Friday, December 29, 2017

Metros with the Highest Rates of Homeownership, 2016

Among the nation's 75 largest metropolitan areas, these are the 10 with the highest rates of homeownership in 2016, according to the Census Bureau...

1. 76.2% in Grand Rapids, MI
2. 74.9% in Akron, OH
3. 73.4% in Sarasota, FL
4. 72.2% in Pittsburgh, PA
5. 71.6% in Detroit, MI
6. 69.2% in Omaha, NE
7. 69.2% in Salt Lake City, UT
8. 69.1% in Minneapolis, MN
9. 68.9% in Allentown, PA
10. 68.7% in Birmingham, AL

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How Important Are Foreign-Born Workers to IT?

Foreign-born workers are a large share of the information technology (IT) labor force in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics examines just how large, particularly in what it calls "creative IT professions," which it defines as computer scientists and systems analysts, network systems analysts, web developers, computer programmers, software developers, and computer hardware engineers. The BLS analysis begins with the big picture—the foreign-born share of the labor force as a whole, then focuses on the foreign-born share of all IT jobs, and finally on the foreign-born share of creative IT jobs. Here are the findings...

  • Foreign-born workers accounted for 17 percent of the total U.S. labor force in 2014 (up from 7 percent in 1980). 
  • Foreign-born workers accounted for 24 percent of workers in all IT occupations in 2014 (up from 7 percent in 1980). 
  • Foreign-born workers accounted for 33 percent of workers in creative IT occupations (up from 8 percent in 1980).

The BLS analysis goes even deeper, drilling down to the foreign-born share of workers in creative IT occupations in what it calls "innovation-leading metropolitan areas," defined as the five metros with the most patents in computer software and hardware—San Jose, Seattle, Austin, Portland (Oregon); and Raleigh. In these metros, fully 53 percent of workers in creative IT jobs are foreign-born (up from 11 percent in 1980). In Silicon Valley specifically, the foreign-born share is an enormous 71 percent (up from 15 percent in 1980).

The dominance of foreign-born workers in Silicon Valley might explain the perception that American technological success is dependent on the foreign-born, suggests the BLS report. "Outside the United States, there is a strong perception that fortunes of many successful U.S. companies rest almost exclusively on foreign-born labor, with little credit given to the native-born labor force," says the report. But the facts say otherwise. Yes, foreign-born workers are a big part of the IT labor force, but the perception that they dominate the labor force may be "mostly due to Silicon Valley trends."

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trends among Native- and Foreign-Origin Workers in U.S. Computer Industries

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Residents of Rural Areas Can Be Hard to Count

The rural population has been shrinking since 2010. This makes it all the more important that the 2020 census counts every rural resident. Areas with shrinking populations not only lose political representation, but also funding for important programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and housing assistance. Getting a complete count in rural areas will be difficult, reports demographer William O'Hare, a visiting fellow at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute. His research brief for the Institute details the difficulties of counting rural populations.

A good place to start exploring the problems likely to be encountered by the 2020 census is to examine what happened in the 2010 census, says O'Hare. He takes a look at hard-to-count counties in 2010 to determine how many were rural (defined in his study as nonmetropolitan) and also their characteristics. In total, there were 316 hard-to-count counties in the U.S. in 2010, defined as those with a mail return rate of less than 73 percent. Of the 316 counties, fully 251 (79 percent) were rural. About one-quarter of the hard-to-count areas were rural minority-majority counties, where Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or American Indians were the majority of the population: 34 were majority Black counties, including 16 in Mississippi; 37 were majority Hispanic counties, including 20 in Texas; 12 were majority American Indian/Alaskan Native; and 1 was majority Asian. Other hard-to-count rural areas are in Appalachia and in the Southwest, home to many migrant/seasonal farm workers.

To further complicate matters, the 2020 census will be the first to rely primarily on responses via the internet. But a substantial 21 percent of households in rural areas do not have internet access and will have the option to answer by mail, further complicating the process. With all of these issues, "It is important that rural scholars, rural leaders, and rural advocates monitor Census Bureau funding and Census planning over the next two years to make sure there are adequate resources for a complete and accurate count of all rural residents," O'Hare concludes.

