Friday, August 16, 2019

Will the U.S. Go to War?

"Do you expect the U.S. to fight in another world war in the next 10 years?" The General Social Survey has been asking this question since the mid-1970s. In every year, a substantial share of the population says yes. The latest data, from the 2018 survey, finds Americans split 50/50 on the chances of a world war within 10 years.

Who is most likely to believe a war is imminent? Women, Blacks, and those without a college degree. Fully 57 percent of women versus 43 percent of men think the U.S. will fight in another world war in the next 10 years, according to the 2018 survey. Among Blacks, 65 percent feel that way versus about half of Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites and just 11 percent of Asians. The 55 percent majority of those without a college degree think we will soon fight in a world war versus 40 percent of college graduates.

Historically, this "Fear Meter" was highest in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The percentage of Americans who thought we would engage in a world war within 10 years was just 38 percent in 2000, before the attacks. The next time the question was asked, in 2002, fully 68 percent thought we would soon be in a world war. The Fear Meter was lowest in 1989–90, when only 29 to 32 percent thought the U.S. would fight in a world war within 10 years. What was going on at the time? The fall of the Berlin Wall, giving hope to Americans that greater world peace was at hand.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Thursday, August 15, 2019

32% Can Speak a Language other than English

Nearly one-third of Americans aged 18 or older (32 percent) say they can speak a language other than English, according to the 2018 General Social Survey. This figure has been growing slowly over the years and is up from 28 percent a decade ago.

Not surprisingly, Asians and Hispanics are most likely to say they can speak a language other than English—83 and 69 percent, respectively. In contrast, only 22 percent of Blacks and non-Hispanic Whites are multilingual. By generation, the youngest Americans are most likely to be able to speak a language other than English...

Can speak a language other than English
iGeneration: 43%
Millennials: 39%
Gen Xers: 33%
Boomers: 26%
Older: 13%

Note: In 2018 the iGeneration was aged 18 to 23; Millennials were aged 24 to 41; Gen Xers were aged 42 to 53; Boomers were aged 54 to 72; and older Americans were aged 73 or older.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Why Aren't More Men Working?

Fewer men of prime working age are in the labor force. Among men aged 25 to 54, the labor force participation rate fell from 96 percent in 1969 to 89 percent in 2018. Or, to put it another way, more than 1 in 10 men of prime working age are not in the labor force today, up from 1 in 25 in 1969. What accounts for this increase? A BLS examination of the characteristics of nonworking men deepens the mystery—and may reveal the answer.

Using data from the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth, BLS economist Donna Rothstein compares the characteristics of nonworking men aged 30 to 36 from two cohorts—those born from 1960 through 1964 and those born from 1980 through 1984. She defines "nonworking" as men who had not worked for at least one year prior to the NLSY interview. Her analysis reveals that, if anything, the younger cohort of nonworking men was less disadvantaged than the older cohort...

  • The percentage of nonworkers with a health condition that limited their ability to work fell from 51 percent in the older cohort to 41 percent in the younger cohort.  
  • The percentage of nonworkers who were interviewed in prison (making it impossible to work) fell from 24 percent in the older cohort to 16 percent in the younger cohort.
  • The percentage of nonworkers with scores in the bottom 25th percentile of the Armed Forces Qualification Test (administered by the NLSY survey) was 64 percent in the older cohort and a smaller 53 percent in the younger cohort. 

Being less disadvantaged than the older cohort, men in the younger cohort should have been more likely to work. But Rothstein's analysis uncovers a difference that might explain their lower labor force participation. Nonworking men in the  younger cohort were much less likely than those in the older cohort to have ever married: 70 percent of the nonworkers in the younger cohort had never married versus 52 percent in the older cohort. According to a recent NBER study, this fact may be the key. The NBER study theorizes that the decline in marriage is the reason men of prime working age are less likely to be in the labor force. Without the pressure to support a family, men are less likely to work.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Men Who Do Not Work During Their Prime Years: Who do the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth Data Reveal?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How Many First Marriages End in Divorce?

The expected duration of a first marriage is eight years shorter than it used to be, according to a study by sociologist Arun S. Hendi of Princeton University in the journal Demography. Nearly all of the decline occurred between 1960 and 1980, with little change between 1980 and 2010.

In the 1960s, first marriages had an expected duration of 34 years. By 1980, the figure had fallen to 26 years. Behind the decline was the rising probability of divorce. In the early 1960s, the probability of divorce was 20 to 22 percent. By the early 1980s, the probability of divorce had more than doubled, rising to 48 percent. Since 1980, the probability of a first marriage ending in divorce has not increased significantly, and the expected duration of a first marriage has remained at about 26 years.

This is a surprising finding, Hendi notes, because it "lies in contrast to other recent reports that the propensity for divorce has either increased dramatically or decreased. Period estimates indicate that the reality lies somewhere in between." Between 1980 and 2010, he says, "the probability of a first marriage ending in divorce increased by approximately 1%."

Source, Demography, Proximate Sources of Change in Trajectories of First Marriage in the United States, 1960–2010, Arun S. Hendi, Volume 56, Issue 3 ($39.95)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Men Prefer Beer. Women Prefer Wine

Beer is still the alcoholic beverage of choice for the largest share of drinking Americans (38 percent), but wine (30 percent) and liquor (29 percent) are not far behind. Men and women differ greatly in their choice of beer or wine. But they are about equally likely to drink liquor...

Drink beer most often
Men: 55%
Women: 21%

Drink wine most often
Men: 15%
Women: 45%

Drink liquor most often
Men: 26%
Women: 32%

Source: Gallup, Liquor Ties Wine as Second-Favorite Adult Beverage in U.S.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Use of CBD Products by Age

A surprisingly large 14 percent of Americans use CBD products, according to a Gallup survey. Young adults are most likely to use them...

Percent who personally use CBD products
Aged 18 to 29: 20%
Aged 30 to 49: 16%
Aged 50 to 64: 11%
Aged 65-plus: 8%

Half of adults say they do not use CBD products, and 35 percent have never heard of them.

Interestingly, the percentage of the population using CBD products is almost equal to the percentage who say they smoked marijuana in the past week (15 percent), according to another Gallup survey. Among people aged 65 or older, a larger share use CBD products (8 percent) than marijuana (3 percent).

Source: Gallup, 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products

Thursday, August 08, 2019

How Close is Your Grocery Store?

How far do Americans live from the nearest supermarket? Using a combination of store and population data, the USDA's Economic Research Service estimated how far Americans have to go to get to the nearest store.

Percent distribution of population by distance to nearest supermarket
Under 0.5 miles: 30.0%
0.5 to 1.0 miles: 29.9%
More than 1.0 miles: 40.0%

The median distance to the nearest supermarket for the population as a whole is 0.88 miles. Not surprisingly, people in urban areas are closer to a food store than those in rural areas. The median distance to the nearest supermarket for people in urban areas is 0.69 miles, while people in rural areas are a median of 3.11 miles from the nearest store.

"Accessing affordable and nutritious food is a challenge for many Americans," explains the report. One of the goals of the analysis was to determine how many Americans live in census tracts with "low access" to food stores. Low access is defined, for urban residents, as living more than 1 mile from the nearest supermarket. For rural residents, low-access is defined as living more than 10 miles from the nearest store. The state with the largest share of low-access census tracts relative to the state's total census tracts is South Dakota (62.6 percent).

Another goal of the analysis was to determine how many Americans live in census tracts that are both low access and low income. The state with the largest share of low-access/low-income census tracts relative to the state's total census tracts is Mississippi (31.3 percent).

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Understanding Low-Income and Low-Access Census Tracts Across the Nation: Subnational and Subpopulation Estimates of Access to Healthy Food

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Most People Can't Be Trusted

It's not only the number of candles on a birthday cake that separate younger from older Americans. A survey by Pew Research Center finds a huge attitudinal gap between young adults (aged 18 to 29) and older Americans (aged 65-plus) on matters of trust.

Pew surveyed Americans to measure their level of interpersonal trust, then categorized respondents as high, medium, or low trusters based on their answers to three questions—can people be trusted, do people try to be fair no matter what, and do people try to help others. Overall, 22 percent of adults are high trusters, 41 percent are medium trusters, and 35 percent are low trusters.

There are big differences by age. Nearly half (46 percent) of 18-to-29-year-olds are low trusters, reports Pew. Among people aged 65 or older, only 19 percent fall into this category. The 60 percent majority of young adults say most people can't be trusted (versus 29 percent of people aged 65 or older), 71 percent say most people try to take advantage of you if they get a chance (versus 39 percent), and 73 percent say most of the time people just look out for themselves (versus 48 percent).

