Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Who Eats Salad?

On an average day, 20 percent of Americans aged 1 or older eat salad, according to the USDA's Food Surveys Research Group. The group defines salad as a mixture composed mainly of raw vegetables and excludes such things as fruit, pasta, potato, chicken, and tuna salad. The data come from the 2011–14 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which asks respondents to recall their food consumption for the previous 24 hours.

Females (23 percent) are more likely than males (16 percent) to eat salad on an average day, and older people are more likely than younger. Among adults aged 20 to 39, 18 percent eat salad on an average day. Among adults aged 40 or older, a larger 26 percent do. Those most likely to eat salad on an average day are women aged 60 or older (31 percent). Salad consumption also rises with income. Only 13 percent of people aged 1 or older from households with the lowest incomes eat salad on an average day versus 26 percent of those from households with the highest incomes.

Salads can contain a variety of ingredients, and most of the salads reported by survey respondents contained at least two raw vegetables. Here are the percentages of salads consumed on an average day that contained the following ingredients: 86% lettuce or leafy greens; 86% salad dressing; 43% tomatoes; 34% carrots; 27% onions; 25% cheese; 20% cucumbers; 19% meat, poultry, or fish; 10% croutons; 9% sweet peppers; 8% nuts or seeds; 7% olives; 7% celery; 5% avocado; 5% egg; and 5% broccoli.

Source: USDA, Food Surveys Research Group, Salad Consumption in the U.S.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Digital Economy is 6.5% of GDP

How big is the digital economy? If you've been trying to figure this out, you're in luck. The Bureau of Economic Analysis has produced the first estimates of the size of the digital economy "within the framework of the national accounts." Of course, defining what is and is not a part of the digital economy is a difficult task, and the BEA struggles with it. This first estimate includes only goods and services that are exclusively or primarily digital. It excludes the IoT (internet of things). And the BEA invites the public to improve upon its work, providing an email address for feedback.
  • In 2016, the digital economy accounted for 6.5 percent ($1,209.2 billion) of the nation's $18,624.5 billion GDP. It ranks 7th among industries in its share of GDP—just above wholesale trade and just below professional, scientific and technical services.  
  • The digital economy accounted for 5.9 million jobs in 2016, or 3.9 percent of the total. The digital economy's share of employment is lower than in its share of GDP, ranking 12th among industries in employment. 
  • The digital economy pays more than the average industry. Workers in the digital economy earn an average annual compensation of $114,275, much higher than the $66,498 annual compensation for the average worker.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Defining and Measuring the Digital Economy

Monday, March 19, 2018

26% Online "Almost Constantly"

How often do you go online? If that seems like a silly question because you're always online, join the crowd. More than one in four American adults (26 percent) reports going online almost constantly, according to Pew Research Center. Another 43 percent go online several times a day, 8 percent once a day, 11 percent less than once a day, and another 11 percent do not go online at all. By age, the percentage who report going online almost constantly looks like this...

Percent who go online almost constantly
Aged 18 to 29: 39%
Aged 30 to 49: 36%
Aged 50 to 64: 17%
Aged 65-plus: 8%

Source: Pew Research Center, About a Quarter of U.S. Adults Say They Are "Almost Constantly" Online

Friday, March 16, 2018

20% of Older Americans Have Diabetes

Diabetes has become a common health condition among older Americans, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Overall, 8.8 percent of Americans aged 18 or older had been diagnosed with diabetes as of the first half of 2017, up from 5.3 percent two decades ago in 1997. The percentage with diabetes rises steeply with age...

Percent diagnosed with diabetes, January–September 2017
Aged 18 to 44:   2.8%
Aged 45 to 54:   9.6%
Aged 55 to 64: 15.7%
Aged 65-plus:  19.6%

One factor behind the rise of diabetes is growing obesity. The percentage of adults who are obese (defined as having a body mass index of 30 kg/m² or higher) climbed from 19 percent in 1997 to 31 percent in the first half of 2017. But this estimate of obesity is conservative because it is based on self-reported rather than measured heights and weights. When self-reporting, inches are gained and pounds are shed. According to a 2015–16 NCHS survey of measured heights and weights, a stunning 40 percent of American adults are obese.

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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Surprises in the 2017 Population Projections

The Census Bureau's new population projections (vintage 2017) are interesting for a number of reasons—slowing growth, the aging of the population, the decline in non-Hispanic Whites, and minorities becoming the majority. Also interesting is how they differ from the previous projection series, produced in 2014. A look at how the bureau revised its estimates of births, deaths, and net international migration reveals the unexpected trends reshaping us now.
  • The population is growing more slowly than expected. The size of the American population in the future will be less than what the Bureau had projected just a few years ago, and the differences will pile up quickly. The 2020 population will be smaller by 2 million than what the bureau projected for that date in its 2014 vintage projections. In 2060, the population will be 13 million less than the previous projection for that year (404 million versus 417 million). 
  • Women will have fewer babies than expected. Compared to the 2014 projection series, the latest series forecasts 3 million fewer births during the 2017 to 2060 time period. The ongoing baby bust and reduced immigration are behind the muted births. Overall, the annual number of births is forecast to rise from about 4 million today to 4.38 million in 2060. The earlier projection series forecast 4.52 million births a year by 2060. 
  • Fewer immigrants will come to the United States. Compared to the 2014 projection series, the latest series projects 14 million fewer net international migrants over the 2017 to 2060 time period. Even this smaller projected number of migrants may be too optimistic because it does not take into account Trump administration policies that could further curb immigration. The annual net number of international migrants is forecast to be about 1.1 million during most of the 2017 to 2060 period, down from the 1.3 to 1.5 million previously projected.
  • Fewer deaths will occur during the forecast period. Compared to the 2014 series, the bureau projects 5 million fewer deaths during the 2017 to 2060 time period. This makes sense since the population will be smaller. The annual number of deaths is projected to rise from 2.7 million today to 3.9 million by 2060—less than the projected 4.1 million annual deaths by 2060 in the earlier projection series. But this forecast of fewer deaths may be overly optimistic. According to Tom Lawler, a housing economist writing in Calculated Risk, the latest mortality projections do not incorporate the recent increase in deaths among young and middle-aged adults. Indeed, the bureau assumes rising life expectancy for all groups rather than the decline of the past two years. 
If the number of immigrants is further reduced by Trump's policies, and if there are more deaths than predicted, then U.S. population growth over the next few decades may be even slower than forecast by the new projections.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Minority Majority in 2045

The U.S. population will become minority majority in 2045, according to the Census Bureau's new (2017 vintage) population projections. This is one year later than forecast by the bureau's earlier series of projections (2014 vintage). Behind the one-year delay is the ongoing baby bust as well as slowing immigration.

