Friday, September 29, 2017

Most Children Are Expected to Earn Bachelor's Degree

The nation's parents have high expectations for their children—too high, in fact. Fully 68 percent of the 26 million students in grades 6 through 12 are expected to earn at least a bachelor's degree, according to a National Center for Education Statistics survey of parent and family involvement in education. Most children attempt to fulfill their parents' expectations. The college enrollment rate—defined as the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in college within a year of their graduation—is in fact almost identical to parents' expectations at 69 percent. But only about half of those who enroll eventually earn a bachelor's degree.

Percent of students in 6th to 12th grade whose parents expect them to earn at least a bachelor's degree, by highest level of parental education, 2016
55% of parents without a high school diploma
45% of parents who went no further than high school
59% of parents with some college
84% of parents with a bachelor's degree
91% of parents with a graduate or professional degree

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Median Household Net Worth: $97,300 in 2016

After years of decline, household wealth is growing again, according to the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. Median household net worth rose to $97,300 in 2016, 16 percent more than the $83,700 of 2013, after adjusting for inflation. Net worth is still 30 percent below the 2007 peak...

Median household net worth, 2007 to 2016 (in 2016 dollars)
2016: $97,300
2013: $83,700
2010: $85,400
2007: $139,700

Behind the rise in net worth are modest increases in the value of household assets. The median value of financial assets ($23,500) grew 7 percent between 2013 and 2016, after adjusting for inflation, but was still 30 percent below the 2007 level. The median value of nonfinancial assets ($158,900) climbed 4 percent during those years, but was still 23 percent below the 2007 peak. Meanwhile, median household debt ($59,800) was 4 percent lower in 2016 than in 2013 and a substantial 23 percent lower than in 2007.

Source: Federal Reserve Board, 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cable vs Streaming: Is 2016 a Turning Point?

We might be at the turning point. In 2016, growth in spending on cable/satellite television service came to a halt. The average household spent $764 on the service in 2016—the same as in 2015, after adjusting for inflation. This isn't the first time cable spending has come to a standstill. It stagnated between 2010 and 2011 too, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, then resumed its climb. This time might be different, with spending declines to come.

Evidence of the turning point is in the eroding customer base. The percentage of households that pay for cable/satellite television service has drifted downward since hitting the peak of 74 percent during the average quarter of 2010. A smaller 68 percent of households purchased cable/satellite service during the average quarter of 2016. The drop has been especially steep among younger householders...

Percentage of households spending on cable/satellite service during an average quarter of 2016 (and percentage-point change since 2010)
Under age 25: 32% (–17)
Aged 25 to 34: 56% (–12)
Aged 35 to 44: 68% (–7)
Aged 45 to 54: 74% (–3)
Aged 55 to 64: 75% (–3)
Aged 65-plus: 75% (–3)

According to a recent Pew survey, only about one in four Americans (28 percent) watches television primarily through online streaming. Among people under age 30, however, the 61 percent majority primarily streams.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Are Gig Workers Happy?

Gig workers don't earn as much as full-time employees, according to a Prudential study, which defines gig workers as those who work for themselves and provide a service or labor. On average gig workers earn $36,500 a year versus the $62,700 earned by full-time employees.

That's not the only drawback to gig work. There's also the lack of employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. That may be why only 44 percent of gig workers say they are satisfied with their work situation versus 55 percent of full-time employees. But there are differences in attitudes by age of gig worker. Most Millennial (aged 18 to 34) and Boomer (aged 56-plus) gig workers are satisfied with their work—67 and 75 percent, respectively. Many Millennial gig workers say they are using their gig status to move forward on their long-term aspirations. Many Boomer gig workers say they are using it to better prepare for retirement or to supplement their retirement income.

Gen Xers (aged 36 to 55) are the least satisfied with their gig work (45 percent). Most Gen Xers say it's just a way to pay the bills. They are more interested than younger or older gig workers in switching to traditional work and most likely to say they are struggling financially.

Source: Prudential, Gig Workers in America

Monday, September 25, 2017

Financial Instability = Postponed Marriage

Most people who have never married (58 percent) say they want to marry someday, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Only 14 percent don't want to marry and another 27 percent are not sure.

What's keeping those who want to marry from tying the knot? The 59 percent majority say they haven't found the right person. But that's not the only obstacle. A substantial 41 percent of the never-married say a major reason for their single status is that they are not financially stable enough to marry. Among 18-to-29-year-olds, fully 51 percent say financial instability is a major reason for remaining single.

Source: Pew Research Center, As U.S. Marriage Rate Hovers at 50%, Education Gap in Marital Status Widens

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Rise of Obesity, 1997 to 2017

One in three Americans is obese, up from one in five two decades ago. Here is the trend...

