Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2010s: Slowest Population Growth in U.S. History?

We await the April 1, 2020 census datapoint, but so far it looks like the 2010s will go down in U.S. history as the decade with the slowest population growth. In the years between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2019, the U.S. population grew by just 6.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau's newly released population estimates for 2019. When the April 1, 2020 census count is released next year, the growth rate of the 2010s is likely to remain below the current record low of 7.3 percent recorded in the 1930s.

U.S. population growth by decade has been slowing since the 1950s. During the 1950s, the population grew by 18.5 percent—more than double the growth of the 1930s—coinciding with the birth of the baby-boom generation. In every decade since, population growth has been slower than in the previous decade with the exception of the 1990s...

Percent change in U.S. population by decade
2010 to 2019: 6.3% (incomplete data)
2000 to 2010: 9.7%
1990 to 2000: 13.1%
1980 to 1990: 9.8%
1970 to 1980: 11.4%
1960 to 1970: 13.4%
1950 to 1960: 18.5%
1940 to 1950: 14.5%
1930 to 1940: 7.3% (record low)

Note: Percent changes by decade are calculated using April 1 census counts except for 2010 to 2019, which is the percent change from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019.

There are two reasons for the slow rate of population growth during this decade. The ongoing baby bust is one reason, with the fertility rate at a record low. The annual rate of natural increase (births minus deaths) fell from 4.7 to just 2.9 per 1,000 population from 2010 to 2019. The number of people added to the population each year through natural increase fell from 1.5 million between 2010 and 2011 to just 957,000 between 2018 and 2019.

Falling net migration (immigrants minus emigrants) is the other factor that has resulted in what is likely to be the slowest decade of population growth in U.S. history. The annual rate of net migration fell from 2.5 to 1.8 per 1,000 population from 2010 to 2019. The population gain from net migration during this decade peaked at more than 1 million in 2015 and 2016. But between 2018 and 2019, a net of only 595,000 migrants were added to the population.

Source: Census Bureau, National Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010—2019

Monday, December 30, 2019

Growing Interest in Solar Panels

The use of solar energy by U.S. households is miniscule. Only 6 percent of homeowners say they have installed solar panels at their home, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The figure is highest in the Mountain states, where 17 percent have done so. In the East and West South Central states, the figure is just 1 percent.

Though few have installed solar panels, many are seriously thinking about it. Nationally, 46 percent of homeowners are giving serious thought to the use of solar energy, up from 40 percent who said they were seriously considering it in 2016.

Percentage of homeowners who are giving serious thought to installing solar panels (and percentage who have already done so), by region/division, 2019
Northeast: 44% (7%)
Midwest: 42% (2%)
South Atlantic: 51% (4%)
East and West South Central: 45% (1%)
Mountain: 36% (17%)
Pacific: 54% (14%)

Source: Pew Research Center, More U.S. Homeowners Say They Are Considering Home Solar Panels

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Biggest Spenders on Gifts

The average household spent $1,206 on gifts for people in other households in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey. This is 14 percent less, after adjusting for inflation, than the average household spent on gifts in the midst of the Great Recession in 2008.

Spending on gifts for people in other households peaks in the 45-to-54 age group at $2,043. Householders aged 55 to 64 are the second biggest spenders, devoting $1,766 to gifts. These two age groups are the biggest spenders on gifts for people in other households because most have adult children (and grandchildren) living elsewhere, and many still have living parents. Among household types, married couples without children at home spend the most on gifts for people in other households. Most of these couples are empty nesters with adult children and grandchildren living elsewhere.

These are the householders who spend the most on gifts for people in other households...

Biggest spenders: Average household spending on gifts for people in other households, 2018 
Biggest by age, householders aged 45 to 54: $2,043
Biggest by household type, married couples without children at home: $1,972
Biggest by education, householders with a graduate degree: $2,526
Biggest by income, households with incomes of $200,000-plus: $4,638
Biggest by generation, Boomers: $1,620

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

Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Reality for Manufacturing Jobs

Times have changed. No longer are manufacturing jobs the relatively high-paying opportunities they once were, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics' analysis of trends in earnings by industry. Although "the pay earned by production workers in manufacturing has long served as a marker for what constitutes middle-class status in the United States," says the BLS, "that status has changed." Manufacturing workers in the U.S. now earn less than the average private sector worker. In 1990, they earned 106 percent of the average. By 2018, the figure had fallen to 95 percent.

