Monday, June 14, 2021

60% of Americans Favor the Death Penalty

The 60 percent majority of Americans support the death penalty for people convicted of murder, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Pew documents large partisan differences in support for the death penalty, with 77 percent of Republicans versus 46 percent of Democrats in favor. 

The partisan gap in attitudes towards the death penalty explains why executions are much more likely to occur in red states than blue states. Of the 22 prisoners executed by the states in 2019, Texas executed 9 (41 percent), according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee each executed three prisoners, Florida executed two, and Missouri and South Dakota each executed one. 

Overall, 2,570 prisoners were under sentence of death in the United States at the end of 2019. Nearly all (98 percent) are men. The 56 percent majority are white, 41 percent Black, and 15 percent Hispanic (who may be of any race). Their median age is 51 and median level of education is 12th grade. Most have never been married. They have been on death row for an average of 18.7 years. 

In a preview of 2020 capital punishment statistics included in the 2019 report, the BJS notes a decline in executions to 17. "Sixteen of the executions in 2020 were by lethal injection," says BJS, "while 1 (in Tennessee) was by electrocution. Ten of those executed were white, 5 were black, 1 was Hispanic, and 1 was American Indian. No females were executed during this period."

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment, 2019—Statistical Tables

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Foreign-Born Work Force Declined in 2020

The total number of workers in the U.S. labor force fell by 2.8 million in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Foreign-born workers accounted for a disproportionate 38 percent of the decline—a loss of 1.1 million foreign-born workers. Consequently, the foreign-born share of the U.S. labor force fell from 17.4 percent in 2019 to 17.0 percent in 2020. 

Not surprisingly, Asian and Hispanic workers are mostly likely to be foreign-born. Among Asians in the labor force, 68.5 percent are foreign-born. Among Hispanics, the figure is 45 percent. 

By age, the foreign-born share of the labor force peaks at 21 to 22 percent among 35-to-54-year-olds. It is smallest among the youngest workers. Only 8 percent of workers aged 16 to 24 are foreign-born. 

The foreign-born share of the labor force also varies by educational attainment, with the foreign-born accounting for the majority of workers without a high school diploma...

Foreign-born share of the U.S. labor force by educational attainment, 2020
54.7% of those without a high school diploma
18.1% of those with a high school diploma and no further education
11.4% of those with some college or an associate's degree
17.2% of those with a bachelor's degree or more education

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

822,000 New Single-Family Houses Sold in 2020

822,000: that's the number of new single-family houses sold in 2020—the most since 2006 and more than twice the number sold a decade ago in 2010, in the aftermath of the Great Recession.  

The median sales price of new single-family houses sold climbed to $336,900 in 2020. While this was higher than the median price in 2019, it was less than the 2017 record high of $341,200, after adjusting for inflation...

Median sales price of new single-family houses sold, 2005 to 2020 (in 2020 dollars)
2020: $336,900
2019: $325,500
2018: $336,400
2017: $341,200 (record high)
2016: $331,900
2015: $321,300
2011: $261,400 (post Great Recession low)
2010: $263,300
2005: $319,200 (pre Great Recession high)

Nearly all (96 percent) of new single-family homes sold in 2020 were air conditioned. This figure is up from 63 percent in 1978, the first year of the Census Bureau's data series. 

New single-family houses sold in 2020 had a median of 2,333 square feet, almost identical to the 2,322 median size in 2019. In 2015 and 2016, the median size of new single-family houses sold exceeded 2,500 square feet. 

Source: Census Bureau, Characteristics of New Housing

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Unvaccinated Are Least Likely to Wear Face Masks

Americans who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are almost guaranteed to be safe from the potentially fatal illness. Yet, they are also the ones most likely to continue to wear face masks, according to a Gallup survey. Take a look...

Use of face mask in past 7 days by vaccination status, May 2021
90% of those who are fully vaccinated
88% of those who plan to get vaccinated
80% of those who are partially vaccinated
49% of those who do not plan to get vaccinated

This is not the only eyebrow-raising statistic from the Gallup survey. Between April 2021 and May 2021, the share of the unvaccinated who have used a face mask in the past seven days fell by a full 10 percentage points—from 59 to 49 percent. Among the fully vaccinated, the decline in face mask use was a smaller 5 percentage points. 

The anti-vaxers who have thrown away their masks might want to consider a Washington Post analysis of Covid infection rates among the unvaccinated. Case rates are as high as they were near the January peak of Covid infections, the Post reports. "The virus continues to rage among those who haven't received a shot."

Monday, June 07, 2021

YouTube is Most Popular Social Media Platform

The great majority of the American public (72 percent of people aged 18 or older) use social media platforms, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The most popular site is YouTube, followed by Facebook—the only two sites used by the majority of adults...

Percent of people aged 18 or older who say they ever use...
YouTube: 81%
Facebook: 69%
Instagram: 40%
Pinterest: 31%
LinkedIn: 28%
Snapchat: 25%
Twitter: 23%
WhatsApp: 23%
TikTok: 21%
Reddit: 18%
Nextdoor: 13%

Young adults aged 18 to 29 are the ones most likely to use most of the social media platforms, including YouTube (95 percent), Instagram (71 percent), Snapchat (65 percent), TikTok (48 percent), Twitter (42 percent), and Reddit (36 percent). 