Percent of people aged 20 or older who are obese (body mass index of 30kg/m^2 or higher)
2017: 32.0%
2007: 26.7%
1997: 19.4%

These numbers, from the National Health Interview Survey, are  based on self-reported heights and weights and likely understate obesity. After all, who doesn't trim a few pounds and add a few inches when asked to report their dimensions. For an unbiased measure of obesity, the National Center for Health Statistics actually measures the heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of the population through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those efforts revealed a larger 36 percent of adults to be obese in 2011–14, up from 22 percent in 1988–94.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the January-March 2017 National Health Interview Survey

Thursday, September 21, 2017

41 Million Eldercare Providers

Millions of Americans provide informal, unpaid care for people aged 65 or older with aging-related problems—helping them with household chores, taking them to the doctor or grocery store, managing their finances, and so on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey collects data about this informal caregiving and the BLS regularly publishes reports on the extent of eldercare and the characteristics of caregivers. Here are a few of the highlights from the 2015-16 report...

More than 1 in 10 Americans provide eldercare: The 41 million who provided eldercare in the past three or four months are a substantial 16 percent of the population aged 15 or older. 

Eldercare providers are in every age group: More than 1 in 10 young adults (aged 15 to 24) provide eldercare. The figure climbs as high as 24 percent among 55-to-64-year-olds.

Men account for 44 percent of eldercare providers: Although women are the majority of providers, men account for a substantial share in every age group.

Many eldercare providers are caring for more than one person: 71 percent of eldercare providers are caring for one person, while 29 percent are caring for two or more.

Caring for a friend or neighbor is common: 16 percent of eldercare providers are caring for a friend or neighbor. Among caregivers aged 65 or older, the figure is 27 percent.

On an average day, about one in four caregivers provides eldercare: Those who provide care spend an average of 2.8 hours doing so.

Most eldercare providers have been helping for years: More than half of caregivers have been providing eldercare for three or more years.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unpaid Eldercare in the United States—2015-16 Summary

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Median IRA Balance: $31,742

Individual retirement accounts hold 25 percent of all retirement plan assets in the U.S., reports the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In the 7th annual update of its IRA Database, EBRI estimates a median balance of $31,742 in the IRAs of individual owners in 2015. The average balance was $125,045. Here are median balances by age of owner...

Median IRA account balances
Under age 25: $3,565
Aged 25 to 29: $4,622
Aged 30 to 34: $7,113
Aged 35 to 39: $11,244
Aged 40 to 44: $16,738
Aged 45 to 49: $23,439
Aged 50 to 54: $31,440
Aged 55 to 59: $41,733
Aged 60 to 64: $57,859
Aged 65 to 69: $78,612
Aged 70-plus: $80,968

IRA balances are modest because few owners contribute in a year's time—only 14.1 percent contributed in 2015. Those with Roth IRAs are more likely to contribute (26 percent) than those with traditional IRAs (7 percent). Among those who contributed, only 54 percent contributed the maximum allowable amount.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015 Update of the EBRI IRA Database: IRA Balances, Contributions, Rollovers, Withdrawals, and Asset Allocation

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mental Distress: Where It's the Worst

The CDC regularly monitors health conditions by state and metro area. Its latest analysis examines data collected in 2013—pre Trump, Harvey, and Irma. At that time, these five states had the largest proportion of adults who reported experiencing 14 or more days of mental distress during the past 30 days...

States with highest mental distress
1. West Virginia: 15.2%
2. Alabama: 14.4%
3. Kentucky: 14.3%
4. Oklahoma: 14.3%
5. Mississippi: 14.2%

North and South Dakota had the smallest proportion of residents reporting mental distress (7.7 and 7.9 percent, respectively).

These were the five metropolitan areas with the largest proportion of adults who reported experiencing 14 or more days of mental distress during the past 30 days...

Metros with highest mental distress
1. Akron, OH: 19.4%
2. Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA: 18.0%
3. Fort Smith, AR-OK: 17.6%
4. Winston-Salem, NC: 16.8%
5. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS: 16.6%

The metros with the smallest proportions of residents reporting mental distress were Minot, ND (6.3 percent), Grand Forks, ND-MN (6.3 percent), and Sioux Falls, SD (6.5 percent).

Source: CDC, Surveillance for Certain Health Behaviors and Conditions among States and Selected Local Areas—Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2013 and 2014

Monday, September 18, 2017

6.3% Increase in Black Median Household Income

Black households registered a larger gain in median income than any other race or Hispanic origin group, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The Black (alone or in combination) 2016 median of $40,065 was 6.3 percent higher than the $37,681 median of 2015, after adjusting for inflation. The median income of non-Hispanic White households grew 2 percent, and the Asian (alone or in combination) and Hispanic medians grew 4.0 and 4.3 percent, respectively...

