Friday, December 28, 2018

Most Americans Frequently Socialize with Relatives

More than one-third of Americans aged 18 or older spend a social evening with relatives at least once a week, and 75 percent socialize with relatives at least monthly, according to the 2016 General Social Survey. Millennials are most likely to socialize with their relatives frequently...

Percentage who spend a social evening with relatives at least once a month (or week)
Total, 18-plus: 75% (39%)
Millennials: 80% (43%)
Gen Xers: 72% (38%)
Boomers: 71% (34%)
Older: 69% (31%)

Note: In 2016, Millennials were aged 22 to 39; Generation Xers were aged 40 to 51; Baby Boomers were aged 52 to 70; Older Americans were aged 71 or older.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2016 General Social Survey

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What the Average Millennial Spends Each Month

CNBC drew the scorn of Twitter last week when it published The Budget Breakdown of a 25-year-old Who Makes $100,000 a Year and is Excellent with Money. Millennial shaming, cried many of the critics, who rightly noted that most Millennials make far less than the subject of the article—a guy named Trevor—and spend more because they need, like, a car.

So let's compare Trevor's spending with the spending of his peers. Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data, the closest comparable demographic is "householders under age 30."

Under age 30    Trevor
Annual income    $48,946    $100,000
Annual spending      43,038        33,300
Monthly spending        3,615          2,775
  Rent*           915             825
  Transportation           657             130
  Groceries           241             400
  Health insurance*           240             270
  Dining out           221             250
  Utilities           124             195
  Cell phone               76               40
  Internet*             54               20

* Average spending of those who spent on item.

The biggest difference between Trevor and his peers is in annual income. Trevor earns more than double the $48,946 average. He spends less than his peers overall and far less on transportation because he doesn't own a car. Most of his peers own at least one vehicle, an average of 1.3 per householder under age 30. Trevor spends much more on groceries and a bit more on dining out.

Not shown in the above table is Trevor's spending on charitable donations, which amounts to an astonishing $615 a month. Few of his peers make any charitable donations—only 7 percent did so in the average quarter of 2017, according to the CEX. Those who did spent only $84 per month on such donations—just a fraction of what Trevor spent.

Not much discussed in the CNBC piece is spending on entertainment. The article mentioned only that Trevor occasionally splurges on a video game. But surely he spends something on movies, music downloads, Netflix, and the like. Householders under age 30 spend an average of $167 a month on entertainment. Trevor rarely buys clothes, according to the article, while his peers spend a modest $38 a month on men's clothes and shoes and $51 per month on women's clothes and shoes. What about shaving cream, haircuts, and toilet paper? Absent from Trevor's budget is spending on housekeeping supplies ($34/month spent by his peers) and personal care products and services ($41 per month). Let's not even get into student loan payments, which Trevor does not have.

With Trevor's outsized income, he saves a lot. With their much smaller incomes and student loan payments, his peers save little—they put an average of only about $50 per month into their retirement plans. Social Security is another story, however. The monthly deduction for householders under age 30 amounts to a hefty $303, making it one of their biggest expenses.

Trevor is no typical Millennial, mostly because of his outsized income. While he may be excellent with money, typical Millennials aren't so bad either as they manage much tighter budgets.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Average Woman Weighs 171 Pounds

The average man weighs 198 pounds. These figures come from the the federal government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which measures the heights and weights of a nationally representative sample of the population. Here's the trend in the age-adjusted weight of men and women since the turn of the century...

Average weight of men aged 20-plus (in pounds)
2015–2016: 198
2009–2010: 196
1999–2000: 189

Average weight of women aged 20-plus (in pounds)
2015–2016: 171
2009–2010: 166
1999–2000: 164

While weights have increased over the years, heights have remained the same. The 2015–16 survey found the average man to be a bit over 5 feet 9 inches tall. The average woman is almost 5 feet 4 inches in height. These heights have barely budged since 2000.

With heights unchanged and weight increasing, body mass index is rising. The average man has a body mass index of 29.1, up from 27.8 in 1999–00. The average woman has a body mass index of 29.6, up from 28.2 in 1999–00. A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight, so the average American is overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, so the average American is very close to being obese.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Mean Body Weight, Height, Waist Circumference, and Body Mass Index among Adults: United States, 1999–2000 through 2015–16

Friday, December 21, 2018

Contraceptive Use by Women Aged 15 to 49, 2015–17

The most common type of contraceptive used by American women is sterilization, according to the federal government's 2015–17 National Survey of Family Growth. The survey asks women about the type of contraceptive they used during the month of the survey interview. Here is the distribution of women aged 15 to 49 by contraceptive use...

