Thursday, June 16, 2022

Fewer than One-Third of Adults Have a Landline Phone

Only 31 percent of American adults live in a household with a landline phone, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) survey fielded July-December 2021. Among children, the proportion who live in a household with a landline is an even smaller 20 percent. 

NCHS has been asking the public about its telephone status since 2003. The reason for doing so is to provide health researchers who conduct RDD (random-digit-dial) telephone surveys with information about how the cell phone population differs from the landline population. With this information, "survey research organizations can evaluate whether they have appropriately included this [cell phone] population in their telephone surveys," explains NCHS.

The 31 percent of adults who live in a household with a landline phone in 2021 was less than half of the 66 percent who had a landline phone in their household a decade ago. The figure fell below 50 percent for the first time in 2015.

Percent of adults who live in a household with a landline phone
2021: 31%
2016: 46%
2011: 66%
2007: 84%
2003: 95%

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Full-Service Restaurants Roar Back from the Pandemic

At least one thing is back to normal: food-away-from-home spending has returned to its top position in the food chain. With Covid receding, or increasingly ignored, Americans in 2021 spent more on "food away from home" than they did on "food at home"—a return to the normal pattern. Not only that, but food away from home spending reached a record high in 2021 of $463 billion. This was fully 21 percent more than in 2020, after adjusting for inflation.

The category "food away from home" includes the amount spent on food purchased from full-service and fast-food restaurants, bars, vending machines, schools and colleges, and places of recreation. The category "food at home" includes the amount spent on food purchased from grocery stores, convenience and other food stores, mail order, and farmer's markets. 

Annual spending on food (in billions of inflation-adjusted dollars)
    Food at home    Food away from home   difference
2021           $430                  $463       –$32
2020           $414                  $382         $32
2019           $398                  $454       –$56

Within the food-away-from-home category, spending at both fast-food and full-service restaurants fell in 2020. Full-service restaurant spending dropped 27 percent between 2019 and 2020, and fast-food spending fell 6 percent. The 2021 rebound in full-service restaurant spending was impressive—an increase of 45 percent to a record high of $162 billion. Fast-food spending climbed 14 percent and hit a record high of $164 billion. 

In all but four years of the USDA's Food Expenditure data series, which dates back to 1997, spending at full-service restaurants has exceeded spending at fast-food restaurants. The first time when full-service dining fell behind fast-food was in 2010, a consequence of the Great Recession, but the difference was just 0.3 percent. The next time full-service spending fell behind fast-food spending was in 2019, the year before the pandemic—again, by just 0.3 percent. In 2020, full-service spending was a stunning 22 percent below fast-food. In 2021, full-service closed most of the gap and was just 1 percent behind fast-food. 

Source: USDA, Food Expenditure Series, Constant Dollar Food and Alcohol Expenditures, with Taxes and Tips, for All Purchasers

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

44% of Americans Know Someone Who Is Transgender

More than 100 million Americans (44 percent of adults) know someone who is transgender (their gender differs from their sex assigned at birth), according to the results of a Pew Research Center survey. More than 50 million (20 percent) know someone who is nonbinary (they identify as neither male nor female). 

Overall, 1.6 percent of adults are either transgender (0.6 percent) or nonbinary (1.0 percent). The figure is highest among 18-to-29-year-olds (5.1 percent) and falls with age. Among people aged 30 to 49, 1.6 percent say they are transgender or nonbinary. Among those aged 50 or older, the share is just 0.3 percent. 

The number of transgender and nonbinary adults may be small but their reach is large...

Percent who personally know someone who is transgender
Total aged 18-plus: 44%
Aged 18 to 49: 52%
Aged 30 to 49: 48%
Aged 50 to 64: 43%
Aged 65-plus: 33% 

Percent who personally know someone who is nonbinary
Total aged 18-plus: 20%
Aged 18 to 49: 37%
Aged 30 to 49: 24%
Aged 50 to 64: 13%
Aged 65-plus: 7% 

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Marriages Fall To a Low Not Seen Since 1963

Americans are less inclined to marry these days. The pandemic didn't help matters. The marriage rate fell to 5.1 marriages per 1,000 population in 2020, according to the National Center for Health Statistics—yet another record low. The number of marriages fell to a level not seen since 1963. 