Median household income in 2016 (and % change 2015-16; in 2016 dollars)
Asians: $80,822 (4.0%)
Blacks: $40,065 (6.3%)
Hispanics: $47,675 (4.3%)
Non-Hispanic Whites: $65,041 (2.0%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016

Friday, September 15, 2017

Census Bureau Documents Computer Revolution

The Census Bureau first collected data on household computer ownership in 1984 and internet use in 1997. This is how the figures have changed since then...

Percentage of households with a computer (desktop, laptop, or handheld)
2015: 79%
2000: 51%
1984: 8%

Percentage of households that use the internet
2015: 73%
2007: 62%
1997: 18%

Source: Census Bureau, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2015

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Household Growth Slowed to a Crawl Again in 2017

Average annual household growth in 2017 retreated to the sluggish pace recorded in the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The estimated 126.2 million households of 2017 are just 0.3 percent more than the number in 2016—a lowly rate of growth last seen in 2009 and 2010.

Number of households (and % increase from previous year), 2008 to 2017
2017: 126,224,000 (0.3%)
2016: 125,819,000 (1.0%)
2015: 124,587,000 (0.5%)
2014: 123,931,000 (1.2%)
2013: 122,459,000 (1.1%)
2012: 121,084,000 (2.0%)
2011: 118,682,000 (1.0%)
2010: 117,538,000 (0.3%)
2009: 117,181,000 (0.3%)
2008: 116,783,000 (0.7%)

One factor behind the slow growth is the hesitancy of the Millennial generation to establish households. Since 2007, the number of households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds has increased by just 3.5 percent versus an 8.8 percent overall gain. Another factor behind the slow growth is stagnation in households headed by non-Hispanic Whites, the number falling slightly between 2016 and 2017. In contrast, the number of households headed by Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics grew by at least 1 percent.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Current Population Survey

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2016 Median Household Income Still Below 1999 Peak

Median household income climbed 3.2 percent in 2016 to $59,039, according to the Census Bureau. This median appears to be a record high, surpassing the long-standing 1999 median of $58,665 (in 2016 dollars). Unfortunately, the two medians are not comparable because of a redesign of the Current Population Survey's income questions in 2014. The new income questions capture much more income from IRA and 401(k) withdrawals, which resulted in a methodological boost to median household income.

So how does the $59,039 median of 2016 compare with the 1999 all-time high after accounting for changes in methodology? We still haven't caught up, according to the Economic Policy Institute, which for comparative purposes adjusted the medians prior to 2013 for changes in CPS methodology. Here are the results of the Institute's analysis...

Median household income (in 2016 dollars)
2016: $59,039
2007: $59,993 (adjusted)
1999: $60,506 (adjusted)

With the 1999 and 2007 medians adjusted to reflect new CPS methodology, the 2016 median is 1.6 percent below the 2007 median, when the Great Recession began. The 2016 median is 2.4 percent below the 1999 median, which is still the all-time high.

Source: Economic Policy Institute, By the Numbers: Income and Poverty, 2016

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

3.2% Increase in Median Household Income in 2016

Median household income registered another gain in 2016. The $59,039 median household income of 2016 was 3.2 percent higher than the $57,230 median of 2015, after adjusting for inflation. This is the second year in a row of statistically significant gains in median household income since the Great Recession. Income growth was especially large for younger adults. Here are the 2015–16 changes in median household income by age of householder...

Median household income in 2016 (and % change 2015-16; in 2016 dollars)
Under age 25: $41,655 (13.9%)
Aged 25 to 34: $60,932 (4.9%)
Aged 35 to 44: $74,481 (3.0%)
Aged 45 to 54: $77,213 (3.2%)
Aged 55 to 64: $65,239 (2.6%)
Aged 65-plus: $39,823 (2.1%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016

Monday, September 11, 2017

Who Plays Video Games?

Millions of Americans play video games, according to a Pew Research Center survey. This is the percentage who play (on a computer, TV, game console, cellphone, or other portable device) by age...

Often or sometimes play video games
Aged 18 to 29: 60%
Aged 30 to 49: 53%
Aged 50 to 64: 32%
Aged 65-plus: 24%

Young men are most likely to play video games. Among men under age 30, 72 percent often or sometimes play games versus 49 percent of their female counterparts. Among people aged 50 or older, however, men and women are about equally likely to often or sometimes play video games—27 percent of men and 30 percent of women.