People aged 30 to 49 are the ones most likely to use Facebook (77 percent), LinkedIn (36 percent), and WhatsApp (30 percent).

People aged 50 to 64 are the ones most likely to use Pinterest (38 percent).

People aged 30 to 64 are the ones most likely to use Nextdoor (16 to 17 percent).

Source: Pew Research Center, Social Media Use in 2021

Thursday, June 03, 2021

77% Have Received at least One Dose of Vaccine

Seventy-seven percent of adults say they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. The latest survey was fielded May 12-24. The 77 percent who reported having gotten at least one dose of the vaccine as of May 24 is up slightly from the 75 percent who reported having done so in early May. 

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of May 12-24
Total 18-plus: 77%
Aged 18 to 24: 66%
Aged 25 to 39: 67%
Aged 40 to 54: 76%
Aged 55 to 64: 84%
Aged 65-plus: 90%

There is no change in the number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine. During this round of the survey, 28 million said no. Another 14 million say they are unsure about getting the vaccine.  

There are 17 million adults (7 percent of the population) who say they "definitely will not" get the vaccine, almost the same numbers as in the previous survey. By race and Hispanic origin, 8 percent of non-Hispanic whites say they definitely will not get the vaccine, 7 percent of Blacks, 5 percent of Hispanics, and 2 percent of Asians. 

Source: Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, May 12-24

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Decline in Men's Earnings, 1988—2018

The earnings of men are not what they used to be. According to data collected by the Social Security Administration, here is how the earnings of men aged 20 to 59 have changed in the past 30 years, from 1988 to 2018 (in 2018 dollars)...

Median annual earnings of men in 2018 (and percent change since 1988; in 2018 dollars)
Aged 20 to 29: $25,507 (-5.4%)
Aged 30 to 39: $47,895 (-6.4%)
Aged 40 to 49: $57,779 (-10.5%)
Aged 50 to 59: $57,518 (-7.3%)

Note: Earnings are all wages, salaries, and self-employment income in Social Security covered and non-covered employment including earnings that exceed the annual taxable maximum. 

Source: Social Security Administration, Earnings of Men Aged 20-59, 1988—2018

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

QAnon Tenets Believed by 15-20% of Americans

An alarmingly large share of the public believes in each of the three tenets of the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to a PRRI survey...

  1. Fifteen percent of Americans believe "the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation." Among Republicans, 23 percent believe this to be true.
  2. Fifteen percent of Americans agree with the statement, "because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country." Among Republicans, the figure is 28 percent.
  3. Twenty percent of Americans believe "there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders." Among Republicans, 28 percent are believers.

Perhaps most worrisome is the belief that violence may be necessary. Fully 42 of those who watch far-right news sources believe true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save our country. Among Fox News viewers, the figure is 27 percent. Among white evangelical protestants, 24 percent. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

How Many Know Someone Who Is Transgender?

Nearly one-third of Americans aged 18 or older personally know someone who is transgender, according to a Gallup survey. Here's the question asked by Gallup: "Do you have any friends or relatives or coworkers who have told you, personally, that they are transgender?" Young adults are most likely to say yes.

Percent who personally know someone who is transgender
Total 18-plus: 31%
Aged 18 to 29: 50%
Aged 30 to 49: 31%
Aged 50 to 64: 24%
Aged 65-plus: 19%

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

35 Million Report Having Been Diagnosed with Covid-19

Millions of Americans report that they have received a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey fielded April 28-May 10. Overall, 35 million say they have been diagnosed with Covid—14 percent of the population aged 18 or older. 

Those most likely to have had a Covid diagnosis are Hispanics (22 percent), those without a high school diploma (19 percent), and those living in households with seven or more people (22 percent). Many of these victims are front-line workers exposed to the virus while on the job.

Those least likely to have had a Covid diagnosis are people aged 65 or older (9 percent), college graduates (11 percent), people who live alone (10 percent), and people with household incomes of $200,000 or more (10 percent). Many of these people were able to stay home or work from home during the pandemic, reducing their exposure to the virus.

Percent of adults who have received a positive Covid-19 diagnosis, as of April 28-May 10
Total 18-plus: 13.8%
Aged 18 to 24: 18.1%
Aged 25 to 39: 14.5%
Aged 40 to 54: 16.5%
Aged 55 to 64: 13.4%
Aged 65-plus: 8.8%

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Blacks and Whites See Things Differently

How serious a problem is racism in the United States? It depends on who you ask. 

Overall, only 30 percent of adults say racism is an "extremely serious" problem, according to an AP-NORC survey fielded April 29-May 3. The 60 percent majority of Blacks say racism is an extremely serious problem. Only 23 percent of whites feel the same way.

For many whites, racism is no big deal. Take a look...

How serious a problem do you think racism is in the United States?
    Blacks    Whites
Extremely      60%        23%
Very      24        28
Moderately      13        29
Not too/not at all        4        20

Another question on the AP-NORC survey asks, "How serious a problem do you think police violence against the public is in the United States?" While 76 percent of Blacks think police violence against the public is a very/extremely serious problem, only 36 percent of whites agree. Whites are more likely to think violence against the police is the bigger problem, with 47 percent feeling that way. 

