Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Least Religious Metropolitan Area

Forty percent of Americans are very religious, according to a measure of religiosity devised by Gallup, which deems people as very religious if they say religion is an important part of their daily life and they attend religious services weekly or almost every week. 

Interestingly, Gallup breaks down these findings by metropolitan area. The most religious metropolitan area is Provo-Orem, Utah, where 77 percent of residents are very religious. At the other end of the scale, the least religious metropolitan area is Burlington, Vermont, where only 17 percent of the population can be classified as very religious.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Baby Bust by State

The Great Recession triggered a new baby bust, with the number of births in the U.S. falling 8.4 percent between 2007 and 2011. Births fell in almost every state during those years. The only exceptions were Alaska (up 3.2 percent), the District of Columbia (up 5.1 percent), and North Dakota (up 7.8 percent). In 12 states, the number of births fell by at least 10 percent. Here are the states hit hardest by the baby bust...

Decline in number of births, 2007 to 2011
1. Arizona: -16.9%
2. Nevada: -14.3%
3. Mississippi: -14.3%
4. Georgia: -12.8%
5. Rhode Island: -11.4%
6. California: -11.3%
7. Idaho: -10.8%
8. Illinois: -10.8%
9. Florida: -10.8%
10. New Mexico: -10.7%
11. Connecticut: -10.5%
12. Maine: -10.0%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Birth Data 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Find Life Exciting

Percentage of Americans aged 18 or older who find life exciting...

2012: 53%
2000: 47%
1990: 45%

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, General Social Survey

New Mid-Year Spending Data

Here's something new: mid-year updates of household spending!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the first of what will be annual mid-year updates of household spending by a variety of demographic characteristics. The latest numbers, for the 12-month period from July 2011 through June 2012, show average annual household spending at $50,631. A rough adjustment for inflation shows that average household spending has been stable for the past couple of years. Good news.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) New Midyear Data Tables

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Attitudes toward Same-Sex Parents

Attitudes toward same-sex parenting mirror those toward same-sex marriage, according to the 2012 General Social Survey. Most millennials are supportive, gen Xers are split, and boomers and older generations mostly disapprove.

A same-sex female couple can bring up a child as well as a male-female couple, 
percent agreeing...
Total people: 47%
Millennials (18-35): 59%
Gen Xers (36-47): 51%
Boomers (48-66): 39%
Older (67-plus): 30%

A same-sex male couple can bring up a child as well as a male-female couple, 
percent agreeing...
Total people: 44%
Millennials (18-35): 55%
Gen Xers (36-47): 47%
Boomers (48-66): 36%
Older (67-plus): 25%

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, 2012 General Social Survey

Zero or Negative Net Worth

Percentage of households with zero or negative net worth in 2011, by age of householder...

Total households: 18%
Under age 35: 32%
Aged 35 to 44: 22%
Aged 45 to 54: 17%
Aged 55 to 64: 12%
Aged 65 or older: 8%

Source: Census Bureau, Wealth and Asset Ownership, 2000 to 2011

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Household Income Falls in February 2013

Median household income fell 1.1 percent between January and February 2013, according to the latest monthly update from Sentier Research. The February median of $51,404 was $590 less than the January median, a statistically significant decline.

According to Gordon Green of Sentier Research, the decline is largely due to a 0.7 percent increase in consumer prices. "Even though we are technically in an economic recovery," says Green, "the most recent experience suggests that real median household income is having difficulty in keeping pace with inflation."

Median household income in February 2013 was 5.6 percent lower than the median in June 2009, the end of the Great Recession. It was 7.3 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 8.4 percent lower than the median in January 2000. The Household Income Index for February 2013 was 91.6 (January 2000 = 100.0). 

An Excel spreadsheet of the entire household income time series is available from Sentier's web site for $25.00.

Source: Sentier Research, Trends in Household Income: February 2013

Attitudes toward Gay Marriage

Support for gay marriage hovers just below the 50 percent mark, according to the 2012 General Social Survey. Forty-nine percent of Americans aged 18 or older now agree that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. Taken every two years since the early 1970s, the General Social Survey first asked about gay marriage in 1988. The gay marriage question has appeared regularly in the survey since 2004. Support for gay marriage more than doubled between 1988 and 2004 and has grown substantially since then...