Source: Pew Research Center, Younger Men Play Video Games, But So Do a Diverse Group of Other Americans

Friday, September 08, 2017

Can You Speak a Language Other than English?

Twenty-nine percent of Americans aged 18 or older can speak a language other than English, according to the 2016 General Social Survey, up from 25 percent a decade ago in 2006. By generation, these are the percentages who are multilingual...

iGeneration (18 to 21): 40%
Millennials (22 to 39): 38%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 30%
Boomers: (52 to 70): 23%
Older: (71 or older): 17%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Retirees with Dementia: Who Has Help with Finances?

How many retirees with mild cognitive impairment or dementia have someone to help them with their finances? That's the question posed by a Center for Retirement Research study. The question is critical, the researchers say, because studies show that 18 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment and 80 percent of those with dementia need help with their finances.

Analyzing data from the Health and Retirement Study, the researchers determined first the percentage of retirees aged 70 or older with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, then examined how many had potential helpers. Mild cognitive impairment is more common than dementia, affecting 33 percent of 70-to-74-year-olds and rising with age to 45 percent of people aged 85 or older. Dementia affects 2.7 percent of 70-to-74-year-olds and rises with age to 26.5 percent of those aged 85 or older.

"Fortunately, most individuals do have some help," the researchers find. Among those with mild cognitive impairment, 85 percent have available assistance. Among those with dementia, the figure is an even higher 95 percent. The types of helpers range from a non-impaired spouse or caregiving child to nursing home care. Those least likely to have help are what the researchers call "isolated"—defined as not having a non-impaired spouse and not having children within 10 miles. Others who are less likely to have help are high school dropouts and non-whites.

Source: Center for Retirement Research, Are Many Retirees with Dementia Lacking Help?

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

81% Increase in Minority College Enrollment

Minority students have accounted for nearly all of the increase in college enrollment since 2000, according to the Census Bureau's school enrollment data. The number of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and other minorities enrolled in the nation's colleges (including two-year, four-year, and graduate schools) grew 81 percent between 2000 and 2016. Non-Hispanic White enrollment inched up by 1.1 percent during those years. Consequently, minorities are a growing share of college students.

Minority share of college students
2016: 44.0%
2015: 42.9%
2010: 37.8%
2005: 33.0%
2000: 30.5%

Asian, Black, Hispanic, and other minority students account for the 51 percent majority of students at two-year schools. They are 42 percent of students at four-year schools, and 41 percent of students at graduate schools.

Source: Census Bureau, CPS Historical Time Series Tables on School Enrollment

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Year Moved into Home

Half of American households moved into their current home in 2008 or later, according to the American Housing Survey. For homeowners, 2003 is the median year they moved into their home. For renters, the median year is 2013. Here is the distribution of households by the year the householder moved into the unit...

Year householder moved into home
2010 or later: 44.2%
2005 to 2009: 16.0%
2000 to 2004: 11.8%
Before 2000: 28.0%

Source: Census Bureau, 2015 American Housing Survey

Monday, September 04, 2017

Boomer Earnings Over a Lifetime

How much have earnings climbed for baby boomers over their lifetime? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has captured the data with its National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which is tracking a nationally representative sample of Americans born between 1957 and 1964. The panel was first interviewed in 1979 when they were aged 14 to 22. By the time the latest findings were collected in 2014–15, these "youth" were 49-to-58-years-old and approaching the end of their work life. This is how their earnings grew as they passed through each age group...

Average annual percent change in inflation-adjusted hourly earnings
From age 18 to 24: 6.4%
From age 25 to 34: 3.3%
From age 35 to 44: 1.8%
From age 45 to 50: –0.1%

College graduates fared much better than those with less education over the years, with their average annual earnings growing twice as fast as those with no more than a high school diploma through age 34, and then about one-third faster between ages 35 and 44. From age 45 to 50, the hourly earnings of college graduate grew by just 0.4 percent per year, but that was better than what happened to those with no more than a high school diploma—from age 45 to 50, their earnings fell 0.2 percent per year.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth among Americans at 50: Results from a Longitudinal Survey

Friday, September 01, 2017

Will Move for Job

Forty percent of American workers agree that they would be willing to move within the United States to avoid unemployment, according to results of the 2016 General Social Survey. But only 17 percent would be willing to move to another country. Here are the results by generation...

Workers willing to move in U.S. to avoid unemployment
iGeneration (18 to 21): 45%
Millennials (22 to 39): 47%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 47%
Boomers (52 to 70): 26%

Workers willing to move to another country to avoid unemployment
iGeneration (18 to 21): 19%
Millennials (22 to 39): 19%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 22%
Boomers (52 to 70): 10%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey