Thursday, May 13, 2021

Who Favors Proof of Vaccination?

The majority of American adults are in favor of businesses requiring proof of vaccination before people can participate in certain activities over the next few months, according to a Gallup survey. Overall, 57 percent favor requiring proof of vaccination for air travel and 55 percent for attending events with large crowds. 

There is a deep partisan split on whether businesses should require proof of vaccination, however. The majority of Democrats favor proof of vaccination for all of the selected activities, while only about a quarter or fewer Republicans feel the same way.

Percent who favor businesses requiring proof of vaccination before participation in activity
    total    Democrats  Republicans
Air travel     57%         85%       28%
Events with large crowds     55         82       25
Where you work*     45         69       16
Hotel stay     44         66       22
Dine in restaurant     40         62       19

*This question was asked only of those who are employed. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Big Spending Declines in 2020

Of course household spending declined in 2020. We know that. We all cut back. But the latest mid-year household spending statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal just how deep those cuts were.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces not only calendar-year household spending data, but also mid-year data. The latest release shows average household spending for the July 2019 through June 2020 time period. A comparison of these mid-year data with those from one year earlier captures the dramatic decline in household spending as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country. 

Percent change in average household spending on selected products and services, July 2018-June 2019 to July 2019-June 2020 (in 2020 dollars)
  -3.4%: total spending by the average household
 +1.9%: food at home
 +3.8%: maintenance/repairs for owned homes
-14.8%: food away from home
-18.6%: women's clothes 
-20.1%: men's clothes
-27.8%: public transportation
-31.7%: fees and admissions to entertainment events

Overall household spending fell 3 percent by mid-year 2020 compared to the previous mid-year number, after adjusting for inflation. The decline was much greater for the sectors most impacted by the pandemic. Average household spending on fees and admissions to entertainment events plunged 32 percent. Spending on public transportation fell 28 percent. Spending on food away from home (mostly restaurant meals) was down 15 percent. Meanwhile, spending on food at home (groceries) grew 2 percent, and spending on maintenance and repairs for owned homes (home improvements) climbed 4 percent. None of these trends is a surprise.

But there are a couple of surprises uncovered by Demo Memo's analysis of the mid-year spending statistics. Average household spending on alcoholic beverages did not increase as some have suggested. Instead, spending on alcoholic beverages fell 4 percent between 2018-19 and 2019-20, after adjusting for inflation. This decline likely is the result of greatly reduced alcoholic beverage spending at bars and restaurants during the pandemic. Another surprise was a decline in spending on pets. With so many working from home, there were reports of a surge in new pet owners. But average household spending on pets fell 5 percent between 2018-19 and 2019-20.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2020 Drop in Births Is 9th Largest

The 143,000 drop in births in 2020 was the ninth largest single-year decline in more than a century of record keeping. What were the eight bigger declines? Take a look...

10 largest annual declines in births (and reason for decline)
1. 1972: -298,000 (birth of Generation X)
2. 1965: -267,000 (birth of Generation X)
3. 1919: -208,000 (Spanish flu pandemic)
4. 1948: -180,000 (taking a breather from increases immediately after World War II)
5. 1971: -175,000 (birth of Generation X)
6. 1922: -173,000 (taking a breather from increases immediately after World War I)
7. 1944: -165,000 (World War II)
8. 1966: -154,000 (birth of Generation X)
9. 2020: -143,000 (Covid pandemic)
10. 1933: -133,000 (Great Depression)

The birth years of Generation X account for 4 of the 10 largest annual declines in births (1965, 1966, 1971, and 1972). The original "baby bust" generation was born during the years 1965 through 1976. 

The third largest decline in births, in 1919, was a consequence of the Spanish flu pandemic. It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a larger decline in births in 2021 than in 2020, but it's a possibility. Here's why. Covid's impact on births was fully realized only in the last month of 2020. December 2020 births were a substantial 8 percent below the number of births in December of 2019, a much larger decline than in any other month of the year. Most of those December births were conceived in March, at the very beginning of the pandemic. It's likely there also will be a substantial decline in the number of births conceived during the months of April, May, and June of 2020, reflecting the hesitancy of young adults to have children in the midst of a growing pandemic. The 2021 decline in births, if there is one, could be larger than the one in 2020.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of National Center for Health Statistics and Census Bureau data

Monday, May 10, 2021

It Won't Be Long

In the 2020 presidential election, the Millennial and Gen Z generations accounted for just 38 percent of voters although their share of the citizen population is a larger 42 percent. Sure, the voter turnout of younger adults was higher than ever, but it doesn't match the turnout of older generations. That's about to change.

As Millennials and younger generations age, their voter participation rate will rise. Not long from now, the younger generations will become the majority of voters. In the 2024 presidential election, 45 percent of voters will be members of the Millennial and younger generations, according to Demo Memo projections. By 2028, they will be 51 percent of voters...