Source: Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire, 2020 Census Faces Challenges in Rural America

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Brewery Explosion

Pity the thirsty masses of 2006. Back then, there were only 398 breweries in the entire United States. Today, there are 2,843, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—a more than seven-fold increase. In 2006, no state had more than 50 breweries. Today, 15 states have more than 50 and 10 states have more than 100. California has the most—333 in 2016, up from just 45 in 2006. Colorado is second with 204 breweries, up from 22 in 2006.

Not only are more breweries dotting the landscape, but there are also more brewery workers than ever before. After falling slightly between 2006 and 2010 as a consequence of the Great Recession, brewery employment surged 61 percent between 2010 and 2016 to more than 40,000. The rise in brewery employment accounted for more than half the employment growth in the U.S. beverage manufacturing industry during those years, the BLS reports.

Unfortunately, the trend in the average weekly wage for those working at breweries is not as impressive as brewery growth. Between 2006 and 2016, the average fell 25 percent to $969.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spotlight on Statistics, Industry on Tap: Breweries

Monday, December 25, 2017

Average Household Spends $1,521 on Gifts for Others

Americans are spending less on gifts for people in other households than they once did. The $1,521 spent by the average household on gifts for others in 2016, including cash gifts, was 18 percent less than the $1,861 of 2006, after adjusting for inflation, and 21 percent less than in 2000.

Average spending on gifts for people in other households, 2000 to 2016 (in 2016 dollars)
2016: $1,521
2010: $1,572
2006: $1,861
2000: $1,922

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Consumer Expenditure Survey

Friday, December 22, 2017

Life Expectancy Declines, Again

Big, big news: Life expectancy at birth fell for the second year in a row in 2016, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This is the first two-year life expectancy decline since flu outbreaks in 1962 and 1963 drove life expectancy down, according to NCHS. Life expectancy at birth in 2016 was 78.6 years, 0.1 year less than in 2015. Life expectancy at birth peaked at 78.9 years in 2014.

Drug overdose deaths are behind the life expectancy decline. There were 63,632 overdose deaths in 2016—21 percent (!) more than in 2015. The increase in drug overdose deaths has managed to rearrange the list of leading causes of death. "Unintentional injuries," which includes most drug overdose deaths, is now the 3rd leading cause of death. It was 4th in 2015.

Drug overdose deaths are highest among 25-to-54-year-olds and uncommon among people aged 65 or older. In fact, life expectancy at age 65 increased by 0.1 years in 2016 to 19.4 years as death rates from heart disease and cancer declined.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality in the United States, 2016 and Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016

Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 of the 10 Fastest-Growing States Are in the West

Seven of the 10 fastest-growing states between 2016 and 2017 were in the West, according to the Census Bureau's population estimates. Those seven are Idaho (up 2.2 percent), Nevada (2.0 percent), Utah (1.9 percent), Washington (1.7 percent), Arizona (1.6 percent), Colorado (1.4 percent), and Oregon (1.4 percent). Outside the West, Florida (1.6 percent), Texas (1.4 percent), and the District of Columbia (1.4 percent) also made the top-10 list.

Looking at the bigger picture, these are the fastest-growing states since 2010...

Fastest-growing states, 2010 to 2017
1. District of Columbia: 14.7%
2. Texas: 12.1%
3. North Dakota 12.0%
4. Utah: 11.8%
5. Florida: 11.3%
6. Colorado: 11.1%
7. Nevada: 10.9%
8. Washington: 9.9%
9. Arizona: 9.5%
10. Idaho: 9.3%

Nine of the 10 fastest-growing states between 2010 and 2017 are also on the 2016–17 list. North Dakota is the only state that dropped off the list. North Dakota ranked third in growth between 2010 and 2017, but between 2016 and 2017 it was one of eight states that lost population. The other losing states were Louisiana, Mississippi, Hawaii, Alaska, Illinois, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Source: Census Bureau, State Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010–2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Among Men, Higher Earnings = Wedding Bells

The more men earn, the more likely they're married, according to Census Bureau data. The percentage of all men who are currently married ranges from a low of 37 percent for those with earnings below $15,000 to a high of 79 percent for those earning $100,000 or more. The pattern is the same in every age group of men from 25 to 64. These are the numbers for men aged 30 to 34...

