Monday, September 30, 2019

Print Books Remain Most Popular

Nearly three out of four adults have read a book in the previous 12 months, according to a Pew Research Center survey, and print remains the most popular format. Overall, 72 percent of the public read a book in any format in the past year: 65 percent read a print book, 25 percent read an ebook, and 20 percent listened to an audiobook.

Interestingly, young adults are not only more likely than any other age group to have read a book in the past year, they are also most likely to have read a print book..

Percent who have read any book (and a print book) in the past year, 2019
Aged 18 to 29: 81% (74%)
Aged 30 to 49: 72% (65%)
Aged 50 to 64: 67% (59%)
Aged 65-plus: 68% (63%)

Source: Pew Research Center, One-in-five Americans Now Listen to Audiobooks

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Who Works on Weekends?

The average worker works 4.77 days a week. Sixty-eight percent of workers work Monday through Friday. But 19 percent of workers usually work on Saturday and 12 percent usually work on Sunday, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. By day of the week, here is the percentage of workers who say they usually work on that day...

Percent of workers who usually work on...
Monday: 81.0%
Tuesday: 82.3%
Wednesday: 82.5%
Thursday: 82.3%
Friday: 80.4%
Saturday: 19.2%
Sunday: 12.1%

Workers without a high school diploma are among those most likely to work weekends—31 percent usually work Saturdays and 17 percent Sundays. Those in service occupations are also more likely than average to work weekends—39 percent usually work Saturdays and 28 percent Sundays. By industry, fully 50 percent of leisure and hospitality workers usually work Saturdays and 36 percent Sundays.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Flexibilities and Work Schedules—2017–2018 Data from the American Time Use Survey

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Which Occupations Are Dominated by Millennials?

Millennials account for a larger share of the labor force than any other generation. Among the nation's employed in 2018, a substantial 39 percent were Millennials. Boomers and Gen Xers each accounted for 25 percent of the employed, and the iGeneration was 11 percent.

The Millennial share of workers exceeds 39 percent in many occupations and tops 50 percent in more than two dozen. Among the 328 detailed occupations for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides age distributions and median ages, Millennials account for more than 50 percent of workers in 29 occupations. Here are the top five...

Millennial share of workers (top five occupations)
60.3% of emergency medical technicians and paramedics
59.2% of physician assistants
58.8% of bartenders
58.1% of roofers
57.2% of web developers

Millennials also account for more than half of statisticians, firefighters, software developers, financial analysts, probation officers, medical scientists, market researchers, producers and directors, telemarketers, speech language pathologists, information security analysts, physical therapists, police and sheriff's patrol officers, and private detectives.

Note: In 2018, the iGeneration was aged 16 to 23, Millennials were aged 24 to 41, Gen Xers were aged 42 to 53, and Boomers were aged 54 to 72.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Household Data, Annual Averages

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Here's Why Median Household Income Did Not Grow

For a full decade, median household income struggled to return to the pre-Great Recession peak of $62,700 in 2007 (in 2018 dollars). It finally got there in 2017 and stayed there in 2018. Some might question why American households have made no economic progress in more than a decade, but a look at trends in household income by age group reveals that most households have gained ground.

Percent change in median household income by age of householder, 2007 to 2018 (in 2018$)
Total households: 0.8%
Under age 25: 9.7%
Aged 25 to 34: 3.5%
Aged 35 to 44: 4.2%
Aged 45 to 54: 3.4%
Aged 55 to 64: –3.7%
Aged 65 to 74: 16.7%
Aged 75-plus: 20.5%

Note: Percent change calculations between 2007 and 2018 were made after adjusting 2007 median household income to make it comparable to 2018 income as per Census Bureau guidance in: Survey Redesigns Make Comparisons to Years Before 2017 Difficult.

While the overall median did not increase significantly between 2007 and 2018, every age group but one experienced a significant increase, after adjusting for inflation. How could the overall median remain unmoved when almost everyone experienced a gain?

The answer is the changing age structure of the population, thanks to baby boom and baby bust. In 2018, there were many more older householders (with lower incomes) than in 2007 as boomers aged into their sixties and seventies. The share of households headed by people aged 65 or older grew from 21 to 27 percent of the total during those years. Conversely, there were fewer middle-aged householders (in their peak-earning years) in 2018 than in 2007 because the small Generation X was in the 35-to-54 age groups. The share of households headed by 35-to-54-year-olds fell from 40 to just 34 percent during those years. These shifts depressed growth in the overall median and will continue to do so until the large Millennial generation is more of a presence in the peak-earning age groups.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's Historical Income Tables: Households

Monday, September 23, 2019

Most Americans Have Been Spoofed

Robocalls are a big problem. Nearly 48 billion robocalls came into the U.S. in 2018, up from 29 billion just two years earlier, according to an AARP study. Many of the calls are scams. In an effort to educate the public about the dangers of answering such calls, AARP surveyed a representative sample of adults to see how they responded when their phone rings.

