Monday, March 31, 2014

Parenting at Age 27

If you want proof that going to college delays childbearing, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 has the evidence. This survey has been tracking the educational attainment, employment status, and living arrangements of a representative sample of Americans born in the early 1980s since they were aged 12 to 17 in 1997. The latest data, collected in 2011-12, reveals the status of these young adults at age 27. The results show striking differences in childbearing by education...

Percent living with own or partner's child
Total sample at age 27: 40.7%
High school dropout: 60.8%
High school graduate only: 52.3%
Some college/associate's degree: 44.1%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 19.4%

At age 27, most young adults with a high school diploma or less education are living with their own or a partner's child. In contrast, fewer than one in five of those with at least a bachelor's degree are caring for children. Interestingly, partner status varies much less by education, with 55 percent of the least educated and 52 percent of the most educated 27-year-olds living with a partner (married or cohabiting).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, America's Young Adults at 27: Labor Market Activity, Education, and Household Composition: Results from a Longitudinal Survey Summary

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Are Urban Counties Growing?

The nation's most urban counties are growing faster than others, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's 2013 county population estimates. Counties in metro areas with the largest populations are growing the fastest—a 3 percent increase between 2010 and 2013. Counties in smaller metros are growing at a slower rate, and those in rural areas are losing people.

What is behind these trends? One reason for the strong growth of the nation's urban counties is domestic migration: Americans are voting with their feet for city life. The rate of domestic migration in the 2010-to-2013 time period was positive only for the most urban counties, those ranking a 1 or 2 on the Rural-Urban Continuum (counties in metro areas with 250,000 or more people). For less urban and rural counties, the domestic migration rate was negative—meaning more Americans moved out than moved in. Not only are less urban and rural counties losing residents to migration, but in the most rural counties—those ranking 8 or 9 on the Rural-Urban Continuum—deaths exceeded births in the 2010-to-2013 time period. This  double whammy is resulting in historic population losses in the nation's small towns and countryside.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cites Continue to Sparkle

The nation's cities continue to attract Americans by the millions, according to the Census Bureau's 2013 county population estimates. A Demo Memo analysis of 2010-to-2013 county population trends along the Rural-Urban Continuum documents strong city growth (the bigger, the better) and unrelenting rural decline.

The Rural-Urban Continuum is the federal government's way of classifying counties by their degree of urbanity. The continuum is a scale ranging from 1 (the most urban counties, in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more) to 9 (the most rural counties, lacking any settlements of 2,500 or more people and not adjacent to a metropolitan area). If you sort the nation's 3,143 counties by their rank on the continuum, then measure population change between 2010 and 2013 for each rank, this is the result...

County population change 2010-2013 by Rural-Urban Continuum Rank
1. 3.0% for rank 1 counties, in metros with 1 million or more people
2. 2.2% for rank 2 counties, in metros of 250,000 to 1 million people
3. 1.5% for rank 3 counties, in metros with less than 250,000 people
4. 0.0% for rank 4 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
5. 1.1% for rank 5 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
6. -0.5% for rank 6 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
7. -0.3% for rank 7 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
8. -1.1% for rank 8 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop less than 2,500
9. -0.6% for rank 9 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro, urban pop less than 2,500

The most urban counties (a 1 on the scale) grew the fastest between 2010 and 2013. The most rural counties (8 and 9 on the scale) experienced the biggest declines.

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural-Urban Continuum Codes and Census Bureau, American Factfinder, County Population Estimates

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

State of the News Media 2014

Good news: Digital news outlets have created 5,000 full-time editorial jobs in the past decade.
Bad news: "It is far from clear there is a digital news business model to sustain these outlets."

Source: Pew Research Journalism Project, State of the News Media 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Unpaid Medical Debt

Percentage of Americans with unpaid medical debt by generation...

31% of Millennials
31% of Gen Xers
22% of Boomers
10% of Older Americans

Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, The Financial Capability of Young Adults—A Generational View

Monday, March 24, 2014

Household Income Stable in January 2014

If you hate change, you're going to love the trend in household income. According to an analysis by Sentier Research, median household income was $52,511 in January 2014 and not statistically different from the December 2013 median, after adjusting for inflation. Although median household income has not changed significantly in the past year or so, the January 2014 median was 2.6 percent higher than than the $51,186 of August 2011—the low point in Sentier's household income series. Sentier's median household income estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey.