Minorities as a percent of U.S. population, 2017 to 2060
2017: 39.1%
2020: 40.3%
2025: 42.3%
2030: 44.2%
2035: 46.2%
2040: 48.3%
2045: 50.3%
2050: 52.2%
2055: 54.0%
2060: 55.7%

The Census Bureau projects that the non-Hispanic White population will fall by 10 percent between 2017 and 2060. The Black population will grow 58 percent during those years, Hispanics 89 percent, and Asians 111 percent.

Although Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities will become the majority of the population in 2045, they will not come the majority of voters for another couple decades. According to a Demo Memo analysis, minorities will become the majority of voters in the presidential election of 2064.

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trends in Home Values by Household Income

Regardless of household income—with one exception—most homeowners estimated a lower market value for their home in 2016 than their counterparts did in 2006, according to an analysis of Consumer Expenditure Survey data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average homeowner valued his or her home at $172,263 in 2016—5.9 percent lower than the $183,212 estimated by homeowners in 2006. The second income quintile of homeowners was the only one to estimate a higher market value for their home in 2016 than in 2006...

Estimated home value in 2016 by income quintile (and % change since 2006)
Lowest: $63,932 (–10.9%)
Second: $102,084 (+3.1%)
Middle: $128,788 (–6.7%)
Fourth: $186,282 (–11.8%)
Highest: $380,958 (–3.7%)

Note: In the BLS analysis, 2006 home values are not adjusted for inflation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Majority of U.S. Households Estimate Decreased Home Market Values from 2006 to 2016

Monday, March 12, 2018

74% Read a Book in the Past Year

Nearly three out of four Americans aged 18 or older have read a book in the past year, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey. Print is the most popular format by far, and the percentage who have read a print book has not changed much in the past six years despite competition from digital books.

Percent who read a book in past year by format
Print: 67%
E-book: 26%
Audiobook: 18%

Among those who have read a book in the past year, 53 percent have read only print books, 9 percent have read only digital books (a category that includes e-books and audiobooks), and the remaining 39 percent have read both print and digital books.

Source: Pew Research Center, Nearly One-in-Five Americans Now Listen to Audiobooks

Friday, March 09, 2018

Asians Most Likely to be Multilingual

Among American adults, 29 percent can speak a language other than English. The multilingual population varies greatly by race and Hispanic origin. Most Asians and Hispanics are multilingual. Most Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites are not...

Can speak a language other than English
Total: 29%
Asians: 82%
Blacks: 26%
Hispanics: 68%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 19%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Men's Wages Are Increasingly Unequal

Trends in the real wages of men tell a story of growing inequality, according to an analysis by Patrick J. Purcell in Social Security Bulletin. Between 1981 and 2014, says Purcell, "the wage distribution became more unequal as wage growth in the top 10 percent of earners substantially outpaced the rate of growth for earners below the 90th percentile."

Real annual wage of men aged 25 to 59 by income percentile, 2014 (% change since 1981)
10th percentile: $13,387       (+3.8%)
25th percentile: $25,339       (–2.0%)
50th percentile: $45,000       (+4.7%)
75th percentile: $75,413      (+22.1%)
90th percentile: $121,763    (+50.7%)
99th percentile: $392,250  (+117.7%)

For all men, median real wages (50th percentile) climbed just 4.7 percent during those years. For men at the top of the wage distribution, real wages more than doubled.

Source: Social Security Bulletin, Trends in Men's Wages, 1981–2014

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Homeownership by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2017

Homeownership varies greatly by race and Hispanic origin. According to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey, the gap in the homeownership rate of non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks is fully 30 percentage points...

Homeownership rate in 2017
Asian: 57.2%
Black: 42.3%
Hispanic: 46.2%
Non-Hispanic White: 72.3%

The 30 percentage-point gap in 2017 was even bigger than the gap in 2000 (26.6 percentage points) as Black homeownership fell more than non-Hispanic White in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Because housing equity accounts for the largest share of household wealth, the wealth gap between Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites has grown. Between 2001 and 2016, the median net worth of non-Hispanic White households rose 2.8 percent to $171,000, after adjusting for inflation. The median net worth of Black households fell 33 percent to just $17,600.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey; and Federal Reserve Board, Survey of Consumer Finances

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Boomer Love Affair with Cars

No segment of the population is as devoted to the automobile as the baby-boom generation. Boomers were born into a world of one-car families. By the time they were old enough to drive, second cars were becoming common and Boomers took the wheel, radios blasting. More than 1,500 songs about cars were recorded between 1961 and 1965, reports Wikipedia. Youth culture and car culture were one.

Boomers are no longer young, but their devotion to cars continues. The average Boomer household is home to more cars (2.3) than people (2.0), according to an AARP survey. The survey explores Boomer attitudes toward cars as they approach the age when their children will wonder whether they should take Daddy's car keys away. That won't be easy.

"Independence" is one of the top words Boomers use to describe their feelings about driving, with 78 percent saying their vehicle is the key to their independence. That may be why fully 57 percent of Boomers say they will never stop driving. Three out of four Boomers say their vehicle brings them happiness. It's not that Boomers are completely averse to changes in how they get from here to there. But only 20 percent have ever used ride-sharing services. When asked to describe their ideal vehicle, 78 percent would make it a standard rather than a driverless vehicle because they love to drive. And kids, don't try arguing with your Boomer parents about how their driving skills aren't what they used to be. Eighty percent of Boomers say they are better drivers than most people they know.

Source: AARP, Boomers Going the Distance: 2018 Consumer Insights on the Driving Experience

Monday, March 05, 2018

Smartphone Ownership, 2018

More than three-quarters of American adults (77 percent) own a smartphone, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey. Smartphone ownership does not vary much by race, Hispanic origin, or sex. But big differences persist by age and education...

Smartphone ownership by age
Aged 18 to 29: 94%
Aged 30 to 49: 89%
Aged 50 to 64: 73%
Aged 65-plus: 46%

Smartphone ownership by education
Not a HS grad: 57%
HS grad only: 69%
Some college: 80%
College grad: 91%

Source: Pew Research Center, Mobile Fact Sheet

Friday, March 02, 2018

7% Smoke During Pregnancy

Among all women who gave birth in 2016, 7.2 percent smoked during pregnancy, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. By state, smoking during pregnancy varies greatly. These are the extremes...

25.1% in West Virginia
  1.6% in California

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy: United States, 2016

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Homeownership Rate by Age, 2017

The nation's homeownership rate increased in 2017, rising to 63.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey, the first increase in more than a decade. Does this mean the housing market is returning to normal? Not likely, since the advancing age of first-time home buying (the age at which the homeownership rate first surpasses 50 percent) shows no signs of retreating.

Householders aged 30 to 34 were once the nation's first-time home buyers. But their homeownership rate has fallen by a stunning 11.7 percentage points since the overall homeownership rate peaked in 2004—the largest decline of any age group. With a homeownership rate of just 45.7 percent in 2017, householders aged 30 to 34 are no longer the nation's first-time home buyers. That distinction now belongs to householders aged 35 to 39.