Percent of men aged 30 to 34 who are married by personal earnings, 2017
Less than $15,000: 26%
$15,000 to $24,999: 40%
$25,000 to $39,999: 42%
$40,000 to $74,999: 55%
$75,000 to $99,999: 66%
$100,000 or more: 67%

Source: Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Poor Mental Health Is Common among Young Adults

On how many days in the past month has your mental health not been good? When asked that question, the 55 percent majority of the public answers "none," according to the General Social Survey—their mental health is just fine, thank you. But a substantial 45 percent of Americans say their mental health has not been good on one or more days in the past month.

There are few differences in the percentage with poor mental health by race and Hispanic origin or education. But there are differences by sex: 49 percent of women versus a smaller 39 percent of men say their mental health has not been good on at least one day in the past month. There are even bigger differences by generation, with Millennials most likely to experience poor mental health...

One or more days of poor mental health in past month
Millennials (22 to 39): 48%
Gen Xers (40 to 51): 46%
Boomers (52 to 70): 41%
Older (71 or older): 36%

Similarly, 48 percent of Millennials admit to having ever felt like they were going to have a nervous breakdown, according to another question on the General Social Survey—a higher percentage than in any other generation. Among the oldest Americans, only 14 percent say they have ever felt like they were on the brink of a breakdown.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Monday, December 18, 2017

90% of Americans Are High School Graduates

The percentage of Americans aged 25 or older who have completed high school reached an all-time high of 90 percent in 2017, reports the Census Bureau, and the percentage with a bachelor's degree hit a high of 34 percent. The share of the population with a bachelor's degree today exceeds the share of the population with a high school diploma in 1950...

Percentage of Americans aged 25 or older with a high school diploma
2017: 90%
2010: 87%
2000: 84%
1990: 78%
1980: 69%
1970: 55%
1960: 41%
1950: 33%
1940: 24%

Source: Census Bureau, High School Completion Rate is Highest in U.S. History and CPS Historical Time Series Tables

Friday, December 15, 2017

Alexa, Listen to Me

Despite this being early days for digital voice assistants, they are already remarkably popular. Nearly half of Americans have used them, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The largest share of the public has used a digital voice assistant on their smartphone (42 percent), while only 8 percent have used a stand-alone device such as an Amazon Echo (Alexa). Not surprisingly, digital voice assistants are more popular among younger adults...

Have ever used a digital voice assistant
Total public: 46%
Under aged 50: 55%
Aged 50-plus: 37%

Source: Pew Research Center, Nearly Half of Americans Use Digital Voice Assistants, Mostly on Their Smartphones

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Generation Table Reveals Spending Patterns

The World War II generation gets smaller by the day. This generation, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as people born in 1927 or earlier, heads fewer than 2 percent of the nation's households. Despite its small size, the BLS has revealed its characteristics and spending patterns, along with those of younger generations, in a new standard table in the Consumer Expenditure Survey's annual series...

World War II generation (1927 or earlier): Still alive and kicking, the average householder in this generation is 91 years old. Two-thirds are women. Fifty-eight percent own a vehicle. They spent $35,344 in 2016, including $1,095 on eating out and $1,223 on entertainment. 

Silent generation (1928 to 1945): With an average age of 77, households headed by a member of the Silent generation spent $41,763 in 2016. The 58 percent majority of Silent generation householders are women, and 84 percent own a vehicle. They spend slightly more on cell phone than landline service, and they are the biggest spenders on reading material. 

Baby-boom generation (1946 to 1964): Boomers are still the largest generation of householders, accounting for 35 percent of the total. The average Boomer householder is 60 years old and owns an average of 2.1 vehicles. Forty percent are homeowners with a mortgage, and another 36 percent own their home free and clear. Boomer households spent an average of $61,204 in 2016.

Generation X (1965 to 1980): Gen Xers, with an average age of 43, are the biggest spenders. The average Gen X household spent $68,532 in 2016. Gen Xers spend more on mortgage interest than any other generation—$4,526 per year, nearly 7 percent of their total spending. They are also the biggest spenders on education because many have children in college and some are still paying off student loans.

Millennials (1981 or later): The 30 million households headed by Millennials, with an average age of 28, account for 23 percent of total households—less than Generation X's 27 percent share. Only 33 percent of Millennial households own their home. This generation is less likely to own a vehicle (83 percent) than the Silent generation (84 percent). On average, Millennial households spent $48,576 in 2016. Nearly half of their food spending (47 percent) is devoted to eating out. In 2016, they spent $1,110 on cell phone service and just $64 on reading material. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Work Life Expectancy at Age 50

How many years of work life remain for men and women at age 50? That depends on their educational attainment, according to a study published in Demography. Those with a college degree have a significantly longer work life expectancy than those with no more than a high school diploma, the researchers found. For Black men, having a college degree more than doubles their work life expectancy at age 50. Here are the results by highest level of education...

Black men
High school diploma: 8.2 years
College degree: 17.6 years

Black women
High school diploma: 9.9 years
College degree: 10.3 years

Hispanic men
High school diploma: 11.0 years
College degree: 14.3 years

Hispanic women
High school diploma: 11.2 years
College degree: 12.9 years

Non-Hispanic white men
High school diploma: 13.2 years
College degree: 16.3 years

Non-Hispanic white women
High school diploma: 11.5 years
College degree: 14.4 years

Some of the difference in work life expectancy by education is due to higher mortality rates among the less educated, say the researchers. But most is "attributable to weaker labor force attachment among the less-educated."

Source: Demography, Working Life Expectancy at Age 50 in the United States and the Impact of the Great Recession

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why Do the Educated Live Longer?

The better educated you are, the longer you are likely to live. What are the reasons for the educational disparity in mortality? A study published in the journal Demographic Research investigated the contribution of one factor: the greater prevalence of obesity among the less educated.

Previous studies have shown obesity to have little effect on differences in life expectancy by educational attainment, but researcher Yana C. Vierboom takes issue with those studies because their measure of obesity is body mass index (BMI) at the time of the survey. This introduces bias into the results, says Vierboom, "given that less educated people are more likely to contract illnesses that induce weight loss." Instead, lifetime maximum BMI is a better measure of obesity.

Using lifetime maximum BMI, Vierboom finds obesity to be an important contributor to the educational disparity in mortality. "Differences in maximum BMI were associated with between 10.3% and 12% of mortality differences between college graduates and all others," she says. Among nonsmokers, between 18.4% and 27.6% of mortality differences between college graduates and all others were associated with differences in maximum BMI."

Source: Demographic Research, The Contribution of Differences in Adiposity to Educational Disparities in Mortality in the United States

Monday, December 11, 2017

How Many Move after They Retire?

What percentage of older Americans move after they retire? According to a Transamerica survey, a substantial 39 percent moved. The single biggest reason retirees moved was to downsize (34 percent), followed by to reduce expenses (29 percent), to start a new chapter in life (28 percent), and to be closer to family and friends (27 percent). Multiple responses to this question were allowed.

Among workers aged 50 or older, expectations about moving in retirement are in line with the experiences of retirees. The 57 percent majority of workers aged 50-plus would prefer to stay in their current home when they retire, 26 percent would like to move and 17 percent are unsure.

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, The Current State of Retirement: Pre-Retiree Expectations and Retiree Realities

Friday, December 08, 2017

Who Is Manly, Who Is Not?

Nearly one-third of American men and women regard themselves as "very masculine" or "very feminine," according to a Pew Research Center survey. But attitudes vary by generation. Millennials are less likely than older Americans to regard themselves as very masculine or very feminine, and the differences are much bigger by generation among women...

Percent of men saying they are "very masculine"
Total men: 31%
Millennials: 24%
Gen Xers: 36%
Boomers: 34%
Older: 30%

Percent of women saying they are "very feminine"
Total women: 32%
Millennials: 19%
Gen Xers: 32%
Boomers: 36%
Older: 53%

Education also divides the public on the issue of manliness (and womanliness). Among men with a bachelor's degree or more education, only 22 percent regard themselves as very masculine compared with 37 percent of those who went no further than high school. The comparable figures for women are 24 and 38 percent, respectively.

Source: Pew Research Center, On Gender Differences, No Consensus on Nature vs. Nurture

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Divided Over the National Anthem

Should professional athletes be required to stand during the national anthem? Americans are divided on the issue, according to PRRI's 2017 American Values Survey. Overall, the 55 percent majority of the public thinks athletes should be required to stand, but attitudes differ by demographic characteristic and political affiliation...