Median household income in January 2014 was 4.4 percent below the median of June 2009, the end of the Great Recession. It was 6.1 percent lower than the median in December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 7.3 percent lower than the January 2000 median. 
For more information on household income trends for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas, visit Sentier's web site

Source: Sentier Research, Household Income Trends: January 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Play the Game: Population Bracketology

This one is for all you March Madness fans who also happen to be armchair demographers: Population Bracketology, brought to you by the Census Bureau. It's an interactive chart (a game!) that tests your knowledge of population data. Guess which state or metro in each match-up has the larger population, round by round. A perfect score is 63.

It's not as easy as it sounds. In my first game of metro match-up, I scored a 54. In my second attempt, a 55. Some of the match-ups are hard to call, such as Rochester vs. Honolulu. The state game isn't any easier. I scored a 53 on my first round, then a 55. Which is larger: Wisconsin or Missouri? See if you can beat my score.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Less than $1,000 in Savings

Among the nation's workers aged 25 or older, more than one-third (36 percent) have less than $1,000 in savings—defined as the total value of their household's savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and defined-benefit retirement plans. The percentage of workers with almost no savings is growing, according to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey. In 2009, only 20 percent of workers had less than $1,000 in savings. By age, here is the percentage of workers with less than $1,000 in savings...

Aged 25 to 34: 43%
Aged 35 to 44: 37%
Aged 45 to 54: 34%
Aged 55-plus: 24%

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Old and Young at Work

Among occupations that employ at least 500,000 workers, these are the oldest and youngest...

Oldest Median Age
Farmers and ranchers: 56.1
Bus drivers: 52.7
Chief executives: 52.5

Youngest Median Age
Food prep workers: 27.8
Cashiers: 26.7
Waiters and waitresses: 26.2

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished table from the 2013 Current Population Survey

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So Much for the Inheritance Boom

For decades we've been hearing about the billions of dollars the baby-boom generation would inherit as their elderly parents (the richest elders in history) passed on. But a new study of inheritances finds their impact declining rather than growing. The study, published in The Journal of Economic Inequality and reported on in the Monthly Labor Review, uses 1989 to 2007 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine the impact of inheritances on household net worth.

The impact is a fizzle, not a boom. Rather than increasing as a share of household net worth during the 1989 to 2007 time period, the inheritance share fell from 29 to just 19 percent. Where did the money go?

No one knows for sure, but here's my theory: The prime suspect in the disappearance of all those billions is the health care industry. Perfectly positioned to siphon family wealth from long-lived elders, the health care industry has transformed the long-awaited inheritance boom into a health care facilities, services, and salary boom. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the average man aged 65 or older needs $122,000 in savings to cover 90 percent of his out-of-pocket health care costs in retirement. The average woman needs $139,000. Those numbers are conservative because they do not include the extraordinary cost of long-term care.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What Americans Think about their Diet

When asked "In general, how healthy is your overall diet?" this is how Americans aged 20 or older respond...

9.4% excellent
21.7% very good
43.0% good
21.5% fair
4.3% poor

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey, 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Toothless Elderly

Among Americans aged 65 or older, 23 percent have lost all their natural teeth. The percentage peaks at 58 percent among poor whites in nonmetropolitan areas of the South Atlantic states.

Source: CDC, Health Data Interactive

Thursday, March 13, 2014

College Costs Are a Growing Concern

Cost is a growing concern when choosing a college, according to the latest American Freshman Survey. Nearly half (46 percent) of college freshmen say cost was a "very important" factor when deciding which school to attend—the highest level in the 10 years the survey has been asking the question. In 2004, just 31 percent of college freshmen said cost was very important in their college choice.

The percentage of freshmen who say the financial aid package offered by their school was very important in their choice climbed to 49 percent in 2013, the highest level in the 42 years the question has been asked. In 2004, only 34 percent said financial aid was very important.

Perhaps because of the growing importance of cost, the percentage of college freshmen who are enrolled at their first-choice school fell to a record low of 57 percent in 2013—despite the fact that more than 75 percent got into their first-choice school. When asked why they were not attending their first-choice school, most cited financial concerns as very important factors.

Source: UCLA, Cooperative Institutional Research Program, Higher Education Research Institute, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2013

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Declining Fortunes of Young Adults

Percent change in average real net worth of households by age of householder, 1989 to 2013:Q3...

Under age 40: -8.5%
Aged 40 to 61: +65.4%
Aged 62-plus: +92.9%

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Housing Crash Continues to Overshadow Young Families' Balance Sheets

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eating Out by Age

The great majority of Americans eat out during an average week. Among people aged 20 or older, 81 percent got at least one prepared meal from a restaurant, grocery store deli, or vendor in the past seven days. Age is one of the most important determinants of how often people eat out. The oldest adults are more than twice as likely as the youngest to not eat out at all during an average week (28 versus 12 percent). The youngest adults are nearly four times as likely as the oldest to eat out eight or more times per week (16 versus 4 percent).

