disease was better controlled, the life expectancy gap began to decline. The decline has come to a halt, at least temporarily, as male mortality rates rise faster than female for some causes of death. One of those causes is drug-induced deaths. Between 2015 and 2016, the drug-induced mortality rate of males climbed 26.0 percent. The female rate increased by a smaller 13.6 percent.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality Data

Monday, July 30, 2018

50% of People Aged 75-Plus Have a Disability

Thirty-nine million Americans have a disability—13 percent of the population, according to the 2012–16 American Community Survey. The percentage with a disability rises with age...

Percent with a disability
Under age 5: 0.8%
Aged 5 to 17: 5.4%
Aged 18 to 34: 6.0%
Aged 35 to 64: 12.9%
Aged 65 to 74: 25.4%
Aged 75-plus: 50.0%

Among those aged 75 or older with a disability, 33 percent have difficulty walking, 25 percent have difficulty living independently, 23 percent have hearing problems, 14 percent have a cognitive deficit, 14 percent have trouble with self-care, and 10 percent have vision problems.

Source: Census Bureau, American Factfinder, Disability Characteristics

Friday, July 27, 2018

30% Use Ride-Sharing Services

Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are used by 30 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup survey. The figure is highest among young adults...

Percent who use ride-sharing services
Aged 18 to 29: 45%
Aged 30 to 49: 36%
Aged 50 to 64: 23%
Aged 65-plus: 13%

Source: Gallup, Who Uses Ride-Sharing Services in the U.S.?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

First-Time Home Buyer Watch: 2nd Quarter 2018

Homeownership rate of householders aged 35 to 39, second quarter 2018: 56.8%

The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds—the nation's first-time home buyers—took a step back in the second quarter of 2018, falling below 57 percent. Their first quarter rate (57.1 percent) had cracked the 57 percent threshold for the first time since 2012—suggesting a trend of rising homeownership in the age group. But it was a short-lived blip. Although these bobbles are not statistically significant, it is clear the age group is treading water. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds peaked at 65.7 percent in the first quarter of 2007

What about their younger counterparts, aged 30 to 34, who were once the nation's first-time home buyers? Their homeownership rate rose to 47.9 percent in the second quarter of 2018. This is up from 45.2 percent one year earlier, a statistically significant increase. Before the Great Recession, 30-to-34-year-olds were the nation's first-time home buyers (the age at which the homeownership rate surpasses 50 percent). But their rate fell below 50 percent in 2011 and has been stuck there ever since. Perhaps this age group is on its way to reclaiming first-time homebuyer status.


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.3 percent in the second quarter of 2018, up from 63.7 percent one year earlier. The difference is not statistically significant.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Median Household Income Rises in June 2018

Median household income in June 2018 climbed to $62,175, reports Sentier Research. This is the highest median recorded by Sentier since the January 2000 start of its monthly household income series. The June 2018 median was 2.6 percent higher than the June 2017 median, after adjusting for inflation. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis. 

"We are at a point now where real median household income is 2.8 percent higher than January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series," reports Sentier's Gordon Green. "Not an impressive performance by any means over a period spanning almost two decades, but the trend line has been positive for about seven years." More impressive is the 13.8 percent rise in median household income since the post-Great Recession low of $54,643 in June 2011—two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index in June 2018 was 102.8 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: June 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Boomer Religious Beliefs Stable Over Decades

Are Boomers becoming more religious with age? Not according to the General Social Survey, which has been tracking the attitudes of Americans since 1972. The religious beliefs of Boomers have changed surprisingly little over the decades.

Religious preference: When Boomers were young in 1976, the oldest among them filling the 18-to-30 age group, the 54 percent majority named Protestant as their religious preference. Only 13 percent said they had no religious preference. Now that Boomers are getting long in the tooth (aged 52 to 70 in 2016), 56 percent name Protestant as their religious preference and 15 percent say "none." The differences between then and now are not statistically significant. 

Religiosity: The percentage of Boomers who identify themselves as "very" or "moderately" religious stood at 64 percent in 2016 (at ages 52 to 70). The figure was 62 percent in 1998 (at ages 34 to 52), the first year the question appeared on the survey. The percentage identifying themselves as "not religious" was 13 percent in 1998 and 17 percent in 2016. The differences between then and now are not statistically significant. 

Belief in God: In 2016, the 62 percent majority of Boomers (at ages 52 to 70) agreed with the statement, "I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it." This figure was as high as 66 percent in 2006 (at ages 42 to 60). It was as low as 59 percent in 1988 (at ages 24 to 42), the first year the question appeared on the survey. Only 2 percent of Boomers in 1988 and 3 percent of Boomers in 2016 said they did not believe in God. The differences between then and now are not statistically significant.