Source: AP-NORC, George Floyd's Death: One Year Later

Monday, May 24, 2021

75% Have Received at least One Dose of Vaccine

The increase in the percentage of Americans who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus is slowing down. Seventy-five percent of adults say they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. The latest survey was fielded April 28-May 10. The 75 percent who reported having gotten at least one dose of the vaccine as of May 10 is up slightly from the 70 percent who reported having done so as of the end of April. 

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of April 28-May 10
Total 18-plus: 75%
Aged 18 to 24: 61%
Aged 25 to 39: 64%
Aged 40 to 54: 72%
Aged 55 to 64: 83%
Aged 65-plus: 90%

There is not much change in the number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine. During this round of the survey, 28 million said no—down a bit from 29 million at the end of April. Another 16 million say they are unsure about getting the vaccine.  

There are still 18 million adults (7 percent of the population) who say they "definitely will not" get the vaccine, the same as in the previous survey. Among those who say they definitely will not get the vaccine, the three biggest reasons (multiple reasons could be cited) are: 1) don't trust the vaccine (55 percent); 2) concerned about side effects (48 percent); and 3) don't trust the government (46 percent).

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Remarkable Stability in "Doing Okay"

Three out of four adults say they are doing at least okay financially, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, fielded in the fourth quarter of 2020. The 75 percent figure is identical to what was reported at the same time one year earlier—before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Fed's 2020 survey asked Americans about their financial wellbeing not only at the end of 2020, but also at two other times during the year as it tracked the impact of the pandemic on household finances. In April 2020, the percentage who said they were doing at least okay financially dipped to 72 percent. By July, it had climbed to 77 percent. This increase, explains the Fed, "is consistent with some interpretations that many aspects of government stimulus measures...appear to have blunted the negative financial effects of the pandemic for many families."

Here are the percentages of adults who said they were doing at least okay financially as of the fourth quarter of 2020 by selected demographic characteristics, and percentage point change since 2019...

Family income
$100,000 or more: 95% (0)
$50,000 to $99,999: 84% (0)
$25,000 to $49,999: 65% (-2)
Less than $25,000: 52% (0)

Race/ethnicity
Black: 64% (-2)
Hispanic: 64% (-2)
Non-Hispanic white: 80% (+1)

Parental status
No children: 78% (+1)
Children: 67% (-4)

Metro status
Metro area: 76% (0)
Nonmetro area: 69% (-3)

Source: Federal Reserve Board, Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Just 51% of Births Are to Non-Hispanic Whites

Non-Hispanic whites still account for the majority of births in the United States, but just barely. Fifty-one percent of the women who gave birth in 2020 were non-Hispanic white. Given that some of these non-Hispanic white mothers are intermarried—meaning their partner is of another race or Hispanic origin—the minority share of the nation's newborns is likely above 50 percent. 

The non-Hispanic white share of births has fallen by 8 percentage points over the past two decades. The Black share has fallen slightly, while the Asian and Hispanic shares have grown...

Percent distribution of births by race/Hispanic origin of mother, 2000, 2010, and 2020
      2020      2010     2000
Total     100.0%     100.0%     100.0%
Asian         6.1         6.2         4.9
Black       14.7       14.7       14.9
Hispanic       24.0       23.6       20.1
Non-Hispanic white       51.0       54.1       58.2
Note: Percentages will not sum to 100 because not all races are shown. 

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the National Center for Health Statistics' Birth Data

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

10% Are Intermarried

Ten percent of marriages are between spouses of two different races or between an Hispanic and a non-Hispanic, according to a Census Bureau analysis of 2016 American Community Survey data. The analysis examined intermarriage patterns among currently married women who have married only once. 

Percent intermarried* by race and Hispanic origin
52.1% of American Indians/Alaska Natives
22.4% of Hispanics
20.6% of Asians
  8.0% of Blacks
  5.1% of non-Hispanic whites

Percent intermarried* by age
16.7% of those aged 15 to 24
15.2% of those aged 25 to 34
13.3% of those aged 35 to 44
10.3% of those aged 45 to 54
  5.9% of those aged 55 or older

Percent intermarried* by education
  7.2% of high school dropouts
  8.1% of high school graduates
11.5% of those with some college
11.3% of those with a bachelor's degree
11.7% of those with a graduate/professional degree

*Among currently married women who have married only once.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Below Replacement Fertility for College Graduates

The average woman will have 1.7 children in her lifetime according to a National Center for Health Statistics' analysis of 2019 fertility rates by educational attainment. This rate is well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. 

Note: The total fertility rate (TFR), as this measure is called, fell even lower in 2020—to 1.6 children per woman. 

The TFR varies by a woman's educational attainment. Among women without a high school diploma, the fertility rate is well above replacement at 2.8 children. Women with a bachelor's degree and no further education have the lowest TFR—just 1.3 children. 

Average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime given the age-specific fertility rates of 2019, by educational attainment
Total women: 1.705
No high school diploma: 2.791
High school graduate only: 2.053
Some college, no degree: 1.808
Associate's degree: 1.312
Bachelor's degree: 1.284
Master's degree: 1.405
Doctorate/professional: 1.523

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Who Favors Proof of Vaccination?