Total using contraception: 65%
19% use female sterilization
13% use oral contraceptive pill
  9% use condoms
  8% use long-acting reversible intrauterine device
  6% use male sterilization
  5% use periodic abstinence or withdrawal
  2% use long-acting reversible contraceptive implant
  2% use 3-month injectable (Depo-Provera)
  1% use contraceptive ring or patch

Total not using contraception: 35%
10% never had sexual intercourse
  8% are taking their chances
  7% did not have intercourse in the three months before the interview
  4% are trying to become pregnant
  4% are pregnant or postpartum
  3% are noncontraceptively sterile (female or male)

Only 8 percent of women aged 15 to 49 are sexually active and not using any form of contraception.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Current Contraceptive Status among Women Aged 15-49: United States, 2015–2017

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Three States Lost Population, 2010 to 2018

The population of the District of Columbia grew 16 percent between 2010 and 2018, according to the Census Bureau's latest state population estimates, putting the nation's capital at the top of the fastest-growing list. These are the decade's fastest growing states...

FASTEST GROWING (percent change in population, 2010–18)
16.1% District of Columbia
13.9% Utah
13.7% Texas
13.0% Florida
12.8% Colorado
12.7% North Dakota
12.3% Nevada
11.9% Arizona
11.8% Washington
11.7% Idaho

At the bottom of the list, three states lost population between 2010 and 2018: West Virginia, Illinois, and Connecticut. These are the decade's slowest growing states...

SLOWEST GROWING (percent change in population, 2010–18)
1.2% Michigan
0.8% Maine
0.8% Pennsylvania
0.7% New York
0.5% Mississippi
0.3% Rhode Island
0.1% Vermont
–0.2% Connecticut
–0.8% Illinois
–2.6% West Virginia

While three states registered losses in the 2010-to-2018 time period, a larger eight states lost population in the most recent year. Between 2017 and 2018, the losing states included not only West Virginia and Illinois, but also Mississippi, Wyoming, Louisiana, New York, Hawaii, and Alaska. One reason for the spreading losses is the ongoing baby bust, according to the Census Bureau. Nationally, natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) has fallen from 1.8 million in 2008 to just 1.0 million in 2018.

Source: Census Bureau, Population and Housing Unit Estimates

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Most Young Adults Are in School Until Age 22

Young adults stay in school longer than they once did. Most are in school until age 22, according to the Census Bureau's 2017 school enrollment data. In 2000, this transition into adulthood occurred two years earlier—at age 20.

Percent of young adults enrolled in school, 2017
Aged 18: 73.7%
Aged 19: 62.5%
Aged 20: 59.2%
Aged 21: 51.0%
Aged 22: 36.4%

Hispanics leave school at a younger age than any other race or Hispanic origin group. The percentage of Hispanics who are enrolled in school falls below 50 percent at age 20. Among Blacks, the age when most are no longer students is 21, and among non-Hispanic Whites it is 22. Asians leave school at an older age than any other race or Hispanic origin group. Most Asians are enrolled in school until age 23. Even among 23-year-old Asians, however, a substantial 46 percent are still in school.

Marketers targeting young adults should keep in mind these lifestyle differences. Among 21-year-olds, for example, the percentage who are enrolled in school ranges from a low of 42 percent among Blacks and Hispanics to a high of 80 percent among Asians.

Source: Census Bureau, School Enrollment in the United States: October 2017—Detailed Tables

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Spending Categories in the 2017 CEX

It's a treasure hunt when the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the Consumer Expenditure Survey each year. Reporters scour the figures for stories, demographers for trends. The ups and downs in average household spending are, of course, the headline makers. But there are many other newsworthy nuggets hidden in each year's release—such as the new spending categories added to the list each year as the BLS attempts to keep up with the changing economy. Here are some of the new categories of 2017...

Electric vehicle charging: While data for new categories such as this one are not yet plentiful enough to draw conclusions, the partial year data show 45-to-54-year-olds to be the biggest spenders on electric vehicle charging.

Dental, vision, and prescription drug insurance: The BLS has broken up the monolithic category "other health insurance" into the important subcategories of dental, vision, and prescription drug. Average household spending is greatest for dental insurance.