Stark differences emerge between young adults and the oldest Americans on a number of other questions as well. For example, only 35 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds versus 67 percent of people aged 65 or older have a fair or great deal of confidence in the American people to respect the rights of those who are not like them. Just 44 percent of young adults versus 66 percent of those aged 65-plus have a fair or great deal of confidence in the American public to accept election results no matter who wins.

Source: Pew Research Center, Young Americans Are Less Trusting of Other People—and Key Institutions—than Their Elders

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Unlike Boomers, Most Millennials Attended College Regardless of Family Income

Going to college was not the norm for the Baby-Boom generation. Among high school graduates born from 1960 through 1964, the youngest Boomers, only 44 percent had enrolled in college within four years of high school graduation. For Millennials, in contrast, going to college was the norm. Among Millennial high school graduates born from 1980 though 1984, a much larger 73 percent had enrolled in college within four years of high school graduation.

Family income largely determined the college attendance of Boomers, with the majority of those only in the top income quartile going to college. Not so for Millennials. The majority of Millennials in every family income quartile went to college. Here are the percentages attending college within four years of high school graduation by birth cohort and family income quartile...

Bottom income quartile
Born 1960–64: 32.5%
Born 1980–84: 62.3%

2nd income quartile
Born 1960–64: 41.4%
Born 1980–84: 66.1%

3rd income quartile
Born 1960–64: 43.2%
Born 1980–84: 74.0%

Top income quartile
Born 1960–64: 61.1%
Born 1980–84: 84.8%

The increase in college attendance among young adults with low and mid-level family incomes is one factor behind the rise in student debt over the past few decades.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, College Attendance and Completion Higher among Millennials than Youngest Baby Boomers

Monday, August 05, 2019

Have Gun in Home

Thirty-five percent of Americans have a gun in their home, according to the 2018 General Social Survey. Another 3 percent refused to say whether they had a gun. The percentage of households with a gun has fallen from a high of more than 50 percent in the early 1980s.

Gun ownership does not vary much by generation, ranging from a low of 31 percent among Millennials to a high of 40 percent among Gen Xers and Boomers. By region, households in the Northeast are least likely to own a gun (21 percent) and those in the Midwest and South most likely (41 percent). The biggest difference in gun ownership is by race and Hispanic origin...

Percent of households with guns by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2018
Black: 22.0%
Hispanic: 18.6%
Non-Hispanic White: 44.7%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Friday, August 02, 2019

Median Household Income Rises in June 2019

Median household income climbed 0.9 percent between May and June 2019, after adjusting for inflation. The $64,430 June median was $593 greater than the May 2019 median, according to Sentier Research. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis.

"Real median household income continued to display an upward trend over the past 12 months (up 1.8 percent)," says Sentier's Gordon Green, "and especially since the low point reached in June 2011 (up 15.9 percent)." At the June 2011 low point—two years after the official end of the Great Recession— median household income was just $55,612.  

Sentier's Household Income Index for June 2019 was 104.7 (January 2000 = 100.0). In other words, the June 2019 median, after adjusting for inflation, was just 4.7 percent higher than the median of January 2000—almost two decades ago. "Not an impressive performance by any means," says Green. To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: June 2019

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Weapons in Schools

School safety is a big concern, and a recent National Center for Education Statistics report shows why. In the 2017–18 school year, public schools reported 3,600 incidents in which a firearm or explosive device was brought into a school (3 percent of schools reported this type of incident) and 69,100 incidents in which a knife or sharp object was brought into a school (reported by 38 percent).

These reports are just the tip of the iceberg, judging from the results of the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. This biennial survey of students in 9th through 12th grade was developed to monitor risky teen behaviors. According to the 2017 survey, 3.8 percent of students in 9th through 12th grade said they had carried a weapon (such as a gun, knife, club, etc.) onto school property in the past month. With 16.7 million high school students in the nation, this means more than 600,000 had brought a weapon to school in the past month. Among boys, 5.6 percent had done so. Boys in 11th and 12th grade were most likely to have brought a weapon to school—7.1 and 7.0 percent, respectively.

Overall, 6.0 percent of high school students say they were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property in the past year. Among boys, 7.8 percent had been threatened with a weapon. Boys in 9th grade were most likely to report this kind of experience, at 8.8 percent. 

Source: CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Youth Online High School Results

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Hispanic Paradox Grows

Hispanics have lower death rates and a longer life expectancy than non-Hispanic Whites. This is true despite the fact that Hispanics are poorer than non-Hispanic Whites and less likely to have health insurance. Their mortality advantage is known as the "Hispanic paradox" because demographers cannot explain it.

The Hispanic paradox is growing, according to a National Center for Health Statistics' analysis of trends in mortality rates. For Hispanics aged 25 or older in 2017, the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population was 31 percent lower than the rate for non-Hispanic Whites. In 2000, the Hispanic death rate was only 23 percent lower than the non-Hispanic White rate.

Death rate per 100,000 population aged 25 or older, 2017 (and 2000)
Hispanics: 784.4 (995.1)
Non-Hispanic Whites: 1,137.4 (1,288.1)

Between 2000 and 2017, the age-adjusted death rate for Hispanics aged 25 or older fell 21 percent. The non-Hispanic White death rate fell by only 12 percent. "The mortality advantage for Hispanic adults has endured through 2017," concludes the NCHS report, "and has been increasing with respect to non-Hispanic white adults."

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality Trends by Race and Ethnicity among Adults Aged 25 and Over: United States, 2000–2017

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Marijuana Almost as Popular as Cigarettes

More than one in four Americans (27 percent) smoked something in the past week, according to a Gallup survey. Fifteen percent of adults aged 18 or older smoked cigarettes, 12 percent smoked marijuana, and 8 percent vaped. (Some smoked more than one kind of product.)

Cigarettes are more popular than marijuana among the population as a whole, but marijuana is more popular than cigarettes in some demographic segments...

Young adults: 22 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds smoked marijuana in the past week. This figure greatly exceeds the 14 percent who smoked cigarettes. In every other age group, cigarettes are more popular than marijuana. Young adults are more likely to vape (19 percent) than smoke cigarettes.

College graduates: Smoking marijuana is more popular than cigarettes among college graduates—13 percent have smoked marijuana in the past week versus 9 percent who have smoked cigarettes. Among those with no college education, 20 percent had smoked cigarettes in the past week versus a smaller 13 percent who had smoked marijuana.

Affluent: Those with incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to have smoked marijuana (10 percent) than cigarettes (5 percent) in the past week.

Source: Gallup, Marijuana Use Similar to New Lower Rate of Cigarette Smoking

Monday, July 29, 2019

Online "Almost Constantly" Continues to Rise

More than one in four American aged 18 or older say they are online "almost constantly," according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. Among adults, 28 percent say they are almost constantly online, up from 21 percent in 2015. Among the youngest adults, nearly half say they are online almost constantly...

Online "almost constantly"
Aged 18 to 29: 48%
Aged 30 to 49: 36%
Aged 50 to 64: 19%
Aged 65-plus: 7%

In addition to young adults, the other demographics segments most likely to be online almost constantly are college graduates (36 percent), Hispanics (34 percent), and those with a household income of $75,000 or more (34 percent).

Source: Pew Research Center, About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are 'Almost Constantly' Online

Friday, July 26, 2019

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 2nd Quarter 2019

Homeownership rate of householders aged 35 to 39, second quarter 2019: 56.1%

The homeownership rate of the 35-to-39 age group fell in the second quarter of 2019, down a significant 2.2 percentage points from the first-quarter figure. In the two previous quarters, the rate had exceeded 58 percent for the first time since 2011. But that rise may have been a blip, with the latest figure hovering not far above the post-Great Recession low of 54.6 percent in 2015. The homeownership rate of the age group peaked at 65.7 percent in 2007

What about their younger counterparts? Householders aged 30 to 34 were once the nation's first-time home buyers—defined as the age group in which the homeownership rate first surpasses 50 percent. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds was stable at 47.5 percent in the second quarter of 2019. The homeownership rate of the age group peaked at 55.3 percent in 2007, fell below 50 percent in 2011, and has been stuck below that level ever since. 


Nationally, the homeownership rate was 64.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, not statistically different from the rate one year earlier.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Most Smokers Want (and Have Tried) to Quit

Don't get mad at smokers when you're dodging second-hand smoke on city streets, in doorways, alleys, and parking lots. Feel sorry for them instead. Most smokers do not want to smoke. Most have tried to quit—not just once upon a time but within the past year.

According to a government survey, 65 percent of adult smokers have attempted to quit in the past year. This surprisingly large figure is not big enough, says the CDC, which wants to see the attempted quit rate rise to 80 percent by 2020. Why is a larger number so important? Because the more smokers who attempt to quit, the more who will succeed. Apparently, quitting takes a lot of practice. Smokers who manage to quit have tried to do so an average of 30 times, the CDC reports.

