Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Who Spends the Most on Women's Clothes?

Boomers spend more than any other generation on women's clothes, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey. While the average household spent $580 on women's clothes in 2017, households headed by Baby Boomers spent $661...

Average household spending on women's clothes, 2017
$661 spent by Boomers
$647 spent by Gen Xers
$493 spent by Millennials
$419 spent by the Silent Generation
$209 spent by the World War II generation

Baby boomers also control the largest share of the women's clothing market...

Distribution of aggregate household spending on women's clothes, 2017 
39% controlled by Boomers
30% controlled by Gen Xers
21% controlled by Millennials
10% controlled by Silent and WWII

In an average week, a substantial 20 percent of Boomer and Gen X households buy women's clothes. Among Millennials, the figure is 18 percent.

Note: BLS definitions of the generations are as follows: WWII generation born in 1927 or earlier; Silent generation born from 1928 to 1945; Boomers born from 1946 to 1964; Generation X born from 1965 to 1980; Millennials born in 1981 or later.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, December 10, 2018

27% Say They Have a Pre-existing Condition

Only 27 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say they have a pre-existing condition, according to a Gallup poll. Among people aged 65 or older, just 38 percent say they have such a condition. These unrealistically low figures show that the public either doesn't understand the meaning of "pre-existing condition" or is afraid to admit they have one—even to a pollster. Government data show that a much larger share of Americans have what could be considered a pre-existing condition. For example...


Clearly, millions more Americans have pre-existing conditions than are willing to admit it, including the majority of older Americans. Why, then, is there any debate at all about whether health insurance companies should be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history?

Source: Gallup, One in Four U.S. Adults Say They Have a Pre-Existing Condition

Friday, December 07, 2018

Student Debt in 2017

Average student debt upon graduation grew to $28,650 in 2017, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. This is the debt owed by 2017 graduates from the nation's four-year public and nonprofit colleges. It does not include amounts borrowed by parents for their children. It also does not include the amount owed by graduates of for-profit schools, who typically owe the most.

Overall, 65 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. The figure varies by state. It was highest in New Hampshire, South Dakota, and West Virginia, where 74 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. It was lowest in Utah, where only 38 percent have student loan debt. Graduates in Connecticut have the highest average debt ($38,510), followed by Pennsylvania ($36,854), and Rhode Island ($36,250). Average debt is lowest in Utah ($18,838).

In California, the state with the most bachelor's degree recipients, a below-average 50 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. Those with loans owe an average of $22,785—20 percent less than the average college graduate with debt.

Source: Institute for College Access and Success, Student Debt and the Class of 2017

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Retirement Readiness Lags, Especially for Hispanics

The retirement readiness of Americans took a hit from the Great Recession and has yet to recover, according to study by the Center for Retirement Research. CRR researchers assessed retirement readiness by race and Hispanic origin using the National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) and found Hispanics to be worse off than Blacks or non-Hispanic Whites.

The National Retirement Risk Index is calculated by comparing a household's pre-retirement income with the income they are projected to have in retirement based on Social Security benefits, retirement savings, and the hypothetical annuitization of all their assets including housing. Households whose estimated retirement income falls at least 10 percent below their pre-retirement income are considered at risk of having insufficient funds to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. CRR determined NRRI for households headed by 30-to-59-year-olds by race and Hispanic origin using data from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. In 2016, 50 percent of the nation's households fell below the target, meaning half of households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. The 2016 NRRI is lower than the 53 percent of 2010 but significantly higher than the 44 percent of 2007.

National Retirement Risk Index by race and Hispanic origin in 2016 (and 2007)
Total: 50% (44%)
Black: 54% (52%)
Hispanic: 61% (51%)
Non-Hispanic White: 48% (42%)

Regardless of race or Hispanic origin, more households were at risk of running short of money in retirement in 2016 than in 2007. But Hispanics were worse off than Blacks or non-Hispanic Whites, the CRR study found. "The deterioration for Hispanics reflects their buying housing in the wrong places at the wrong time," explain the researchers. Fully 40 percent of Hispanic households live in the states hardest hit by the Great Recession (Nevada, Florida, Arizona, and California) compared with only 20 percent of non-Hispanic White or Black households. Consequently, the value of the homes owned by Hispanics took a bigger hit, losing twice as much in value between 20017 and 2016 (41 percent) as the homes of non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks (21 and 22 percent, respectively). The stability in the NRRI for Black households, the researchers say, is due to Blacks' relatively low pre-retirement standard of living, which is easier to achieve in retirement because of Social Security's progressive benefit formula.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Trends in Retirement Security by Race/Ethnicity

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

10.7 Million Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.

The unauthorized immigrant population in the United States is shrinking, according to a Pew Research Center report. In 2016, there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., down from the peak of 12.2 million in 2007. Behind the decline are fewer unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, their number falling from 6.95 million in 2007 to 5.45 million in 2016. As the number of Mexicans has declined, the number of Central Americans has grown, rising from 1.50 million in 2007 to 1.85 million in 2016.

Pew's report examines not only trends in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, but also their characteristics. Here are some of the findings...
  • Most unauthorized adult immigrants are long-term residents, having been in the country for a median of 14.8 years.
  • Nearly 700,000 young adults in the U.S. were brought here illegally as children and have temporary protection from deportation under DACA. 
  • 5 million American-born children live with unauthorized immigrant parents.
  • The share of K–12 students who have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent is 20 percent in Nevada, 13 percent in Texas and California, and 11 percent in Arizona and Colorado.
  • Unauthorized immigrants account for 24 percent of the nation's foreign-born population. 
  • Unauthorized immigrants are 4.8 percent of the U.S. labor force. They account for 24 percent of the farm workforce and 15 percent of construction workers.

Pew Research Center, U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Mobility Rate of Renters Falls to 20.1%

The nation's mobility rate hit an all-time low of 10.1 percent in 2017–18, primarily because fewer renters are moving. The mobility rate of renters fell to 20.1 percent in 2017–18, down from more than 30 percent in the early 2000s. One reason for the decline in the mobility rate of renters is that fewer of them are moving after buying a house.

Number of renters aged 1 or older who moved after buying a house (in 000s)
2017–18: 2,350
2016–17: 2,554
2010–11: 1,544 (low)
2005–06: 3,415
2001–02: 4,334
2000–01: 3,942

In 2017–18, about 2.4 million renters moved after buying a house. While this number is higher than the post-Great Recession low of 1.5 million in 2010–11, it is well below the 4.3 million of 2001–02. What are the characteristics of renters who move after buying a house? The 57 percent majority are people aged 30 to 44 and children under age 16. 

Source: Census Bureau, Migration/Geographic Mobility

Monday, December 03, 2018

Median Household Income Stable in October 2018

Median household income in October 2018 stood at $63,220, reports Sentier Research, unchanged from September after adjusting for inflation. The September and October medians are the highest recorded by Sentier since the January 2000 start of its monthly household income series. The October 2018 median was 2.6 percent higher than the October 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 3.7 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 14.8 percent rise in median household income since the post-Great Recession low reached in June 2011—two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index in October 2018 was 103.7 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: October 2018