Millennial and younger generation share of voters in presidential elections
2020: 38%
2024: 45%
2028: 51%

Note: Demo Memo's projections of voters are based on the percentage of citizens who voted in 2020 by single year of age applied to the Census Bureau's single-year-of-age population projections adjusted for citizenship status. 

Of course, the voting dominance of Millennials and younger generations will just keep growing. By 2040, they will account for fully 70 percent of voters.

Source: Demo Memo projections of voters based on the Census Bureau's Voting and Registration in the  Election of November 2020 and 2017 Population Projections Tables

Thursday, May 06, 2021

70% Have Received at least One Dose of Vaccine

Nearly three-quarters of American adults have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. The latest survey was fielded April 14-26. The 70 percent who reported having had the vaccine as of the last two weeks of April is up substantially from the 47 percent who reported having been vaccinated one month earlier. 

The biggest increase in the vaccination rate between March and April was among young adults. The percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds who have received at least one dose of the vaccine jumped from just 19 percent at the end of March to the 53 percent majority by the end of April.

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of April 14-26
Total 18-plus: 70%
Aged 18 to 24: 53%
Aged 25 to 39: 57%
Aged 40 to 54: 66%
Aged 55 to 64: 78%
Aged 65-plus: 88%

There is continuing erosion in the number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine. During this round of the survey, 29 million said no—down from 39 million in the last half of March. Some of the decline in naysaying is due to the fact that the Census Bureau added a new category of response in this iteration of the survey: "Unsure about getting a vaccine." Fully 17 million say they are unsure. 

Overall, 18 million adults (7 percent of the population) say they "definitely will not" get the vaccine, numbers that barely changed between March and April. Non-Hispanic whites are most likely to say they definitely will not get the vaccine (7.5 percent), followed by Blacks (6.8 percent), Hispanics (5.1 percent) and Asians (3.0 percent).

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Births in 2020: The Covid Baby Bust Begins

The number of births in the United States fell to 3,605,201 in 2020, the smallest number since 1979 and 143,000 fewer than in 2019. Behind the large drop in births is the ongoing fertility decline among American women as well as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Births peaked in the U.S. in 2007, when 4.3 million babies were born. The 2020 figure is 16 percent below that peak and 4 percent below the 2019 number. The birth decline intensified as 2020 progressed, according to National Center for Health Statistics data. In the first six months of the year, monthly births were about 2 percent below the 2019 numbers. By December 2020, they were 8 percent below what they had been a year earlier.  

Number of births for selected years (in 000s)
2020: 3,605
2019: 3,748
2018: 3,792
2017: 3,856
2016: 3,946
2015: 3,978 
2007: 4,316 (record high)

The number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 (the general fertility rate) fell to 55.8 in 2020. This was 4 percent lower than in 2019 and a new record low. 

The fertility decline is occurring in most age groups, with birth rates for women aged 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29 hitting new record lows in 2020. The fertility rate of 20-to-24-year-olds has fallen by a stunning 40 percent since 2007. 

The total fertility rate—the number of births a woman can expect in her lifetime given current age-specific fertility rates—fell to a record low of 1.637.5 in 2020. This is well below the 2.1 replacement level. "The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007," NCHS reports.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2020

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

College Enrollment Rate Dropped in 2020

The college enrollment rate dropped in 2020. Only 62.7 percent of young adults who graduated from high school in 2020 had enrolled in college by October of that year, down from 66.2 percent in 2019. The decline "reflects the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic," the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Black high school graduates were the only ones whose college enrollment rate increased in 2020. 

College enrollment rate, 2020 (and percentage point change 2019—20)
Total: 62.7% (-3.5)
Asians: 83.2% (-6.7)
Blacks: 56.6% (+5.9)
Hispanics: 56.2% (-7.2)
Whites: 62.9% (-4.0)

Note: The college enrollment rate is defined as the percentage of 2020 high school graduates aged 16 to 24 who had enrolled in college by October of that year. The white race category includes Hispanics who identify themselves as white, which most do. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Huge Voter Turnout in 2020

We knew voter turnout was big in 2020. What we didn't know until now was which demographic segments were responsible for the big turnout. And the answer is—all of them. 

The answer comes from the Voting and Registration Supplement to the Current Population Survey which, according to the Census Bureau, "is the most comprehensive data source available on the social and demographic composition of the electorate in federal elections." The bureau fields the supplement after each mid-term and presidential election to track the demographics of voters. The 2020 supplement was fielded November 15-24, shortly after the presidential election. The supplement asked respondents if they had registered to vote in the November 3 election, whether they had voted, and if not why not.