Movie tickets: For many years spending on movie tickets was lumped into a single category that also included theater tickets and admissions to parks and museums. Slowly, slowly, the BLS separated one type of admission from another. Finally, beginning in 2017, spending on movie tickets is a category of its own, allowing analysts to track this important expenditure.

Nonphysician health care services inside/outside the home: The BLS has split the single nonphysician health care services category into two categories to allow for analysis of where the need for these services is greatest (or most costly). The partial year data show average household spending on these services at home to be twice as great as outside the home.

Video rental, streaming, and downloading: This new category is a combination of what had been two separate categories—video cassette, tape, and disc rentals; and streaming, downloading videos. The new combined category means that analysts can no longer track spending on streamed and downloaded video, which was the fastest-growing entertainment category of the 2006-to-2016 decade.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Panhandler Problem: No Cash

Panhandlers have a problem. Increasing numbers of Americans don't have any cash to give them. Only 53 percent of  the public always carries cash, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, down from 60 percent in 2015. Forty-six percent of the public feels comfortable carrying no cash at all, up from 39 percent who felt that way three years ago.

Percent who feel comfortable without cash by age, 2018
Total adults: 46%
Under age 50: 52%
Aged 50-plus: 38%

Younger adults are leading the way toward a cashless society. More than one-third (34 percent) of adults under age 50 do not use cash in a typical week, according to Pew. Among adults aged 50 or older, the figure is 23 percent. The percentage who don't use cash in a typical week is rising...

Use of cash during typical week in 2018 (and 2015)
Use cash for most purchases: 18% (24%)
Use cash for some purchases: 52% (51%)
Use cash for no purchases: 29% (24%)

Source: Pew Research Center, More Americans Are Making No Weekly Purchases with Cash

Friday, December 14, 2018

College Graduation Rates at Four-Year Schools

Many students who enroll at a four-year college fail to earn their bachelor's degree, according to the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics. Among full-time, first-time students seeking a bachelor's degree at four-year schools beginning in 2011, only 60.4 percent earned the degree within six years at that institution. Here are the percentages by race and Hispanic origin...

Percent of 2011 cohort completing bachelor's degree within 6 years
39.8% of Blacks
55.0% of Hispanics
64.3% of Whites
74.1% of Asians

Graduation rates within six years are above average at private, nonprofit schools (66 percent), about average at public schools (60 percent), and far below average at for-profit private schools (just 21 percent).

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Graduation Rates for Selected Cohorts, 2009–14; Outcome Measures for Cohort Year 2009–10; Student Financial Aid, Academic Year 2015–17; and Admissions in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2017

Thursday, December 13, 2018

How Many Attended Arts Events in 2017?

More Americans are attending arts events, according to a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA's 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts is an occasional supplement to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, asking Americans aged 18 or older whether they have attended a variety of arts events in the past 12 months. Here is a look at the percentage who attended arts events (or engaged in literary reading) in 2017...

52.7% read any books not required for work or school
41.8% read novels or short stories
28.3% visited parks, monuments, buildings, or neighborhoods for historic or design value
24.2% attended outdoor performing arts festivals
23.8% visited craft fairs or visual arts festivals
23.7% visited art museums or galleries
16.5% attended musical plays
11.7% read poetry
  9.4% attended nonmusical plays
  8.6% attended classical music concerts
  8.6% attended jazz music events
  6.3% attended dance performances other than ballet
  5.9% attended Latin, Spanish, or salsa music events
  3.7% read plays
  3.1% attended ballets
  2.2% attended operas

Between 2012 and 2017, the percentage of adults who took part in arts events increased for a number of activities such as attending outdoor performing arts festivals (up 3.4 percentage points), visiting art museums or galleries (2.7 percentage points), and touring parks, monuments, buildings, etc. (4.4 percentage points). The percentage of adults who read any book fell 1.9 percentage points, however, and reading novels or short stories was down an even larger 3.4 percentage points.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literary Reading: 2002–2017: A First Look at Results form the 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

College Enrollment Declines in Tight Labor Market

With help wanted signs multiplying across the nation, college enrollment continues to decline. Only 18.4 million students were enrolled in college in 2017, according to the Census Bureau, nearly 2 million fewer than the 2011 high of 20.4 million.

