Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Most Homes Do Not Have Inside Stairs

Most homes in the United States do not have inside stairs (defined as three or more steps), according to the 2015 American Housing Survey. Overall, 49 percent of households have stairs inside the home and 51 percent do not. The figure varies greatly by region...

Percent of households with inside stairs
Northeast: 69%
Midwest: 68%
South: 36%
West: 37%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Everything You Wanted To Know about Uber Drivers

How many Uber drivers are there? A lot—460,000 as of the end of 2015 (defined as those who have provided four or more Uber trips in the past month). How much do they make? They earn an average of $19/hour. Why do they drive? They partner with Uber not only to earn extra money (91 percent) but also to have more flexibility in balancing work and family (85 percent). Those are just a few of the findings presented in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by Uber's Jonathan V. Hall and Princeton economist Alan B. Krueger.

Analyzing Uber's administrative records and two surveys of drivers, Hall and Krueger examine the characteristics of the rapidly growing ranks of Americans who have partnered with Uber. The authors offer this eyebrow-raising perspective on Uber's rapid growth: "The number of active Uber driver-partners approximately doubled every six months from the middle of 2012 to the end of 2015. At this growth rate, every American would be an Uber driver within five years."

Why are we so eager to drive for Uber? In a word, flexibility. The great majority of drivers say Uber has made their lives better by giving them more control over their schedule. Most drivers work only 1 to 15 hours a week (two-thirds of drivers have another full- or part-time job), and their hours vary greatly from week to week. Fully 65 percent of drivers report driving 25 percent more or 25 percent less in the current week than they drove in the previous week.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber's Driver-Partners in the United States, Working Paper #22843 ($5)

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Many Households Are Home to the Disabled?

A substantial 22 percent of American households include someone with a disability, according to the 2015 American Housing Survey. The percentage of households with a disabled member rises from just 8 percent of households headed by people under age 35 to the 55 percent majority of households headed by people aged 75 or older...

Percentage of households with a disabled member
Total households: 22.2%
Under age 35: 7.8%
Aged 35 to 44: 11.3%
Aged 45 to 54: 16.9%
Aged 55 to 64: 25.7%
Aged 65 to 74: 33.9%
Aged 75-plus: 55.2%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Friday, November 25, 2016

Importance of Living Near Arts and Culture

More than one-third of American households say it is important for them to live near arts and cultural events. The importance of proximity varies greatly by educational attainment of householder...

Percent saying it is important to live near arts and cultural events
Total households: 37%
Less than high school: 28%
High school graduate: 30%
Associate's degree: 36%
Bachelor's degree: 47%
Graduate degree: 55%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Time Use Is Different on Thanksgiving

The intrepid researchers at the USDA's Economic Research Service analyzed more than a decade of data from the American Time Use survey to zero in on a single day—Thanksgiving. Then they compared time use on Thanksgiving with time use on an average weekend day...

Food preparation and cleanup
Thanksgiving: 128 minutes
Average weekend day: 34 minutes

Eating and drinking
Thanksgiving: 89 minutes
Average weekend day: 71 minutes

Thanksgiving: 148 minutes
Average weekend day: 64 minutes

Watching television/movies
Thanksgiving: 209
Average weekend day: 192

Thanksgiving: 17 minutes
Average weekend day: 34 minutes

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Yes, Thanksgiving Really Is a Day of Cooking

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

123 Million Home Improvement Projects

American homeowners tackled 123 million home improvement projects in the past two years, according to the 2015 American Housing Survey. The 62 percent majority of projects were done by professionals (median expense $2,000) and 38 percent were do-it-yourselfers (median expense $600). These are the 10 most common projects and their median expense...

Number of professional home improvement projects (and median expense)
1. Water heater/dishwasher/disposal: 9.3 million ($700)
2. HVAC: 8.9 million ($3,400)
3. Flooring/carpeting: 7.2 million ($2,246)
4. Roofing: 6.6 million ($6,000)
5. Windows/doors: 5.6 million ($2,000)
6. Plumbing: 4.3 million ($525)
7. Bath remodel: 3.4 million ($5,000)
8. Electrical: 3.2 million ($900)
9. Security system: 2.9 million ($300)
10. Driveways/walkways: 2.7 million ($2,000)

Number of do-it-yourself home improvement projects (and median expense)
1. Water heater/dishwasher/disposal: 6.5 million ($400)
2. Flooring/carpeting: 4.8 million ($800)
3. Plumbing: 4.8 million ($250)
4. Landscaping/sprinkler systems: 3.6 million ($500)
5. Bath remodel: 3.1 million ($1,500)
6. Windows/doors: 3.1 million ($600)
7. Kitchen remodel: 2.1 million ($3,000)
8. Fencing/walls: 2.1 million($600)
9. Electrical: 1.8 million ($240)
10. Insulation: 1.7 million ($400)

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Steep Decline in Households with Children

In 2016, only 27.6 percent of the nation's households included children under age 18, according to the Census Bureau. Not only is this a record low, but it is more than 21 percentage points (!) lower than the 48.7 percent of 1960.