Marriage rate (and number of marriages), 2000 to 2020
2020: 5.1 (1.7 million)
2019: 6.1 (2.0 million)
2010: 6.8 (2.1 million)
2000: 8.2 (2.3 million)

Marriages were not the only vital statistic affected by the pandemic. Both the divorce rate and the number of divorces, which had already been on a downward slide, plunged in 2020 as the pandemic forced couples to hunker down. The divorce rate fell to a level not seen since 1961. There were fewer divorces than in any year since 1968.

Divorce rate (and number of divorces), 2000 to 2020
2020: 2.3 (631,000)
2019: 2.7 (747,000)
2010: 3.6 (872,000)
2000: 4.0 (944,000)

Marriage and divorce are likely to rebound as the effects of the pandemic fade. But because marriage and divorce were both in a long-term decline when the pandemic hit, the rebound could be short-lived.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Marriage and Divorce, National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends for 2000–2020

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Most Americans Rarely or Never Read a Newspaper

Only 21 percent of Americans aged 18 or older read a newspaper every day, according to the 2021 General Social Survey. Readership has plummeted since 1972 when the 69 percent majority of the American public read a newspaper every day. 

Now, the share of adults who never read a newspaper (40 percent) is far greater than the share who read a newspaper daily. Fully 57 percent of the public reads a newspaper less than once a week or never. 

Frequency of reading a newspaper in 2021 and 1972
   2021  1972
Every day     21%    69%
Few times a week     14    15
Once a week       9      8
Less than once a week     17      4
Never     40      4

During the past 50 years, there have been two periods of decline in "every day" newspaper readership. The first occurred during the 1970s. Between 1972 and 1982, the percentage of adults who read a newspaper every day fell from 69 to 52 percent—a 17 percentage point drop. One factor behind the decline was the expansion of television news. 

Daily newspaper readership stabilized during the 1980s and was still at 52 percent in 1991. Then the internet happened. By 2002, the share who read a newspaper every day had fallen to 42 percent. By 2012, it was just 27 percent. Now at 21 percent, how much lower can it go?

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

It's Getting Worse

In the 2020-21 school year, 145 elementary/middle/secondary schools in the United States experienced a school shooting—a record high. Not only that, but 2020-21 was the first year in which there were more school shootings at elementary schools (59) than at high schools (57), according to an analysis of the K-12 School Shooting Database by the National Center for Education Statistics. 

Number of public or private elementary-secondary schools with shootings, 2015-16 to 2020-21
2020-21: 145 
2019-20: 114
2018-19: 113
2017-18:   89
2016-17:   47
2015-16:   38

Forty-six people died from school shootings in 2020-21, below the record high of 52 fatalities from school shootings in 2017-18—the year of the shooting at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The fatality data for 2021-22 have yet to be released.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Condition of EducationViolent Deaths at School and Away from School and School Shootings and Digest of Education Statistics, Table 228.12

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Many Say Coronavirus Pandemic Is Over

A substantial 34 percent of the American public say the coronavirus pandemic is over, according to a recent Gallup survey. Of course, Republicans and Democrats have very different perspectives...

Percent who say coronavirus pandemic is over
Democrats: 10%
Republicans: 66%

Although more than one-third of all adults think the coronavirus pandemic is over, just 21 percent say their own life is somewhat or completely back to pre-pandemic normal. 

Fully 50 percent of Americans say their lives will never return to normal.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Large Cities Lost 0.4% of Population between 2020-21

Between 2020 and 2021, the first year of the pandemic, the population of the nation's 798 large cities (defined as incorporated places with populations of 50,000 or more in 2021) fell by 0.4 percent—a loss of 505,000 people. The remainder of the United States grew 0.4 percent, a gain of 898,000 people. The 2020-21 pattern is a reversal of the trend from the previous decade when large cities grew faster than the remainder of the country. Overall, the United States grew by just 0.1 percent between 2020 and 2021, the slowest population growth in U.S. history.

The largest cities—the nine with populations of 1 million or more (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, and Dallas)—experienced the biggest population loss between 2020 and 2021—a 1.7 percent decline. The nation's largest city—New York— lost 3.5 percent of its residents. Regardless of city size, however, growth was nothing to write home about...

City population growth 2020-2021 by city size
1 million or more: -1.7%
500,000 to 999,999: -0.7%
250,000 to 499,999: -0.1%
200,000 to 249,999:  0.3%
150,000 to 199,999: -0.1%
100,000 to 149,999:  0.0%
50,000 to 99,999: 0.2%

It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic is the cause of the reversal of the previous decade's city population trends. During the 2010s, the growth rate of the nation's large cities was slowing as the decade progressed. The 2020-21 loss is likely a continuation of the slowdown, exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Source: Census Bureau, City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021

Thursday, May 26, 2022

11% Say Crime Makes it Unsafe to Walk

How many Americans feel unsafe walking because of crime? That question was included in the 2020 National Health Interview Survey along with several others meant to probe perceptions of the walking environment. 

Overall, 11 percent of people aged 18 or older say crime makes it unsafe for them to walk. Women are more likely to feel that way (13 percent) than men (9 percent). Here are the percentages for women and men by age...

Percent of women (and men) who say crime makes it unsafe for them to walk
Aged 18 to 24: 17.1% (9.3%)
Aged 25 to 44: 14.1% (10.1%)
Aged 45 to 64: 12.7% (8.9%)
Aged 65-plus: 9.9% (6.5%)

The perception that crime makes it unsafe to walk falls with age—particularly among women. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Men's College Enrollment Rate Falls to 38-Year Low

The percentage of male high school graduates who enroll in college soon after graduating from high school fell to the lowest level in almost 40 years, according to government data. Among 16-to-24-year-old men who graduated from high school in 2021, just 54.9 percent had enrolled in college by October of that year. The 2021 enrollment rate is a hefty 4.4 percentage points below the 2020 figure and fully 12.5 percentage points below the all-time high recorded in 2016. Not since 1983 has the male enrollment rate been lower.

Male college enrollment rate for selected years 
2021: 54.9%
2020: 59.3%
2016: 67.4% (record high)
2010: 62.8%
2000: 59.9%
1990: 58.0%
1980: 46.7%
1970: 55.2%
1960: 54.0%

Note: The college enrollment rate is the percentage of 16-to-24-year-olds who graduated from high school in a given year and were enrolled in college by October of that year. 

While men's college enrollment rate fell between 2020 and 2021, the enrollment rate of women increased by 3.3 percentage points to 69.5 percent. Women's 2021 rate is not far from the all-time high of 74.0 percent reached in 2010. 

The gap between women's and men's college enrollment rates has never been larger. With an enrollment rate of 69.5 percent for women and just 54.9 percent for men in 2021, the difference between women's and men's college enrollment rates is nearly 15 percentage points.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, TED: The Economics Daily, 61.8 Percent of Recent High School Graduates Enrolled in College in October 2021, and National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Table 302.10

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

28% Live Close to All or Most Extended Family

Imagine living within an hour's drive of your entire extended family—meaning "children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws." A substantial 28 percent of Americans aged 18 or older do live that close to "all or most" of their extended family, according to a Pew Research Center survey. This group, in fact, outnumbers all the others...

How many extended family members live within an hour's drive?
28%: all or most
27%: some 
24%: only a few
20%: none

The share of Americans who live near all or most of their extended family varies by demographic characteristic. By race and Hispanic origin, Blacks (31 percent) and Hispanics (31 percent) are most likely to live close to family, followed by non-Hispanic whites (29 percent). Asians (18 percent) are least likely to live close to family. In fact, fully 33 percent of Asians say none of their extended family is within an hour's drive.