Percentage of smokers who have attempted to quit in the past year by age, 2017
Total 18-plus: 65.4%
Aged 18 to 24: 76.4%
Aged 25 to 44: 68.6%
Aged 45 to 64: 60.8%
Aged 65-plus: 55.8%

In every state, most smokers have tried to quit in the past 12 months. The percentage ranges from a low of 58.6 percent in Wisconsin to a high of 71.6 percent in Connecticut.

Source: CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Quit Attempts among Adult Cigarette Smokers—United States, 2011–2017

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Median Sales Price of New Homes Slips

The median sales price of new single-family houses sold fell slightly in 2018 to $326,400. This is below the 2017 record high of $331,000, after adjusting for inflation. Until 2018, the median sales price of new single-family houses sold had increased in every year since 2011.

Median sales price of new single-family homes sold, 2005 to 2018 (in 2018 dollars)
2018: $326,400
2017: $331,000 (record high)
2016: $322,000
2015: $311,700
2011: $253,600 (post Great Recession low)
2010: $255,400
2005: $309,700 (pre Great Recession high)

Perhaps there's a reason new home prices fell a bit in 2018. The falling price may be due to a lack of customers. Sales of new single-family houses are struggling to return to their historical average prior to the Great Recession. Between 1978 and 1999, an average of 652,000 new single-family houses were sold each year. In 2018, only 617,000 were sold—well below the average despite a bigger population and the presence of the large Millennial generation is in the home buying age groups.

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of New Housing

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Bad Guys with Guns

How many criminals carry a gun when they commit their crime? Fewer than you might think. Only 21 percent of all state and federal prisoners carried or possessed a firearm during the crime for which they were imprisoned, according to a survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Among criminals who possessed a gun, most used it in some way and 27 percent shot and killed someone. Here are the outcomes for state prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense...

State prisoners who possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were imprisoned
Total who possessed firearm: 100.0%
Did not use firearm: 32.0%
Showed, pointed, or discharged firearm: 68.0%
  Discharged firearm: 46.5%
     Killed victim: 27.1%
     Shot but did not kill victim: 12.4%
     Discharged firearm but did not shoot anyone: 7.0%
  Did not discharge firearm: 21.5%

Where did these guns come from? Among all state and federal prisoners who possessed a gun when they committed the offense for which they were imprisoned, the largest share—43 percent—obtained the gun from the street or in the underground market. Another 25 percent got their gun from a family member or friend. Only 10 percent bought the gun at a retail store.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016

Monday, July 22, 2019

Many Teens Are Trying to Lose Weight

More than one in three teenagers has tried to lose weight in the past year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Among 16-to-19-year-olds in 2013–16, a substantial 38 percent have tried to lose weight, up from 24 percent in 2009–10.

Girls are more likely than boys to have tried to lose weight—45.2 percent of girls versus 30.1 percent of boys. Here is the percentage of 16-to-19-year-olds who tried to lose weight in the past year by sex, race, and Hispanic origin...

Percentage of 16-to-19-year-olds who tried to lose weight in past year
54.8% of Hispanic girls
46.6% of Hispanic boys
42.6% of non-Hispanic Black girls
41.3% of non-Hispanic Asian girls
40.7% of non-Hispanic White girls
25.7% of non-Hispanic White boys
20.6% of non-Hispanic Black boys
18.7% of non-Hispanic Asian boys

Obese teens are most likely to try to lose weight, with 77.7 percent trying in the past year. Among teens who are overweight but not obese, the 58.9 percent majority had attempted to lose weight. Among teens with normal weight, 18.5 percent had tried to shed pounds. The most commonly reported methods for losing weight were exercising (83.5 percent), drinking more water (52.3 percent), and eating less (48.6 percent).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Attempts to Lose Weight among Adolescents Aged 16–19 in the United States, 2013–16

Friday, July 19, 2019

(Only) 23% Want to Spend More on Space Exploration

Should the U.S. spend more on space exploration? Only about one in four Americans aged 18 or older say yes, according to the General Social Survey. That's not many supporters, but it's a lot more than it used to be.

Percent who think the U.S. spends too little on space exploration
2018: 22.8%
2008: 13.6%
1998: 10.3%
1988: 18.4%
1978: 12.9%
1975:   8.0%

The Apollo program put a man on the Moon 50 years ago tomorrow, on July 20, 1969. The program ended a few years later in 1975. It's easy to see why. At the time, only 8 percent of the public said the U.S. was spending too little on space exploration. Fully 60 percent thought we were spending too much. 

Times have changed. The share of Americans who think we're spending too much on space exploration fell from 60 percent in 1975 to just 25 percent in 2018. A nearly equal number—23 percent—now want to spend more on space exploration, nearly three times the 8 percent of 1975. 

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Big Increase in Deaths due to Unintentional Injuries

The third leading cause of death in the United States is what the CDC calls "unintentional injuries"—or accidents. Because a growing number of people are dying from unintentional injuries, this cause of death has been rising among leading causes of death. From 2000 through 2012, it was the fifth leading cause of death. It rose to fourth place in 2013 and climbed into third place in 2015, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Not only were there 74 percent more accidental deaths in 2017 than in 2000, but the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population grew from 34.9 to 49.4 during those years. Three types of unintentional injuries account for the great majority of accidental deaths—drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. These three causes accounted for 80 percent of all unintentional injury deaths in 2017...

Unintentional injury deaths in 2017
Total deaths: 169,936 (100.0%)
Drug overdoses: 61,311 (36.1%)
Motor vehicles: 38,659 (22.7%)
Falling: 36,338 (21.4%)
Other: 33,628 (19.8%)

Drug overdoses are the most common type of accidental death, accounting for 36 percent of unintentional injury deaths in 2017. The number of accidental drug overdoses more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2017. The age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population climbed from 4.1 to 19.1 during those years.

Motor vehicle accidents were once the most common type of accidental death, but drug overdoses surpassed them in 2013. The number of motor vehicle deaths has fallen slightly over the years—from 41,994 in 2000 to 38,659 in 2017. The age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population fell from 14.9 to 11.5 during those years.

Falls, like drug overdoses, are a growing cause of accidental death. In 2017 there were almost as many deaths from falls as there were from motor vehicle accidents. This was not the case in 2000, when motor vehicle deaths outnumbered deaths from falls by more than three to one. Growth of the 85-plus population is one reason for the greater number of deaths from falls.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Unintentional Injury Death Rates in Rural and Urban Areas: United States, 1999–2017

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

College Graduates One Year Later

Earning a college degree is still worth the cost, say the experts. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board, for example, finds the rate of return on a bachelor's degree is much greater than the rate of return on other investments.

The Fed's finding may comfort recent college graduates. They need encouragement. That's because most are in debt and not yet making much money, according to a longitudinal study by the National Center for Education Statistics. The study looked at the status of 2015–16 college graduates one year after they received their degree. Here are some of the findings...
  • The 67 percent majority had borrowed money to pay for their education, with the average cumulative amount borrowed a hefty $30,500. 
  • The median annualized earnings of those who with a full-time job was just $39,900.
  • Only 47 percent had a salaried job.
  • One in four worked for an employer who did not offer job benefits such as health insurance or a retirement plan. 
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B:16/17): A First Look at the Employment and Educational Experiences of College Graduates, 1 Year Later

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why Are So Many Households Financially Fragile?

Forty-one percent of American households say they would have trouble paying an unexpected $400 expense, according to the Federal Reserve Board's 2017 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). What accounts for this astonishingly high figure? That's what Anqi Chen of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wanted to find out. To determine the reasons for the financial fragility of such a large swath of the population, Chen analyzed 2017 SHED data and the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Low-income households are most likely to say they could not pay for an unexpected $400 expense. A substantial share of higher-income households also say they could not do it...

Household could not pay for an unexpected $400 expense, by household income
Under $25,000: 72%
$25,000 to $49,999: 59%
$50,000 to $74,999: 40%
$75,000 to $99,999: 34%
$100,000 or more: 17%

Chen found several reasons for this widespread financial fragility. About half of those who say they could not pay an unexpected $400 expense literally do not have $400 in their checking or savings accounts. The question is, why do those who have the money in their bank accounts feel so fragile? Because their funds are needed to pay down debt, says Chen. Student loans, installment loans, and oversized mortgages prevent many households with solidly middle-class incomes from accumulating a rainy day fund that could cover an unexpected $400 expense.

Source: Center for Retirement Research, Why Are So Many Households Unable to Cover a $400 Unexpected Expense?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Let's Send an Astronaut to Mars!