College enrollment by type of school in 2017 (and 2011)
Total enrollment: 18.4 million (20.4 million)
Two-year colleges: 4.3 million (5.7 million)
Four-year colleges: 10.3 million (10.9 million)
Graduate schools: 3.8 million (3.8 million)

Enrollment trends since 2011 differ by type of school. The biggest decline occurred at two-year schools as the tightening labor market lured students away from campus. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of students at two-year schools fell by a substantial 25 percent—a loss of 1.4 million. The enrollment decline at two-year schools accounts for most of the overall decline in college students since 2011.

Graduate school is a different story. The 3.81 million enrolled in graduate school in 2017 was slightly greater than the 3.77 million enrolled in 2011.

Four-year schools are yet another story. Yes, enrollment in four-years schools in 2017 was below the 2011 level. But in contrast to two-year or graduate schools, enrollment in four-year schools peaked much more recently—in 2016, at 11.15 million. Between 2016 and 2017, enrollment in four-year schools fell by more than 800,000. Is this decline just a blip, or is the labor market looking so good that four-year schools are about to experience the type of decline that has dogged two-year schools over the past few years?

Source: Census Bureau, School Enrollment in the United States: October 2017—Detailed Tables

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Who Spends the Most on Women's Clothes?

Boomers spend more than any other generation on women's clothes, according to a Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey. While the average household spent $580 on women's clothes in 2017, households headed by Baby Boomers spent $661...

Average household spending on women's clothes, 2017
$661 spent by Boomers
$647 spent by Gen Xers
$493 spent by Millennials
$419 spent by the Silent Generation
$209 spent by the World War II generation

Baby boomers also control the largest share of the women's clothing market...

Distribution of aggregate household spending on women's clothes, 2017 
39% controlled by Boomers
30% controlled by Gen Xers
21% controlled by Millennials
10% controlled by Silent and WWII

In an average week, a substantial 20 percent of Boomer and Gen X households buy women's clothes. Among Millennials, the figure is 18 percent.

Note: BLS definitions of the generations are as follows: WWII generation born in 1927 or earlier; Silent generation born from 1928 to 1945; Boomers born from 1946 to 1964; Generation X born from 1965 to 1980; Millennials born in 1981 or later.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, December 10, 2018

27% Say They Have a Pre-existing Condition

Only 27 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say they have a pre-existing condition, according to a Gallup poll. Among people aged 65 or older, just 38 percent say they have such a condition. These unrealistically low figures show that the public either doesn't understand the meaning of "pre-existing condition" or is afraid to admit they have one—even to a pollster. Government data show that a much larger share of Americans have what could be considered a pre-existing condition. For example...

Clearly, millions more Americans have pre-existing conditions than are willing to admit it, including the majority of older Americans. Why, then, is there any debate at all about whether health insurance companies should be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history?

Source: Gallup, One in Four U.S. Adults Say They Have a Pre-Existing Condition

Friday, December 07, 2018

Student Debt in 2017

Average student debt upon graduation grew to $28,650 in 2017, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. This is the debt owed by 2017 graduates from the nation's four-year public and nonprofit colleges. It does not include amounts borrowed by parents for their children. It also does not include the amount owed by graduates of for-profit schools, who typically owe the most.

Overall, 65 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. The figure varies by state. It was highest in New Hampshire, South Dakota, and West Virginia, where 74 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. It was lowest in Utah, where only 38 percent have student loan debt. Graduates in Connecticut have the highest average debt ($38,510), followed by Pennsylvania ($36,854), and Rhode Island ($36,250). Average debt is lowest in Utah ($18,838).

In California, the state with the most bachelor's degree recipients, a below-average 50 percent of 2017 graduates have student loans. Those with loans owe an average of $22,785—20 percent less than the average college graduate with debt.

Source: Institute for College Access and Success, Student Debt and the Class of 2017

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Retirement Readiness Lags, Especially for Hispanics

The retirement readiness of Americans took a hit from the Great Recession and has yet to recover, according to study by the Center for Retirement Research. CRR researchers assessed retirement readiness by race and Hispanic origin using the National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) and found Hispanics to be worse off than Blacks or non-Hispanic Whites.