Gays and lesbians should have the right to marry (percent agreeing)
2012: 49%
2010: 46%
2008: 39%
2006: 35%
2004: 31%
1988: 12%

One factor behind the rising support for gay marriage is generational replacement. In 2012, fully 62 percent of the millennial generation (aged 18 to 35) supported gay marriage. This compares with 51 percent of generation Xers (aged 36 to 47), 43 percent of boomers (aged 48 to 66), and 30 percent of older Americans (aged 67 or older).

Changing attitudes also play an important role in the growing support for gay marriage. Among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964), only 14 percent supported gay marriage in 1988. A larger 25 percent supported gay marriage in 2004, with the figure rising to 43 percent in 2012.

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, General Social Surveys 1972-2012 Cumulative Datafile

Monday, March 25, 2013

Attitudes toward Marijuana

Nearly half of Americans aged 18 or older now favor the legalization of marijuana. Over the past four decades, support has waxed and waned in a generally upward direction...

Percent supporting legalization of marijuana
2012: 47%
2010: 48%
2000: 33%
1990: 16%
1980: 25%
1973: 20%

One factor behind the rising overall support is generational replacement. In 2012, the 55 percent majority of the millennial generation (aged 18 to 35) supported legalization. This compares with 49 percent of boomers (aged 48 to 66), 42 percent of generation Xers (aged 36 to 47), and 33 percent of older Americans (aged 67 or older).

But changing attitudes are also behind growing support for the legalization of marijuana. Take a look at how attitudes have changed among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964) over the years. In 1990, only 19 percent of boomers favored the legalization of marijuana. By 2000, the figure had grown to 32 percent. In 2012, nearly half supported marijuana's legalization.

Source: Survey Documentation and Analysis, University of California-Berkeley, General Social Surveys 1972-2012 Cumulative Datafile

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dating Violence

Percentage of high school students who say they were physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend/girlfriend during the past 12 months...

Boys: 9.5%
Girls: 9.3%

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2011

Friday, March 22, 2013

Household Debt: 2011 Update

One of the most significant findings that emerges from the Census Bureau's 2011 update of household debt is this: American households hit a financial wall during the 2000s, and we are still reeling from the impact.

Fewer households are in debt. The percentage of households with debt fell from 74 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2011.

Median debt is declining. In 2011, median household debt was $70,000. Although this was far above the $50,971 median of 2000, it was less than the $74,619 peak of 2010, after adjusting for inflation.

Credit card debt has plunged. The percentage of households with credit card debt fell from 51 to 38 percent between 2000 and 2011. The median amount owed by those with credit card debt climbed slightly, rising from $3,353 to $3,500.

"Other" debt is a growing problem. Unfortunately the Census Bureau's statistics do not break down "other" debt to reveal its components--student loans, medical debt, and money owed to individuals. The percentage of households with "other" debt climbed from 10.7 percent in 2000 to 18.6 percent in 2011. By age, the percentage of households with "other" debt looks like this...

Under age 35: 31.3%
Aged 35 to 44: 22.9%
Aged 45 to 54: 20.5%
Aged 55 to 64: 15.0%
Aged 65 or older: 5.4%

For those with "other" debt, the median amount owed more than doubled between 2000 and 2011, after adjusting for inflation, rising from $4,024 to $10,000.

Source: Census Bureau, Wealth and Asset Ownership, 2000 to 2011

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Household Wealth: 2011 Update

First, a thank you to the Census Bureau for providing updated statistics on household wealth. In these economically trying times, it is more important than ever to track the changing financial status of American households. Now on to the numbers.

Median household net worth
Median household net worth was $68,828 in 2011. This was 35 percent lower than the $106,585 of 2005, after adjusting for inflation. It was 16 percent below the $81,821 of 2000. Excluding home equity, median household net worth in 2011 was just $16,942.