Homeownership rate by age, 2017 (and percentage point changed since 2004 peak)
Under age 25: 22.6 (–2.6)
Aged 25 to 29: 32.1 (–8.1)
Aged 30 to 34: 45.7 (–11.7)
Aged 35 to 39: 56.4 (–9.8)
Aged 40 to 44: 61.8 (–10.1)
Aged 45 to 54: 69.3 (–7.9)
Aged 55 to 64: 75.3 (–6.4)
Aged 65-plus: 78.7 (–2.4)

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Housing Vacancy Survey

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Homeownership Rate Rises to 63.9% in 2017

The homeownership rate increased to 63.9 percent in 2017, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Survey. This was 0.5 percentage points higher than the post-Great Recession low of 63.4 percent recorded in 2016. Despite the increase, the 2017 homeownership rate still ranks among the lowest since the Census Bureau created the data series in 1982. But it is significantly higher than in 2016 and the first increase in more than a decade—since the homeownership rate peaked in 2004. Could it be the start of a trend?

Homeownership rate
2017: 63.9%
2016: 63.4% (post Great Recession low)
2015: 63.7%
2010: 66.9%
2004: 69.0% (all-time peak)
2000: 67.4%
1990: 63.9%
1982: 64.8%

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How Commuting Has Changed (or not), 2006 to 2016

Americans are moving to the cities. Bicycling is growing in popularity. Working at home is increasingly common. These seemingly big trends have made only small cracks in the well-paved journey to work, which has long been dominated by solo trips in automobiles. This is how we got to work in 2016...

76.3% drove alone in a car, truck, or van: While the 76.3 percent figure of 2016 is slightly below the all-time high of 76.6 percent in 2015 (and 2010), it is slightly above the 76.0 percent of 2006. The percentage of workers who drive alone to work has bobbled within a few tenths of 76 percent for more than 10 years. During the past decade, no other mode of transportation to work has gained more adherents. The number of workers who drive to work alone expanded by nearly 10 million between 2006 and 2016, a 9 percent increase.

9.0% carpooled: The percentage of workers who carpool was a larger 10.7 percent in 2006.

5.1% used public transportation: The percentage of workers who took public transportation to work in 2016, was greater than the 4.8 percent of 2006. But buses accounted for a shrinking share of commuters (2.5 percent, down from 2.7 percent in 2006). More commuting on trains, streetcars, ferries, and especially subways, made up the difference.

5.0% worked at home: In 2006, a smaller 3.9 percent worked from home.

2.7% walked to work: This was smaller than the 2.9 percent who walked to work in 2006.

0.6% bicycled to work: The number of people who bicycle to work climbed 39 percent between 2006 and 2016. But the percentage who bicycle rose from only 0.5 to 0.6 percent.

1.2% used "other" to get to work: This catch-all category includes taxis, motorcycles, and other means of transportation (skateboards, maybe?). The percentage using "other" was stable between 2006 and 2016, despite the rise of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services.

Source: Census Bureau, American Community Survey

Monday, February 26, 2018

Self-Driving Cars and Technology Adoption

The 54 percent majority of Americans say they are unlikely to use self-driving cars, according to a Gallup survey. The biggest naysayers are, of course, older adults...

Not likely to use a self-driving car
Aged 18 to 35: 41%
Aged 36 to 50: 49%
Aged 51 to 65: 61%
Aged 66-plus: 69%

But don't take these figures too seriously. "Americans have previously underestimated their potential adoption of new technology," Gallup notes, citing cell phones as an example (see Demo Memo post about Gallup's cell phone report here). Twenty-three percent of Americans told Gallup in 2000 that they would never get a cell phone, and only 5 percent did not have a cell phone in 2018. If the same ratio holds, then only 12 percent of the public will be saying no to self-driving cars in another decade or two.

Source: Gallup, Americans Hit The Brakes on Self-Driving Cars

Friday, February 23, 2018

For Women, Age of Retirement Is 63

Baby-boom women are delaying retirement. A look at the labor force participation rate of older women by single year of age shows when labor force participation drops below 50 percent and retirement becomes the norm. For women, that age was 63 in 2017—two years younger than men. The earlier age of retirement for women makes sense, since most are married to men who are slightly older.

Percent of women in the labor force, 2017
Age 60: 59.9
Age 61: 55.8
Age 62: 50.4
Age 63: 47.2 (age of retirement)
Age 64: 40.5
Age 65: 34.1
Age 66: 32.0
Age 67: 28.4
Age 68: 22.8
Age 69: 21.5
Age 70: 19.0

The labor force participation rate of women in their sixties is rising, although not as rapidly as men's. The age of retirement for women in 2010 was 62, a year younger than in 2017. If the labor force participation rate of older women continues to rise as it has been, women's age of retirement may reach 64 in another decade or so.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tables from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Thursday, February 22, 2018

For Men, Age of Retirement is 65

A look at the labor force participation of older men by single year of age reveals the exact age when retirement becomes the norm—that is, when the percentage of men in the labor force drops below 50 percent. That age was 65 in 2017, one year later than in 2010 as a growing share of baby-boom men delay retirement.

Percent of men in the labor force, 2017
Age 60: 69.8
Age 61: 68.0
Age 62: 62.5
Age 63: 57.0
Age 64: 53.1
Age 65: 44.7 (age of retirement)
Age 66: 41.9
Age 67: 36.3
Age 68: 32.1
Age 69: 29.3
Age 70: 26.6

Since 2010, the labor force participation rate of men ranging in age from 61 through 66 increased by 2 to 3 percentage points. At that rate of increase, it will take more than a decade before more than 50 percent of men aged 65 are in the labor force and the age of retirement rises to 66.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tables from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Non-Hispanic White Share of Births by State

Nearly 4 million babies were born in the United States in 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The 52 percent majority were born to non-Hispanic White mothers. But in 11 states and the District of Columbia, non-Hispanic Whites accounted for fewer than half of births...

Non-Hispanic White share of births, 2016
20.2% in Hawaii
27.2% in California
28.4% in New Mexico
31.2% in District of Columbia
33.7% in Texas
38.4% in Nevada
41.7% in Arizona
42.8% in Maryland
44.1% in Florida
44.6% in Georgia
44.9% in New Jersey
47.5% in New York

At the other extreme, 92 percent of births in West Virginia were to non-Hispanic Whites—a higher share than in any other state.

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When it Comes to Technology, Never Say Never

Technological change turns the novel into the essential. Such is the case with cell phones, according to a Gallup analysis of cell phone adoption over time.

Way back in 2000, Gallup surveyed the public to determine cell phone ownership. Fifty percent of people aged 18 or older owned a cell phone in 2000 and another 25 percent planned to get one. But a substantial 23 percent of Americans reported that they would never get a cell phone—17 to 21 percent of people under age 65 and fully 50 percent of people aged 65 or older.

"Many in the 2000 poll misjudged themselves or the technology—or both," notes Gallup in its report, linking to the results of a 2018 Pew Research Center survey of cell phone ownership...