Some manufacturing workers have endured outright declines in hourly and weekly earnings. Those in the motor vehicles and parts industry, for example, saw their average hourly earnings fall 20 percent between 1990 and 2018, after adjusting for inflation. Their average weekly earnings fell 14 percent.

Not all manufacturing jobs have lost ground, however. Earnings have grown strongly since 1990 for petroleum and coal production workers. The 2018 average hourly earnings of $40.32 for these workers was well above the $22.71 for all private sector workers. Other industries in which manufacturing workers still earn more than the average private sector worker include computer and electronic parts, transportation equipment, and chemicals.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Relative Weakness in Earnings of Production Workers in Manufacturing

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Who Thinks Their Mental Health Is Excellent?

When asked how mentally healthy they are, 43 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say their mental health is "excellent," according to a 2019 Gallup survey. Feeling good about mental health rises with age...

Percent saying mental health is "excellent"
Aged 18 to 34: 39%
Aged 35 to 54: 43%
Aged 55-plus: 47%

Men are more positive than women about their mental health—49 percent of men and 37 percent of women say they have excellent mental health. Republicans are more likely than any other demographic segment to believe they are at the top of their game. Fully 56 percent of Republicans say they have excellent mental health. Among Democrats, only 30 percent feel that way.

Source: Gallup, 71% of U.S. Adults Rate Mental, Physical Health Positively, Final Topline

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Struggling to Sleep, Many Take Medications

Millions of Americans frequently take a medication to help them fall or stay asleep, according to the National Health Interview Survey. Overall, 8.2 percent of adults aged 18 or older took a sleep medication four or more times in the past week. Women are more likely than men to use sleep medications frequently—9.7 percent of women versus 6.6 percent of men. Frequent use of sleep medications rises with age...

Percent of women who took a sleep medication 4 or more times in past week
Aged 18 to 44: 5.8%
Aged 45 to 64: 12.7%
Aged 65-plus: 13.2%

Source: CDC, Percentage of Adults Aged ≥ 18 Who Took Medication to Help Them Fall or Stay Asleep Four or More Times in the Past Week, by Sex and Age Group—National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2017–2018

Monday, December 16, 2019

Who Wears a Fitness Tracker?

One in five Americans (19 percent) wears a fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch, according to a Gallup survey. Women are more likely than men to wear a fitness tracker—21 versus 16 percent. Not surprisingly, young adults are more likely to do so than their elders...

Currently wear a fitness tracker
Aged 18 to 34: 28%
Aged 35 to 54: 22%
Aged 55-plus: 10%

Younger women are especially likely to wear a fitness tracker. Among adults under age 50, fully 31 percent of women and 21 percent of men wear a tracker. The figures among women and men aged 50 or older are 13 and 10 percent, respectively.

Source: Gallup, One in Five U.S. Adults Use Health Apps, Wearable Trackers

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Who Wants to Live Close to the Arts?

Location, location, location. That's what some people look for when choosing a place to live. They want to live in a location convenient to arts and cultural events, according to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts.

But how many feel this way? To find out, the NEA added supplemental questions to the Census Bureau's 2015 American Housing Survey. For most Americans (62 percent), living near arts and cultural events is not important, according to the survey's results. But for 38 percent, it is.

In the 15 metropolitan areas included in the 2015 American Housing Survey, this is the percentage of households who say it is important for them to live close to arts and cultural events...

Percent saying it is important to live convenient to arts and cultural events, by metro area
57% in San Francisco
53% in Los Angeles
50% in New York
49% in Washington, DC
46% in Seattle
45% in Boston
44% in Chicago
43% in Atlanta
41% in Dallas
41% in Philadelphia
40% in Miami
40% in Phoenix
36% in Detroit
35% in Houston
33% in Riverside-San Bernardino

Among people living in nonmetropolitan areas, only 25 percent say living close to arts and cultural events is important to them.

Source: The National Endowment for the Arts, The Arts in Neighborhood Choice

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Lives of Young Adults Have Been Transformed by the Rise in School Enrollment

The percentage of young adults who were enrolled in school in 2018 was a bit below the record high, thanks to the full-employment economy. But the latest figures are not far from the records, which were recorded in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It is now the norm to go to college at the completion of high school and stay in school beyond age 20. The rise in school enrollment has transformed the lives of young adults.

Percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds enrolled in school, 1960 to 2018

         18 and 19    20 and 21     22 to 24
2018                 69.1%        54.6%       28.0%
2010                 69.2        52.4       28.9
2000                 61.2        44.1       24.6
1990                 57.3        39.7       21.0
1980                 46.4        31.0       16.3
1970                 47.7        31.9       14.9
1960                 38.4        19.4         8.7

Among 18-and-19-year-olds, 69 percent were enrolled in school in 2018, up from just 38 percent in 1960. More than half of 20-to-21-year-olds were in school in 2018 versus only one in five in 1960. Among 22-to-24-year-olds, more than one in four are in school today, three times the share of 1960. As young people spend more time in school, they have postponed marriage and childbearing.

Notice the higher school enrollment of 18-to-21-year-olds in 1970 than in 1980. This was due to the Vietnam War, which drove young men onto college campuses to avoid the draft. In 1970, fully 54 percent of men aged 18 and 19 were enrolled in school. Among their female counterparts at the time, only 42 percent were in school. Similarly among 20-and-21-year-olds in 1970, 43 percent of men but only 24 percent of women were enrolled in school. Today, women in these age groups are more likely than men to be in school. Among 18-and-19-year-olds in 2018, 72 percent of women and 66 percent of men were enrolled in school. Among 20-and-21-year-olds, the figures are 58 and 51 percent, respectively.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

35% of Middle and High School Students Have Vaped

Vaping now far outpaces smoking cigarettes as a teenage vice. Only 16 percent of middle and high school students have ever smoked cigarettes, according to the CDC, while more than twice as many—35 percent—have used e-cigarettes (vaping). In the past 30 days, only 4 percent smoked a cigarette while 20 percent vaped.

A large percentage of teens have vaped in the past 30 days in every demographic segment. Here are the stats among high school students by sex, race, and Hispanic origin...

Percentage of high school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, 2019
Total: 27.5%
Females: 27.4%
Males: 27.6%
Blacks: 17.7%
Hispanics: 23.2%
Non-Hispanic Whites: 32.4%

For many, vaping begins in middle school, where 10.5 percent used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Only 2 percent of middle school students smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days.

Those who have ever used e-cigarettes report a variety of reasons for using them. The single biggest reason, reported by the 55 percent majority of users, is curiosity. Other reasons include a family member or friend using them (31 percent), the flavors (22 percent), doing tricks with them (21 percent), and believing they are less harmful than other forms of tobacco (16 percent).

Source: CDC, Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2019

Monday, December 09, 2019

Climate Change in Your Community

Perceptions of climate change depend on where people live, according to a Pew Research Center survey. While 62 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say climate change is having either "some" or "a great deal" of an effect in their local community, the figure is as high as 72 percent among people who live in the Pacific states of the West. Among those in the Pacific states who say climate change is having a local impact, 83 percent say it is causing more frequent wildfires and 78 percent say it is causing long periods of unusually hot weather.

Percent who say climate change is having an effect in their local community by census region/division
72% in the Pacific division
63% in the South Atlantic division
61% in the Northeast
59% in the Midwest
59% in the East South Central and West South Central divisions
54% in the Mountain division

Living near the coast also influences attitudes toward climate change. Among those who live within 25 miles of the coast, 67 percent think climate change is having an effect in their community. Among those who live more than 25 miles from the coast, a smaller 59 to 60 percent feel that way.

Perhaps the biggest difference in attitudes toward climate change is by political party. While 82 percent of Democrats say climate change is having an effect in their local community, only 38 percent of Republicans agree.

Source: Pew Research Center, U.S. Public Views on Climate and Energy

Friday, December 06, 2019

Median Household Income Stable in October 2019

Median household income did not change significantly between September and October 2019, after adjusting for inflation. The $66,465 October median was almost identical to the September 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 has continued to display an upward trend over the past 12 months (up 3.3 percent)," says Sentier's Gordon Green, "and especially since the low point reached in June 2011 (up 18.6 percent)." At the June 2011 low point—two years after the official end of the Great Recession— median household income was just $56,036.  

Sentier's Household Income Index for October 2019 was 107.2 (January 2000 = 100.0). In other words, the October 2019 median, after adjusting for inflation, was just 7.2 percent higher than the median of January 2000—almost two decades ago. To stay on top of these trends, look for the next monthly update from Sentier.

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: October 2019

Thursday, December 05, 2019

This Year, Just Say No to Dessert

Why now, Gallup? Just as the holiday season commences, Gallup again releases the results of a survey that reminds us to watch our weight—as it does every year at this time. The percentage of Americans aged 18 or older who weigh 200 or more pounds is climbing, Gallup notes in this year's release, rising from 24 percent in the 2001–09 time period to 28 percent in 2010–19. Evidently, no one is paying attention to Gallup's annual reminder to watch our weight. Among men, 42 percent weigh at least 200 pounds, up from 38 percent a decade ago. Among women, the share rose from 12 to 14 percent.