Households with own children under age 18
2016: 27.6%
2010: 30.0%
2000: 33.0%
1990: 34.6%
1980: 38.4%
1970: 45.4%
1960: 48.7%

Source: Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements

Monday, November 21, 2016

Who Gets Hurt Playing Sports?

More than 8.5 million Americans aged 5 or older are injured each year while playing sports or participating in recreational activities, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. These are not minor bumps and bruises but medically attended injuries affecting a substantial 3.4 percent of the population.

  • The 61% majority of the injured are male.
  • Most of the injured are aged 5 to 14 (37%) or 15 to 24 (28%).
  • Most injuries occur at school (23%) or sport facility/athletic field/playground (35%).
  • Among males, the three most common activities causing injury are football (12%), basketball (12%), and aerobics/exercising/weight training (8%).
  • Among females, the three most common activities causing injury are gymnastics/cheerleading (11%), aerobics/exercising/weight training (8%), and cycling (7%).
  • Falling is the most common cause of injury (28%), followed by overexertion (17%).
  • Sprains/strains are the most common injury (41%), followed by fractures (20%).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Statistics Reports, Sports- and Recreation-Related Injury Episodes in the United States, 2011-2014

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Record High Median Age at First Marriage

Young adults are waiting longer than ever to marry. The median age at first marriage climbed to yet another record high in 2016, according to the Census Bureau. Men and women are marrying at an older age than ever before based on data going back to 1890. Here is how the median age at first marriage has grown since 2000...

Women: median age at first marriage
2016: 27.4
2015: 27.1
2010: 26.1
2005: 25.3
2000: 25.1

Men: median age at first marriage
2016: 29.5
2015: 29.2
2010: 28.2
2005: 27.1
2000: 26.8

Source: Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements—Marital Status

Thursday, November 17, 2016

24% Earn Money in Gig Economy

Nearly one in four American adults earned money in the digital commerce ("gig") economy in the past year, according to a Pew Research Center survey: 18 percent earned money by selling goods online (such as Ebay), 8 percent earned money by selling their labor through a digital platform (such as Uber), and 1 percent rented out their property on a home-sharing site (such as Airbnb).

Percent earning money in past year by selling goods online
Aged 18 to 29: 23%
Aged 30 to 49: 27%
Aged 50 to 64: 12%
Aged 65-plus: 7%

Percent earning money in past year by selling labor through digital platform
Aged 18 to 29: 16%
Aged 30 to 49: 10%
Aged 50 to 64: 4%
Aged 65-plus: 2%

Among those participating in digital commerce, the importance of gig earnings varies greatly. The 56 percent majority of those who earned money by selling their labor through a digital platform say their earnings are important or essential. Among those who earned money by selling goods online, the figure was only 20 percent.

Source: Pew Research Center, Gig Work, Online Selling and Home Sharing

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mobility Rate Hits New Low in 2015–16

The geographic mobility rate fell to a new all-time low in 2015–16, according to the Census Bureau. Only 11.2 percent of U.S. residents aged 1 or older as of March 2016 had moved in the previous 12 months. This rate is is well below the previous low of 11.5 percent recorded in 2013–14. Behind the decline is a fairly large drop in the percentage of renters who moved.

Among people living in owned homes, 5.1 percent moved from one house to another between 2015 and 2016, higher than the all-time low of 4.7 percent in 2010–11. Among people living in rented homes, the mobility rate fell to an all-time low of 22.9 percent in 2015–16.