Number of meals prepared away from home in past week: 0
Total people: 19.3%
Aged 20 to 39: 12.1%
Aged 40 to 54: 20.0%
Aged 55 to 64: 22.6%
Aged 65 or older: 28.2%

Number of meals prepared away from home in past week: 8+
Total people: 9.5%
Aged 20 to 39: 16.0%
Aged 40 to 54: 10.0%
Aged 55 to 64: 9.1%
Aged 65 or older: 4.4%

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey, 2009-10

Monday, March 10, 2014

Minority Students by Region

In the nation as a whole, 48 percent of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools are Asian, black, Hispanic, or another minority. Here is the minority percentage by region...

Northeast: 40%
Midwest: 31%
South: 53%
West: 60%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics: 2012

Friday, March 07, 2014

Who Shares an Email Address?

The older the couple, the more likely they are to share an email account. Among all Internet users in a committed relationship, 27 percent share an email address with their partner. Here is the percentage of couples with a joint email address by age...

Aged 18 to 29: 12%
Aged 30 to 49: 24%
Aged 50 to 64: 33%
Aged 65-plus: 47%

Source: Pew Research Internet Project, Couples, the Internet, and Social Media

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Spending on Reading Material

The average household spent $109 on reading material in 2012, up slightly from the $105 spent in 2010 after adjusting for inflation. What contributed to this boost in spending on reading material after the steep 46 percent decline between 2000 and 2010? Digital book readers, according to a Demo Memo analysis of unpublished detailed spending data from the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey.

During an average quarter of 2012, nearly 2 percent of households bought a digital book reader. While that doesn't sound like much, it was a higher rate of purchasing than for personal digital audio players (such as iPods) and nearly as high a rate as for online gaming services. The result was a boost in spending on the overall reading category despite ongoing declines in spending on books, newspapers, and magazines.

The introduction of digital book readers explains why average household spending on reading material grew especially strongly among householders under age 55 during the 2010-to-2012 time period...

Percent change in average household spending on reading material, 2010-12 (in 2012 dollars)
Under age 25: 7.2%
Aged 25 to 34: 12.1%
Aged 35 to 44: 10.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 7.8%
Aged 55 to 64: 0.3%
Aged 65-plus: -4.4%

Now that so many more Americans own digital book readers, perhaps spending on books will begin to grow in the years ahead.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Will This Be the Bottom for Self-Employment?

The percentage of Americans who are self-employed shrinks a bit more nearly every year. Last year was no exception. In 2013, only 6.5 percent of the employed aged 16 or older were self-employed—yet another record low.  This figure was down from 7.0 percent in 2010 and 7.3 percent in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But we might have seen the bottom for self-employment. Beginning this year, the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance available to all. America's entrepreneurs are now free to start businesses without the loss of health insurance and the threat of financial catastrophe. This time next year we will know whether 2013 was the end of the long decline in self-employment.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

First-Time Homebuyers by Region: 2013

Typically, Americans buy their first home in their thirties. But first-time homebuyers are getting older, their age rising from early thirties to late thirties since the Great Recession. Among householders aged 30 to 34, only 48.1 percent owned their home in 2013, down from 57.4 percent in 2004 (the year when the overall homeownership rate peaked). Among householders aged 35 to 39, the 55.8 percent majority owned their home in 2013, but this was down from 66.2 percent in 2004.

By region, there is considerable variation in the age of first-time home buying. Here is the percentage of householders in their thirties who owned their home in 2013 (and the percentage point change since 2004)...

Aged 30 to 34
Northeast: 42.1% (-9.8)
Midwest: 57.9% (-7.1)
South: 49.8% (-9.0)
West: 40.6% (-11.5)

Aged 35 to 39
Northeast: 53.9% (-8.0)
Midwest: 63.4% (-10.8)
South: 56.6% (-11.3)
West: 48.7% (-10.1)

There is one bit of good news is these declining figures. We may have hit bottom—at least in the Midwest, where the homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 climbed 2 percentage points between 2012 and 2013.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Monday, March 03, 2014

Giving Up the Internet

How would you feel about giving up the Internet or your cell phone? When Pew's Internet Project asked Americans aged 18 or older how they would feel about giving up the Internet, telephones, or television, this was the percentage who said it would be very hard or impossible to give them up...

Internet: 46%
Cell phone: 44%
Television: 35%
Landline phone: 17%

Source: Pew Research Internet Project, The Web at 25 in the U.S.