Democrats and Republicans agree about one thing—Americans of both political persuasions want to see an astronaut go to Mars. The 55 percent majority of both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of the United States spending money to send an astronaut to the Red Planet. By age, support for sending an astronaut to Mars does not vary all that much either...

Percent who support sending an astronaut to Mars
Total adults: 53%
Aged 18 to 29: 65%
Aged 30 to 49: 54%
Aged 50 to 64: 48%
Aged 65-plus: 46%

The public's support for sending an astronaut to Mars has been growing. Among total adults, only 43 percent favored it in 1999, 10 percentage points below the level of 2019. During those years, the biggest increase in support occurred among Americans aged 65 or older. Only 21 percent of older Americans wanted to spend money to send an astronaut to Mars in 1999. Perhaps because boomers have been filling the 65-plus age group, support has grown to the 46 percent of today.

Source: Gallup, For First Time, Majority in U.S. Backs Human Mission to Mars

Friday, July 12, 2019

U.S. Is Biggest Net Importer of Cuisines

American culture may dominate movies and music around the world, but it does not dominate restaurant cuisines, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study.

University of Minnesota economist Joe Waldfogel uses TripAdvisor data on 148 restaurant cuisines and Euromonitor data on restaurant expenditures in at least the top 60 cities of 52 countries. After analyzing this voluminous data, Waldfogel's principal finding is that the U.S. is the world's largest net importer of cuisines, with a deficit of $130 billion in 2017, excluding fast food. When fast food is included, the deficit falls to $55 billion, but the U.S. remains the biggest net importer of cuisines. Italy and Japan are the largest net exporters of their cuisines, followed by Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, and France.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Dining Out as Cultural Trade, NBER Working Paper 26020 ($5)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Single-Person Households Will Grow the Most

During the decade ahead, single-person households are projected to increase more than any other type, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The number of single-person households will expand by nearly 5 million between 2018 and 2028—a 13 percent increase. This compares with a 10 percent rise in the total number of households during the time period (from 127.8 million to 140.0 million). Most of the growth in single-person households will take place in the 65-plus age group.

The aging of the population will also lead to an expansion in the number of married couples without children under age 18 at home—most of them empty nesters. These households will increase by 4 million, a 10 percent rise. At the same time, the number of married couples with children under age 18 at home is projected to increase by a below-average 7 percent—a gain of less than 2 million.

Number of households in 2018 and 2028 (and percent increase, 2018 to 2028)
Married couples, no kids: 39.2 million, rising to 42.9 million (10%)
Single-person households: 34.7 million, rising to 39.4 million (13%)
Married couples, with kids: 24.4 million, rising to 26.0 million (7%)
Other types of households: 19.0 million, rising to 20.5 million (8%)
Unmarried with kids: 10.6 million, rising to 11.2 million (6%)

Note: "With kids" refers to children under age 18 at home.

Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Updated Household Growth Projections: 2018–2028 and 2028–2038, Appendix Tables

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Time Spent Alone Increases with Age

Americans aged 60 or older spend more than half their waking hours alone—7 hours a day, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. This is more time alone than any other age group. People aged 40 to 59 spend 4.75 hours alone, and those under age 40 spend 3.5 hours alone on an average day.

Among people aged 60 or older, those who live alone spend the most time alone—10 hours 33 minutes on an average day. Alone time among those with a spouse is just half that, at 5 hours 21 minutes a day. Older women spend more time alone than their male counterparts because they are more likely to be widowed and increasingly so with age...

Daily time spent alone (hours:minutes) among women aged 60 or older
Aged 60 to 69: 6:40
Aged 70 to 79: 7:53
Aged 80-plus: 8:34

Note: Measured time includes all waking hours, except for time spent in personal activities.

Source: Pew Research Center, On Average, Older Adults Spend Over Half Their Waking Hours Alone

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Online Banking Is the Norm

The use of online banking is nearly universal in the United States today, according to FINRA's latest National Financial Capability Study. Fully 84 percent of Americans with bank accounts use online, computer-based (laptop or desktop) banking at least sometimes. The 59 percent majority uses online, computer-based banking frequently.

Mobile banking is also now the norm. Fully 65 percent of Americans with bank accounts say they use their phone to bank at least sometimes, and 42 percent do so frequently.

Online banking using a laptop or desktop computer does not vary much by age, while mobile banking is much more common among young adults...

Use online banking via a laptop or desktop computer
Aged 18 to 34: 87%
Aged 35 to 54: 85%
Aged 55-plus: 81%

Use mobile banking via a smartphone
Aged 18 to 34: 87%
Aged 35 to 54: 74%
Aged 55-plus: 42%

A substantial portion of the population uses smartphones to pay at point of sale, with 35 percent doing so at least sometimes. About the same percentage (37 percent) use their phones at least sometimes to transfer money to another person—such as through the Venmo or Zelle apps. Younger adults are most likely to do these things. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, 53 percent have used their mobile phone to pay at point of sale, and 60 percent have transferred money to another person using their phone. Among people aged 55 or older, the figures are just 17 and 15 percent, respectively.

Source: FINRA Investor Education Foundation, The State of U.S. Financial Capability: The 2018 National Financial Capability Study

Monday, July 08, 2019

Median Household Income Falls Slightly in May 2019

Median household income fell slightly to $63,799 in May 2019. This was $353 lower than the April 2019 median after adjusting for inflation, according to Sentier Research. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis.

The May 2019 median was 0.9 percent higher than the May 2018 median, after adjusting for inflation. It was 14.4 percent higher than the post-Great Recession low reached in June 2011 ($55,783)—a bottom hit two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index for May 2019 was 103.4 (January 2000 = 100.0). In other words, the May 2019 median, after adjusting for inflation, was just 3.4 percent higher than the median of January 2000—almost two decades ago. "Not an impressive performance by any means," says Green. To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: May 2019

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Only 45% Are Extremely Proud to be an American

Pride in being an American has hit the lowest point since Gallup began to ask the question in 2001. Only 45 percent of adults today are "extremely proud" to be an American—the second consecutive year below 50 percent, reports Gallup. This figure was as high as 70 percent in 2003, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pride in being an American is highly polarized today not only by political affiliation but also by age...

Percent "extremely" proud to be an American, 2019
76% of Republicans
63% of people aged 65 or older
57% of people aged 50 to 64
38% of people aged 30 to 49
24% of people aged 18 to 29
22% of Democrats

The percentage of Republicans who are extremely proud to be an American has grown since Trump was elected, rising from 68 percent in 2016 to the 76 percent of today. The percentage of Democrats who are extremely proud to be an American has plunged since Trump was elected, falling from 44 percent in 2016 to the 22 percent of today. "Record-low American patriotism is the latest casualty of the sharply polarized political climate in the U.S. today," Gallup concludes.

Source: Gallup, American Pride Hits New Low; Few Proud of Political System

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

60% of Preschoolers Are in Day Care

The 60 percent majority of children under age 6 and not yet in kindergarten participate in at least one weekly nonparental care arrangement. Among infants under age 1, just 47 percent are in nonparental care at least once a week. The share is 54 percent among 1- and 2-year-olds and rises to 73 percent among children aged 3 to 5.

Distribution of preschoolers in nonparental care at least once a week by type of arrangement
42% are in a day care center only
20% are cared for by a grandparent only
  9% are cared for by a nonrelative in another home only
  5% are cared for by an aunt/uncle/other relative only
  3% are cared for by a nonrelative in own home only
20% have multiple types of arrangements

The percentage of children cared for by a grandparent only is highest among infants, at 38 percent. A smaller 26 percent of 1- and 2-year-olds are cared for only by grandparents, with the figure falling to just 8 percent among 3-to-5-year-olds. The percentage who are in a day care center only rises with age from 21 percent of infants to 56 percent of 3-to-5-year-olds.

Child care can be costly. Two-thirds of parents who use nonparental care pay for the service. The average out-of-pocket cost for those who pay is $6.93 per hour. That's $139 a week for 20 hours and $277 a week for 40 hours of care.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, The Costs of Child Care: Results from the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey

Monday, July 01, 2019

Where Kids Go to School

Despite the rise of charter schools, the great majority of children in grades 1 through 12 attend a traditional public school...

Distribution of children in grades 1 through 12 by type of school attended
85.9% attend a traditional public school
  4.6% attend a charter school
  7.6% attend a religious private school
  1.9% attend a nonsectarian private school

The above figures do not include homeschooled children. Overall, 3.3 percent of children aged 5 to 17 are homeschooled.

Among parents with children enrolled in grades 1 through 12 at a public school, 20 percent moved to their current neighborhood for its school. Those most likely to move to a neighborhood for its public school are Asians (27.4 percent), parents with a bachelor's (24.5 percent) or graduate (30.2 percent) degree, those with family incomes at least two times the poverty level (23.6 percent), and suburban residents (24.4 percent).

