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