As they aged from young adults to retirees, the religious beliefs of Boomers did not change. What does this mean for Millennials? It means Millennial religious beliefs—as recorded by the 2016 General Social Survey when they were aged 22 to 39—are not likely to change in the decades ahead. Thirty-two percent of Millennials say they have no religious preference, more than twice the share among Boomers. Forty-three percent of Millennials say they are very or moderately religious, well below the Boomer share. Just 50 percent of Millennials say they believe in God without a doubt.  

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Surveys

Monday, July 23, 2018

31% Engaged in Gig Work in Past Month

Nearly one-third of Americans participate in the gig economy. Thirty-one percent of adults engaged in gig work in the past month, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Gig work is highest among younger adults: 43 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds did some type of gig work in the past month. Among people aged 65 or older, the figure was 18 percent.

Online services are the most popular type of gig work, with 16 percent of the public engaged in online gig work in the past month, such as...
11% sold goods online
4% provided services through online platforms such as Task Rabbit
2% drove for a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft
2% rented their place of residence through online services

Offline services were provided by 14 percent of the public, such as...
7% provided housecleaning, yard work, or other property maintenance
6% provided child care, dog walking, or house sitting
2% provided disabled adult or elder care services

Offline sales were made by 9 percent, such as...
6% sold goods at flea markets or garage sales
4% sold goods at consignment shops or thrift stores

Why do gig work? The single biggest reason is to supplement income from regular work (39 percent), followed by hobby/fun (19 percent), and as a primary source of income (16 percent).

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017

Friday, July 20, 2018

Delayed Childbearing among College Graduates

Women who go to college delay having children. This is common knowledge, confirmed yet again by the latest findings from the 2011–2015 National Survey of Family Growth. Among women aged 22 to 44, here is the percentage who have not yet had children by educational attainment...

Percent of women aged 22 to 44 who have not yet had children
7% of those who did not graduate from high school
19% of those with a high school diploma only
33% of those with some college, but no bachelor's degree
46% of those with a bachelor's degree or more education

Among the 46 percent of women with a bachelor's degree who have not yet had children, many eventually will become mothers. According to 2016 statistics from the Census Bureau, only 18 percent of women with a bachelor's degree and 25 percent of those with a graduate degree are still childless by ages 45 to 50—considered the age of completed childbearing.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15–44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011–2015

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Many Consider Adoption, Few Adopt

More than one-third of women aged 18 to 44 have ever considered adopting a child, according to a National Center for Health Statistics Report. But only 0.7 percent have ever adopted.

Considered adoption: 37.7%
Now seeking to adopt: 1.2%
Ever adopted: 0.7%

The percentage who have ever considered adopting does not vary much by age, race, or Hispanic origin. It is greater among women with fertility problems (53 percent) than those without (35 percent).

The percentage who have ever adopted rises with age to 1.3 percent among women aged 35 to 44. Among women with fertility problems, 1.6 percent have ever adopted a child.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Adoption-Related Behaviors among Women Aged 18–44 in the United States: 2011–15

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Growing Wealth Gap between Young and Old

Americans aged 65 or older are the beneficiaries of a growing share of the nation's resources, studies show, while children must make do with less. A paper published in Demography takes a look at the consequences of this disparity, and the results are troubling. Analyzing Survey of Consumer Finance data from 1989 to 2013, researchers Christina M. Gibson-Davis and Christine Percheski compare the wealth, income, assets, and debt of two types of households—those with children under age 18 (child households), and those with a householder or spouse aged 65 or older and no children under age 18 (elderly households).

Not surprisingly, elderly households have much greater wealth than child households, which is to be expected because older householders have had more time to accumulate wealth. The trouble lies in the growing gap between the two types of households. "In 1989, elderly households had a median net worth that was approximately 3.8 time that of child households ($106,647 vs. $27,889)," say the researchers, "by 2013, their median net worth was 12.5 times as high ($154,998 vs. $12,413)." Other findings:
  • The median net worth of elderly households grew 45 percent between 1989 and 2013, after adjusting for inflation, while the net worth of child households fell 56 percent. 
  • The median income of child households fell 1 percent between 1989 and 2013, while the income of elderly households increased 29 percent.
  • The median assets of child households grew only 13 percent during those years while their median debt climbed 68 percent—from $29,915 to $50,300. The assets of elderly households grew by a much larger 75 percent, and their debt grew from a median of $0 to a modest $900.
  • The homeownership rate of child households fell 2.6 percentage points between 1989 and 2013, and their home equity dropped 28 percent. The homeownership rate of elderly households climbed 10.8 percentage points and their home equity increased 28 percent. 
"The declining absolute and relative wealth holdings of most families with children is likely to impede the human capital development of the next generation of Americans," the researchers conclude. "We posit that such underinvestments in children are likely to have negative long-term societal consequences for the United States."