Percent owning a cell phone in 2018
Total adults: 95%
Aged 18 to 29: 100%
Aged 30 to 49: 98%
Aged 50 to 64: 94%
Aged 65-plus: 85%

Demographic change contributed to the rise of cell phone ownership, Gallup acknowledges. "Many older Americans who may have accurately predicted their non-adoption of cellphones have passed away since 2000." But demographic change doesn't account for the entire rise in adoption, Gallup says. The introduction of the smartphone in 2007 turned cell phones into an essential tool of modern life.

Source: Gallup, Gallup Vault: Misjudging Cellphone Adoption

Monday, February 19, 2018

Same-Sex Couple Households, 2010 to 2016

The number of same-sex couple households grew by nearly 50 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to Census Bureau estimates from the American Community Survey. Not surprisingly, the number of same-sex married couples more than tripled during those years, which saw the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide following the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. As more same-sex partners married, the number of same-sex unmarried partner households fell 9 percent.

Total same-sex couple households
2016: 887,456
2010: 593,324

Same-sex married couples
2016: 486,994
2010: 152,335

Same-sex unmarried partners
2016: 400,462
2010: 440,989

Same-sex couple households are almost evenly split between male partners (49 percent) and female partners (51 percent). The typical same-sex couple is middle aged (householders have an average age of 48), educated (50 percent of householders have a bachelor's degree), and affluent (median household income was $90,493 in 2016). Overall, same-sex couples have a higher median income than married, opposite-sex couples ($85,581) or opposite-sex unmarried couples ($61,909).

Source: Census Bureau, Same-Sex Couples

Friday, February 16, 2018

Has American Culture Changed for the Better?

Young and old disagree about changes in the American way of life, according to a PRRI survey analyzed by William H. Frey in his study of the Millennial generation. Most people aged 35 or older believe American culture has changed for the worse since the 1950s, while most adults under age 35 believe it has changed for the better.

"Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?" (percent saying it has changed for the better)
Aged 18 to 34: 55%
Aged 35 to 54: 43%
Aged 55-plus: 42%

Older, non-Hispanic Whites are behind this pessimism. Only 39 to 40 percent of non-Hispanic Whites aged 35 or older believe American culture has changed for the better since the 1950s. Among non-Hispanic Whites under age 35, the 51 percent majority say it has changed for the better. Minorities, regardless of age, believe America is better today than it was in the 1950s.

Source: Brookings, The Millennial Generation: A Demographic Bridge to America's Diverse Future

Thursday, February 15, 2018

What's Up with Americans' Low Well-Being?

Well-being fell in 21 states in 2017, according to a Gallup survey, a record decline surpassing the 15-state drop in 2009. No state saw an improvement in well-being—the first time without a winner since Gallup started tracking well-being by state in 2008. Gallup's well-being index is based on a number of questions probing five areas: sense of purpose, social support, financial security, sense of community, and physical health.

On a scale of 0 to 100, national well-being fell to 61.5 in 2017, down from 62.1 in 2016 and "the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008," according to Gallup. Among states with declines in well-being, the metrics that worsened included...

  • more experiencing worry on a given day
  • decline in reports of receiving positive energy from friends and family members
  • decline in those who have a leader who makes them "enthusiastic about the future"

Fifteen of the 21 states with declines in well-being were in the South and West, reports Gallup, and include biggies such as Florida, Texas, and California. The six states in the Northeast and Midwest with declines in well-being included New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio.

Scoring the highest in well-being were South Dakota, Vermont, Hawaii, Minnesota, and North Dakota. At the bottom were West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

Source: Gallup, Record 21 States See Decline in Well-Being in 2017

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

8% of Americans Experience Depression

Depression is a common condition, according to a National Center for Health Statistics study. Among adults aged 20 or older, 8.1 percent were found to be depressed in a given two-week period of 2013–2016. The NCHS measured depression by administering a nine-item depression screening instrument to a nationally representative sample of the population.

Women are more likely to be depressed (10.4 percent) than men (5.5 percent). Asians are much less likely to be depressed (3.1 percent) than any other race or Hispanic origin group. Interestingly, the prevalence of depression falls as family income increases...

Percent of people aged 20-plus with depression by family income
Less than 100% of poverty level: 15.8%
100% to 199% of poverty level: 10.9%
200% to 399% of poverty level: 7.8%
400% or more of poverty level: 3.5%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Prevalence of Depression among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Millennials: A Demographic Bridge

The Millennial generation is "a demographic bridge to America's diverse future," according to a Brookings analysis of the generation by William H. Frey. Millennials (defined as 18-to-34-year-olds) are only 55.8 percent non-Hispanic White. The generations ahead of them are dominated by non-Hispanic Whites (61.5 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 75.0 percent of people aged 55-plus). The generation behind them is almost minority majority (51.5 percent of people under age 18 are non-Hispanic White). Millennials are the bridge for this "cultural generation gap" between old and young.

Frey's study calculates the cultural generation gap for states and large metropolitan areas. He defines the gap as the difference between the non-Hispanic White share of the pre-Millennial population (aged 35 or older) minus the non-Hispanic White share of the post-Millennial population (under age 18). Nationally, the gap is 16 percentage points (68 minus 52 percent). But in some states and metropolitan areas, the gap is much larger. By state, the gap is largest in Arizona—27 percentage points (67 minus 40 percent). By metropolitan area, the gap is largest in Cape Coral, Florida—30 percentage points (78 minus 48 percent).

The lasting legacy of Millennials is yet to be determined, says Frey. It will be "based on how successfully they serve as a social, economic, and political bridge to the next racially diverse generation," he concludes.

Source: Brookings, The Millennial Generation: A Demographic Bridge to America's Diverse Future

Monday, February 12, 2018

Household Size by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2017

The average household in the United States is home to 2.54 people. But household size varies by race and Hispanic origin. Hispanics have the largest households and non-Hispanic Whites the smallest...

3.25 people in the average Hispanic household
2.90 people in the average Asian household
2.51 people in the average Black household
2.37 people in the average non-Hispanic White household

The younger age of the Hispanic population (median age = 29) explains their larger household size, with many Hispanics in the family formation years. The older age of the non-Hispanic White population (median age = 43) explains their smaller household size, with many non-Hispanic Whites in the empty-nest lifestage. Non-Hispanic Whites head 70 percent of the nation's single-person households and 74 percent of two-person households. But as household size increases, non-Hispanic Whites are a shrinking share of householders: they head 61 percent of three-person households, 60 percent of four-person households, 53 percent of five-person households, 47 percent of six-person households, and just 41 percent of households with seven or more people.

Source: Census Bureau, 2017 Current Population Survey

Friday, February 09, 2018

How Workers Manage Increases in Health Care Costs

Among American workers aged 21 to 64, health care is the most critical issue in the United States, according to the 2017 EBRI/Greenwald and Associates Health and Workplace Benefits Survey. Thirty-one percent of workers say health care is the number-one issue, well above second-place terrorism, cited by 21 percent.