The majority of American adults are in favor of businesses requiring proof of vaccination before people can participate in certain activities over the next few months, according to a Gallup survey. Overall, 57 percent favor requiring proof of vaccination for air travel and 55 percent for attending events with large crowds. 

There is a deep partisan split on whether businesses should require proof of vaccination, however. The majority of Democrats favor proof of vaccination for all of the selected activities, while only about a quarter or fewer Republicans feel the same way.

Percent who favor businesses requiring proof of vaccination before participation in activity
    total    Democrats  Republicans
Air travel     57%         85%       28%
Events with large crowds     55         82       25
Where you work*     45         69       16
Hotel stay     44         66       22
Dine in restaurant     40         62       19

*This question was asked only of those who are employed. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Big Spending Declines in 2020

Of course household spending declined in 2020. We know that. We all cut back. But the latest mid-year household spending statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal just how deep those cuts were.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces not only calendar-year household spending data, but also mid-year data. The latest release shows average household spending for the July 2019 through June 2020 time period. A comparison of these mid-year data with those from one year earlier captures the dramatic decline in household spending as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country. 

Percent change in average household spending on selected products and services, July 2018-June 2019 to July 2019-June 2020 (in 2020 dollars)
  -3.4%: total spending by the average household
 +1.9%: food at home
 +3.8%: maintenance/repairs for owned homes
-14.8%: food away from home
-18.6%: women's clothes 
-20.1%: men's clothes
-27.8%: public transportation
-31.7%: fees and admissions to entertainment events

Overall household spending fell 3 percent by mid-year 2020 compared to the previous mid-year number, after adjusting for inflation. The decline was much greater for the sectors most impacted by the pandemic. Average household spending on fees and admissions to entertainment events plunged 32 percent. Spending on public transportation fell 28 percent. Spending on food away from home (mostly restaurant meals) was down 15 percent. Meanwhile, spending on food at home (groceries) grew 2 percent, and spending on maintenance and repairs for owned homes (home improvements) climbed 4 percent. None of these trends is a surprise.

But there are a couple of surprises uncovered by Demo Memo's analysis of the mid-year spending statistics. Average household spending on alcoholic beverages did not increase as some have suggested. Instead, spending on alcoholic beverages fell 4 percent between 2018-19 and 2019-20, after adjusting for inflation. This decline likely is the result of greatly reduced alcoholic beverage spending at bars and restaurants during the pandemic. Another surprise was a decline in spending on pets. With so many working from home, there were reports of a surge in new pet owners. But average household spending on pets fell 5 percent between 2018-19 and 2019-20.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

2020 Drop in Births Is 9th Largest

The 143,000 drop in births in 2020 was the ninth largest single-year decline in more than a century of record keeping. What were the eight bigger declines? Take a look...

10 largest annual declines in births (and reason for decline)
1. 1972: -298,000 (birth of Generation X)
2. 1965: -267,000 (birth of Generation X)
3. 1919: -208,000 (Spanish flu pandemic)
4. 1948: -180,000 (taking a breather from increases immediately after World War II)
5. 1971: -175,000 (birth of Generation X)
6. 1922: -173,000 (taking a breather from increases immediately after World War I)
7. 1944: -165,000 (World War II)
8. 1966: -154,000 (birth of Generation X)
9. 2020: -143,000 (Covid pandemic)
10. 1933: -133,000 (Great Depression)

The birth years of Generation X account for 4 of the 10 largest annual declines in births (1965, 1966, 1971, and 1972). The original "baby bust" generation was born during the years 1965 through 1976. 

The third largest decline in births, in 1919, was a consequence of the Spanish flu pandemic. It remains to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a larger decline in births in 2021 than in 2020, but it's a possibility. Here's why. Covid's impact on births was fully realized only in the last month of 2020. December 2020 births were a substantial 8 percent below the number of births in December of 2019, a much larger decline than in any other month of the year. Most of those December births were conceived in March, at the very beginning of the pandemic. It's likely there also will be a substantial decline in the number of births conceived during the months of April, May, and June of 2020, reflecting the hesitancy of young adults to have children in the midst of a growing pandemic. The 2021 decline in births, if there is one, could be larger than the one in 2020.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of National Center for Health Statistics and Census Bureau data

Monday, May 10, 2021

It Won't Be Long

In the 2020 presidential election, the Millennial and Gen Z generations accounted for just 38 percent of voters although their share of the citizen population is a larger 42 percent. Sure, the voter turnout of younger adults was higher than ever, but it doesn't match the turnout of older generations. That's about to change.

As Millennials and younger generations age, their voter participation rate will rise. Not long from now, the younger generations will become the majority of voters. In the 2024 presidential election, 45 percent of voters will be members of the Millennial and younger generations, according to Demo Memo projections. By 2028, they will be 51 percent of voters...

Millennial and younger generation share of voters in presidential elections
2020: 38%
2024: 45%
2028: 51%

Note: Demo Memo's projections of voters are based on the percentage of citizens who voted in 2020 by single year of age applied to the Census Bureau's single-year-of-age population projections adjusted for citizenship status. 

Of course, the voting dominance of Millennials and younger generations will just keep growing. By 2040, they will account for fully 70 percent of voters.