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2017

Friday, June 28, 2019

How Many Americans Are Gay?

According to the American public, fully 23.6 percent of the U.S. population—nearly one in four adults—is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. That's what a Gallup survey finds. This guesstimate by the public is far larger than what Americans report when they are asked about their sexual orientation.

When Gallup asked about sexual orientation in 2017, only 4.5 percent of adults identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. When the General Social Survey asked about sexual orientation in 2018, only 5.0 percent identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

But many Americans are hesitant to identify themselves as LGBTQ—especially older people. So a more accurate measure of the gay, lesbian, or bisexual population is likely to be found in the responses of younger adults—Millennials. According to the 2017 Gallup survey, 8.2 percent of Millennials identify themselves as LGBTQ versus only 2.4 percent of Baby Boomers. According to the 2018 General Social Survey, 8.9 percent of Millennials identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual versus 1.6 percent of Boomers.

Even among Millennials, however, the percentage who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual has been rising as the public's acceptance of the LGBTQ population has grown. Only 5.8 percent of Millennials identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual in 2012, reports Gallup, well below the 8.2 percent of 2017. So, it's likely that the LGBTQ population is even larger than the responses of young adults suggest. But it's unlikely to be as high as the public's guesstimate of 23.6 percent of Americans.

Source: Gallup, Americans Still Greatly Overestimate U.S. Gay Population

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fewer Are Reading Because of Smartphones and TV

Reading for personal interest continues to decline as a leisure activity. The percentage of Americans who read on an average day fell from 24.9 percent in 2007 (prior to the Great Recession and before smartphones became a thing) to just 17.5 percent in 2018. During those years, the number of people who read for personal interest on an average day fell from 57 million to 46 million—a loss of more than 10 million daily participants despite a growing U.S. population.

Percent reading for personal interest on an average day, 2018 (and 2007)
Aged 15 to 19:   8.3% (  9.4%)
Aged 20 to 24:   6.9% (  9.0%)
Aged 25 to 34:   8.4% (13.3%)
Aged 35 to 44: 13.3% (18.6%)
Aged 45 to 54: 13.6% (27.5%)
Aged 55 to 64: 21.4% (35.4%)
Aged 65-plus:  36.9% (50.3%)

While the lure of the smartphone screen and video gaming are the probable reasons for the reading decline among younger adults, television is the likely culprit among people aged 65 or older. The amount of time people aged 65-plus watch television on an average day grew from 3.98 to 4.51 hours between 2007 and 2018.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2018 American Time Use Survey

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Suicide Rate Continues to Rise

The suicide rate in the United States continues to rise. A recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics examines the increase by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin. The results are disturbing and a sign that something is very wrong.

The age-adjusted suicide rate climbed 33 percent between 1999 and 2017— from 10.5 to 14.0 deaths per 100,000 standard population. (To compare deaths over time, statisticians age-adjust the rates so that results are not affected by changes in the age structure of the population.) The 33 percent increase is bad, but it is dwarfed by even larger increases in some age groups...

  • The age-adjusted male suicide rate rose 26 percent between 1999 and 2017. The rate increased significantly in all but the oldest age group (75-plus). The biggest increases in the rate occurred among 10-to-14-year-olds (up 74 percent) and 45-to-64-year-olds (up 45 percent). 
  • The age-adjusted female suicide rate grew by 53 percent between 1999 and 2017, although females remain far less likely than males to commit suicide. In 2017, the age-adjusted female suicide rate was 6.1 deaths per 100,000 population versus the 22.4 deaths for males. The suicide rate among females increased significantly in all but the oldest age group (75-plus). Between 1999 and 2017, the biggest increases in the female suicide rate occurred in the 10-to-14 (up 240 percent) and 15-to-24 (up 93 percent) age groups.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 8th leading cause of death among males. By race and Hispanic origin, the suicide rate for both males and females is highest among American Indians and non-Hispanic Whites.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Suicide Rates for Females and Males by Race and Ethnicity: United States, 1999 and 2017

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Non-Hispanic Whites: 60% of Total Population in 2018

For the second year in a row, the non-Hispanic White population fell slightly, according to the Census Bureau's population estimates for 2018. The number of non-Hispanic Whites peaked in 2016, fell by 95,000 between 2016 and 2017 and by another 152,000 between 2017 and 2018.

Among non-Hispanic Whites, every age group under age 25 lost population between 2016 and 2018, with the biggest decline (3.3 percent) occurring among 20-to-24-year-olds. Non-Hispanic Whites accounted for the 60 percent majority of the total U.S. population in 2018. The share will fall below 50 percent in 2045, according to Census Bureau projections.

Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2018 (numbers in millions)
Total: 327.2 (100.0%)
Asian: 22.6 (6.9%)
Black: 47.8 (14.6%)
Hispanic: 59.9 (18.3%)
Non-Hispanic White: 197.5 (60.4%)

Note: Asians and Blacks are those who identify themselves as being of the race alone or in combination with other races. Hispanics may be of any race. Not all races are shown.

Source: Census Bureau, National Population by Characteristics, 2010–2018

Monday, June 24, 2019

Who Finds It Hard to Make Ends Meet?

Nearly one in four Americans reports that it is fairly or very difficult for them to make ends meet, according to the 2018 General Social Survey. Here's the survey question: "Thinking of your household's total income, including all the sources of income of all the members who contribute to it, how difficult or easy is it currently for your household to make ends meet?"

How difficult/easy to make ends meet?
Very difficult: 6.5%
Fairly difficult: 16.6%
Neither difficult nor easy: 26.6%
Fairly easy: 32.8%
Very easy: 17.5%

Perhaps the most interesting finding when analyzing the results by demographic characteristic is how little difference the demographics make. By generation, for example, the percentage who find it fairly or very difficult to make ends meet ranges narrowly from a low of 22 percent in the generation preceding the baby boom (aged 73 or older in 2018) to a high of 28 percent among Gen Xers. By race and Hispanic origin, the figure is lowest among non-Hispanic Whites (21 percent) and highest among Blacks (30 percent). The biggest demographic gap is by education. Among people without a bachelor's degree, 29 percent find it fairly or very difficult to make ends meet. Among those with a bachelor's degree, only 10 percent are struggling.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey

Friday, June 21, 2019

Friends Across Generations

It is not the norm to have a close friend who is at least 15 years older or younger than you are, according to an AARP survey. Only 37 percent of all adults say they have a close friend who is 15 or more years older or younger. By generation, here is the percentage who have a close cross-generational friendship...

Millennials: 32%
Gen Xers: 41%
Boomers: 39%

The most likely way of meeting a close friend who is so much older or younger is at work, cited by 26 percent of those with such friends.

Source: AARP,  The Positive Impact of Intergenerational Friendships

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Unauthorized Immigrant Population Peaked in 2012

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has fallen by 1.7 million since the 2012 peak. There were 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2017, according to estimates by Pew Research Center's Jeffrey S. Passel and D'Vera Cohn. This is well below the 12.2 million of 2012. Behind the decline is a steep drop in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, with the number falling from 6.9 million (57 percent of the total) in 2012 to 4.9 million (47 percent of the total) in 2017. The number from Mexico declined because, since 2012, more have left the U.S. than have arrived here.

The shift in the origin of unauthorized immigrants in the United States is a sign of change, says Pew. "A growing share of U.S. unauthorized immigrants do not cross the border illegally, but probably arrive with legal visas and overstay their required departure date," Pew explains.

Of the 46 million foreign-born residents of the United States, 23 percent are unauthorized immigrants, according to Pew estimates...

Total foreign-born population = 45.6 million in 2017
45% are naturalized citizens (20.7 million)
27% are lawful permanent residents (12.3 million)
23% are unauthorized immigrants (10.5 million)
5% are temporary lawful residents (2.2 million)

Source: Pew Research Center, Mexicans Decline to Less than Half the U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Population for the First Time

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Only 24% Meet Physical Activity Guidelines

How are Americans doing when it comes to exercising? They are doing better than they had been, but not good enough. Only 24 percent of adults met the recommended aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity guidelines in 2017, according to a CDC study. What are those guidelines? Brace yourself for a wordy explanation:
"Federal physical activity guidelines recommend that adults perform at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (i.e., the aerobic guideline). In addition, adults should do muscle-strengthening activities of at least moderate intensity that involved all major muscle groups on ≥2 days per week (i.e. the muscle-strengthening guideline)."
Whew! Got that? 

So, only one in four adults met these guidelines in 2017. Pathetic, but not as pathetic as in 2008 when a smaller 18 percent met the guidelines. Are Fitbits and Apple Watches making a difference?  Maybe. The percentage of adults who met the guidelines has increased significantly in almost every demographic segment. Hispanics living in rural areas and rural residents of the South were the two segments whose physical activity level did not increase over the past few years.

The purpose of the CDC's study was to compare physical activity levels in urban and rural areas by demographic characteristic. Overall, urban residents are more likely to meet federal guidelines than rural residents (25 versus 20 percent, respectively). By age, here is how urban (and rural) residents compare... 

Percent meeting physical activity guidelines in urban (and rural) areas, 2016–17
Aged 18 to 24: 33.4% (25.3%)
Aged 25 to 34: 31.3% (23.6%)
Aged 35 to 44: 26.6% (21.5%)
Aged 45 to 64: 20.9% (16.1%)
Aged 65-plus: 13.8% (9.5%)

Source: CDC, Trends in Meeting Physical Activity Guidelines among Urban and Rural Dwelling Adults—United States, 2008–2017

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

81% of Americans Own a Smartphone

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only eight years ago when Pew Research Center first asked Americans whether they owned a smartphone. In 2011, just 35 percent had one. Today, 81 percent of adults own a smartphone. Those most likely to own a smartphone are 18-to-29-year-olds...

Smartphone ownership by age, 2019
Aged 18 to 29: 96%
Aged 30 to 49: 92%
Aged 50 to 64: 79%
Aged 65-plus: 53%

One in five adults is "smartphone dependent." These smartphone owners do not have traditional broadband service at home, making the smartphone their primary means of accessing the internet, says Pew. Here are the demographic segments most likely to be smartphone dependent...

22% of 18-to-29-year-olds
25% of Hispanics
26% of those with a household income below $30,000
32% of those without a high school diploma

Source: Pew Research Center, Mobile Fact Sheet

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Risks of Rabies

Rabies is one of the most fearsome and feared diseases. More than 99 percent fatal, the symptoms of those infected with rabies are so frightening that some scholars surmise they gave rise to the vampire and zombie horror genres.

Fortunately, rabies deaths in the United States are rare these days, with an average of only two people dying from rabies each year, according to the CDC. But many other countries are struggling to bring rabies under control. Globally, human rabies killed 59,000 in 2018 alone.

Dog bites were once the cause of most human rabies in the U.S. The incidence of human rabies has declined because we are vigilant about vaccinating our dogs against rabies and have done so since 1947. Other countries have not made as much progress with dog vaccinations, and the CDC wants Americans to be aware of this danger. Since 1960, there have been 36 human rabies cases in the U.S. caused by dog bites received while people were traveling internationally. "Increased awareness of rabies while traveling abroad is needed," warns the CDC.

Today, bats are the primary cause of rabies in the U.S. Of the 89 cases of human rabies originating in the U.S. between 1960 and 2018, the bat variant accounted for 62 percent. But most bats do not have rabies. Of bats submitted for testing, 94 percent were free of rabies, notes the CDC, which cautions that the "widespread killing of bats is not recommended to prevent rabies."

If treated before symptoms appear, rabies can be prevented. Each year, 55,000 Americans avail themselves of PEP—the lifesaving treatment for those who have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal. "Understanding the need for timely administration of PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) to prevent death is critical," concludes the CDC.

Source: CDC, Vital Signs: Trends in Human Rabies Deaths and Exposures—United States, 1938–2018

Friday, June 14, 2019

60% of Men Have Biological Children

Among the 121 million men aged 15 or older in the United States, 60 percent have biological children, according to the Census Bureau's first report on men's fertility. Among their female counterparts, a larger 69 percent have biological children.

Many men in the 15-plus age group have not yet had children. Below is a comparison of the number of children fathered by all men aged 15 or older and by men aged 61 or older, who are likely to have completed their fertility...

Men aged 15 or older by number of children ever fathered
None: 40.5%
One: 14.5%
Two: 23.0%
Three: 12.6%
Four: 5.4%
Five-plus: 4.0%

Men aged 61 or older by number of children ever fathered
None: 15.6%
One: 13.2%
Two: 31.0%
Three: 21.0%
Four: 10.0%
Five-plus: 9.2%

Source: Census Bureau, Men's Fertility and Fatherhood: 2014

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Financial Hardships of Cancer

One in four cancer survivors aged 18 to 64 had problems paying medical bills, according to a CDC analysis of the material hardships of those who have battled cancer. Behind the hardships is the fact that out-of-pocket medical costs are higher for people with a cancer history than for those with no history of cancer.  Average annual out-of-pocket medical costs in the 2011–16 time period amounted to $1,000 for people aged 18 to 64 with a history of cancer. Their peers with no history of cancer had average annual out-of-pocket medical costs of $622.

Twenty-five percent of cancer survivors reported material hardship due to their cancer, its treatment, or the effects of treatment. The CDC defines material hardship as needing to borrow money, going into debt, declaring bankruptcy, or being otherwise unable to pay out-of-pocket health care costs.

Percentage of cancer survivors who experienced material hardship
Total survivors aged 18-64: 25.3%
Any private health insurance: 21.9%
Only public health insurance: 33.1%
Survivors with no health insurance: 36.5%

Having private health insurance did not prevent cancer survivors from experiencing material hardship. "Even many cancer survivors with private insurance coverage reported borrowing money, being unable to cover their share of medical care costs, going into debt, or filing for bankruptcy," notes the report. "Mitigating the negative impact of cancer in the United States will require implementation of strategies aimed at alleviating the disproportionate financial hardship experienced by many survivors," the report concludes.

Source: CDC, Annual Out-of-Pocket Expenditures and Financial Hardship among Cancer Survivors Aged 18–64 Years—United States, 2011–2016

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Is Gen X Prepared for Retirement?

The oldest Gen Xers—born in 1965—turn 55 next year. At that age, retirement planning shifts from serious to critical. How are Gen Xers doing as they prepare to cross the threshold into old(er) age? The 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey examines the generation's retirement readiness, and these are some of the findings...
  • 59 percent of Gen Xers are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, below Boomers (68 percent) and Millennials (67 percent).
  • 65 percent of Gen Xers have personally saved for retirement, but only 31 percent have figured out how much money they need to save for retirement.
  • 52 percent of Gen Xers have saved less than $50,000 for retirement.
  • 31 percent of Gen Xers don't know when they will retire, 11 percent say they will retire at age 70 or older, and another 11 percent say they will never retire.
  • 78 percent of Gen Xers plan to work for pay in retirement.
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey Generation X Report

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The 10 States at Highest Risk of an Undercount

Which states will be hurt the most by a 2020 Census that does not perform up to par? A study by the Urban Institute examines three performance scenarios and projects the undercount by state for each one.

  • In the low-risk scenario, the 2020 Census performs as well as the 2010 Census, with only demographic change influencing the outcome. The result is a net undercount of 0.27 percent versus the net overcount of 0.01 percent in 2010. So, even if the 2020 Census performs as well as the 2010 Census, "demographic changes alone would create a net undercount," explains the Urban Institute. 
  • In the medium-risk scenario, the 2020 Census performs according to its operational plan (60.5 percent of households self-respond within six weeks), with no surprises. The result is a net undercount of 0.84 percent. 
  • In the high-risk scenario, the 2020 Census performs below expectations (55.5 percent of households self-respond within six weeks, which is the Census Bureau's predicted lower bound of response) and participation is suppressed by all the hoopla surrounding immigration and the citizenship question. The result is a net undercount of 1.22 percent—more than 4 million people will not be counted. 

Under the high-risk scenario, the District of Columbia will experience the largest undercount (2.68 percent). After D.C., the 10 states that will experience the largest undercount include both blue states such as California and New York and red states such as Texas and Georgia....

10 states with largest projected undercount in 2020 Census (high-risk scenario)
1.98% in California
1.96% in Texas
1.76% in New Mexico
1.73% in Nevada
1.65% in Georgia
1.58% in New York
1.48% in Florida
1.47% in Maryland
1.40% in Arizona
1.33% in Louisiana

Source: Urban Institute, Assessing Miscounts in the 2020 Census

Monday, June 10, 2019

Big Changes in Attitudes toward LGBT Issues

Gallup has been asking the public what it thinks about LGBT issues for more than 40 years. Below are the percentages of the public in agreement with the first questions Gallup asked in 1977 and the percentages in agreement with the same questions in 2019...

Gay people should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities
2019: 93%
1977: 56%

Gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should be legal
2019: 83%
1977: 43%

Gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt children
2019: 75%
1977: 14%

Being gay or lesbian is something a person is born with
2019: 49%
1977: 13%

LGBT issues, Gallup concludes, "have undergone some of the most dramatic shifts in public opinion—including gay marriage, which hardly even registered as a goal for gay rights activists of the 1970s."