Caller ID is nearly universal, the survey found. In an ideal world, this should help people avoid phone scams. Fully 97 percent of adults say they can see who is calling on their phone. In fact, they rely on caller ID to determine whether or not to answer the phone. Fully 92 percent say they are "very" or "somewhat" likely to answer a call when they see the name and number of a family member or friend, 86 percent are likely to answer a call when they see the name of a business with which they have a relationship, and 59 percent are likely to answer a call from a local area code.

That's the problem. Scammers are spoofing local area codes to entice people to answer the phone. And it's working. In the past month, fully 74 percent of the public has answered a call from a local area code only to discover it was a spoof—a robocall disguised as a local call.

"Many Americans rely on caller ID to determine who is calling them and, as a result, many are being deceived into answering calls from criminal telemarketers," says the AARP report.

Although most Americans say they have not given robocallers their personal information, the survey results show that many could be enticed to do so. When presented with hypothetical call scenarios, a substantial 39 percent of survey respondents say they would be likely to answer a call if the caller told them their credit card had been compromised, and 29 percent say they would be likely to answer a call if told their Social Security number had been compromised.

Source: AARP, Many Americans Still Vulnerable to Spoofing

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How Often Do Workers Get Paid?

It depends. Some get a paycheck every week, while others get paid only once a month. No single pay schedule accounts for the majority of businesses, according to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics...

Percent distribution of private businesses by length of pay schedule, 2019
Weekly: 33.8%
Biweekly: 42.2%
Semimonthly: 18.6%
Monthly: 5.4%

The construction industry is most likely to pay every week (76 percent of construction businesses pay weekly). The financial activities industry is the one most likely to pay only monthly (8 percent of financial activities businesses pay monthly).

The less workers are paid, the more frequently they receive a paycheck, according to a BLS analysis of pay schedules in 2013. Among workers paid weekly, average hourly earnings were $18.62 in 2013. Among those paid biweekly, average hourly earnings were a higher $24.81. Earnings were highest among those paid semimonthly or monthly, an average of $29.75 and $28.45 per hour, respectively.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Length of Pay Periods in the Current Employment Statistics Survey and How Frequently Do Private Businesses Pay Workers?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Householders Aged 75-Plus Outspend Young Adults

Average household spending peaked in 2006, just before the Great Recession. Spending then fell for years as Americans struggled with lost jobs and homes. It took until 2017 for average household spending to set a new record high. Now spending has plateaued. Average household spending in 2018 ($61,224) was not statistically different from the 2017 figure ($61,525), after adjusting for inflation, and not much higher than the old 2006 record ($60,285).

This stability in the overall median masks changes in average household spending by age of householder. The rule of thumb is this: the older the householder, the greater the increase in average household spending. Take a look...

Average household spending in 2018 (and % change since 2006; in 2018$)
Under age 25: $32,039 (–8.7%)
Aged 25 to 34: $56,457 (–4.7%)
Aged 35 to 44: $71,198 (–0.6%)
Aged 45 to 54: $75,387 (+5.1%)
Aged 55 to 64: $66,212 (+4.7%)
Aged 65-plus: $50,860 (+16.5%)
  Aged 65 to 74: $56,268 (+10.3)
  Aged 75-plus: $43,181 (+19.9%)

Average household spending was lower in 2018 than in 2006 for householders under age 45. The youngest householders saw their average spending decline by a steep 8.7 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Behind the decline is the postponement of marriage, reducing household size and spending.

Average household spending was higher in 2018 than in 2006 for householders aged 45 or older, with the biggest gains experienced by the oldest householders—a nearly 20 percent increase in average household spending for householders aged 75 or older, after adjusting for inflation. Average household spending by the oldest and youngest householders was almost identical in 2006 (in 2018 dollars)—$35,000 spent by householders under age 25 versus $36,000 spent by householders aged 75-plus. Not so in 2018. The oldest householders now outspend the younger by a whopping 35 percent—a difference in average annual spending of more than $11,000.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

44% Increase in Spending on Public Transportation

Why is average household spending on public transportation going through the roof?

While overall household spending did not increase between 2017 and 2018, after adjusting for inflation, spending on public transportation climbed 12 percent and was one of the year's fastest-growing spending categories. That's not just a blip. Since 2010, average household spending on public transportation has climbed 44 percent, after adjusting for inflation—four times faster than the increase in overall household spending—making it one of the fastest-growing spending categories during the time period.

There are three reasons for the ongoing boom in spending on public transportation. One, the back-to-the-city movement has increased spending on mass transit. Two, the aging of the baby-boom generation has boosted travel spending. Three, the average household has more than tripled its spending on "taxi fares."

Percent change in average household spending on public transportation, 2010–2018
231% increase in spending on taxi fares
  73% increase in spending on ship fares
  68% increase in intercity train fares
  34% increase in spending on airline fares
  10% increase in spending on intercity bus fares
    8% increase in spending on intracity mass transit fares

Included in the "taxi fare" category is spending on ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of unpublished tables from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey

Monday, September 16, 2019

He/ She/ They

A substantial 18 percent of adults personally know someone who goes by a gender-neutral pronoun, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Young adults are most likely to know someone who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun...

Know someone who goes by a gender-neutral pronoun
Aged 18 to 29: 32%
Aged 30 to 49: 19%
Aged 50 to 64: 14%
Aged 65-plus: 8%

About half of adults say they would be comfortable "using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so," Pew finds. Young adults are most likely to say they would feel comfortable (61 percent). Americans aged 65 or older are least likely to say they would feel comfortable doing so (47 percent).

Source: Pew Research Center, About One-in-Five U.S. Adults Know Someone Who Goes by a Gender-Neutral Pronoun

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Average Household Spending Stalls in 2018

After reaching a record high last year, average household spending took a breather. The $61,224 average of 2018 was not statistically different from the 2017 figure. Spending plunged as low as $54,984 in 2013. Average household spending in 2018 was 11 percent higher than the 2013 low—an additional $6,200 of spending per year per household.

Average household spending, 2006 to 2018 (in 2018 dollars)
2018: $61,224 (not significantly different from 2017)
2017: $61,525 (record high)
2015: $59,304
2013: $54,984 (post-Great Recession low)
2010: $55,402
2006: $60,285 (previous record high)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Median Household Income in 2018: $63,179

The good news: median household income is as high as it has ever been, at $63,179 in 2018. The bad news: after adjusting for inflation, median household income in 2018 is no higher than it was in 1999, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey.

You won't be able to spot this fact in the CPS data tables released by the Census Bureau yesterday. That's because 2018 income data are not comparable to data from earlier years. The Census Bureau redesigned the Current Population Survey's income questions beginning in 2014 and data processing methods beginning in 2018. But in an America Counts story, bureau analysts adjusted the overall household median for these changes to allow for a comparison of the 2018 median with earlier medians. The 2018 median, it turns out, is as high but not significantly higher than the 1999 median, after adjusting for inflation.

Why is 2018's median household income almost identical to the median nearly 20 years ago? One big reason is the aging of the large Baby-Boom generation. In 1999, Boomers were in their peak-earning years, boosting the overall household median to a record high. In 2018, the demographic pattern is reversed. Boomers are retiring and living on reduced incomes. Generation X is in the peak-earning years (45 to 54), but with little impact on the overall median because of its small size. Here is median household income by age of householder in 2018...

Median household income by age of householder, 2018
Total households: $63,179
Under age 25: $43,531
Aged 25 to 34: $65,890
Aged 35 to 44: $80,743
Aged 45 to 54: $84,464
Aged 55 to 64: $68,951
Aged 65-plus: $43,696
  Aged 65 to 74: $52,465
  Aged 75-plus: $34,925

Source: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey Tables for Household Income

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

States with the Highest Death Rates

Your chances of dying are much higher in some states than in others, according to a National Center for Health Statistics' report analyzing the five states with the highest and lowest death rates in 2017.

Highest death rates: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia
Lowest death rates: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New York

The difference is not trivial. The annual number of deaths per 100,000 age-adjusted population is 926.8 in the five states with the highest death rate (the High Five) compared with 624.0 deaths per 100,000 age-adjusted population in the five states with the lowest rate (the Low Five). So, the death rate in the High Five is an astounding 49 percent higher than the death rate in the Low Five. These differences "persist when stratifying by gender, age, and race and Hispanic origin," according to the NCHS analysis.

The death rate in the High Five exceeds the death rate in the Low Five in every age group. The biggest difference occurs in the 25-to-34 and 35-to-44 age groups, where the death rate in the High Five is more than double the death rate in the Low Five.

The death rate in the High Five exceeds the death rate in the Low Five for both non-Hispanic Blacks (32 percent higher) and non-Hispanic Whites (39 percent higher). Hispanics are the only exception. The Hispanic death rate in the High Five is 27 percent lower than the Hispanic death rate in the Low Five.

The High Five has a higher death rate than the Low Five for each of the top five causes of death. The heart disease death rate is 46 percent higher, cancer 29 percent, chronic lower respiratory disease 100 percent, unintentional injuries 83 percent, and stroke 39 percent.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality Patterns between Five States with Highest Death Rates and Five States with Lowest Death Rates: United States, 2017

Monday, September 09, 2019

"I Want to Believe"

Fox Mulder of The X-Files wanted to believe in UFOs, and he has lots of company. Fully 33 percent of Americans aged 18 or older think "some UFOs are alien spacecraft," according to a Gallup survey. Sixteen percent say they personally have seen a UFO.

There are few demographic differences in the belief that aliens are visiting earth. By age, the proportion who believe some UFOs are alien spacecraft ranges from a low of 29 percent among people aged 65 or older to a high of 39 percent among 18-to-29-year-olds. People who live in the Midwest are least likely to believe (27 percent), while those in the West are most likely (41 percent). Twenty percent of adults in the West say they personally have seen a UFO.

Among Americans who are religiously affiliated, 31 to 32 percent think some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Among those with no religion, a larger 40 percent are believers.

Source: Gallup, Americans Skeptical of UFOs, but Say Government Knows More

Friday, September 06, 2019

Median Household Income Rises in July 2019

Median household income climbed 0.7 percent between June and July 2019, after adjusting for inflation. The $65,084 July median was $438 greater than the June 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 2.3 percent)," says Sentier's Gordon Green, "and especially since the low point reached in June 2011 (up 16.6 percent)." At the June 2011 low point—two years after the official end of the Great Recession— median household income was just $55,798.  

Sentier's Household Income Index for July 2019 was 105.4 (January 2000 = 100.0). In other words, the July 2019 median, after adjusting for inflation, was just 5.4 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: July 2019

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Snacking in the Evening

Most Americans are late evening snackers, according to the USDA Food Surveys Research Group, which defines late evening as 8 pm to midnight. On an average day, 64 percent of people aged 20 or older "consumed one or more foods or beverages other than plain water in the late evening." So what, you say? The USDA is interested in this behavior because of its "potential negative implications for health."

The prevalence of late evening snacking is greatest among young adults. Fully 68 percent of people aged 20 to 39 consume something more than just plain water between 8 and 11:59 pm on an average day. Among 40-to-59-year-olds, 65 percent snack in the late evening. Among people aged 60 or older, the figure is 59 percent.

Now for the potential negative implications: Late evening snacking is not calorie free. On average, the food and drinks consumed in the late evening add up to 16 percent of the daily calories of snackers. Perhaps consequently, late evening snackers consume more calories on an average day than those who do not snack in the evening—2,243 calories per day for snackers and 1,906 calories for nonsnackers.

The snackers are veritable vacuum cleaners in the kitchen. The foods and beverages being consumed by late night snackers include sweet bakery products (17 percent of late night snackers), candy (10 percent), sandwiches (9 percent), poultry (5 percent), white potatoes (6 percent), fruit (11 percent) cheese and yogurt (5 percent), regular soft drinks (9 percent), diet soft drinks (4 percent), tea (8 percent), milk (6 percent), coffee (4 percent), and alcoholic beverages (14 percent). Among those who report drinking alcohol between 8 and midnight, nearly half of the alcohol they drink all day is consumed during those hours.

Source: USDA, Food Surveys Research Group, Late Evening Food and Beverage Consumption by Adults in the U.S.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

21% Take Time Off from Work During Average Week

During an average week, 21 percent of wage and salary workers take time off from their job—either paid or unpaid, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. The reasons for taking leave include vacation, illness, family needs, or personal errands.

Among the 30 million wage and salary workers who take any leave—paid or unpaid—during an average week, this is their main reason for taking time off...

31.0% for vacation
21.9% for own illness or medical care
19.8% to run errands or for personal reasons
  8.0% for illness or medical care of a family member
  6.9% because of a holiday
  3.1% for childcare or eldercare (except illness)
  1.8% because of the weather
  1.4% for birth or adoption of a child
  6.2% for some other reason

Women are more likely than men to take time off during an average week due to the illness or medical care of a family member (10.3 versus 5.5 percent). Among parents of children under age 13, a substantial 14.4 percent take leave during an average week due to the illness or medical care of a family member. Interestingly, these parents are much less likely than average to take time off for their own illness—16.7 percent do so during an average week versus 21.9 percent of all workers.

Overall, 66 percent of wage and salary workers had access to paid leave in 2017–18, up from 60 percent in 2011. Not surprisingly, workers in management are most likely to have access to paid leave (81.5 percent), while those in service (43.2 percent) and construction (35.8 percent) are least likely.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Access To and Use of Leave Summary

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Dropping Kids Off at College

The number of college students attending four-year schools has climbed 75 percent over the past four decades, rising from 5.9 million in 1977 to 10.3 million in 2017. But the distance parents drive to drop off their kids at college hasn't changed much over the decades...

Percent of freshmen whose home is 50 or fewer miles from their college
2017: 41.9%
2007: 35.4%
1997: 32.5%
1987: 31.9%
1977: 39.2%

Percent of freshmen whose home is more than 500 miles from their college
2017: 17.6%
2007: 13.4%
1997: 13.9%
1987: 13.8%
1977: 10.7%

Source: Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2017 and The American Freshman: Fifty-Year Trends 1966–2015