Aggregate household net worth
In contrast to the decline in the median, aggregate net worth climbed from $28.9 trillion in 2000 to $40.2 trillion in 2011, after adjusting for inflation. The increase in aggregate net worth as the median declines means the nation's wealth is accruing to a smaller portion of households and leaving Main Street behind.

Housing equity as a share of net worth
The share of household wealth accounted for by home equity fell from 41 percent in 1984 (the first year for which data are available) to 30 percent in 2000. In 2011, home equity accounted for just 25 percent of aggregate household wealth.

Source: Census Bureau, Wealth and Asset Ownership, 2000 to 2011

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How Many Have a Swimming Pool?

Percentage of occupied housing units with a swimming pool on the property: 16%.

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey

Obesity and Poverty

Is obesity linked to poverty? Not all that much. The National Center for Health Statistics measures the height and weight of a representative sample of the U.S. population every few years, finding little evidence that the poor are fatter than other Americans. Here are the data for 2007-10...

Percent obese by income relative to poverty level
Below 100 percent: 37.2%
100 to 199 percent: 37.3%
200 to 399 percent: 36.8%
400 percent or more: 31.8%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Marijuana and Cigarettes

Today's high school students are as likely to smoke marijuana as they are to smoke cigarettes. Among 12th graders, 25 percent have smoked a cigarette in the past month and 28 percent have used marijuana.

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance

2013 Retirement Confidence Survey

Most workers aged 55 or older have little savings, according to the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey. More than one-third has less than $10,000 in savings and investments, and the 52 percent majority has less than $50,000. Only 42 percent have more than $100,000.

Meager savings is one reason why most older workers (54 percent) say they will never retire or will postpone retirement until age 66 or older, up from 37 percent who said this a decade ago. Only 17 percent of workers aged 55 or older are "very confident" they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey

Monday, March 18, 2013

The State of the Media in 2013

This is the scene of destruction wrought by the Internet: television, radio, and newspapers are declining as sources of news, while the Internet surges. Advertisers are adrift, searching for the most efficient way to reach the public. Meanwhile, the public is increasingly critical of the news media and fickle about where they get their news. It's a mess out there.

This is the state of the media in 2013, described in The State of The Media 2013, an annual report produced by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Over the years, Pew's State of the Media reports have recorded the ongoing destruction of traditional media and advertising markets as the Internet Age unfolds.

Digital advertising has outstripped newspaper advertising and is closing in on television. The biggest player by far in digital advertising is Google. Of the $37.3 billion dollars spent on digital advertising in 2012, $15.4 billion (41 percent) went to Google. Behind Google's dominance is the importance of search advertising.

Most Gun Owners Are White Men

Non-Hispanic white men's share of total public: 32%
Non-Hispanic white men's share of gun owners: 61%

Source: Pew Research Center, Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Big Increase in No Religion

Among 18-to-24-year-olds, the percentage who say they have no religious affiliation more than tripled between 1990 and 2012--climbing from 10 to 32 percent, according to an analysis of General Social Survey results. Overall, 20 percent of the public has no religious affiliation, up from 8 percent in 2012. Here is the percentage with no religious affiliation by age in 2012...

18 to 24: 32.0%
25 to 34: 28.6%
35 to 44: 18.8%
45 to 54: 16.0%
55 to 64: 14.7%
65 to 74: 11.9%
75-plus: 7.1%

Source: University of California, Berkeley, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, "More Americans Have No Religious Preference," Michael Hout, Claude S. Fischer, Mark A. Chaves

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gun Violence Worries

Overall, 42 percent of Americans aged 18 or older worry about becoming a victim of gun violence. The percentage who worry about becoming a victim varies by gun ownership status...

Live in a gun-owning household: 24%
Do not live in a gun-owning household: 51%

Source: Kaiser Polls, February 2013 Tracking Poll

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Landline Phone Spending Trends

Not long ago, residential phone service was one of the biggest expenses in the household budget. In 2000, landline service ranked 12th among items on which the average household spends the most. Back then, the average household devoted $989 to residential phone service (in 2011 dollars).