Most workers consider health insurance extremely important when considering whether to stay with an employer or take a new job. Fully 60 percent say health insurance benefits are extremely important versus a smaller 42 percent who feel that way about retirement benefits.

Nearly half of workers say their health care costs increased in the past year. Among those who reported an increase, here's how they managed the higher cost...

43% decreased their contributions to savings
36% had difficulty paying other bills
34% increased their credit card debt
30% used up most or all of their savings
28% had difficulty paying for basic necessities
27% delayed retirement
26% decreased their contributions to retirement plans
22% borrowed money

Source: Employee Retirement Research Institute and Greenwald and Associates, Workers Rank Health Care as the Most Critical Issue in the United States

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Does Delayed Retirement Increase Inequality?

With defined-benefit pensions a thing of the past for most retirees, many older Americans are working longer to allow their retirement savings and Social Security benefits to grow. But will the rising labor force participation of older Americans result in greater income inequality? It already is, according to an analysis by Richard W. Johnson of the Urban Institute. His study examines the growing economic polarization between older Americans healthy enough to delay retirement and continue to work and older Americans whose poor health prevents them from working longer.

Analyzing data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of Americans aged 50 or older, Johnson's analysis compared the health and economic status of people aged 63 to 65 in 2014 with their counterparts in 1996. Over the time period, the health of people in their early sixties worsened...

  • A larger share of 63-to-65-year-olds reported having health-related work limitations in 2014 (31.8 percent) than in 1996 (28.5 percent).
  • The trend is most pronounced among the least educated—those who never attended college. Among 63-to-65-year-olds who never attended college, 42.3 percent had health-related work limitations in 2014, up from 33.6 percent in 1996. 
  • Among 63-to-65-year-olds who had attended college, 25.5 percent had health-related work limitations, up from 19.6 percent in 1996.

Older Americans with health-related work limitations are falling behind as the healthy work longer and add to their retirement incomes, Johnson finds. Between 1996 and 2014, he says, gains in real, median household income among people in their early sixties were limited to those in robust health. "As older adults have delayed retirement and worked longer, the impact of health status in late working life on retirement income has grown," Johnson concludes. "These finding are particularly concerning as evidence mounts that health status at midlife and older ages is worsening and health disparities by income and education are growing."

Source: Urban Institute, Delayed Retirement and the Growth in Income Inequality at Older Ages

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

What Happens to Young Adults Who Don't Go To College?

Is going to college pretty much the only path to financial security for today's young adults? That's what is suggested by the results of the National Center for Education Statistics' longitudinal survey of the ninth grade class of 2009. The 2016 follow up, seven years later, provides a disturbing look at the financial situation of those who did not go to college.

A substantial 28 percent of the nation's 2009 ninth graders had not enrolled in a postsecondary institution since graduating from high school, according to the 2016 follow up. When asked why they never went to college, 43 percent cited personal reasons and 42 percent financial.

Anxiety was widespread among these young adults, with 60 percent worried about having enough money to pay for regular expenses. Many depended on parents to get by: 26 percent said their parents regularly helped them pay for their rent or mortgage; 26 percent said their parents regularly helped with health care costs; and 19 percent said their parents regularly helped pay their monthly bills. Among those who were employed, 39 percent reported having an income of less than $10,000 in the previous year.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-Up: A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders in 2016

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Facts about Child Support

Child support is an important source of income for millions of Americans. That's why the Census Bureau regularly examines the characteristics of those who receive child support and the size of child support payments. Here are the latest findings...
  • Of the nation's 83 million children under age 21, more than one in four (27 percent) lives in a custodial-parent family.
  • Of the 13.6 million custodial parents, only 50 percent had child support agreements.
  • Those with agreements were supposed to receive an average of $5,760 in child support in 2015.
  • Among those with agreements, 69 percent received payments in 2015.
  • Among those who received payments, the average received was $3,447
When the Census Bureau asked custodial parents without child support agreements why they did not have a formal arrangement, the single biggest response was that the other parent provides what he or she can. 

Source: Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2015

Monday, February 05, 2018

How Many Millennials Were Born in the United States?

Among Millennials, place of birth varies greatly by race and Hispanic origin, according to the latest bimonthly GenForward Survey. The survey defines Millennials as those aged 18 to 34.

Millennials born in the United States
Whites: 95%
Blacks: 91%
Hispanics: 57%
Asians: 53%

A substantial 26 percent of Asian Millennials are naturalized U.S. citizens, the survey finds. This is a much larger share than in any other group. The figure is only 6 percent among Hispanics, 4 percent among Blacks, and 3 percent among Whites. Eleven percent of Hispanic Millennials say they are undocumented immigrants.

Source: GenForward January 2018—Who Belongs? Millennial Attitudes on Immigration

Friday, February 02, 2018

Average Age at First Birth, 2016

The average age at first birth has reached a new record high, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. At 26.6 years, the average age at first birth was 1.4 years older in 2016 than it was in 2010. The age varies by race and Hispanic origin, however...

Average age at first birth
24.7 for Hispanics
24.8 for Blacks
27.4 for non-Hispanic Whites
30.1 for Asians

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

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Medicaid Is the Source of Payment for 43% of Births

Having a baby costs a lot—about $10,000 for a normal delivery. Who pays the price? Private health insurance pays 49 percent of the costs of childbirth, reports the National Center for Health Statistics. Medicaid pays almost as much—another 43 percent.

There's a good reason Medicaid funds such a large portion of deliveries. The federal government requires states to provide Medicaid coverage for pregnancy and childbirth for woman whose incomes are below 133 percent of federal poverty level. Because younger women have children, and because younger adults have low incomes, Medicaid often kicks in.

Percentage of births paid for by Medicaid by age of mother
Under age 20: 76.7%
Aged 20 to 24: 63.5%
Aged 25 to 29: 44.0%
Aged 30 to 34: 28.7%
Aged 35 to 39: 27.0%
Aged 40-plus: 29.1%

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Millennial Generation Faces Perfect Storm

For many Millennials, the future may be dire indeed. A perfect storm of more debt, lower earnings, reduced homeownership, less wealth, and skimpier retirement savings relative to older generations suggests that many will experience a third-world standard of living in old age. The Center for Retirement Research reviews many of these concerns in a report examining whether Millennials will be ready for retirement.

"Many of today's workers will have inadequate income when they reach retirement," the report begins, "but the prospects for Millennials seem more challenging than for the generations ahead of them." CRR researchers count the ways millennials are behind. Compared to Gen Xers and late Boomers at the same age...
  • Their earnings are lower
  • They are less likely to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • They are less likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance
  • They are less likely to be homeowners
  • They are more likely to have student loans
  • They have accumulated less wealth
"Millennials are well behind other cohorts at the same age even though they will live longer and receive less from Social Security relative to pre-retirement earnings," the report concludes. The only good news is: "retirement is still a long way off for these Millennials."

