Monday, June 30, 2014

National Adult Tobacco Survey

Electronic cigarettes are new, their use is increasingly common, and they are controversial. Just in time to shed some light on this matter, the CDC recently surveyed tobacco use among Americans aged 18 or older, finding this percentage using tobacco either "some days" or "every day"...

Any tobacco: 21.3%
Cigarettes: 18.0%
Smokeless: 2.6%
Cigars: 2.0%
E-cigarettes: 1.9%
Hookah: 0.5%
Regular pipe: 0.3%

The CDC's National Adult Tobacco Survey collected data on the use of each type of tobacco product by sex, age, race, region, education, household income, and sexual orientation. Yes, sexual orientation. Tobacco use in general, and e-cigs in particular, are more popular among those who identify themselves as LGBT than among heterosexuals. Among LGBT, 4.5 percent use e-cigs at least some days. This compares with only 1.9 percent of heterosexuals.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Watches Live TV?

The 56 percent majority of Americans say they most often watch television live, as it is broadcast. But the figure varies by generation...

Percent who most often watch television as it is broadcast
Millennials: 40%
Gen Xers: 58%
Boomers: 65%
Matures: 67%

Source: Harris Interactive, Cable is King but Streaming Stands Strong When It Comes to Americans' TV Viewing Habits

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Countdown to the Minority Majority: 2013

The diversity of the American population continues to grow. As of July 1, 2013, only 62.6 percent of the nation's population was non-Hispanic white, down from 63.0 percent a year earlier and 63.8 percent in 2010. During the past 12 months, the non-Hispanic white population grew by a minuscule 0.07 percent. This compares with a 1.2 percent increase in the black (alone or in combination) population, a 2.1 percent increase in the Hispanic population, and a 2.9 percent increase in the Asian (alone or in combination) population.

One factor behind the shrinking non-Hispanic white share of the population is negative natural increase. Between 2012 and 2013, for the second year in a row, there were more deaths than births among non-Hispanic whites. Immigration alone prevented the number of non-Hispanic whites from declining. The non-Hispanic white share of the U.S. population will fall below 50 percent in 2043, according to Census Bureau projections.

Number (and percent distribution) of the population by race and Hispanic origin in 2013
Total: 316,128,839 (100.0%)
Asian: 19,437,463 (6.1%)
Black: 45,003,665 (14.2%)
Hispanic: 54,071,370 (17.1%)
Non-Hispanic white: 197,836,231 (62.6%)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How Many Are Incontinent?

In a first look at the prevalence of incontinence (bladder and/or bowel) among subgroups of Americans aged 65 or older, the National Center for Health Statistics finds the problem to be widespread. Among people aged 65 or older who live in the community (noninstitutionalized), the 55 percent majority of women and a substantial 29 percent of men experience what the NCHS calls, "urinary leakage." Bowel incontinence among the noninstitutionalized elderly is less common, experienced by 19 percent of women and 15 percent of men.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Care Surveys, Prevalence of Incontinence among Older Americans

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Counting Boomerang Kids

For the past few years, the media has been obsessing about the growing share of adult children who live with their parents. The latest example is the New York Time's article, "It's Official: The Boomerang Kids Won't Leave." The Times is correct. Adult children are more likely to live with their parents now than a decade ago, but the evidence is harder to suss out than you might think.

One way to investigate the boomerang phenomenon is to look at the living arrangements of young adults. According to the Census Bureau, fully 47 percent of 20-to-24-year-olds lived with their parents in 2013—up from 42 percent a decade earlier in 2003. Sounds like proof, right? Not exactly, because college students who live in dorms are categorized by the Census Bureau as living with their parents. The rise in college enrollment goes a long way toward explaining the uptick among 20-to-24-year-olds. More convincing is the rise in the next older age group, where 19 percent of 25-to-29-year-olds lived with their parents in 2013—up from 15 percent in 2003. Among 30-to-34-year-olds, the share climbed from 7 to 9 percent during those years. Even among 35-to-39-year-olds, the figure grew from 5 to 6 percent.

Another way to investigate the boomerang phenomenon is to count households with children. Surprisingly, the percentage of households that include children of the householder is lower today than it was a decade ago, the share falling from 42 to 39 percent between 2003 and 2013. But the decline is due to the ongoing baby bust. Households headed by people under age 35 are less likely to have children in their home (43 percent) than their counterparts a decade earlier (47 percent). In contrast, households headed by people aged 50 to 64 are more likely to have children at home (33 percent) than their counterparts a decade earlier (31 percent). Although it's not a big increase, there is some increase in "boomerang kids."

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Racial Wealth Gap

What accounts for the enormous gap in the wealth of blacks versus non-Hispanic whites? The wealth gap is far greater than the income gap. The net worth of black households was just $6,314 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau, a fraction of the $110,500 net worth of households headed by non-Hispanic whites.

Homeownership is one reason for the wealth gap. Non-Hispanic white households are much more likely than black households to own their home—72 versus 44 percent. Homeownership makes a big difference because a house is, for most Americans, their most valuable asset. Another important reason, however, is inheritance. According to a study published in Demography ("Do Racial Disparities in Private Transfers Help Explain the Racial Wealth Gap? New Evidence from Longitudinal Data," June 2014, $39.95), the larger inheritances and cash gifts received by non-Hispanic whites in a 10-year period account for a substantial 12 percent of the racial wealth gap.

Not only is inheritance already an important factor in the black-white wealth gap, but it may become an even bigger factor in the future. "Increases in large gifts and inheritances for white non-Hispanic families over time suggest a worsening of the white-black wealth gap in years to come," the researchers conclude.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Need a Raise?

If you want a raise or are negotiating a salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has something for you: occupational employment statistics data. Each year the BLS produces hourly and annual mean wage estimates for more than 800 occupations. The numbers are available for the nation as a whole and for states, metros, and industries. Click here to find out how much you should be getting paid.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Artists by County

1.6 million artists are at work in the United States, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service. Artists include not only painters and sculptors but also designers, actors, producers, directors, athletes, dancers, musicians, and entertainers. Artists account for 1.1 percent of the nation's workers.
  • Of the nation's 3,143 counties, more than 90 percent have at least one working artist. Only 290 counties have no artists.
  • San Juan County, Colorado, has a higher percentage of artists in its workforce than any other county—6.5 percent. The county is sparsely populated, with 460 employed residents, which is why its 30 artists account for such a large share. 
  • Los Angeles County has more artists than any other. The 121,620 artists who live in the county account for 2.7 percent of its workforce. New York County (Manhattan) has a smaller number of artists (44,765), but they are a larger share (5.3 percent) of its workforce.
Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Creative Class County Codes

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Demographics of Death Row

Number of prisoners under sentence of death: 3,033
Percent male: 98%
Percent black: 42%
Percent in South: 51%
Median age: 45 years
High school dropouts: 48%
Years on death row: 14.2

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment, 2012—Statistical Tables

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Half of Foreign-Born Proficient in English

Among the 41 million foreign-born living in the United States, nearly half (49.9%) are proficient in English: 15.4 percent speak only English at home, and another 34.5 percent speak a language other than English at home but say they speak English "very well."

Fewer than one-third do not speak English at all (9.6%) or "not well" (19.3%). 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: 2013 Results

The 2013 results are now available from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a massive survey of teenagers in 9th through 12th grade taken by the CDC every two years. Results are available in a lengthy report and in an interactive database allowing comparisons between years, among states, and by demographic characteristic.

Here is the percentage of high school students by grade who have ever had sexual intercourse in 2013 (and in 1993). Note the statistically significant decline in each grade.

9th grade: 30.0% (37.7)
10th grade: 41.4% (46.1)
11th grade: 54.1% (57.5)
12th grade: 64.1% (68.3)

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mapping Metro and County Population Change

There's a demographic drama unfolding. See it here, in the Census Bureau's Story Maps—two interactive maps of population trends by metropolitan area and county. These maps reveal the surprising changes in population trends that have demographers abuzz.  

The first Story Map shows population change in metropolitan and micropolitan areas, comparing trends in 2012-13 with those a decade earlier in 2002-03. The shift from green (growth) to purple (decline) in so many metros/micros between the two time periods tells an important story. The interactive feature of the map allows you to zero in on a particular metro/micro area and, using the swipe bar, see trends for the area in each time period.

The second Story Map shows 2012-13 population growth by county. On one side of the map you can see which counties grew in 2012-13 (green) and which did not (white). Swipe to the other side of the map to see which component of population change (births, deaths, domestic migration, and international migration) was most important for county growth.

Source: Census Bureau, Story Maps Illustrate Metro Area and County Population Change

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ideology Influences Community Preference

Would you prefer to live in a community where 1) Houses are larger and farther apart but schools, stores and restaurants are miles away? or 2) Houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance?

That question is posed by Pew Research Center in its 2014 Political Polarization in the American Public survey. The results of the survey show not only growing political polarization between liberals and conservatives over the years, but also that liberals and conservatives are divided by the type of community in which they would prefer to live.

Overall, the public is about evenly split in its community preference, with 49 percent preferring a larger house farther away from amenities and 48 percent preferring a smaller house in a walkable community. By political ideology, the split is anything but even, however...

Percentage who would prefer to live in a smaller house in walkable community
Consistently liberal: 77%
Mostly liberal: 57%
Mixed ideology: 47%
Mostly conservative: 33%
Consistently conservative: 22%

Percentage who would prefer to live in a larger house miles away from amenities
Consistently liberal: 21%
Mostly liberal: 40%
Mixed ideology: 51%
Mostly conservative: 65%
Consistently conservative: 75%

Source: Pew Research Center, Political Polarization in the American Public

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting for the Wedding Night

Percentage of Americans who agree/strongly agree with the tradition of "waiting" for the wedding night, by generation...

Millennials: 47%
Gen Xers: 48%
Boomers: 52%
Matures: 63%

"Waiting for the wedding night" is an ideal many Americans admire, but few practice. Only 15 percent of women are virgins on their wedding day, according to the National Survey of Family Growth, a proportion that varies little by generation.

Source: Harris Interactive, Americans Still Think a Bride's Father Should Give Her Away—But They're Split on Whether He Should Be Stuck with the Bill

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Trends in Reasons for Moving

Americans are moving less than they once did, according to the Census Bureau, and their reasons for moving are changing. Only 11.7 percent of people aged 1 or older moved in 2013 versus a larger 15.9 percent in 1999. In an analysis of data from the Current Population Survey, the Census Bureau compared the most important reasons for moving in 2013 with 1999, finding these statistically significant differences...

More important reasons for moving in 2013 than in 1999
To look for work or lost job
To be closer to work, easier commute
Wanted cheaper housing
To establish own household

Less important reasons for moving in 2013 than in 1999
Change of climate
Health reasons
To attend or leave college
Wanted better neighborhood, less crime
Change in marital status
Wanted own home, not rent
Wanted new or better home, apartment

Source: Census Bureau, Reason for Moving: 2012-2013

Monday, June 09, 2014

Don't Know Much about Student Loans

In a first, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York asked Americans how much they know about the onerous rules and regulations involving federal student loans. According to the Fed survey, they don't know much.
  • Only 28 percent of the public knows the federal government can report delinquent student debtors to credit agencies and garnish wages, tax refunds, and even Social Security payments until debt (plus interest) is repaid. 
  • Only 37 percent of the public knows that federal student debt is "extremely unlikely" to be forgiven in bankruptcy.
  • Among those with student loans, fewer than 50 percent are aware of these facts.
  • Parents whose children have student loans are no more knowledgeable than the general public about the rules and regulations regarding their children's debt.
"Overall, our analysis reveals that U.S. households have a poor understanding of the implications of being delinquent on student loans," conclude the researchers.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, What Americans (Don't) Know about Student Loan Collections

Friday, June 06, 2014

Payday Frequency

"Payday is a highly anticipated day for any worker no matter when it takes place," notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only does pay period affect consumer spending decisions, says the BLS, but also the velocity of money. So just how frequently does payday come around? To find out, BLS researchers analyzed establishment data from the Current Employment Statistics survey, with these results for private-sector businesses...

Percent distribution of private-sector businesses by payday frequency
Weekly: 32.4%
Biweekly: 36.5%
Semimonthly: 19.8%
Monthly: 11.3%

Workers with weekly pay periods have the lowest average earnings, at $18.62/hour in 2013. Those paid semimonthly have the highest earnings, an average of $29.75 per hour.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, How Frequently do Private Businesses Pay Workers?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Distance Education by State

How much is distance education disrupting traditional educational institutions? A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics begins to answer this question. The report examines student enrollment in distance education by state and finds wide variation—meaning that distance education may be more disruptive in some states than others. The NCES defines distance education as "education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor."

Among the nation's 21 million college students in 2012, 12 percent were enrolled exclusively in distance education and another 13 percent were taking some but not all of their courses at a distance. The percentage of students at four-year schools who are enrolled exclusively in distance education is 7 percent at public institutions, 12 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and fully 61 percent at private for-profit schools. Although most distance education students are taking courses from institutions in their state of residence, many are not—especially distance students enrolled in private, for-profit schools.

The report is "intended to provide a useful baseline for tracking trends" and includes estimates by state of the percentage of students involved in distance education (exclusively, partially, or not at all) by type of college (less than two-year, two-year, four-year, graduate school, public, private nonprofit, or private for-profit) and by whether the distance education source is in-state or out-of-state.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Enrollment in Distance Education Courses, by State: Fall 2012

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

New Apartments Completed, 2006 and 2013

The number of renters surpassed 40 million in 2013, a gain of more than 5 million since 2006. The median age of renters climbed from 38.9 to 40.2 during those years. How have developers responded to the surge of renters, many in their thirties and forties? 

A comparison of the characteristics of units in new multifamily buildings completed in 2013 with those completed at the peak of the housing boom in 2006 reveals a possible disconnect. While the number of units coming to market is growing (almost all of them for rent), the characteristics of new apartments are not aligning with the changing demographics of renters.

Number: 195,000 apartments in new multifamily buildings were completed in 2013, 40 percent less than the 325,000 completions in 2006. But the 2013 number was 41 percent higher than the all-time low of 138,000 in 2011. 

Size: The size of the apartments for rent in new multifamily buildings completed in 2013 was a median of 1,043 square feet, slightly smaller than the 1,090 square feet of 2006. 

Bathrooms: Only 47 percent of the apartments in new multifamily buildings completed in 2013 had two or more bathrooms, down from 62 percent in 2006.

Bedrooms: Only 55 percent of the apartments in new multifamily buildings completed in 2013 had two or more bedrooms, down from 73 percent in 2006.

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of Units in New Multifamily Buildings Completed

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

New Single-Family Homes Completed, 2006 and 2013

How much have the characteristics of new single-family homes changed since completions peaked in 2006? Although there are fewer new single-family homes being completed, those coming on the market are bigger than ever.

Number: 569,000 new single-family homes were completed in 2013, only about one-third of the 1,654,000 completions in 2006. But the 2013 number was one-third higher than the all-time low of 447,000 reached in 2011.

Size: The size of new single-family homes completed reached a record high in 2013—a median of 2,384 square feet. That's 136 square feet larger than the 2,248 of 2006.

Bathrooms: 33 percent of new single-family homes completed in 2013 had three or more bathrooms, up from 26 percent in 2006.

Bedrooms: 44 percent of new single-family homes completed in 2013 had four or more bedrooms, up from 39 percent in 2006.

Garages: The 64 percent majority of new single-family homes completed in 2013 had a two-car garage and another 21 percent had a three-or-more car garage. The figures were 64 and 19 percent, respectively, in 2006.

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of New Single-Family Houses Completed

Monday, June 02, 2014

2013 Population Projections vs. 2013 Reality

The ongoing baby bust is messing with the Census Bureau's population projections. The bureau had projected 7 percent more births in 2013 than the National Center for Health Statistics estimates in its preliminary report. Rather than 4,238,995 births in 2013, the nation's women gave birth to only 3,957,577—or 281,000 fewer babies than were projected.

That doesn't seem like a big difference, except for the following: Hispanic births in 2013 were a substantial 19 percent below what the Census Bureau had projected. Rather than the projected 1,122,069 Hispanic births in 2013, only 907,859 Hispanics were born. Conversely, more non-Hispanic whites were born in 2013 than were projected—an estimated 2,140,272 rather than the projected 2,077,212.

This means the U.S. is becoming a minority majority nation a bit more slowly than had been assumed by the Census Bureau. Only 49 percent of total births in 2013 were projected to be non-Hispanic white. But because births to Hispanics have plummeted, non-Hispanic whites still account for the majority of births—54 percent in 2013.

2013 births (and percent distribution) by race and Hispanic origin
Total: 3,957,577 (100.0%)
Asian: 268,559 (6.8%)
Black: 587,612 (14.8%)
Hispanic: 907,859 (22.9%)
Non-Hispanic white: 2,140,272 (54.1%)