The National Retirement Risk Index is calculated by comparing a household's pre-retirement income with the income they are projected to have in retirement based on Social Security benefits, retirement savings, and the hypothetical annuitization of all their assets including housing. Households whose estimated retirement income falls at least 10 percent below their pre-retirement income are considered at risk of having insufficient funds to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. CRR determined NRRI for households headed by 30-to-59-year-olds by race and Hispanic origin using data from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. In 2016, 50 percent of the nation's households fell below the target, meaning half of households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. The 2016 NRRI is lower than the 53 percent of 2010 but significantly higher than the 44 percent of 2007.

National Retirement Risk Index by race and Hispanic origin in 2016 (and 2007)
Total: 50% (44%)
Black: 54% (52%)
Hispanic: 61% (51%)
Non-Hispanic White: 48% (42%)

Regardless of race or Hispanic origin, more households were at risk of running short of money in retirement in 2016 than in 2007. But Hispanics were worse off than Blacks or non-Hispanic Whites, the CRR study found. "The deterioration for Hispanics reflects their buying housing in the wrong places at the wrong time," explain the researchers. Fully 40 percent of Hispanic households live in the states hardest hit by the Great Recession (Nevada, Florida, Arizona, and California) compared with only 20 percent of non-Hispanic White or Black households. Consequently, the value of the homes owned by Hispanics took a bigger hit, losing twice as much in value between 20017 and 2016 (41 percent) as the homes of non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks (21 and 22 percent, respectively). The stability in the NRRI for Black households, the researchers say, is due to Blacks' relatively low pre-retirement standard of living, which is easier to achieve in retirement because of Social Security's progressive benefit formula.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Trends in Retirement Security by Race/Ethnicity

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

10.7 Million Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.

The unauthorized immigrant population in the United States is shrinking, according to a Pew Research Center report. In 2016, there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S., down from the peak of 12.2 million in 2007. Behind the decline are fewer unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, their number falling from 6.95 million in 2007 to 5.45 million in 2016. As the number of Mexicans has declined, the number of Central Americans has grown, rising from 1.50 million in 2007 to 1.85 million in 2016.

Pew's report examines not only trends in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, but also their characteristics. Here are some of the findings...
  • Most unauthorized adult immigrants are long-term residents, having been in the country for a median of 14.8 years.
  • Nearly 700,000 young adults in the U.S. were brought here illegally as children and have temporary protection from deportation under DACA. 
  • 5 million American-born children live with unauthorized immigrant parents.
  • The share of K–12 students who have at least one unauthorized immigrant parent is 20 percent in Nevada, 13 percent in Texas and California, and 11 percent in Arizona and Colorado.
  • Unauthorized immigrants account for 24 percent of the nation's foreign-born population. 
  • Unauthorized immigrants are 4.8 percent of the U.S. labor force. They account for 24 percent of the farm workforce and 15 percent of construction workers.

Pew Research Center, U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Mobility Rate of Renters Falls to 20.1%

The nation's mobility rate hit an all-time low of 10.1 percent in 2017–18, primarily because fewer renters are moving. The mobility rate of renters fell to 20.1 percent in 2017–18, down from more than 30 percent in the early 2000s. One reason for the decline in the mobility rate of renters is that fewer of them are moving after buying a house.

Number of renters aged 1 or older who moved after buying a house (in 000s)
2017–18: 2,350
2016–17: 2,554
2010–11: 1,544 (low)
2005–06: 3,415
2001–02: 4,334
2000–01: 3,942

In 2017–18, about 2.4 million renters moved after buying a house. While this number is higher than the post-Great Recession low of 1.5 million in 2010–11, it is well below the 4.3 million of 2001–02. What are the characteristics of renters who move after buying a house? The 57 percent majority are people aged 30 to 44 and children under age 16. 

Source: Census Bureau, Migration/Geographic Mobility

Monday, December 03, 2018

Median Household Income Stable in October 2018

Median household income in October 2018 stood at $63,220, reports Sentier Research, unchanged from September after adjusting for inflation. The September and October medians are the highest recorded by Sentier since the January 2000 start of its monthly household income series. The October 2018 median was 2.6 percent higher than the October 2017 median, after adjusting for inflation. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis. 

"We are at a point now where real median household income is 3.7 percent higher than January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series," reports Sentier's Gordon Green. "Not an impressive performance by any means over a period spanning almost two decades, but the trend line has been positive for about seven years." More impressive is the 14.8 percent rise in median household income since the post-Great Recession low reached in June 2011—two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index in October 2018 was 103.7 (January 2000 = 100.0). To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: October 2018