Source: Demography, Children and the Elderly: Wealth Inequality among America's Dependents ($39.95)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Males Aged 15 to 19 Are Spending More Time Gaming

On an average day in 2017, teenaged boys aged 15 to 19 spent 1.3 hours playing games as a primary activity, according to the American Time Use Survey. The "playing games" category includes computer and video games as well as board and card games. A decade ago, males in the age group spent only about half as much time playing games—0.72 hours per day.

The averages mask the depth of the obsession, however. Males aged 15 to 19 are more likely than any other segment of the population to play games—fully 43 percent (!) played games on an average day in 2017, and those who played spent an average of 3.03 hours (!) doing so. These figures are substantially higher than they were a decade ago. In 2007, a smaller 31 percent of 15-to-19-year-olds males played games on an average day, and those who did spent 2.29 hours doing so.

The growing percentage of 15-to-19-year-olds who game on an average day, coupled with the increasing amount of time spent gaming, means that gaming is likely crowding out other activities. In 2017, 15-to-19-year-old male gamers spent more time with a joystick than they did watching television (2.77 hours on average for 15-to-19-year-old male participants), playing sports (2.34 hours), or doing homework (2.16 hours).

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey

Monday, July 16, 2018

Who Has Had a Biological Child?

Yes, the nation's fertility rate is at an all-time low. Yes, the number of births has fallen to levels not seen in 30 years. Nevertheless, most Americans will have children. In fact, most women aged 25 or older and most men aged 30 or older are parents, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Here is the percentage who have had a biological child by age...

Percentage of women who have had a biological child
Aged 15 to 24: 17.1%
Aged 25 to 29: 52.1%
Aged 30 to 34: 76.2%
Aged 35 to 39: 80.0%
Aged 40 to 44: 85.0%

Percentage of men who have had a biological child
Aged 15 to 24: 7.6%
Aged 25 to 29: 37.2%
Aged 30 to 34: 58.6%
Aged 35 to 39: 74.8%
Aged 40 to 44: 80.4%

Overall, 44 percent of men and 55 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have had a biological child.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15–44 in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2011–2015

Friday, July 13, 2018

Are You Having Trouble Remembering Things?

"During the past 12 months, have you experienced confusion or memory loss that is happening more often or is getting worse?" This question was posed to Americans aged 45 or older in the 2015–16 surveys of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

A substantial 11 percent of people aged 45 or older answered "yes" to the question. They are experiencing what is called "subjective cognitive decline," reports the CDC. Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) can be a symptom of early-stage dementia. Among those who said they were experiencing SCD, the 51 percent majority also reported functional limitations due to their cognitive problems.

Interestingly, the percentage who reported SCD does not vary all that much by age, ranging from 10 percent among 45-to-54-year-olds to 14 percent among people aged 75 or older. By race and Hispanic origin, American Indians are most likely to report SCD (20 percent) and Asians least likely (7 percent). Education has a big impact on the prevalence of SCD, with 18 percent of high school dropouts reporting SCD versus 7 percent of people with a bachelor's degree. By state, the percentage with SCD is highest in Nevada (16.3 percent) and lowest in South Dakota (6.0 percent).

Source: CDC, Subjective Cognitive Decline among Adults Aged ≥ 45 Years—United States, 2015–2016

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Nearly Half of Americans Are Trying to Lose Weight

Most Americans are overweight, and many are trying to do something about it. You could almost call it a national obsession.

In the past 12 months, nearly half (49.1%) of adults aged 20 or older tried to lose weight, according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. The attempt to shed pounds is embraced by 52 percent of 40-to-49-year-olds, 50 percent of 20-to-39-year-olds, and 43 percent of those aged 60-plus. The 56 percent majority of women are trying to lose weight, as are 42 percent of men. Even those who don't have a weight problem have gotten caught up in the frenzy. Among adults who are underweight or normal weight, 26.5 percent are trying to lose weight. The figure is 49 percent among those who are overweight and rises to 67 percent among the obese.