Weight distribution of American men in 2010–19
1%: 124 pounds or less
7%: 125 to 149 pounds
23%: 150 to 174 pounds
25%: 175 to 199 pounds
42%: 200 pounds or more

Weight distribution of American women in 2010–19
14%: 124 pounds or less
28%: 125 to 149 pounds
24%: 150 to 174 pounds
13%: 175 to 199 pounds
14%: 200 pounds or more

Despite the fact that we are getting fatter, Americans are less likely to think they are overweight in the 2010–19 time period than in the 2001–09 decade. The percentage who think they are somewhat or very overweight fell from 41 to 38 percent during those years. The percentage who say their weight is about right increased from 53 to 56 percent. This is fantasy. Here are the facts, according to actual measurements of height and weight taken by the National Center for Health Statistics: 71 percent of adults are overweight and just 28 percent are "about right," or what NCHS calls normal weight.

As we normalize our expanding girth, it's not surprising that our ideal weight is also rising. Among women, ideal weight climbed from 137 to 140 pounds between 2001–09 and 2010–19, Gallup reports. Among men, the ideal rose from 158 to 160 pounds. Perhaps consequently, fewer say they want to lose weight. Among women, 60 percent said they wanted to lose weight in 2010–19, down from 65 percent in 2001–09. Among men, the percentage who want to lose weight fell from 59 to 54 percent.

Source: Gallup, More Americans Say They Weigh 200 Lbs. or More This Decade

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Number of Births in 2018 Lowest Since 1986

The final numbers are in. There were only 3,791,712 births in 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics report, Births Final Data for 2018. While this is a tad more than the number reported provisionally back in May (3,788,235), the additional 3,477 births included in the final number did not reverse the trend. The number of births in 2018 was the smallest since 1986. It was 63,788 less than the number of births in 2017, and it was more than 500,000 below the all-time high of 4.3 million in 2007. The 2018 fertility rate—the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44—dropped to a record low of 59.1.

Have we hit bottom? Hard to tell. According to the NCHS vital statistics rapid release program, the fertility rate was significantly higher (58.6) in the second quarter of 2019 than it was in the second quarter of 2018 (58.3). While not much of an increase, it could indicate an end to the decline. But the first quarter number suggested the opposite. The fertility rate in the first quarter of 2019 was significantly lower (55.9) than in the first-quarter of 2018 (57.2). Stay tuned.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Birth Data, Births: Final Data for 2018

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

40% of Hispanic Households Include Children

Households headed by Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics are more likely to include children under age 18 than are households headed by non-Hispanic Whites, according to the Census Bureau's 2019 Current Population Survey. Behind the difference is the fact that non-Hispanic Whites, on average, are considerably older than Asians, Blacks, or Hispanics and less likely to be in their childrearing years.

Households with children under age 18 by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2019
Asian: 35%
Black: 26%
Hispanic: 40%
Non-Hispanic White: 23%

Among the nation's 34 million households with children under age 18, non-Hispanic Whites head the 57 percent majority. Hispanics head 21 percent of households with children, Blacks (alone) head 13 percent, and Asians (alone) 7 percent.

Source: Census Bureau, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2019

Monday, December 02, 2019

Renter Mobility Rate Slips below 20%

The nation's mobility rate hit an all-time low of 9.8 percent in 2018–19, primarily because fewer renters are moving. The mobility rate of renters fell to 19.7 percent, a record low and the first time the figure has been below 20 percent. The mobility rate of renters exceeded 30 percent before 2006. Because renters account for two-thirds of movers, the falling mobility rate of renters is the biggest factor behind the nation's record low overall mobility rate. Here is the trend in mobility by housing tenure...

Percentage of renters who moved
2018–19: 19.7%
2010–11: 26.1%
2000–01: 30.5%
1990–01: 33.6%

Percentage of homeowners who moved
2018–19: 4.9%
2010–11: 4.7%
2000–01: 7.4%
1990–01: 8.8%

Between 2018–19, only 20.9 million renters moved. This is the smallest number since the Census Bureau began to collect data on mobility rates by housing tenure in the 1980s. Among homeowners, 10.4 million moved in 2018–19, down from about 15 million a year prior to the Great Recession. 

Source: Census Bureau, Migration/Geographic Mobility