Overall, 155 million American citizens aged 18 or older reported voting in the November 2020 election—66.8 percent of the electorate. This is the highest voting rate since 1992 (Bill Clinton versus George H.W. Bush), when 67.7 percent voted. 

Voter participation increased in every race and Hispanic origin group in 2020, with record levels of voting by Asians, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites. Although Black voter participation was higher in 2020 than in most other election years, it did not set a record. The 62.6 percent Black voter participation rate in 2020 ranked third behind 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama was running for president.

Percent of citizens aged 18-plus who voted in November 2020 by race and Hispanic origin
Total citizens 18-plus: 66.8%
Asians: 59.7% (record high)
Blacks: 62.6%
Hispanics: 53.7% (record high)
Non-Hispanic whites: 70.9% (record high)

Voter participation also climbed to a record high in every age group in 2020. Among adults aged 18 to 24, voter participation exceeded 50 percent for the first time. 

Percent of citizens aged 18-plus who voted in November 2020 by age group
Total citizens 18-plus: 66.8%
Aged 18 to 24: 51.4% (record high)
Aged 25 to 44: 62.6% (record high)
Aged 45 to 64: 71.0% (record high)
Aged 65-plus: 74.5% (record high)

Overall, 71 percent of voters in the 2020 election were non-Hispanic whites. Sixty percent were aged 45 or older. But the share of all voters who were non-Hispanic whites aged 45 or older fell to 45 percent in 2020, down from 48 percent in 2016.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

One-Third of the Ever-Married Have Divorced

Divorce may not yet be the norm in the United States, but it is a common experience—especially for the Baby-Boom generation. Overall, one-third of ever-married adults aged 20 or older have experienced divorce, according to a recent Census Bureau analysis of 2014 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The figure exceeds 40 percent among Americans aged 45 to 64—just about the age range of Boomers (50 to 68) in that year. 

Percent of ever-married adults aged 20-plus who have ever divorced, 2014
      women  men
Total, 20-plus       33.7%   33.0%
Aged 20 to 24        7.1    6.2
Aged 25 to 29      13.4  10.1
Aged 30 to 34      22.3  15.9
Aged 35 to 44      30.8  27.4
Aged 45 to 54      41.6  40.1
Aged 55 to 64      42.6  42.5
Aged 65 to 74      38.5  38.6
Aged 75-plus      24.0  24.4

The marital instability of the Baby-Boom generation has long been recognized. The higher prevalence of divorce among Boomers is due to events occurring as Boomers came of age—the Vietnam War and the changing roles of women. The war sent Boomer men scurrying onto college campuses to avoid the draft or into the jungles of Vietnam to fight the war. At the same time, Boomer women began to enroll in college and enter the labor force at much higher rates than earlier generations of women. These changes in the life course of young adults strained Boomer marriages and resulted in higher levels of divorce. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 1st Quarter 2021

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2021: 48.2%

Homeownership rates in the first quarter of 2021 continue to fall from the stratospheric heights reached in 2020—when the coronavirus pandemic greatly reduced the response rate to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) and consequently distorted homeownership trends. The ongoing downward shift means that householders aged 30 to 34 are still falling short of the honorary First-Time Homebuyer title.   

The overall homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2021 was 65.6 percent, not significantly different from the 65.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds (the age group in which householders typically buy their first home) fell by a full percentage point between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Except for the 50.1 percent blip in the third quarter of 2020, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds has been below 50 percent in every quarter since the second quarter of 2011—the aftermath of the Great Recession. Until 2011, the age group's homeownership rate had never been below 50 percent in the data series that goes back to 1982. 

Yes, it may be a seller's market in the housing industry right now, but the demand for housing is not translating into noticeably higher homeownership rates in any age group. The seller's market is a consequence of the pandemic-related shortage of houses for sale.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A Few Surprises in the First 2020 Census Results

April 1, 2020, was undoubtedly one of the worst times to conduct a decennial census. Just a few weeks before Census Day, on March 13, the United States had declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses were closed down. States were in lockdown. Students fled college campuses and returned to their hometowns. It was a mess. That's why we've waited so long for 2020 census numbers—the Census Bureau has been busy ensuring that the "2020 census results meet our high quality standards." Yesterday, the first results were released—population counts for the nation as a whole and the 50 states. 

The 2020 census counts differ from the Census Bureau's 2020 population estimates in some surprising ways... 