Here are the ways Americans are trying to lose weight (multiple responses allowed):

63 percent exercised
63 percent ate less
50 percent ate more fruits, vegetables, or salads
45 percent drank a lot of water
42 percent ate less junk food or fast food
39 percent changed eating habits
39 percent ate less sugar, candy, or sweets
35 percent switched to foods with lower calories
30 percent ate fewer carbohydrates
29 percent ate less fat
16 percent skipped meals

It isn't working. Despite all the frenzied attempts to lose weight, obesity has been rising steadily for years. The latest NCHS report on obesity, based on the measured heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of people aged 20 or older, found 40 percent of Americans to be obese in 2015–2016, up from 36 percent in 2009–2010 and 30.5 percent in 1999–2000.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Attempts to Lose Weight among Adults in the United States, 2013–2016

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wineries Have Quadrupled in U.S.

A few months ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics profiled the nation's breweries and their explosive growth. Breweries are in their heyday, and they are not alone. Wineries are also enjoying good times.

The number of wineries in the United States quadrupled over the past 16 years, rising from just 1,066 in 2001 to 4,308 in 2017, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Winery employment more than doubled, climbing from 25,363 to 64,139 during those years. California accounts for 58 percent of the nation's winery jobs—fully 36,924 in 2017.

Here's a comparison of the nation's brewery (2016) and winery (2017) numbers:

Number of establishments
Wineries: 4,308
Breweries: 2,843

Employment
Wineries: 64,139
Breweries: 58,580

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment in Wineries Up 153 Percent from 2001 to 2017

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

14% of Millennials Identify as LGBTQ

A large portion of the Millennial generation identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, according to the latest survey from the GenForward Project at the University of Chicago. Overall, 14 percent of Millennials identify as LGBTQ. By race and Hispanic origin, here are the numbers...

Millennials who identify as LGBTQ
Asians: 9%
Blacks: 14%
Hispanics: 22%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 13%

These figures are higher than those found in other surveys. According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 7.3 percent of Millennials identify as LGBT. According to the 2016 General Social Survey, 6.9 percent of Millennials identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. According to the 2011–13 National Survey of Family Growth, 6.6 percent of women and 3.8 percent of men aged 25 to 34 report their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. 

Monday, July 09, 2018

Student Loans = Less Retirement Savings

Do student loans prevent young adults from saving for retirement? Yes, finds a study by the Center for Retirement Research. Analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers at CRR examined differences in 401(k) participation and retirement plan assets at age 30 by student loan status at age 25 for the 1980 to 1984 birth cohort.

The findings: 1) Having student loans at age 25 had no impact on 401(k) participation at age 30, the study found. Among college graduates, 61 to 62 percent participated in a 401(k) regardless of student loan status or size of loan. 2) Having student loans at age 25 had a big impact on retirement plan assets at age 30. Those with no education debt had amassed $18,200 in retirement plan assets by age 30, while those with student loans had saved only half as much, regardless of the amount of debt. "The presence of the loan may be more important than the size of the payments," the study concludes.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Do Young Adults with Student Debt Save Less for Retirement?

Friday, July 06, 2018

Forty Years of Bigger Houses

New single-family houses have been getting bigger. Those built in 2017 had a median of 2,426 square feet of floor area. While this is not the record high, it's close. The record was set in 2015 when new single-family homes had a median of 2,467 square feet...

Median square feet of floor area in new single-family houses completed
2017: 2,426
2016: 2,422
2015: 2,467 (record high)
2007: 2,277
1997: 1,975
1987: 1,755
1977: 1,610

Single-family homes built in 2017 are 51 percent larger than those built in 1977.

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of New Housing

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Extremely Proud to be an American?

Only 47 percent of the U.S. public is "extremely proud" to be American, finds a recent Gallup survey. The year 2018 marks the first time extreme pride has fallen below 50 percent in the 18 years Gallup has been asking the question.

Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to feel extremely proud to be Americans— 74 to 32 percent. Most men (51 percent) but fewer than half of women (44 percent) feel extreme pride. The 54 percent majority of whites feel it versus only 33 percent of nonwhites. Feelings also differ greatly by age...

Extremely proud to be an American
Aged 18 to 29: 33%
Aged 30 to 49: 42%
Aged 50 to 64: 56%
Aged 65-plus: 58%

Source: Gallup, In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Why the Decline in TV Time among 25-to-34-Year-Olds?

Young adults aren't watching as much television as they once did, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. People aged 25 to 34 watched TV as a primary activity (meaning the main activity) an average of 2.01 hours a day in 2017, down from 2.22 hours a day in 2007. What's behind the decline?

To answer this type of question, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has created a new query tool that lets researchers dig deeper into its time use data. With the tool, you can extract time use data from 2003 to 2017 for more than 100 primary activities by sex, age, employment status, parenting status, and type of day (average, weekday, or weekend). This is what the data reveal about the television time of young adults...
  • The decline in TV time is limited to men. Men aged 25 to 34 watched TV as a primary activity an average of 2.06 hours per day in 2017, down from 2.56 hours in 2007. Women in the age group spent slightly more time watching television in 2017 (1.95 hours) than in 2007 (1.88 hours). 
  • Two factors are behind the decline in men's television viewing. First, on any given day, fewer men watched TV in 2017 (72 percent) than in 2007 (77 percent). Second, those who watched TV spent less time doing so—an average of 2.87 hours in 2017, down from 3.32 hours in 2007. 
  • In contrast, among women in the age group, there has been no significant decline in the percentage who watch TV on an average day (about 75 percent). Not only that, but women who watched TV spent more time doing so in 2017 (2.62 hours) than in 2007 (2.48 hours). 
What could account for the decline in television viewing among young men? Further exploration with the query tool provides a probable answer: gaming. Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of men aged 25 to 34 who play games (a category that includes computer games) as a primary activity on an average day grew from 9 to 15 percent. Those who play games are spending more time doing so, the average rising from 2.32 hours per day in 2007 to 2.97 hours per day in 2017. Among women, there has been no increase in the percentage who play games on an average day (7 percent), nor in the time spent gaming among women who play. Gaming, then, is the likely explanation for the decline in television viewing among men aged 25 to 34.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the American Time Use Survey, One-Screen Data Search—American Time Use

Monday, July 02, 2018

True or False: Most Immigrants Are Here Legally

True, but most Americans do not know that. Only 45 percent of the public knows that most immigrants in the United States are here legally, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Nearly as many (42 percent) think most immigrants are here illegally, and 13 percent say they do not know. By age, here is the percentage of Americans who say (correctly) that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally...

Most immigrants are in the U.S. legally 
Aged 18 to 29: 58%
Aged 30 to 49: 47%
Aged 50 to 64: 39%
Aged 65-plus: 35%

Among people aged 50 or older, the share who think most immigrants in the U.S. are here illegally (45 to 46 percent) surpasses the share who think most are legal.

Source: Pew Research Center, Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration into the U.S.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Median Household Income Grew in May 2018

Median household income in May 2018 climbed to $61,858, according to Sentier Research. This is a higher median than in any month since January 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The May 2018 median was 1.8 percent higher than the May 2017 median. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis. 

Median household income in May was 3.7 percent higher than the median of December 2007, when the Great Recession began. It was 13.3 percent higher than the post-Great Recession low of June 2011. "We are at a point now where real median household income is 2.4 percent higher than January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series," reports Sentier's Gordon Green. "Not an impressive performance by any means over a period spanning almost two decades, but the trend line has been positive for nearly seven years."

Sentier's Household Income Index in May 2018 was 102.4 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: May 2018

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Student Loans Delay Homeownership by 7 Years

Student loans are preventing many younger adults from buying a home, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors and American Student Assistance. Survey respondents were Millennials aged 22 to 35 who are currently repaying their student loans.

Eighty percent of respondents do not own a home, the survey found, and the single biggest reason is student debt. Fully 83 percent of respondents say student loans are causing them to delay home buying. The biggest reason for the delay is their inability to save for a downpayment (cited by 86 percent), followed by feeling financially insecure because of their debt (74 percent). How long will they delay buying a home? A median of seven years.

Student loan debt is also causing younger adults to delay other life decisions. The 55 percent majority of survey respondents say their  debt is causing them to delay starting a family, and 41 percent say it is causing them to delay getting married.

Source: National Association of Realtors and American Student Assistance, Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2017—When Debt Holds You Back

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Retirement Plan Participation Declining? No, says EBRI

The percentage of workers who participate in a retirement plan is declining, according to the Current Population Survey. Don't believe it, says the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

In an ongoing battle with the redesigned Current Population Survey, EBRI's Craig Copeland analyzes the supposed decline in retirement participation recorded by the CPS and argues that something is very wrong with the survey's data. Reporting on this problem has become an annual undertaking by Copeland. This is his third analysis since the CPS was redesigned, and no resolution seems to be in sight. The Demo Memo posts about his earlier reports can be found here and here.