By 2011, residential phone service had fallen to 27th place among items on which the average household spends the most. Cell phone service ranked 13th. The average household devoted just $381 to landline service and $826 to cell phone service.

Overall, 59 percent of households reported spending on landline service in 2011 versus 67 percent who spent on cell phone service. Here is the percentage of households who spent on landline phone service during an average quarter of 2011, by age of householder...

Under age 25: 14%
Aged 25 to 34: 31%
Aged 35 to 44: 52%
Aged 45 to 54: 64%
Aged 55 to 64: 72%
Aged 65-plus: 84%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Dual-Income Couples in Balance

How equal is the division of labor for dual-income couples who are also busy raising children? According to a study of parents and their use of time, it is surprisingly fair.

Analyzing data from the American Time Use Survey, Pew Research Center examines how much time working husbands and wives with children under age 18 spend each week doing paid work, housework, and caring for children. The result: wives, 59 hours per week; husbands, 58 hours per week. You can't get much more equal than that.

Yes, husbands spend less time than wives doing housework (9 versus 16 hours per week). And they spend less time caring for children (7 versus 12 hours per week). But husbands spend more time than wives doing paid work (42 versus 31 hours). Consequently, dual-income mothers and fathers devote an almost identical amount of time to family needs.

Source: Pew Research Center, Modern Parenthood

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Legal Status of Farm Workers

More than 1 million farmworkers help harvest the nation's crops. They earn an average of $10.80 per hour. Half are not legally authorized to work in the United States, according to statistics collected by the federal government through the National Agricultural Workers Survey.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Immigration and the Rural Workforce

Most Teens Share a Computer

Today's teenagers have nearly universal access to the Internet, according to a Pew survey, with 95 percent of 12-to-17-year-olds going online. Sixty-seven percent of teens have a laptop or desktop computer at home. But among those with a computer at home, 71 percent have to share the computer they use most often with parents, siblings or other family members. The percentage of teens who have to share a computer ranges from a high of 81 percent among 12-to-13-year-olds to 66 percent among 14-to-17-year-olds. Even among 17-year-olds, the 51 percent majority has to share.

The need to share the home computer may be driving another trend in teen tech use: smartphone adoption. Thirty-seven percent of teens owned a smartphone in 2013, up from 23 percent in 2011. One in four teens accesses the Internet mostly by cell phone.

Source: Pew Research Center, Teens and Technology 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spending Priorities in 2012

Many Americans support spending more on domestic issues, according to an analysis of the 2012 General Social Survey by Tom W. Smith. These are the five budget items on which the largest percentage of the public thinks the government is spending too little...

1. Education: 75.6%
2. Assistance to the poor: 63.9%
3. Developing alternative energy: 61.9%
4. Health: 61.2%
5. Halting crime: 59.0%

And these are the five budget items on which the largest percentage of the public thinks the government is spending too much...

1. Foreign aid: 68.1%
2. Welfare: 47.6%
3. Assistance to big cities: 40.2%
4. Space exploration: 32.2%
5. Military and defense: 31.6%

Source: Trends in National Spending Priorities, 1973-2012, Tom W. Smith, General Social Survey Trend Report, NORC

Earnings of Parents

Median usual weekly earnings of full-time workers with children under age 18 at home...

Men: $919
Women: $669

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2011

Monday, March 11, 2013

Parents Are Spending More on Children

Parents are spending more on children than they did a few decades ago, according to a unique examination of the phenomenon. Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data from 1972 through 2007, sociologists Sabino Kornrich and Frank Furstenberg measure parental spending on items intended for children. Not only are parents spending more on each child, but they are spending more on their children as a share of income. Average annual spending per child under age 25 grew from $1,315 in 1972-73 to $2,196 in 2006-07 (in 2008 dollars).

Over the years, middle- and upper-class parents have boosted their spending more than lower-income parents, say the researchers. Consequently, the gap in spending between rich and poor is growing. In 1972-73, parents in the highest income decile spent 4.7 times as much per child as those in the lowest income decile. By 2006-07, the multiple was 8.8.

Interestingly, the findings show a shift in the timing of maximum investment in children. Before the 1990s, parents spent the most on teenagers. By the mid-2000s, parents were spending the most on preschoolers and children in their twenties.

Source: Investing in Children: Changes in Parental Spending on Children, 1972-2007, Sabino Kornich and Frank Furstenberg, Demography, Vol. 50, No. 1, February 2013 ($39.95)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Health Insurance Extremes

Percentage of people aged 18 or older who do not have health insurance in...

Texas: 28.8%
Massachusetts: 4.5%

Source: Gallup, Texas Uninsured Rate Drifts Further from Other States

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Smartphone Update: Race and Hispanic Origin

Percentage of adults who own a smartphone, by race and Hispanic origin...

Black: 50%
Hispanic: 49%
Non-Hispanic white: 46%

Source: Pew Research Hispanic Center, Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption

Friday, March 08, 2013

Long Commutes

It takes the average worker 25.5 minutes to get to work, according to the 2011 American Community Survey, but some workers have a much longer commute. Among the nation's 132 million workers who do not work at home, 11 million have at least a 60 minute commute—termed a "long commute" by the Census Bureau. Here is the distribution of workers by the length of their commute...

Less than 10 minutes: 13.4%
10 to 14 minutes: 14.3%
15 to 19 minutes: 15.5%
20 to 24 minutes: 14.8%
25 to 29 minutes: 6.1%
30 to 34 minutes: 13.7%
35 to 44 minutes: 6.4%
45 to 59 minutes: 7.5%
60 minutes or more: 8.1%

Source: Census Bureau, Out of State and Long Commutes: 2011

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Problem with Buying American

The great majority of Americans believe it is important to buy American-made products, but they are confused about what that means. Three out of four say a product must be manufactured in the United States for them to consider it American-made. Fifty-two percent say a product only needs to be made by a U.S. company, regardless of where the manufacturing takes place. A smaller 47 percent think American-made parts are enough, and 25 percent say if a product is designed by Americans then it is American-made.

If the definition of American-made stumps the public, identifying the most American company is even harder. The largest share (15 percent) names Ford as the most American company, but an equal share of the public can't name any.

Source: Harris Interactive, Born in the USA or Coming to America

Bad Debt

How are those student loan payments coming along? Not so well, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Tracking the payment status of outstanding student loans from the 4th quarter of 2004 through the 4th quarter of 2012, the study finds only 39 percent of borrowers repaying their student loan debt in a timely manner. Here is the repayment status of outstanding student loans as of the 4th quarter of 2012...

Debt not yet in repayment, balance growing: 30%
Debt not yet in repayment, balance stable: 14%
Debt in repayment, balance delinquent: 17%
Debt in repayment, balance not delinquent: 39%

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household Debt and Credit Report, Household Debt and Credit: Student Debt Presentation by Donghoon Lee

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rent Payments

The nation's 38 million renters pay a median of $871 per month in rent. Here is the distribution of renters by how much they pay...

Less than $500: 13.7%
$500 to $750: 23.8%
$750 to $999: 24.3%
$1,000 to $1,499: 24.8%
$1,500 or more: 13.4%

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey

Cell Phones in the Classroom

Cell phones in the classroom were once thought to be such a problem that some school districts banned them altogether. Now that cell phones have turned into smartphones, school districts might want to reconsider. For many students, particularly those from low-income families, smartphones are the primary means by which they access the Internet. Banning cell phones from the classroom may be doing more harm than good.

There's evidence of this problem in a Pew survey of digital technology use among the nation's Advanced Placement teachers in middle and high school. Many teachers report integrating student cell phone use into their lessons, with 42 percent asking students to use their cell phones in class to look up information. One in five AP teachers complains that school rules restricting student cell phone use are hurting their ability to teach. For those who teach low-income students, an even larger 33 percent say the rules are hurting their teaching--and their students.

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project, How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Housing Data for Metro Areas

If you want housing data for individual metropolitan areas, this is your lucky day. The Census Bureau has released 2011 American Housing Survey data for 29 metropolitan areas, some of which have not had their housing data updated since 1998. For each metro area, 49 tables (lots of details!) show the characteristics of owned and rented homes. The metro areas are...