Source: Demo Memo projections of voters based on the Census Bureau's Voting and Registration in the  Election of November 2020 and 2017 Population Projections Tables

Thursday, May 06, 2021

70% Have Received at least One Dose of Vaccine

Nearly three-quarters of American adults have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. The latest survey was fielded April 14-26. The 70 percent who reported having had the vaccine as of the last two weeks of April is up substantially from the 47 percent who reported having been vaccinated one month earlier. 

The biggest increase in the vaccination rate between March and April was among young adults. The percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds who have received at least one dose of the vaccine jumped from just 19 percent at the end of March to the 53 percent majority by the end of April.

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of April 14-26
Total 18-plus: 70%
Aged 18 to 24: 53%
Aged 25 to 39: 57%
Aged 40 to 54: 66%
Aged 55 to 64: 78%
Aged 65-plus: 88%

There is continuing erosion in the number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine. During this round of the survey, 29 million said no—down from 39 million in the last half of March. Some of the decline in naysaying is due to the fact that the Census Bureau added a new category of response in this iteration of the survey: "Unsure about getting a vaccine." Fully 17 million say they are unsure. 

Overall, 18 million adults (7 percent of the population) say they "definitely will not" get the vaccine, numbers that barely changed between March and April. Non-Hispanic whites are most likely to say they definitely will not get the vaccine (7.5 percent), followed by Blacks (6.8 percent), Hispanics (5.1 percent) and Asians (3.0 percent).

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Births in 2020: The Covid Baby Bust Begins

The number of births in the United States fell to 3,605,201 in 2020, the smallest number since 1979 and 143,000 fewer than in 2019. Behind the large drop in births is the ongoing fertility decline among American women as well as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Births peaked in the U.S. in 2007, when 4.3 million babies were born. The 2020 figure is 16 percent below that peak and 4 percent below the 2019 number. The birth decline intensified as 2020 progressed, according to National Center for Health Statistics data. In the first six months of the year, monthly births were about 2 percent below the 2019 numbers. By December 2020, they were 8 percent below what they had been a year earlier.  

Number of births for selected years (in 000s)
2020: 3,605
2019: 3,748
2018: 3,792
2017: 3,856
2016: 3,946
2015: 3,978 
2007: 4,316 (record high)

The number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 (the general fertility rate) fell to 55.8 in 2020. This was 4 percent lower than in 2019 and a new record low. 

The fertility decline is occurring in most age groups, with birth rates for women aged 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29 hitting new record lows in 2020. The fertility rate of 20-to-24-year-olds has fallen by a stunning 40 percent since 2007. 

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 1.637.5 in 2020. This is well below the 2.1 replacement level. "The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and has consistently been below replacement since 2007," NCHS reports.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Provisional Data for 2020

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

College Enrollment Rate Dropped in 2020

The college enrollment rate dropped in 2020. Only 62.7 percent of young adults who graduated from high school in 2020 had enrolled in college by October of that year, down from 66.2 percent in 2019. The decline "reflects the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic," the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Black high school graduates were the only ones whose college enrollment rate increased in 2020. 

College enrollment rate, 2020 (and percentage point change 2019—20)
Total: 62.7% (-3.5)
Asians: 83.2% (-6.7)
Blacks: 56.6% (+5.9)
Hispanics: 56.2% (-7.2)
Whites: 62.9% (-4.0)

Note: The college enrollment rate is defined as the percentage of 2020 high school graduates aged 16 to 24 who had enrolled in college by October of that year. The white race category includes Hispanics who identify themselves as white, which most do. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Huge Voter Turnout in 2020

We knew voter turnout was big in 2020. What we didn't know until now was which demographic segments were responsible for the big turnout. And the answer is—all of them. 

The answer comes from the Voting and Registration Supplement to the Current Population Survey which, according to the Census Bureau, "is the most comprehensive data source available on the social and demographic composition of the electorate in federal elections." The bureau fields the supplement after each mid-term and presidential election to track the demographics of voters. The 2020 supplement was fielded November 15-24, shortly after the presidential election. The supplement asked respondents if they had registered to vote in the November 3 election, whether they had voted, and if not why not.

Overall, 155 million American citizens aged 18 or older reported voting in the November 2020 election—66.8 percent of the electorate. This is the highest voting rate since 1992 (Bill Clinton versus George H.W. Bush), when 67.7 percent voted. 

Voter participation increased in every race and Hispanic origin group in 2020, with record levels of voting by Asians, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites. Although Black voter participation was higher in 2020 than in most other election years, it did not set a record. The 62.6 percent Black voter participation rate in 2020 ranked third behind 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama was running for president.

Percent of citizens aged 18-plus who voted in November 2020 by race and Hispanic origin
Total citizens 18-plus: 66.8%
Asians: 59.7% (record high)
Blacks: 62.6%
Hispanics: 53.7% (record high)
Non-Hispanic whites: 70.9% (record high)

Voter participation also climbed to a record high in every age group in 2020. Among adults aged 18 to 24, voter participation exceeded 50 percent for the first time. 