According to the Current Population Survey, the percentage of full-time, full-year workers who participate in a retirement plan fell from 54.5 percent in 2013—before the CPS was redesigned to better capture retirement income—to just 41.0 percent in 2016. Among workers aged 55 to 64, participation fell from 57.1 percent in 2013 to 48.1 percent in 2016.

These figures are at odds with rising participation rates found in other government surveys, says Copeland, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Compensation Survey. Among private-sector workers at establishments with 500 or more employees, the NCS found a stable 76 percent participating in a retirement plan from 2013 to 2016. The CPS found only 47 percent participating in 2016 (after the redesign), down from 64 percent in 2013 (before the redesign). A study of IRS data confirms stability in retirement plan participation rather than the decline charted by the CPS.

"Rather modest modifications could be made within the CPS questionnaire along the lines of other federal government surveys to improve the retirement plan participation estimates," concludes Copeland. "Until that time, any person or organization using the data or those reading analyses from the CPS data need to be aware of the issues with the data. The estimates from the most recent surveys could easily be misconstrued as erosions in coverage, as opposed to an issue with the design of the survey."

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Current Population Survey: Issues Continue for Retirement Plan Participation and Retiree Income Estimates

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Recession Generation is 51% Minority

The 51 percent majority of the nation's youngest generation is Asian, Black, Hispanic, or another minority, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's most recent population estimates. The minority share of each generation falls with advancing age to a low of 22 percent among pre-Boomers—people aged 72 or older.

Overall, 39 percent of Americans are Asian, Black, Hispanic, or another minority. Here are the percentages by generation...

Minority share of population by generation, 2017
Recession (0 to 7): 51%
iGeneration (8 to 22): 48%
Millennials (23 to 40): 44%
Gen Xers (41 to 52): 39%
Boomers: (53 to 71): 28%
Older (72 or older): 22%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's 2017 Population Estimates

Monday, June 25, 2018

15% of High School Students Report Concussion in Past Year

Among the nation's high school students, 15 percent report having experienced at least one concussion during the past year, according to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Concussion is defined as "when a blow or a jolt to the head causes problems such as headaches, dizziness, being dazed or confused, difficulty remembering or concentrating, vomiting, blurred vision, or being knocked out."

Seventeen percent of boys and 13 percent of girls report a concussion in the past year. The prevalence of concussion varies greatly by the number of sports played...

Percent of high school students with at least one concussion in the past year
Play no sports: 7.6%
Play one sport: 16.7%
Play two sports: 22.9%
Play three+ sports: 30.3%

Source: CDC, Self-Reported Concussions from Playing a Sport or Being Physically Active among High School Students—United States, 2017

Friday, June 22, 2018

Population by Race and Hispanic origin, 2017

The U.S. population grew by 16.4 million between 2010 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. The non-Hispanic White population accounted for just 3 percent of the gain, while Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities accounted for 97 percent. The minority share of the population climbed to 39.3 percent, up from 36.2 percent in 2010. Here are the 2017 population estimates by race and Hispanic origin...

Total population: 325,719,178
The U.S. population grew 5.3 percent between 2010 and 2017, a gain of 16.4 million.

Non-Hispanic Whites: 197,803,083 (60.7%)
The non-Hispanic White population grew by a minuscule 0.2 percent between 2010 and 2017. But the tiny increase masks a remarkable shift: the number of non-Hispanic Whites peaked in 2015 and fell by 41,000 between 2015 and 2017. The peak in the number of non-Hispanic Whites occurred eight years sooner than forecast by the Census Bureau. This may mean the U.S. will become minority majority sooner than the bureau's forecast of 2045.

Hispanics: 58,946,729 (18.1%)
The Hispanic population grew 16.1 percent between 2010 and 2017, a gain of 8.2 million. Hispanics accounted for 50 percent of the nation's population growth between 2010 and 2017.

Blacks (alone or in combination): 47,411,470 (14.6%)
The Black population grew 9.4 percent between 2010 and 2017, more than the 5.3 percent national increase. The Black population grew by 4.1 million during those years.

Asians (alone or in combination): 22,183,118 (6.8%)
The Asian population grew 24.6 percent between 2010 and 2017, more than any other race or Hispanic origin group. The Asian population grew by 4.4 million during those years.

Source: Census Bureau, National Population by Characteristics Tables: 2010–2016

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Number of Non-Hispanic Whites Peaked in 2015

The number of non-Hispanic Whites in the United States peaked in 2015, according to the Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates. Between 2015 and 2017, the non-Hispanic White population declined by 41,000.

The shrinking of the non-Hispanic White population is occurring sooner than expected. The Census Bureau's latest population projections, released earlier this year, show the number of non-Hispanic Whites increasing until 2023 and peaking at 198.7 million. Instead, the number of non-Hispanic Whites peaked in 2015 at 197.8 million—eight years sooner and about 1 million shy of the forecast.

Number of non-Hispanic Whites
2017: 197,803,083
2016: 197,834,599
2015: 197,844,074 (peak)
2010: 197,389,247

The ongoing baby bust is one of the factors behind the early peak in the number of non-Hispanic Whites. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of births to non-Hispanic Whites fell 11 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. At the same time, the number of non-Hispanic White deaths increased because of the aging of the population and the rise in mortality rates among the middle-aged. Deaths now exceed births among non-Hispanic Whites.

Source: Census Bureau, National Population by Characteristics: 2010-2017

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Education Debt Has Become the Norm

For today's young adults, getting a college degree means going into debt, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Household Economics and Decision-making. Student loans are nothing new, of course. But in the past, most of those who went to college graduated debt free. Only 28 percent of Boomers (aged 60-plus) with a bachelor's degree, ever had to take out a student loan. Today, student debt is the norm. Among Millennials (under age 30) with a bachelor's degree, 62 percent have had to go into debt to get an education.

This is the percentage of Americans by age and highest degree completed who ever took out loans for their own education...

Some college or certificate
Under age 30: 43%
Aged 30 to 44: 39%
Aged 45 to 59: 24%
Aged 60-plus: 13%

Associate's degree
Under age 30: 54%
Aged 30 to 44: 48%
Aged 45 to 59: 35%
Aged 60-plus: 18%

Bachelor's degree
Under age 30: 62%
Aged 30 to 44: 55%
Aged 45 to 59: 48%
Aged 60-plus: 28%

Graduate degree
Under age 30: 75%
Aged 30 to 44: 64%
Aged 45 to 59: 60%
Aged 60-plus: 36%

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

16% of Americans Provide Financial Support

A substantial 16 percent of Americans aged 18 or older provide financial support to people in other households, according to the Federal Reserve Board's 5th annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Another 10 percent receive financial support. Here are the percentages by age...

Provided financial support to people in other households in 2017
Aged 18 to 29: 10%
Aged 30 to 39: 12%
Aged 40 to 49: 20%
Aged 50 to 59: 23%
Aged 60-plus: 16%

Received financial support from people in other households in 2017
Aged 18 to 29: 24%
Aged 30 to 39: 12%
Aged 40 to 49: 8%
Aged 50 to 59: 4%
Aged 60-plus: 4%

Most of the exchange is between parents and children. "Parents were among the providers for just over 6 in 10 support recipients, including 8 in 10 of those under age 30," according to the report. "Additionally, adult children are support providers for over half of people over age 60 who are receiving some assistance." Among those aged 18 to 29 who received support, one-third were getting help with educational expenses or student loan payments.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017

Monday, June 18, 2018

Do You Want To Be Rich? Only 61% Say Yes

A surprisingly modest 61 percent of Americans say they would want to be rich, according to a Gallup survey. Younger adults are most likely to yearn for wealth. They are also the ones most likely to think they will be rich someday...

Percent who would want to be rich (and percent who think it's likely they will be rich)
Aged 18 to 29: 67% (52%)
Aged 30 to 49: 69% (39%)
Aged 50 to 64: 59% (23%)
Aged 65-plus: 44% (10%)

Note: Percentages based on those who do not consider themselves rich.

Democrats are as likely as Republicans to want to be rich (60%), but they do not see eye to eye on another question. Fully 81 percent of Republicans think the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people. Only 43 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: Gallup, Partisan Divide on Benefit of Having Rich People Expands

Friday, June 15, 2018

Is Your Father Still Alive?

Many Americans celebrated Father's Day yesterday by remembering their father rather than spending time with him. Only 45 percent of adults still have Dad in their life, and the 55 percent majority do not. The percentage of adults whose father is no longer alive becomes the majority in the 45-to-54 age group...

Father is no longer alive
Total 18-plus:   54.8%
Aged 18 to 29:   7.3%
Aged 30 to 44: 32.7%
Aged 45 to 54: 64.2%
Aged 55 to 64: 89.0%
Aged 65-plus:  99.1%

Note: Click here for how many have living mothers.
Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Low Fertility May Be Here to Stay

"The most pressing current issue for the Social Security Trustees is how to think about the sharp decline in the total fertility rate," says Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College in an analysis of Social Security's 2018 Trustees Report. According to the report, which projects the finances of the Social Security program 75 years into the future, the Social Security Trust Fund this year will collect less through taxes and interest than it pays out in benefits. The fund is projected to run out of money in 2034.

The Trustees need to get the nation's fertility rate right when they project the future finances of the system. That's because the fertility rate is one of the most important variables for determining the long-term financial stability of the system. For older Americans to receive benefits, younger Americans must pay into the system. Without enough younger Americans, the system breaks down.

Munnell examines historical patterns in fertility to determine whether we can expect the current low rates to rebound as the economy improves. Her analysis focuses on the total fertility rate (TFR)—or the number of children a woman will have in her lifetime based on current age-specific birth rates. In 2017, the TFR was 1.76, well below the TFR of 2.0 assumed by the end of the projection period in the Trustees Report.

Historically, the TFR has fallen during recessions and increased during expansions, Munnell's analysis shows. But this has not happened in recent years. The current low fertility rate is at odds with the ongoing economic expansion. This suggests that it could be a permanent shift. "It seems hard to make the case at this point for a cyclical rebound in the TFR," Munnell says.

If the nation's low fertility is the new normal, then the Social Security Trust Fund needs to make changes to the program sooner rather than later. This will "share the burden more equitably across cohorts, restore confidence in the nation's major retirement program, and give people time to adjust to needed changes," Munnell concludes.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2018 Update in Perspective

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Only 30% of Americans Use Desktop Computers

Fully 78 percent of Americans aged 3 or older used the internet as of November 2017, according to the latest government survey of computer and internet use—a supplement to the Current Population Survey, sponsored by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The survey reveals ongoing changes in how we access the internet.

Desktop computers and broadband connections were once the primary way we went online. That's no longer the case. Today, the number of households connected to the internet through mobile data plans (88.9 million) surpasses the number connected to the internet through wired broadband service (85.3 million). The use of desktop computers has fallen behind smartphones, laptops, and even tablet computers.

Percent using computing device in 2017 (and 2011)
64% use a smartphone (43%)
46% use a laptop (43%)
34% use a smart TV (14%)
32% use a tablet (6%)
30% use a desktop computer (45%)
8% use a wearable device (NA)

As the variety of computer devices has grown over the years, more Americans are using multiple devices. In 2017, 62 percent of Americans reported used at least two different types of computing devices, up from 52 percent in 2013. The percentage who used three or more devices climbed from 32 to 42 percent during those years.

Source: NTIA, New Data Show Substantial Gains and Evolution in Internet Use

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

CDC Investigates Rise in Suicides

The CDC's report on the rising number of suicides in the United States was released on June 8,  just days after Kate Spade committed suicide and the same day Anthony Bourdain took his own life. The government's in-depth analysis of suicide's potential causal factors sheds light on just how difficult it will be to stem the rising tide.

In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans killed themselves, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. The annual number of suicides has grown by almost 30 percent since 1999, the CDC reports. The suicide rate has increased in every age group under age 75 and has grown in most states. Confronted with these facts, this timely CDC report examines 2015 data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, in which 27 states participated. Information from friends and family, reported to law enforcement at the time of death, are part of the database. The findings are not encouraging...
  • Among those who committed suicide in the 27 reporting states, the 54 percent majority did not have a known mental health condition. 
  • Among those without a mental health condition, only 22.4 percent had disclosed their intention to commit suicide. Even among those with a known mental health condition, only 23.5 percent had disclosed their intention to commit suicide. 
  • Only 28 percent of those who committed suicide had problematic substance abuse problems—a possible indicator of suicide risk.
  • Among suicide victims with known mental health problems, more than half were in treatment at the time of death.
What can be done to save lives? In an attempt to answer that question, the CDC examined the problems of suicide victims, with information provided by friends and family about troubles in the victim's life. The most commonly reported issues were intimate partner problems (27 percent), physical health problems (22 percent), school problems (20 percent), and job/financial problems (16 percent). These troubles are not unique to suicide victims, of course, which is why one of the CDC's recommendations is the suggestion that we teach better "coping and problem-solving skills to manage everyday stressors and prevent future relationship problems, especially early in life."

Most of the family and friends of suicide victims may never know why their loved one chose to take his or her own life. Only one-third of suicide victims leave a note, the CDC reports.

Source: CDC, Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates—United States, 1999–2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide—27 States, 2015