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Will Millennials Be Ready for Retirement?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2017

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2017: 47.1%

Is the long slide over? The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 climbed to 47.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. This is the highest quarterly rate for the age group since the end of 2014. The 47.1 percent rate is fully 2.5 percentage points above the all-time low of 44.6 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2017. While the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds appears to have found a new normal in the mid-forties, perhaps the increase is a sign that the early 30s will once again become the age of first-time home buying.  

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

Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017—the first time the quarterly rate has cracked the 64 percent mark since 2014. But, cautions the Census Bureau, the 64.2 percent rate is not statistically different from the 63.7 percent of one year ago.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Monday, January 29, 2018

Who Spends the Most Time Eating?

It's not who you think it is. Healthy weight adults (with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.99), spent the most time eating on an average day in 2016, according to an analysis of American Time Use Survey data by the USDA's Economic Research Service. Overweight adults (with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.99) spent less time eating than those with a healthy weight. The low-risk obese (with a BMI of 30.0 to 34.99) spent even less time eating, and the high-risk obese (with a BMI of 35.0 or higher) spent the least time of all.

Minutes per day spent eating by body mass index
Healthy weight: 88
Overweight: 80
Low-risk obese: 79
High-risk obese: 73

The findings are "consistent with patterns from studies in other countries," report the ERS researchers. The higher the BMI, the less time spent eating.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Healthy Weight Adults Spend More Time Eating than Do Overweight and Obese Adults

Friday, January 26, 2018

Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cashiers

More cashiers than cops are murdered on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—54 cashiers and 51 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016. Of course, the homicide rate is much higher for cops because there are fewer cops than cashiers (708,000 police and sheriff's patrol officers versus 3.3 million cashiers). But the BLS workplace homicide statistics should send a shiver down the spine of any parent whose child is thinking of working a cash register. 

Overall, there were exactly 500 workplace homicides in 2016, up from 417 in 2015. The BLS has compiled a detailed table of gruesome statistics, revealing…

—409 men and 91 women were murdered on the job in 2016
—394 of the homicides were shootings (79 percent)
—152 workplace homicide victims were murdered by a robber
—78 were murdered by a domestic partner or relative (40 percent of the women killed)
—66 were murdered by a co-worker

Although firearms accounted for the great majority of workplace homicides, a wide variety of other instruments were responsible for some of the deaths including 3 murders by rebar, 7 by passenger vehicle, 1 by mallet, and 1 by tarp. 

Among workers at convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, 88 were murdered at work in 2016. Among those working for local law enforcement—including police officers as well as clerical and other staff—57 were killed on the job.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Working Longer Is More Powerful than Saving More

Yadda, yadda,'ve heard it all before. Work longer, claim Social Security benefits later, and you will have more money in retirement. You may have heard it before, but you haven't seen evidence as convincing as this. A National Bureau of Economic Research study computes the power of working longer relative to saving more, and it's mind boggling...
  • Let's say you're relatively young and want to increase your standard of living in retirement. So you decide to save more in your 401(k). You save 1 percentage-point more for 30 years. How much longer would you need to work to equal 30 years of additional savings? Three months
  • Let's say you're relatively old and want to increase your standard of living in retirement. So you decide so save more in your 401(k). You save 1 percentage-point more for 10 years. How much longer would you need to work to equal 10 years of additional savings? One month.
There are a number of assumptions and a flurry of calculations behind these numbers, of course, but the bottom line is this: "Our primary conclusion is that working longer is relatively powerful compared to saving more for most people."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, The Power of Working Longer, Working Paper 24226 ($5)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Fastest-Growing Entertainment Categories

The average household spent $2,913 on entertainment in 2016, only 3 percent more than the $2,828 of 2006, after adjusting for inflation. But spending has surged in some categories over the decade. These are the five entertainment categories with the fastest growth in average household spending between 2006 and 2016, after adjusting for inflation...

1. Streamed and downloaded video: The average household spent just $1.23 on this category in 2006, and $30.06 in 2016—an increase of more than 2,000 percent as streaming and downloading video replaced watching video cassettes and DVDs. 

2. Pets: Average household spending on pets climbed 55 percent between 2006 and 2016. The $586 spent by the average household on pets ranked a lofty 21st among the items on which the average household spent the most in 2016—higher than women's clothes, alcoholic beverages, and internet service.

3. Hunting/fishing equipment. Guns are included in this entertainment category. Between 2006 and 2016, average household spending on hunting/fishing equipment increased 54 percent. The biggest spenders on hunting/fishing equipment are non-Hispanic Whites. Between 2006 and 2016, households headed by non-Hispanic Whites boosted their spending on hunting/fishing equipment by 63 percent.

4. Toys, games, arts and crafts: Average household spending on toys grew 47 percent between 2006 and 2016. While this is an impressive rise, toy spending did not grow as fast as pet spending. In 2016, the average household spent only about one-quarter as much on toys as it spent on pets. 

5. Bicycles: It may be no coincidence that average household spending on bicycles grew by an impressive 46 percent just as spending on new cars and trucks fell 23 percent. The 2006-to-2016 surge in spending on bicycles may explain why bicycle repairer is projected to be the 11th fastest-growing occupation in the decade ahead. 

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Surveys 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Political Split in Ability to Discern Fake News

Is the news real or fake? Can you tell the difference? Only 50 percent of Americans think they can, according to a Gallup survey, down from 66 percent who thought they could in 1984. Gallup asked the public which of these two statements comes closest to how they feel...

  • "Although there is some bias in the news media, there are enough sources of news to be able to sort out the facts." 
  • or, "There is so much bias in the news media that it's often difficult to sort out the facts."
While only half of Americans believe they can sort out the facts, there are big differences by political identification. Most Democrats believe there can determine the facts. Most Republicans say it's difficult.

Percent who say there are enough news sources to sort out facts
Democrats: 72%
Independents: 46%
Republicans: 31%

Percent who say there's so much bias it's difficult to sort out facts
Democrats: 26%
Independents: 51%
Republicans: 67%

Source: Gallup, Americans Struggle to Navigate the Modern Media Landscape

Monday, January 22, 2018

Medicaid Expansion Makes a Difference

Medicaid expansion has greatly increased health care access among low-income Americans. For proof, look no further than a series of tables recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics. The tables compare health care access in 2016 for two groups of low-income adults aged 19 to 64: those who live in Medicaid expansion states, and those who don't...
  • No usual place of health care: 32 percent of low-income adults in nonexpansion states do not have a usual place of health care versus a smaller 18 percent of those in expansion states.
  • Did not get needed medical care due to cost: 20 percent of low-income adults in nonexpansion states did not get needed medical care due to cost in the past 12 months. For those in expansion states, the figure was only 9 percent.
  • Delayed medical care due to cost: 21 percent of low-income adults in nonexpansion states delayed medical care due to cost in the past 12 months. In nonexpansion states, just 11 percent were forced to delay care.
  • Did not get needed prescription medicine due to cost: 18 percent of low-income adults in nonexpansion states needed but could not afford prescription medicine in the past 12 months. The figure was just 10 percent in expansion states. 
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Access and Utilization by Medicaid expansion status for low-income adults aged 19 to 64: Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, United States 2016

Friday, January 19, 2018

One in Five Americans Has Past-Due Medical Bills

Medical debt looms over millions. Fully 21 percent of Americans aged 18 or older had unpaid, past-due medical bills in 2016, according to a FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey.