Percent of citizens aged 18-plus who voted in November 2020 by age group
Total citizens 18-plus: 66.8%
Aged 18 to 24: 51.4% (record high)
Aged 25 to 44: 62.6% (record high)
Aged 45 to 64: 71.0% (record high)
Aged 65-plus: 74.5% (record high)

Overall, 71 percent of voters in the 2020 election were non-Hispanic whites. Sixty percent were aged 45 or older. But the share of all voters who were non-Hispanic whites aged 45 or older fell to 45 percent in 2020, down from 48 percent in 2016.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

One-Third of the Ever-Married Have Divorced

Divorce may not yet be the norm in the United States, but it is a common experience—especially for the Baby-Boom generation. Overall, one-third of ever-married adults aged 20 or older have experienced divorce, according to a recent Census Bureau analysis of 2014 data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The figure exceeds 40 percent among Americans aged 45 to 64—just about the age range of Boomers (50 to 68) in that year. 

Percent of ever-married adults aged 20-plus who have ever divorced, 2014
      women  men
Total, 20-plus       33.7%   33.0%
Aged 20 to 24        7.1    6.2
Aged 25 to 29      13.4  10.1
Aged 30 to 34      22.3  15.9
Aged 35 to 44      30.8  27.4
Aged 45 to 54      41.6  40.1
Aged 55 to 64      42.6  42.5
Aged 65 to 74      38.5  38.6
Aged 75-plus      24.0  24.4

The marital instability of the Baby-Boom generation has long been recognized. The higher prevalence of divorce among Boomers is due to events occurring as Boomers came of age—the Vietnam War and the changing roles of women. The war sent Boomer men scurrying onto college campuses to avoid the draft or into the jungles of Vietnam to fight the war. At the same time, Boomer women began to enroll in college and enter the labor force at much higher rates than earlier generations of women. These changes in the life course of young adults strained Boomer marriages and resulted in higher levels of divorce. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 1st Quarter 2021

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, first quarter 2021: 48.2%

Homeownership rates in the first quarter of 2021 continue to fall from the stratospheric heights reached in 2020—when the coronavirus pandemic greatly reduced the response rate to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) and consequently distorted homeownership trends. The ongoing downward shift means that householders aged 30 to 34 are still falling short of the honorary First-Time Homebuyer title.   

The overall homeownership rate in the first quarter of 2021 was 65.6 percent, not significantly different from the 65.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds (the age group in which householders typically buy their first home) fell by a full percentage point between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Except for the 50.1 percent blip in the third quarter of 2020, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds has been below 50 percent in every quarter since the second quarter of 2011—the aftermath of the Great Recession. Until 2011, the age group's homeownership rate had never been below 50 percent in the data series that goes back to 1982. 

Yes, it may be a seller's market in the housing industry right now, but the demand for housing is not translating into noticeably higher homeownership rates in any age group. The seller's market is a consequence of the pandemic-related shortage of houses for sale.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

A Few Surprises in the First 2020 Census Results

April 1, 2020, was undoubtedly one of the worst times to conduct a decennial census. Just a few weeks before Census Day, on March 13, the United States had declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses were closed down. States were in lockdown. Students fled college campuses and returned to their hometowns. It was a mess. That's why we've waited so long for 2020 census numbers—the Census Bureau has been busy ensuring that the "2020 census results meet our high quality standards." Yesterday, the first results were released—population counts for the nation as a whole and the 50 states. 

The 2020 census counts differ from the Census Bureau's 2020 population estimates in some surprising ways... 

  • Population growth was greater than estimated. The Census Bureau had estimated a 2020 population of 329 million—6.7 percent more U.S. residents than in 2010. This would have made the 2010s the slowest decade of growth in U.S. history. Instead, the 2020 Census counted 331,440,281 U.S. residents as of April 1, 2020. This is nearly 2 million more than estimated, resulting in a growth rate of 7.4 percent for the decade. Consequently, the 2010s was not the slowest decade of growth in U.S. history but the second slowest. The 1930s retains its position as the decade of slowest growth, when the population grew by 7.3 percent.
  • Some of the fastest-growing states did not grow quite as fast as estimated. Arizona, for example, was estimated to have grown by 16 percent over the decade, but the 2020 census reveals the state's growth to have been a smaller 12 percent, with 270,000 fewer people living in the state in 2020 than had been estimated. Similarly, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas came up short as well. While these states grew faster than most others, they did not grow quite as fast as estimated.
  • Some of the slowest-growing states gained more people than estimated. The population of New Jersey, for example, was estimated to have grown by 1 percent between 2010 and 2020. But the 2020 census shows that New Jersey's population grew by a much larger 5.7 percent—407,700 more people than had been estimated. Similarly, rather than declining by 0.2 percent over the decade, New York State's population grew by 4.2 percent—an additional 864,000 people. The pattern is the same for Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. 
  • Only three states lost population during the decade rather than the five estimated. The losing states were Illinois (-0.1 percent), Mississippi (-0.2 percent), and West Virginia (-3.2 percent). Connecticut and New York had been estimated to lose population but instead made gains. 
Source: Census Bureau, 2020 Census Apportionment Results

Monday, April 26, 2021

Educational Attainment in 2020

It used to be that men were much more likely than women to have a bachelor's degree. You can see this history in the educational attainment of men and women aged 70 or older today. There is a hefty 10 percentage-point gap in bachelor's degree attainment between older men and women. Over the decades, women not only caught up to men in the pursuit of a college degree but surpassed them. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, women are 9 percentage points more likely than men to have a bachelor's degree—almost as big a gap as among those aged 70 or older, but in the opposite direction. 