Anaheim-Santa Ana, CA
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
Birmingham-Hoover, AL
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
Denver-Aurora, CO
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
Kansas City, MO-KS
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
San Francisco-Oakland, CA
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
St. Louis, MO-IL
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Source: Census Bureau, 2011 American Housing Survey Metropolitan Areas

Movers by Race and Hispanic Origin

Non-Hispanic whites account for 63 percent of the U.S. population but only 54 percent of the nation's movers. Behind this relatively low figure is the fact that homeowners are less likely to move than renters, and non-Hispanic whites are more likely to own a home. Between 2010 and 2011, 36 million Americans moved and this is their distribution by race and Hispanic origin...

Asian: 6%
Black: 18%
Hispanic: 21%
Non-Hispanic white: 54%

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic Mobility: 2011 to 2012

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Urban Edge

If you live in a metropolitan area, you probably spend more money than your country cousins. In fact, metropolitan households spent $7,808 more than rural households in 2011, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey.
  • Housing: Bigger mortgages and higher rents account for two-thirds of the greater spending of urban residents. 
  • Food: Households in metro areas spent $200 less than those in nonmetropolitan areas on groceries in 2011, but they spent $600 more on restaurants. 
  • Transportation: Rural and urban households spend about the same on transportation, but rural households spend more on gasoline. Urban households spend more on airline fares.
  • Entertainment: Spending on entertainment is about the same for urban and rural households, but urban households budget more of their entertainment dollar to movie tickets, health club memberships, and admissions to sporting events. Rural households spend 48 percent more than urban households on pets.
Note: The terms metropolitan/urban and nonmetropolitan/rural are used interchangeably.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Expenditures of Urban and Rural Households in 2011

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Smoking as Weight Control

Among teenagers who are frequent smokers, percent who say they smoke to control their weight...

Boys: 30%
Girls: 46%

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, The Demand for Cigarettes as Derived from the Demand for Weight Control, NBER Working Paper 18805 ($5)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Teachers and Technology

Among the nation's Advanced Placement high school teachers, 56 percent are "very confident" in their ability to learn how to use new digital technologies. Nevertheless, 42 percent say they are less knowledgeable than their students. Here is the percentage of AP teachers who say their students know more about digital technologies than they do, by age of teacher...

Aged 22 to 34: 23%
Aged 35 to 54: 41%
Aged 55-plus: 59%

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

Friday, March 01, 2013

Unemployment among Recent College Graduates

How are recent college graduates doing? The Bureau of Labor Statistics wanted to find out, so it drilled down into the October 2011 school enrollment supplement to the Current Population Survey and examined the labor force experience of men and women who had recently earned a bachelor's or advanced degree.

There is some good news: The job shortage that confronted recent college graduates in the midst of the Great Recession has eased somewhat, although the current situation is a long way from the heady days of 2007. Among recent college graduates with a bachelor's degree, the unemployment rate climbed from 9.0 percent in 2007 to a peak of 17.6 percent in 2009. A smaller but still substantial 13.5 percent were unemployed in 2011.

Men were hit harder: Men who had recently graduated with a bachelor's degree saw their unemployment rate rise from 11.4 percent in 2007 to an astounding peak of 26.6 percent in 2009. This is in stark contrast to their female counterparts, whose unemployment rate climbed only from 7.3 to 10.9 percent during those years. The unemployment rate was 16.1 percent among men and 11.2 among women in 2011.

An advanced degree helps: Now that a bachelor's degree is as common as popcorn, having an advanced degree gives young adults a competitive edge in the labor market. Among recent graduates with an advanced degree, unemployment climbed from a tiny 3.1 percent in 2007 to a peak of 10.8 percent in 2010. In 2011, the rate had fallen to 8.6 percent (12.0 percent among men and 6.1 percent among women).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Recent College Graduates in the U.S. Labor Force: Data from the Current Population Survey, Monthly Labor Review, February 2013