Women are more likely than men to have unpaid, past-due medical bills—23 percent of women versus 18 percent of men. Younger adults are more likely to have past-due medical bills than older Americans. Among adults under age 55, nearly one in four (24 percent) had unpaid, past-due medical bills. Among those aged 55 or older, the figure was 14 percent.

Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Financial Capability in the United States 2016

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Student Loans: "Worse than We Thought"

"Worse than we thought" — those chilling words are in the title of a Brookings report on student loan debt and repayment. Analyzing data from the Department of Education's Beginning Postsecondary Student survey, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of first-time college students, Brookings' senior fellow Judith Scott-Clayton has produced "the most comprehensive assessment yet of student debt and default from the moment students first enter college to when they are repaying loans up to 20 years later." Her analysis of the 1996 and 2004 college-entry cohorts lays bare so much bad news...

  • For the 2004 cohort, "nearly 40 percent may default on their student loans by 2023."
  • Behind the sky-high level of default are for-profit schools. For the 2004 cohort, the 12-year default rate for students who ever attended a for-profit school was 43 percent. For those who never attended a for-profit, the default rate was 11 percent.
  • "Debt and default among black or African-American college students is at crisis levels." Among Blacks in the 2004 entry cohort who ever attended a for-profit school, the 12-year default rate was 58 percent. 

There's much more bad news in the 10-page report, which concludes: "The results provide support for robust efforts to regulate the for-profit sector, to improve degree attainment and promote income-contingent loan repayment options for all students, and to more fully address the particular challenges faced by college students of color."

Source: The Brookings Institution, The Looming Student Loan Default Crisis is Worse than We Thought

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Counties Without Businesses

Some of the nation's 3,142 counties lack certain essential businesses. These "business deserts" were tallied recently by the Census Bureau's Andrew W. Hait, using data from the bureau's 2015 County Business Patterns...

Number of counties lacking employer establishments
Gas stations: 22
Commercial banks: 37
Religious organizations: 42
Grocery stores: 48
Offices of lawyers: 215
Child care services: 287
Dentist's offices: 305
Doctor's offices: 344
Hardware stores: 489
Beauty salons: 802
Drinking places: 926
Movie theaters: 1,586

While counties may have no employer establishments, Hait notes, their populations may be served by nonemployers—independent contractors and sole proprietors. He cites the example of child care service. While 2,855 counties in the U.S. have at least one employer child care service, a larger 3,117 have nonemployer (home-based) child care services.

Source: Census Bureau, Filling the Void in Counties Lacking Key Businesses

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

7% of Households Do Not Have a Bank Account. Why?

Seven percent of U.S. households are "unbanked," meaning they have no bank or credit union account. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York examined the geography of the unbanked to determine the reason why—in particular, they wanted to know whether households lack bank accounts because they live in a "banking desert." Similar to food deserts (neighborhoods without grocery stores), banking deserts are neighborhoods without physical banks. In the study, the researchers defined a neighborhood as a census tract and the area within 10 miles of the census tract's center.

Several interesting findings emerged from the study. 1) Most banking deserts are in actual deserts. "Our map of U.S. banking deserts reveals that most are not in urban areas, where financial exclusion may be endemic, but in actual deserts—largely in the sparsely populated rural West," explain the researchers. 2) There is no correlation between the percentage of a state's population that lives in a banking desert and the share of the population that is unbanked. The physical location of banks, then, does not explain the unbanked. The results of a 2015 FDIC survey, cited by the researchers, also suggests physical location of banks has little to do with the unbanked. In the survey, the unbanked were asked why they did not have a bank account. Only 2 percent said it was because of "inconvenient location." More important reasons were "not enough money," "don't trust banks," and "account fees too high."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, The 'Banking Desert' Mirage

Monday, January 15, 2018

Growing Trouble for Workers with Little Education

"All occupations are employing workers with more formal education," reports the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and this is bad news for less-educated Americans. The Fed study examines the striking contrast between the education of workers by occupation today with the education of workers in 1950...
  • Professional and technical workers: Only half had a college degree in 1950. Today, 70 percent are college graduates. One in ten professional/technical workers in 1950 did not have a high school diploma. Today the figure is close to zero. The "empiricist professional" of 1950 has all but disappeared, say the researchers. 
  • Managers: In 1950, more than three out of four had no schooling beyond high school, and many did not even have a high school diploma. Today, three out of four have at least some college education, and 46 percent have a college degree. 
  • Sales, clerical, craftsmen, and service workers: The great majority—close to 80 percent or above—had no more than a high school diploma in 1950. Today, more than half of sales and clerical workers have at least some college as do about 40 percent of craftsmen and service workers.
  • Operative workers (machine operators), farmers, and laborers: Virtually no operative workers had a college degree in 1950. Today, 30 percent are college graduates. The figures are similar for farmers and laborers. 
"Needless to say, these changes have led to additional challenges for some groups of workers," concludes the report. "Those with lower levels of education may be unable to find jobs in occupations that their parents held with much less formal schooling."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Shifting Times—The Evolution of the American Workplace

Friday, January 12, 2018

Rural Women Have Had More Children

Among women aged 18 to 44, those in rural areas have had more children than their urban counterparts, according to the National Center for Health Statistics—1.56 children per rural woman and 1.28 children per urban woman, on average. For the NCHS study, urban was defined as living in a metropolitan area and rural as living in a nonmetropolitan area. Here are the urban-rural comparisons by number of births...

Women aged 18-to-44 with no births
Urban: 42%
Rural: 30%

Women aged 18-to-44 with 1 birth
Urban: 18%
Rural: 19%

Women aged 18-to-44 with 2 births
Urban: 21%
Rural: 26%

Women aged 18-to-44 with 3 or more births
Urban: 19%
Rural: 25%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Urban and Rural Variation in Fertility-related Behavior among U.S. Women, 2011–2015

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Is Racism Receding?

Is racism receding in younger generations? That's one of the issues probed by PRRI and MTV in a nationally representative survey of 15-to-24-year-olds. Survey respondents were asked how much they agreed with the statement: "Racism is more of a problem for other generations than it is for my generation." The 55 percent majority of 15-to-24-year-olds disagreed, believing that racism is as big a problem for them as it is for older Americans. But a substantial 45 percent agreed, believing that racism is receding. Young White men are most likely to think racism is less of a problem in their generation, young Blacks are least likely to think so...

Racism is more of a problem for other generations (percent of 15-to-24-year-olds who agree)
White men: 55%
Hispanics: 45%
White women: 41%
Asians: 35%
Blacks: 34%

Source: MTV and PRRI, Diversity, Division, Discrimination: The State of Young America

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When Will Minorities Become the Majority of Voters?

Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities are projected to outnumber non-Hispanic Whites beginning in 2044, according to Census Bureau population projections. But when will minorities outnumber non-Hispanic Whites among voters? A Demo Memo analysis shows the minority-majority election will not occur in the time frame of the Census Bureau's population projections, which extend to 2060.

In the 2016 presidential election, non-Hispanic Whites accounted for an outsized 73 percent of voters, more than their 64 percent of the voting-age population. Behind their larger share of voters is the higher propensity of non-Hispanic Whites to vote. In 2016, nearly two-thirds of non-Hispanic White citizens cast a ballot (65 percent) versus 59 percent of Black, 50 percent of Asian, and 48 percent of Hispanic citizens.

Although non-Hispanic Whites will continue to dominate presidential-election voters in the decades ahead, their power will shrink considerably by 2060. Here is the projected non-Hispanic White share of voters in every presidential election from 2016 to 2060...

Non-Hispanic White share of voters in presidential elections
2016: 73%
2020: 71%
2024: 69%
2028: 67%
2032: 65%
2036: 63%
2040: 61%
2044: 59%
2048: 57%
2052: 55%
2056: 54%
2060: 52%

At this rate of decline, minorities may become the majority of voters in the presidential election of 2064 and most certainly in 2068.

Note: Calculations based on voting rate of citizens in 2016 by race and Hispanic origin applied to Census Bureau population projections by race and Hispanic origin. Population projections adjusted for citizenship status by race and Hispanic origin in 2016.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Quantifying the Money Pit

In the months before and after buying a house, average household spending rises by $3,700 as owners repair, renovate, and decorate their new home, according to an NBER working paper.

Examining Consumer Expenditure Survey and building permit data for the 2001 to 2013 time period, the researchers find the increased spending entirely devoted to household goods and home improvements. Other categories of spending are not affected. The added spending peaks in the first quarter after a home purchase.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Making the House a Home: The Stimulative Effects of Home Purchases on Consumption and Investment, Working Paper 23570 ($5)

Monday, January 08, 2018

37% Say Football is Favorite Sport to Watch

Football is still America's favorite spectator sport, according to a Gallup survey. The 37 percent who say football is their favorite sport is below the peak of 43 percent in 2006 and 2007, but still far above any other sport. Basketball is number two, the favorite of just 11 percent of the public. Baseball is third (9 percent), and soccer is fourth (7 percent). Soccer is now more popular than auto racing (2 percent).

Men are more likely than women to name football as their favorite sport, but for both men and women football is by far the favorite...

Football is favorite sport to watch
Men: 42%
Women: 32%

Fifteen percent of Americans say they don't have a favorite sport, nearly double the 8 percent of 2000. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

Cold Is A Bigger Killer

Among weather-related deaths, cold is a bigger killer than heat, flood, storm, or lightning, according to an analysis by the CDC. In the 2006–2010 time period, cold-weather deaths accounted for 62 percent of the 10,649 weather-related deaths in the United States.

During the time period under analysis, the cold-related death rate was 4.2 deaths per million population, the CDC reports. The rate was below average among people under age 45. It was slightly above average among those aged 45 to 74. The death rate climbs steeply in the 75-plus age groups. The rate was nearly four times the average among people aged 75 to 84 (15.5) and more than nine times the average among those aged 85 or older (39.6).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Statistics Reports, Deaths Attributed to Heat, Cold, and Other Weather Events in the United States, 2006–2010

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Cell-Phone Only Households, January–June 2017

The 52.5 percent majority of the nation's households have cell phones and no landline phone, according to the latest National Center for Health Statistics report. Among adults, 52 percent live in a wireless-only household. Among children, an even larger 62 percent are in a wireless-only household. Here is the percentage of adults in wireless-only households by age...

Percent in wireless-only household
Aged 18 to 24: 64%
Aged 25 to 29: 73%
Aged 30 to 34: 74%
Aged 35 to 44: 64%
Aged 45 to 64: 47%
Aged 65-plus: 24%

Forty percent of households have both a landline phone and cell phones, and just 6 percent have only a landline phone.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, Wireless Substitution: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2017

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Obesity by Income and Education, 2011–14

Obesity varies somewhat by income and education, finds the CDC. Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which measures the heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 20 or older, the CDC determined the prevalence of obesity by household income relative to federal poverty level and by education.

Overall, 36 percent of Americans aged 20 or older were found to be obese in the 2011–14 survey round. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 kg/m² or higher. Here are the results by income and education.

Percent obese by household income, 2011–14
39% of those with incomes ≤130% of poverty level
41% of those with incomes from 130% to ≤350% of poverty level
31% of those with incomes ≥350% of poverty level

Percent obese by educational attainment, 2011–14
40% of those with a high school diploma or less education
41% of those with at least some college experience
28% of college graduates

Source: CDC, Prevalence of Obesity among Adults, by Household Income and Education—United States, 2011–2014

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Metros with the Lowest Rates of Homeownership

Among the nation's 75 largest metropolitan areas, these are the 10 with the lowest rate of homeownership in 2016, according to the Census Bureau...

1. 47.1% in Los Angeles, CA
2. 49.9% in San Jose, CA
3. 50.4% in New York, NY
4. 51.3% in Las Vegas, NV
5. 53.3% in San Diego, CA
6. 55.8% in San Francisco, CA
7. 56.0% in Tucson, AZ
8. 56.0% in Fresno, CA
9. 56.5% in Austin, TX
10. 57.5% in Providence, RI

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Monday, January 01, 2018

Why Small Town America Is in Decline

One year ago, Demo Memo posted a list of 10 demographic questions that could be answered by data released in 2017. Some of the 10 questions were answered, such as "Are Americans getting richer? The answer is yes, according to the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. But the question, "What will save small town and rural America?" was not answered. Instead, 2017 only added to the accumulating evidence of small town ruin, from greater health problems to the disappearance of the American Dream. Not only are we at a loss to solve small town problems, but we don't even know what's causing them.

Until now: In a year-end opinion piece, The Gambler's Ruin of Small Cities, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman provides a compelling explanation for small town woes. He compares the plight of small towns to gamblers betting with pennies. The gambler who starts out with the smallest number of pennies is the one most likely to end up bankrupt. This is what's known as the "gambler's ruin." Small towns today have few pennies (economic opportunities) to play with and so eventually face gambler's ruin. "It makes sense to think of urban destinies as a random process of wins and losses in which small cities face a relatively high likelihood of experiencing gambler's ruin," explains Krugman.

Unfortunately, neither Krugman nor anyone else has a way to save small towns from gambler's ruin. It's all in the numbers. As Krugman explains: "For generations we have lived in an economy in which smaller cities have nothing going for them except historical luck, which eventually runs out."