Percent of people aged 25 or older with a bachelor's degree or more education by age and sex, and percentage point difference between women and men, 2020

      total     men    women    difference 
Aged 25-plus      37.5%    36.7%     38.3%       1.7
Aged 25 to 29      39.2    34.7     43.8       9.0
Aged 30 to 34      43.0    38.7     47.4       8.7
Aged 35 to 39      43.4    40.2     46.6       6.4
Aged 40 to 44      40.9    37.5     44.2       6.7
Aged 45 to 49      41.1    38.5     43.5       5.0
Aged 50 to 54      38.6    36.9     40.2       3.3
Aged 55 to 59      33.6    33.3     33.9       0.6
Aged 60 to 64      32.6    32.5     32.7       0.3
Aged 65 to 69      35.3    37.0     33.8      -3.1
Aged 70 to 74       34.5    39.9     29.7    -10.2
Aged 75-plus      29.6    35.3     25.3    -10.0

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Family Unemployment Doubled between 2019 and 2020

Every year the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues a report on the employment characteristics of families. The most recent report, with annual averages for 2020, compares family employment during the coronavirus pandemic with the 2019 numbers. The data come from the Current Population Survey, which defines families as two or more people who live together and are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. 

The share of families with at least one unemployed member doubled between 2019 and 2020—rising from 4.9 to 9.8 percent—as the pandemic upended the job market. Hispanic families were most likely to have a family member unemployed in 2020 (14.3 percent), while white families were least likely (9.0 percent)...

Families with at least one family member unemployed in 2020 (and 2019)
Total families: 9.8% (4.9%)
Asian families: 10.9% (4.0%)
Black families: 13.4% (8.0%)
Hispanic families: 14.3% (6.6%)
White families: 9.0% (4.5%)

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has long refused to distinguish non-Hispanic whites from the total white population in its data releases. Consequently, the white statistics shown here also include Hispanics who identify their race as white, which most do. It is likely that unemployment in families headed by non-Hispanic whites is even lower than the white data presented above. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Characteristics of Families—2020

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

States with the Oldest and Youngest Housing Stock

The age of the housing stock varies dramatically across the country. States with an older housing stock are those that have been densely settled for generations. States with a younger housing stock are the ones that have experienced recent rapid growth. 

In the United States as a whole, 12.3 percent of housing units were built in 1939 or earlier (80-plus years ago), according to the Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey. But in some states, the figure is more than twice as high...

The five states with the largest percentage of housing units built in 1939 or earlier
1. District of Columbia: 32.8%
2. Massachusetts: 31.6%
3. New York: 31.1%
4. Rhode Island: 30.3%
5. Pennsylvania: 25.9%

At the other extreme, only 4.6 percent of housing units in the U.S. were built recently—within the past five years. But the figure is nearly double that in a few states...

The five states with the largest percentage of housing units built in 2014 or later
1. North Dakota: 9.0%
2. Texas: 9.0%
3. Utah: 8.9%
4. Idaho: 8.0%
5. South Carolina: 7.7%

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

3.8 Million Americans Were Victims of Stalking in 2016

A new report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) presents the latest data on victims of stalking. The report is as chilling as a Stephen King novel. 

The stalking data were collected by the 2016 Supplemental Victimization Survey of the National Crime Victimization Survey. The BJS defines stalking as "repeated unwanted contacts or behaviors that either cause the victim to experience fear or substantial emotional distress or that would cause a reasonable person to experience fear or substantial emotional distress."

In the past 12 months, 3,788,800 U.S. residents aged 16 or older reported being stalked. That's 1.5 percent of the population who experienced either traditional stalking, technology stalking, or both. The BJS defines traditional stalking as "sneaking into, waiting at, or showing up at a place; leaving or sending unwanted items; or harassing friends or family about the victim's whereabouts." Technology stalking is defined as "making unwanted phone calls, leaving voice mail messages, or sending text messages; spying using technology; tracking the victim's whereabouts with an electronic tracking device or application; posting or threatening to post unwanted information on the internet; sending emails or messages using the internet; or monitoring activities using social media." 

Got goosebumps? 

Nearly half of stalking victims are stalked in both ways—traditionally and with technology. Among the 2.5 million who were stalked traditionally, 59 percent said the offender followed them and watched them—the single most common traditional stalking behavior. Among the 3.1 million who were stalked with technology, the most common stalking behavior was excessive calling (phone calls/voice messages/text messages), reported by 67 percent.

Women (2.0 percent) are twice as likely as men (0.9 percent) to be victims of stalking. Young adults aged 20 to 24 are more likely to be victims (2.3 percent) than those in any other age group. The divorced (2.8 percent) or separated (3.7 percent) are much more likely to be stalked than the married (0.8 percent). 

Who is doing all this stalking? Ex-partners make up the single largest offender group (21 percent). But offenders can be acquaintances or relatives of a spouse or ex-spouse (10 percent), professional acquaintances (8 percent), roommates or neighbors (7 percent), and even strangers (17 percent). 