  • Population growth was greater than estimated. The Census Bureau had estimated a 2020 population of 329 million—6.7 percent more U.S. residents than in 2010. This would have made the 2010s the slowest decade of growth in U.S. history. Instead, the 2020 Census counted 331,440,281 U.S. residents as of April 1, 2020. This is nearly 2 million more than estimated, resulting in a growth rate of 7.4 percent for the decade. Consequently, the 2010s was not the slowest decade of growth in U.S. history but the second slowest. The 1930s retains its position as the decade of slowest growth, when the population grew by 7.3 percent.
  • Some of the fastest-growing states did not grow quite as fast as estimated. Arizona, for example, was estimated to have grown by 16 percent over the decade, but the 2020 census reveals the state's growth to have been a smaller 12 percent, with 270,000 fewer people living in the state in 2020 than had been estimated. Similarly, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas came up short as well. While these states grew faster than most others, they did not grow quite as fast as estimated.
  • Some of the slowest-growing states gained more people than estimated. The population of New Jersey, for example, was estimated to have grown by 1 percent between 2010 and 2020. But the 2020 census shows that New Jersey's population grew by a much larger 5.7 percent—407,700 more people than had been estimated. Similarly, rather than declining by 0.2 percent over the decade, New York State's population grew by 4.2 percent—an additional 864,000 people. The pattern is the same for Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. 
  • Only three states lost population during the decade rather than the five estimated. The losing states were Illinois (-0.1 percent), Mississippi (-0.2 percent), and West Virginia (-3.2 percent). Connecticut and New York had been estimated to lose population but instead made gains. 
Source: Census Bureau, 2020 Census Apportionment Results

Monday, April 26, 2021

Educational Attainment in 2020

It used to be that men were much more likely than women to have a bachelor's degree. You can see this history in the educational attainment of men and women aged 70 or older today. There is a hefty 10 percentage-point gap in bachelor's degree attainment between older men and women. Over the decades, women not only caught up to men in the pursuit of a college degree but surpassed them. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, women are 9 percentage points more likely than men to have a bachelor's degree—almost as big a gap as among those aged 70 or older, but in the opposite direction. 

Percent of people aged 25 or older with a bachelor's degree or more education by age and sex, and percentage point difference between women and men, 2020

      total     men    women    difference 
Aged 25-plus      37.5%    36.7%     38.3%       1.7
Aged 25 to 29      39.2    34.7     43.8       9.0
Aged 30 to 34      43.0    38.7     47.4       8.7
Aged 35 to 39      43.4    40.2     46.6       6.4
Aged 40 to 44      40.9    37.5     44.2       6.7
Aged 45 to 49      41.1    38.5     43.5       5.0
Aged 50 to 54      38.6    36.9     40.2       3.3
Aged 55 to 59      33.6    33.3     33.9       0.6
Aged 60 to 64      32.6    32.5     32.7       0.3
Aged 65 to 69      35.3    37.0     33.8      -3.1
Aged 70 to 74       34.5    39.9     29.7    -10.2
Aged 75-plus      29.6    35.3     25.3    -10.0

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Family Unemployment Doubled between 2019 and 2020

Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues a report on the employment characteristics of families. The most recent report, with annual averages for 2020, compares family employment during the coronavirus pandemic with the 2019 numbers. The data come from the Current Population Survey, which defines families as two or more people who live together and are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. 

The share of families with at least one unemployed member doubled between 2019 and 2020—rising from 4.9 to 9.8 percent—as the pandemic upended the job market. Hispanic families were most likely to have a family member unemployed in 2020 (14.3 percent), while white families were least likely (9.0 percent)...

Families with at least one family member unemployed in 2020 (and 2019)
Total families: 9.8% (4.9%)
Asian families: 10.9% (4.0%)
Black families: 13.4% (8.0%)
Hispanic families: 14.3% (6.6%)
White families: 9.0% (4.5%)

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has long refused to distinguish non-Hispanic whites from the total white population in its data releases. Consequently, the white statistics shown here also include Hispanics who identify their race as white, which most do. It is likely that unemployment in families headed by non-Hispanic whites is even lower than the white data presented above. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Characteristics of Families—2020

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

States with the Oldest and Youngest Housing Stock

The age of the housing stock varies dramatically across the country. States with an older housing stock are those that have been densely settled for generations. States with a younger housing stock are the ones that have experienced recent rapid growth. 

In the United States as a whole, 12.3 percent of housing units were built in 1939 or earlier (80-plus years ago), according to the Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey. But in some states, the figure is more than twice as high...

The five states with the largest percentage of housing units built in 1939 or earlier
1. District of Columbia: 32.8%
2. Massachusetts: 31.6%
3. New York: 31.1%
4. Rhode Island: 30.3%
5. Pennsylvania: 25.9%

At the other extreme, only 4.6 percent of housing units in the U.S. were built recently—within the past five years. But the figure is nearly double that in a few states...

The five states with the largest percentage of housing units built in 2014 or later
1. North Dakota: 9.0%
2. Texas: 9.0%
3. Utah: 8.9%
4. Idaho: 8.0%
5. South Carolina: 7.7%