The chances of living near all or most extended family is increasingly rare with rising education. Among adults with no more than a high school diploma, 34 percent say they are within an hour's drive of all or most of their extended family. Among those with a graduate degree, the figure is just 16 percent. Fully 32 percent of those with a graduate degree say none of their extended family is nearby. 

By region, living within an hour's drive to all or most extended family is most common among residents of the Midwest (33 percent) and Northeast (32 percent), followed by the South (28 percent). It is least common in the West (22 percent). 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Democrats Continue to Outnumber Republicans

The political affiliations of the American public have not changed much in decades. According to the 2021 General Social Survey, 44 percent of people aged 18 or older identify themselves as Democrats, 30 percent as Republicans, and 23 percent as independents. Here's the GSS question: "Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or what?"

Among the 44 percent of Americans who identify as a Democrat, nearly 19 percent say they are a "strong" Democrat, 14 percent are "not very strong," and 12 percent think of themselves as independent but close to a Democrat. Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers are about equally likely to think of themselves as Democrats, with 41 percent of Gen Xers, 44 percent of Boomers, and 45 percent of Millennials doing so.

Among the 30 percent of Americans who identify as a Republican, 13 percent say they are a "strong" Republican, 9 percent are "not very strong," and 8 percent think of themselves as independent but close to a Republican. Millennials are much less likely than older generations to identify as Republican, with only 23 percent doing so. Among Gen Xers, 38 percent call themselves a Republican. The figure is 36 percent among Boomers.

Political party identification of Americans aged 18 or older, 2000 to 2021
    Democrat   Republican  independent
2021       44.2%       30.2%      23.0%
2016       47.5       32.8      17.1
2010       45.8       32.8      18.8
2000       43.2       34.8      20.4

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2021 General Social Survey

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Disparities in Gun Ownership

Gun ownership is common in the United States. Overall, 40 percent of Americans say they or someone in their household owns a gun, according to a 2021 survey by Pew Research Center. 

Surprisingly, the differences in gun ownership by age or education are small. By age, the range is from 35 percent among 18-to-29-year-olds to 42 percent among those aged 50 or older—a 6 percentage point difference. By education, the range is from 33 percent among those with a graduate degree to 45 percent among those with some college—a 12 percentage point gap. 

The gap in gun ownership is much larger by race, type of residence, and political affiliation...
Total adults: 40%

Race and Hispanic origin
47% of non-Hispanic whites
37% of Blacks
26% of Hispanics
20% of Asians
Difference between highest and lowest: 27 percentage points

Rural-urban status
53% of rural
40% of suburban
29% of urban
Difference between highest and lowest: 24 percentage points

Political party affiliation
54% of Republicans
31% of Democrats
Difference between highest and lowest: 23 percentage points

Source: Pew Research Center, Key Facts about Americans and Guns

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Changes in Computer Use: 2011 to 2021

The federal government has been tracking computer and internet use in the United States since the 1990s—the beginning of the internet era for the general public. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) partners with the Census Bureau to probe the public's use of computing devices by adding question about device ownership, use, and internet access to the Current Population Survey. The latest survey results, collected by the November 2021 Current Population Survey, found the great majority of Americans using the internet. 

Overall, 80 percent of the population aged 3 (yes, three) or older reported using the internet in the 2021 survey. The way the public accesses the internet has changed over the past decade. Here are the trends in device use among people aged 3-plus...

Use a smartphone
2021: 70%
2011: 27%

Use a laptop computer
2021: 49%
2011: 43%

Use a tablet computer
2021: 30%
2011:   6%

Use a desktop computer
2021: 28%
2011: 45%

Use a wearable
2021: 16%
2015:   1% (first year question asked)

Use a smart TV
2021: 48%
2011: 14%