Source: Gallup, Gallup First Polled on Gay Issues in '77. What Has Changed?

Friday, June 07, 2019

Is College Still Worth the Cost?

Yes, says the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in an analysis on its Liberty Street Economics Blog. Despite the rising cost of college, the rate of return for a bachelor's degree exceeds the rate of return for other investments.

The average college graduate with a bachelor's degree earns 75 percent more than the average worker with only a high school diploma, say researchers Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz—an average of $78,000 for the college graduate versus $45,000 for the high school graduate. The earnings premium has been in the $30,000 to $35,000 range since 2000. The researchers estimate a rate of return for a bachelor's degree of about 14 percent—much greater than the 7 percent rate of return for stocks or the 3 percent for bonds. While the rate of return has declined slightly in the past few years due to rising costs, the researchers conclude: "our analysis suggests that college remains a good investment, at least for most people."

But the rate of return is not as high for some, the researchers warn. In particular, the rate of return may not be worth it for those who do not complete a degree, those who take longer than four years to earn a degree, and "the bottom 25 percent of those who made the investment."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Despite Rising Costs, College Is Still a Good Investment

Thursday, June 06, 2019

50% of Women Aged 15 to 44 Are Childless

Among women of childbearing age in the United States, more are childless than ever before. The percentage of women aged 15 to 44 who have not (yet) had children climbed from about one-third in 1976 (the first year of data collection) to one-half in 2018. The biggest increase in childlessness occurred among women aged 25 to 34.

Percent of women who are childless by age in 2018 (and 1976)
Total, 15 to 44: 49.8% (35.1%)
Aged 20 to 24: 78.6% (69.0%)
Aged 25 to 29: 54.2% (30.8%)
Aged 30 to 34: 33.6% (15.6%)
Aged 35 to 39: 20.0% (10.5%)
Aged 40 to 44: 15.0% (10.2%)

Today most women aged 25 to 29 are childless, up from fewer than one-third in 1976. In the 30-to-34 age group, the childless share more than doubled during those years. Are these women delaying having children, or are they foregoing motherhood? For most, it's just a delay. By the end of their childbearing years, only 15 percent of women are still childless, reports the Census Bureau. While this is greater than the 10 percent of 1976, the figure has been close to 15 percent for most of the past 30 years.

Source: Census Bureau, Fertility of Women in the United States: 2018

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Who Lives with Their Parents and Why

Twelve percent of the nation's adults live with their parents. For most, financial reasons are a big factor, according to the Federal Reserve Board's 2018 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Here are the reasons people live with their parents by age group (more than one reason could be selected)...

Aged 18 to 21 (61 percent live with parents)
63% to save money
31% prefer living with others
15% to provide financial assistance
13% to care for family member or friend
3% to receive help with child care

Aged 22 to 24 (51 percent live with parents)
83% to save money
37% prefer living with others
29% to provide financial assistance
20% to care for family member or friend
5% to receive help with child care

Aged 25 to 29 (26 percent live with parents)
86% to save money
38% to provide financial assistance
33% prefer living with others
25% to care for family member or friend
8% to receive help with child care

Aged 30 to 39 (13 percent live with parents)
60% to save money
42% to provide financial assistance
36% to care for family member or friend
20% prefer living with others
14% to receive help with child care

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Landline Phone Spending by Generation, 2017

The iPhone changed everything. After its release in 2007, average household spending on cell phone service surged ahead of residential (landline) phone service for the first time. From 48 percent of total telephone service spending in 2006, the cell phone service share jumped to 55 percent in 2007. Ten years later, cell phone service accounted for 82 percent of telephone service spending, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Are most Americans cutting the cord on landlines?

Yes, they are. During the average quarter of 2017, only 37 percent of households reported spending on landline phone service. Here are the percentages by generation...

Percent of households spending on landline phone service, 2017
Millennials: 12%
Gen Xers: 31%
Boomers: 48%
Silent: 69%
WWII: 74%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, June 03, 2019

Median Household Income Rises Slightly in April

Median household income rose slightly to $64,016 in April 2019, after adjusting for inflation, according to Sentier Research. While below the record high median recorded in January 2019, the $241 increase in April partially offset the $638 decline that occurred in February and March. Behind those declines was rising inflation, reports Sentier's Gordon Green. Sentier's estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and track the economic wellbeing of households on a monthly basis.

The April 2019 median was 1.6 percent higher than the April 2018 median, after adjusting for inflation. It was 15.0 percent higher than the post-Great Recession low reached in June 2011 ($55,665)—a bottom hit two years after the official end of the Great Recession.

Sentier's Household Income Index for April 2019 was 103.9 (January 2000 = 100.0). In other words, the April 2019 median, after adjusting for inflation, was just 3.9 percent higher than the median of January 2000—almost two decades ago. "Not an impressive performance by any means," says Green. To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: April 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

No Credit Card, No Bank Account

As stores across the nation experiment with going cashless, they are shutting their doors on a significant share of the population—those without credit cards or bank accounts. Overall, 19 percent of adults (and their spouses) do not have a credit card and 6 percent do not have a bank account, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey. The share without credit cards or bank accounts is much higher in some demographic segments...

Percent without a credit card
39% of those with household incomes below $40,000
31% of those with no more than a high school diploma
32% of Blacks
28% of Hispanics

Percent without a bank account
14% of those with household income below $40,000
13% of those with no more than a high school diploma
14% of Blacks
11% of Hispanics

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Fans of Nature

Americans are big fans of nature. Nearly every adult (98 percent) agrees with the statement, "I take notice of the natural elements around me (trees, water, wildlife, etc.)," according to the General Social Survey. Almost as many (96 percent) agree that they "have easy access to natural environments, such as public parks, gardens or trails."

Getting out into nature is another matter. When the public is asked whether it agrees or disagrees with the statement, "I spend as much time as I would like in natural environments," more than one in three (35 percent) disagrees. Millions of Americans would like to spend more time in natural environments. Busy with career and family, Millennials and Gen Xers are most likely to say they do not spend as much time as they would like communing with nature.

"I spend as much time as I would like in natural environments" (percent disagreeing by generation)
Millennials: 38%
Gen Xers: 40%
Boomers: 30%
Older: 25%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Growing Health Disparities by Educational Attainment

Education leads to better health for reasons not fully understood. An Urban Institute study takes a closer look at health disparities by educational attainment and trends over time. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, the researchers examine the self-reported health of people aged 19 to 64, dividing the population into two groups—those with at least some college education and those with no college experience...

Percent of 19-to-64-year-olds with fair or poor health, 2017
Any college: 6.8%
No college: 16.8%

Percent of 19-to-64-year-olds with an activity limitation, 2017
Any college: 8.3%
No college: 17.2%

Percent of 19-to-64-year-olds who are obese, 2017
Any college: 29.3%
No college: 36.0%

Percent of 19-to-64-year-olds with moderate/severe psychological distress, 2017
Any college: 9.8%
No college: 15.9%

Health disparities by educational attainment have not only persisted for decades, the researchers find, but in many cases they are growing. Take activity limitations, for example. In 1999, there was a 6.2 percentage-point gap in the percentage with an activity limitation by educational attainment—14.4 percent of those with no college education versus 8.3 percent of those with any college experience. By 2017, the gap had grown to 8.9 percentage points because a larger share of the less educated (17.2 percent) reported an activity limitation. "Less-educated adults from all racial, ethnic, and geographic groups we studied have seen declines in health over time," the researchers conclude.

Source: Urban Institute, Education and Health: Long-Term Trends by Race, Ethnicity, and Geography, 1997–2017

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Parents and Grown Children Talk a Lot

If you wonder why so many people have their noses stuck in their phones, they're probably talking to Mom or Dad. Thanks to the internet and smartphones, today's parents and their grown children talk a lot, according to the General Social Survey.

How much is a lot? Among adults with living parents, 36 percent communicate with a parent every day. Nearly two-thirds communicate with a parent at least several times a week. Here is the GSS survey question...

"Think about the parent you have contact with most frequently: How often do you have contact with that parent, either face-to-face, by phone, internet, or any other communication device?" (percent of those with living parents responding; excludes the 4 percent who live with a parent)
36% daily
25% several times a week
17% once a week
12% one to three times a month
10% less often

When the question is reversed, communication is even more frequent. Among Americans with adult children, nearly half (49 percent) communicate with a grown child every day. Fully 75 percent communicate with a grown child at least several times a week...