Professional athletes should be required to stand during national anthem (% who agree)
Total aged 18-plus: 55%

Blacks: 23%
Hispanics: 60%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 61%

Non-Hispanic Whites with college degree: 47%
Non-Hispanic Whites without college degree: 69%

Democrats: 32%
Republicans: 86%

Aged 18 to 29: 43%
Aged 65-plus: 68%

Source: PRRI, One Nation, Divided, Under Trump: Findings from the 2017 American Values Survey

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Years of Healthy Grandparenthood Are Expanding

With Millennials delaying marriage and childbearing longer than any previous generation, many wannabe grandparents are experiencing FOMO—fear of missing out. Will they still be around—and able to enjoy—their grandchildren when they finally arrive? A study in Demography should help ease their fear. Despite delayed childbearing, expected years of healthy grandparenthood are rising.

Using data from several surveys including the Health and Retirement Study, researchers Rachel Margolis and Laura Wright examined grandparenthood and health status over time. They wanted to determine whether the years of healthy grandparenthood, "one of the most satisfying parts of older age," are expanding or contracting as the dueling forces of later childbearing and longer life expectancy interact.

The answer: the best part of old age is expanding. Expected years of healthy grandparenthood for Americans at age 50 grew significantly between 1992–94 and 2010. For men, years of healthy grandparenthood grew from 13.2 to 15.8 (a gain of 2.6 years). For women they climbed from 15.9 to 18.9 (a gain of 3.0 years). The proportion of grandparenthood spent healthy also increased during the time period, rising from 71 to 73 percent for men and from 69 to 74 percent for women.

Healthy grandparenthood is a big deal not just because it's fun. It is a time when elders provide important transfers to younger family members, the researchers note—such as providing child care. In contrast, "unhealthy grandparenthood represents a period when the middle generation may be more likely to provide care upward," say the researchers.

Source: Demography, Healthy Grandparenthood: How Long Is It, and How Has It Changed?

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

How Siblings Affect Time Use

Nearly 80 percent of children under age 18 live with siblings, according to the Census Bureau. But no one has examined how the presence of siblings affects what children do on an average day—until now. A study published in Demographic Research uses time diary data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics' Child Development Supplement to compare the time use of children with and without siblings at home. This is important, say the study's authors, because "the sibling relationship is typically the longest-lasting family relationship in an individual's life." Here are some of the most important differences in time use between children with and without siblings in the home...
  • Children without siblings spend more of their discretionary time engaged with no one else—16 hours per week versus 12 hours for children with siblings.
  • Children without siblings spend more of their time engaged with parents and no one else—22 hours per week versus 6 hours for children with siblings.
  • Children with siblings spend more time engaged with others but not their parents—27 hours per week versus 17 hours for children without siblings.
  • Children with siblings spend more time engaged with parents and others at the same time—15 hours per week versus 5 hours for children without siblings. 
"Children with coresident siblings spend the majority of their discretionary time engaged in activities with their siblings, highlighting the important role that siblings can play in each other's lives," the researchers conclude.

Source: Demographic Research, Siblings and Children's Time Use in the United States

Monday, December 04, 2017

Young People Do Not Share Our Values!

That's the opinion of the great majority of Americans aged 18 or older, according to a PRRI survey. When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement, "Most young people today do not share the same values I do," the 75 percent majority of the public completely (32 percent) or mostly (43 percent) agrees.

This "you kids get off my lawn!" attitude is shared by every race and Hispanic origin group and by both Democrats and Republicans...

"Most young people today do not share the same values I do" (percent agreeing)
Total public: 75%

Blacks: 85%
Hispanics: 73%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 76%

Republicans: 87%
Democrats: 64%

Source: PRRI, Attitudes on Child and Family Wellbeing: National and Southeast/Southwest Perspectives

Friday, December 01, 2017

Forty Years of Working Mothers

Most women with preschoolers are in the labor force. This is how the percentage has grown over the past four decades...

Labor force participation rate of women with children under age 6
2016: 65.3%
2006: 63.0%
1996: 62.3%
1986: 54.4%
1976: 40.1%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the Labor Force: A Databook