Mobility rate of total U.S. residents
2015–16: 11.2% (all-time low)
2010–11: 11.6%
2000–01: 14.2%

Mobility rate of people in owner-occupied homes
2015–16: 5.1%
2010–11: 4.7% (all-time low)
2000–01: 7.4%

Mobility rate of people in renter-occupied homes
2015–16: 22.9% (all-time low)
2010–11: 26.1%
2000–01: 30.3%

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Back to the 1950s: One Explanation for the Election

If there is any explanation for this year's election result, it may be this: the rising economic power of women and resistance by men (and women) who want to go back to the way things used to be. The nostalgic are legion. According to PRRI's 2016 American Values Survey, the 51 percent majority of the public thinks American culture and way of life have mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s—including 56 percent of whites, 57 percent of people aged 65 or older, and 68 percent of Republicans. One of the defining characteristics of the 1950s, of course, was women's economic dependence on men. Today, men are increasingly dependent on women, as documented in these income trends since 2000...

  • Even before the Great Recession, men's incomes were on the decline: Men's median income fell 2.7 percent between 2000 and 2007, after adjusting for inflation. Women's median income climbed 8.2 percent during those years. 
  • The Great Recession hurt both men and women: The median income of men and women fell 6 percent between 2007 and 2013.
  • But women are recovering much faster: Women's median income grew three times faster than men's between 2014 and 2015—a 6.8 percent increase for women versus a 2.2 percent increase for men. 
  • Women are gaining relative to men: In 2015, the median income of women was 64 percent as high as the median income of men, up from 57 percent in 2000 and a record high. Among full-time workers, women's median earnings were 80 percent as high as men's in 2015, up from 73 percent in 2000 and a record high. Among dual-income couples, the percentage of wives who earn more than their husbands climbed from 23 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2015, just 0.1 percentage point shy of 2013's record high.

According to PRRI's survey, a substantial 47 percent of all men and 32 percent of all women disagree that the country would be better off if we had more women in political office. Among Republicans, fully 62 percent disagree—including the majority of Republican women. A vote against the female presidential candidate was a vote against men's growing economic dependence on women.

Source: PRRI, 2016 American Values Survey, and Census Bureau, Income Data Tables

Monday, November 14, 2016

When Did You Move Into Your House?

This is when, according to the 2015 American Community Survey...

Year householder moved into current house
2000 or later: 71.4%
   2015 or later: 7.4%
   2010–2014: 35.8%
   2000–2009: 28.2%
Before 2000: 28.6%
   1990–1999: 14.0%
   1980–1989: 6.8%
   Before 1980: 7.8%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trends in Median Earnings of Men by Education

The Great Recession was devastating to men's earnings. But their earnings were in decline well before the Great Recession, regardless of educational attainment. They hit bottom in 2012.

Percent change in median earnings of men, 2000 to 2012 (in 2015 dollars)
High school graduate only: –14.2%
Some college, no degree: –14.1%
Associate's degree: –11.5%
Bachelor's degree or more: –7.7%

Since 2012, the median earnings of men have grown. Men with no more than a high school diploma are among those who have made the biggest gains.

Percent change in median earnings of men, 2012 to 2015 (in 2015 dollars)
High school graduate only: 2.5%
Some college, no degree: 1.0%
Associate's degree: 0.1%
Bachelor's degree or more: 3.9%

Among non-Hispanic white men, those without a college degree have seen their earnings grow much faster than men with a college degree.

Percent change in median earnings of non-Hispanic white men, 2012 to 2015 (in 2015 dollars)
High school graduate only: 6.6%
Some college, no degree: 6.2%
Associate's degree: 2.5%
Bachelor's degree or more: 3.8%

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Average Household Spending on Marijuana

For years, the Consumer Expenditure Survey has listed marijuana among its hundreds of detailed spending categories. And for years, Americans have reported virtually no spending on marijuana—until now.

In 2015, the average household spent $3.57 on marijuana. That doesn't sound like much, but it's an average and includes both marijuana buyers and those who would never in their wildest dreams purchase marijuana. The $3.57 spent by the average household on marijuana is about what the average household spends on everyday products and services such as artificial sweeteners, towing charges, and decorative pillows.

Households headed by young adults—people under age 30—spent an average of $20.04 on marijuana in 2015, more than five times the average. Households headed by people aged 30 or older spent much less—an average of 75 cents. Young adults spent more on marijuana than they spent on books or newspapers. Their spending on marijuana was almost equal to their spending on video game software.

These estimates are based on the tiny fraction of households that reported spending on marijuana during an average week of 2015. Consequently, the numbers should be taken with a big grain of salt. But as a growing number of states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, we could see marijuana spending become as common as spending on tobacco or alcohol.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Gen Xers Spend the Most

Who are the biggest spenders—Millennials, Gen Xers, or Boomers? The answer: Gen Xers, of course, because they're in their peak earning years and have the highest incomes. In 2015, Gen X households spent $66,981, Boomer households $59,646, and Millennials $47,113, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. But Millennial and Boomer households spend more than Gen X households on a number of categories, including these...

Millennials spend more than Gen Xers on rent, household personal services (mostly day care), and clothes for children under age 2.

Boomers spend more than Gen Xers on property tax, other lodging (mostly hotels and motels), landline phone service, reading material, new cars and trucks, and pets.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, CE Experimental Research Tables, Generational Tables

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Rise of the 55-Plus Homeowner

A lot has happened to the nation's homeowners in the past few years. There are fewer of them, for one thing. The total number of homeowners fell by more than 1 million between 2006 (the peak year) and 2015. But the loss occurred only because of the steep decline in homeowners under age 55, the number falling by 7.8 million (down 18 percent) as younger adults became increasingly unwilling or unable to buy a home.

In contrast, the number of homeowners aged 55 or older expanded by 6.4 million (up 20 percent) between 2006 and 2015, thanks to the aging of the baby-boom generation. The 52 percent majority of homeowners are aged 55 or older, up from just 43 percent in 2006.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership, Historical Tables

Monday, November 07, 2016

Self-Reported Inactivity Among Older Americans

"During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?"

That was the question posed by the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. More than one in four (27.5 percent) of Americans aged 50-plus were admittedly inactive, with inactivity highest among the least educated...

Percent of people aged 50-plus who reported no physical activity in past month
44.1% of those without a high school diploma
34.7% of high school graduates only
24.6% of those with some college
14.2% of college graduates

Source: CDC, Physical Inactivity among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older—United States, 2014

Friday, November 04, 2016

Only 43% of the Obese Know It

More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight and more than one-third are obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Not surprisingly, the public is concerned about these numbers. Fully 81 percent consider overweight/obesity to be a very or extremely serious health problem, according to a recent survey. But here's the catch that might prevent those affected from taking action: most of the obese (those with a body mass index of 30kg/m^2 or higher) do not know it...

What the obese think about their weight
9% say their weight is about right
47% say they are overweight, but not obese
43% say they are obese

Source: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the National Opinion Research Center, Obesity Rises to Top Health Concern for Americans, But Misperceptions Persist

Thursday, November 03, 2016

College Freshmen Lack Confidence in Computer Skills

The American Freshman survey has long recorded the supersized confidence of college freshmen. Compared to the average person their age, the great majority of freshmen rate themselves above average in academic ability, intellectual self-confidence, competitiveness, drive to achieve, and leadership ability, to name just a few. But they admit to having some shortcomings. Fewer than half of college freshmen say they are above average in these abilities...

Percent rating self above average
Artistic ability: 28.2%
Computer skills: 32.6%
Spirituality: 37.2%
Public speaking: 40.5%
Risk-taking: 43.4%
Self confidence (social): 46.6%
Writing ability: 47.9%
Mathematical ability: 49.0%

Source: Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2015

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Houses vs. Cars: The Urban-Rural Divide

Millions of Americans live in far-flung suburbs and rural areas, thanks to the automobile, but that freedom comes at a cost. Rural households must devote a substantial 22.8 percent of their household budget to transportation. For urban households, the figure is a mere 16.5 percent.

Percent of household spending devoted to transportation
Urban households: 16.5%
Rural households: 22.8%

But there's a flip side to that equation. By living in remote locations, rural residents spend less on housing. In 2015, rural households devoted 26.8 percent of their spending to housing compared with a larger 33.4 percent for urban households.

Percent of household spending devoted to housing
Urban households: 33.4%
Rural households: 26.8%

Combined, rural households devote 49.6 percent of their average annual expenditures to housing and transportation. For urban residents, the figure is an almost identical 49.9 percent.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Urban and Rural Household Spending in 2015

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Cost of Employer-Provided Health Insurance

With so much attention being paid to the rising cost of Obamacare premiums, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that most Americans (56 percent) are covered by employment-based health insurance. If you want to understand trends in the cost of health insurance for the majority of Americans, you won't find a better source than the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component Chartbook 2015. The Chartbook details the cost of health insurance benefits provided by private- and public-sector (state and local government) employers. The Chartbook examines trends in costs for single coverage, employee-plus-one, and families. These are the trends in single coverage costs over the past decade...

Total premium for single coverage
2015: $5,963
2005: $3,991
Change: +49%

Employee contribution for single coverage
2015: $1,255
2005:    $723
Change: +74%

Annual individual deductible
2015: $1,541
2005:    $652
Change: +136%

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component Chartbook 2015