"Think about the adult child you have contact with most frequently: How often do you have contact with this child at least 18, either face-to-face, by phone, internet, or any other communication device?" (percent of those with adult children responding; excludes the 2 percent who live with an adult child)
49% daily
26% several times a week
11% once a week
  9% one to three times a month
  5% less often

What does most of this communication look like? Noses stuck in phones. All or most contact with family occurs via phone, texting, or through the internet, reports the 54 percent majority of the public.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Friday, May 24, 2019

How Many Men Have Ever Been Arrested?

A surprisingly large number of men have ever been arrested, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics study. To determine how the arrest and incarceration status of men affects their employment prospects, the BLS analyzed data from the 2015–16 iteration of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. This ongoing survey is tracking a nationally representative sample of men and women who were born from 1980 to 1984.

Percent of men born in 1980–84 who have ever been arrested at age 19 or older, 2015–16
45.1% of non-Hispanic Blacks
37.0% of Hispanics
31.7% of non-Blacks/non-Hispanics

From 32 to 45 percent of men in the 1980-to-1984 cohort have ever been arrested. While most of those who were arrested did not spend time in jail, a substantial proportion did...

Percent of men born in 1980–84 who have ever been incarcerated at age 19 or older, 2015–16
19.8% of non-Hispanic Blacks
14.2% of Hispanics
11.0% of non-Blacks/non-Hispanics

The researchers find a decline in the likelihood of being employed as men's interaction with the criminal justice system increases.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment of Young Men after Arrest or Incarceration

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Big City Slowdown

Between 2010 and 2018, the population of the nation's 775 largest cities (incorporated places with populations of 50,000 or more in 2018) grew by an average of 7.5 percent. The remainder of the United States grew by a smaller 5.8 percent. Growth is fastest for cities with populations of 500,000 to 1 million (such as Austin, San Francisco, Denver, and Boston), their populations growing by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2018. Growth is slowest in the nation's largest cities—those with populations of 1 million or more—with a gain of just 5.9 percent between 2010 and 2018.

City population growth 2010-2018 by city size
1 million or more: 5.9%
500,000 to 999,999: 9.6%
250,000 to 499,999: 8.0%
200,000 to 249,999: 6.2%
150,000 to 199,999: 7.3%
100,000 to 149,999: 7.5%
50,000 to 99,999: 7.6%

Among all cities with populations of 50,000 or more, the annual growth rate since 2010 has slowed from about 1.0 percent per year to a smaller 0.6 percent between 2017 and 2018. The biggest slowdown has occurred in cities with populations of 1 million or more. The annual growth rate of the largest cities fell from a peak of 1.11 percent in 2011–12 to just 0.12 percent in 2017–18. Three of these cities—New York, Chicago, and San Jose—experienced small population declines between 2017 and 2018. 

Source: Census Bureau, Fastest-Growing Cities Primarily in the South and West

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Surge in Support for Gay Marriage, 1999 to 2019

Twenty years ago, just 35 percent of Americans supported legal same-sex marriage. Today, 63 percent of the public is in support, according to Gallup—a 28 percentage-point increase over the past two decades. Support has grown by 22 to 37 percentage points in every demographic group, Gallup reports. Here are the changes by age ...

Percent who support legal gay marriage in 2019 (and 1999)
Aged 18 to 29: 83% (52%)
Aged 30 to 49: 68% (39%)
Aged 50 to 64: 55% (31%)
Aged 65-plus: 47% (11%)

Even among Republicans, support for legal gay marriage climbed 22 percentage points between 1999 and 2019—to 44 percent in 2019. "The strong support seen today among young adults is likely to propel the national figure higher in the future," Gallup concludes.

Source: Gallup, U.S. Support for Gay Marriage Stable, at 63%

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Attitudes Toward Abortion Are Complex

Seventy-three percent of Americans do not want to see the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade overturned, according to Planned Parenthood. But what does that mean? The public's attitudes toward abortion are complex, as the General Social Survey has shown over the past 40 years. The GSS includes a battery of question about the circumstances under which women should have the right to a legal abortion. These are the attitudes of the American public  in 2018 and trends over the decades...

Abortion should be legal if a woman's health is in danger: 90 percent of Americans support the right to a legal abortion if a woman's health is in danger, a figure that has not changed significantly in four decades.

Abortion should be legal if a woman has been raped: 79 percent of the public support the right to a legal abortion if her pregnancy is the result of rape, a figure that has not changed significantly in four decades.

Abortion should be legal if the baby has a serious defect: 76 percent support the right to a legal abortion "if there is a strong chance of serious defect in the baby," a figure that has barely changed in four decades.

Abortion should be legal if a married woman doesn't want more children: 50 percent of the public supports the right to an abortion if a married woman does not want more children. This figure was as low as 38 percent in 1983 and has increased somewhat over the years.

Abortion should be legal if a woman cannot afford more children: Only 49 percent of the public supports the right to an abortion for economic reasons, a figure that was as low as 40 percent in 2004 and as high as 55 percent in 1974.

Abortion should be legal if a woman is single: Only 44 percent of the public supports the right to a legal abortion if a woman is not married. This figure has barely changed over the past four decades.

The great majority of Americans may not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned, but they are deeply divided on when a woman should be able to exercise her legal right to an abortion. How many think this decision should be up to the women herself? Here's the General Social Survey question: "Do you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if the woman wants it for any reason?" Half of Americans support the right to a legal abortion for any reason. The figure was 34 percent in 1978, climbed to 40 percent in 1998, and reached 50 percent in 2018.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the General Social Survey

Monday, May 20, 2019

Births by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2018

Non-Hispanic Whites accounted for the 52 percent majority of women who gave birth in 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Another 23 percent were Hispanic, 15 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 6 percent were non-Hispanic Asian.

In 12 states, minorities accounted for the majority of births: Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. Minorities also accounted for the majority of births in the District of Columbia.

At the other extreme, non-Hispanic Whites accounted for more than 80 percent of births in six states: Montana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and West Virginia. In Vermont and West Virginia, more than 90 percent of births in 2018 were to non-Hispanic Whites.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2018 (PDF)

Friday, May 17, 2019

A Generation Behind on Diversity

The nation's rural population is much less diverse than the urban population, reports the USDA's Economic Research Service. In nonmetropolitan counties (the definition of rural for this comparison), fully 78 percent of the population is non-Hispanic White. In metropolitan counties (urban) non-Hispanic Whites are only 58 percent of the population.

The diversity of rural America is a generation behind the United States as a whole. You have to go all the way back to 1985 to find Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and other minorities accounting for only 22 percent of the total population.

Minority share of population
Urban (metropolitan counties): 42%
Rural (nonmetropolitan counties): 22%

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Rural America at a Glance, 2018 Edition

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Since 2007 Peak, Births Have Fallen in 49 States

The annual number of births in the United States peaked in 2007 at 4.3 million. Since then, births have fallen in every year but one. This ongoing baby bust is widespread, being felt in nearly every state. North Dakota is the only state in which 2018 births surpassed 2007 births—by a large 20.3 percent. The District of Columbia experienced a 3.9 percent increase in births between those years. But these gains are old news. The annual number of births has been falling in North Dakota since 2014 and in the District of Columbia since 2016.

Apart from North Dakota and the District of Columbia, these are the five states in which the baby bust is having the smallest impact...

Percent change in births, 2007 to 2018
-3.0% in South Dakota
-3.3% in Washington
-5.6% in Nebraska
-7.0% in Tennessee
-7.4% in Florida

These are the five states in which the baby bust is having the biggest impact...

Percent change in births, 2007 to 2018
-24.9% in New Mexico
-21.6% in Arizona
-20.4% in Mississippi
-19.9% in Illinois
-19.8% in California

Looking at the latest annual trend, the number of births fell in all but three states between 2017 and 2018. The only exceptions were Missouri, Maine, and New Jersey. The increases in those states were minuscule, however, ranging from 0.1 to 0.3 percent.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2018 (PDF)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Births in 2018 Lowest in 32 years

Only 3,788,235 babies were born in the U.S. in 2018—the fewest births since 1986, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Except for a small increase in 2014, the number of births has fallen in every year since 2007.

Number of births (in 000s)
2018: 3,788
2017: 3,856
2016: 3,946
2015: 3,978 
2014: 3,988
2013: 3,932
2012: 3,953
2011: 3,954
2010: 3,999 
2009: 4,131
2008: 4,248
2007: 4,316 (record high)

Records were broken again and again in 2018. The number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 (the general fertility rate) fell to a record low of 59.0 in 2018. The birth rates for women aged 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29 hit new record lows in 2018. The total fertility rate—the number of births a woman can expect in her lifetime given current age-specific fertility rates—fell to a record low of 1.728 in 2018. This is well below the 2.1 replacement level. "The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and consistently below replacement for the last decade," notes the NCHS report.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2018 (PDF)