Sixty-two percent of victims report that the stalking has stopped, with 51 percent saying they took measures to stop it. These measures included blocking their phone number or getting a new phone/computer (23 percent), moving (8 percent), or getting a restraining order (5 percent). Police intervention did the trick for 7 percent of victims. Another 5 percent said the behavior stopped because the offender was arrested/incarcerated. Not all victims of stalking are this lucky, however. For a substantial 28 percent, the stalking is ongoing. 

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Stalking Victimization, 2016

Monday, April 19, 2021

60% of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal for Medical and Recreational Uses

The legalization of marijuana is supported by the great majority of Americans. Fully 92 percent of adults say marijuana should be legal at least for medical purposes and 60 percent say it should be legal for medical and recreational uses, according to a Pew Research Center survey. 

The percentage who favor the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes is highest among younger adults, reports Pew. But even among people aged 65 to 74, the 53 percent majority favor legalization not just for medical purposes but also for recreational use...

Marijuana should be legal for medical AND recreational uses
Total 18-plus: 60%
Aged 18 to 29: 70%
Aged 30 to 49: 65%
Aged 50 to 64: 59%
Aged 65 to 74: 53%
Aged 75-plus: 32%

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Rural Resistance to the Covid Vaccine

Americans who live in rural areas are more resistant to getting the Covid-19 vaccine than urban or suburban residents, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey fielded March 15-29, 2021. While 10 percent of urban residents and 13 percent of suburban residents say they will "definitely not" get the vaccine, the figure is a much higher 21 percent among adults who live in rural areas. 

The Kaiser survey explored vaccine resistance in rural America by the characteristics of residents. Here are some of the findings...

Percent of rural residents who say they will "definitely not" get the Covid-19 vaccine
All rural residents: 21%

Aged 65-plus: 10%
Aged 50-64:19%
Aged 18-49: 28%

Blacks: 10%
Hispanics: 18%
Non-Hispanic whites: 22%

College degree: 13%
No college degree: 23%

Democrats: 4%
Republicans: 32%

White evangelicals: 31%

Among rural residents who say they will "definitely not" get the Covid-19 vaccine, 83 percent are non-Hispanic whites, 73 percent are Republicans, and 41 percent are white evangelicals.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor—Rural America 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Black Homeownership in 2020 Is below 2000 Level

The overall homeownership rate was lower in 2020 than in 2000, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey. But a look at homeownership rates by race and Hispanic origin reveals that Blacks lost ground between 2000 and 2020 while Asians, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites made gains... 

Homeownership rate by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2000 and 2020
    2020     2000   change
Total households     66.6%      67.4%    -0.8
Asians     60.3      52.8     7.5
Blacks     45.3      47.2    -1.9
Hispanics     50.1      46.3     3.8
Non-Hispanic whites     75.0      73.8     1.2

Black homeownership peaked during the housing bubble at 49.1 percent in 2004. The rate fell to a post-Great Recession low of 41.6 percent in 2016—a 7.5 percentage point loss in the aftermath of the Great Recession and much greater than the Great Recession losses experienced by Asians (-4.4), Hispanics (-2.1), or non-Hispanic whites (-4.1). 

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Decade of Tech Adoption

Pew Research Center has been tracking internet use and technology adoption for more than two decades. Its latest survey was fielded in February 2021. Here's a look at how much things have changed during the past 10 years...

Percent of adults who use, subscribe, or own the technology, 2011 and 2021
   2021   2011
Internet      93%     79%
Smartphone     85     35
Broadband at home     77     62
Desktop/laptop computer     77     75
Tablet computer     53     10

Use of the internet increased from an already high level in 2011 (79 percent) to nearly universal adoption in 2021 (93 percent). Broadband (high speed internet) appears to be headed in the same direction—especially if the American Jobs Plan becomes law, with funds for the expansion of broadband into rural America. 

Only 35 percent of adults owned a smartphone in 2011. Over the past decade, smartphone ownership soared, rising 50 percentage points to the 85 percent of today. 

Tablet ownership increased from just 10 percent in 2011 to the 51 percent majority of adults by 2016. Since then, however, ownership of tablet computers has stabilized. For desktop/laptop computers, little has changed over the entire decade.

The percentage of adults who now own a smartphone ranges from a high of 95 to 96 percent among those under age 50 to a low of 61 percent among people aged 65 or older. Use of the internet is close to 100 percent among adults under age 65, but is a smaller 75 percent among those aged 65-plus. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Nearly One in Five Households Has Medical Debt

The most comprehensive look at the characteristics of Americans with medical debt is available from the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The 2018 SIPP included new questions about medical debt, asking respondents whether, in the past year, they had medical bills they were unable to pay in full. 

Overall, 19 percent of households had medical bills they were unable to pay in 2017, the Census Bureau reports. Here are the percentages by age group...

Percent of households with medical debt by age of householder
Total households: 19.0%
Under age 35: 19.4%
Aged 35 to 44: 22.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 22.9%
Aged 55 to 64: 22.0%
Aged 65-plus: 11.3%

Not surprisingly, households with at least one member who did not have health insurance during the year were most likely to have medical debt (31 percent). But even among households in which every household member had health insurance coverage all year, a substantial 16 percent had unpaid medical bills. The average amount of medical debt owed by households with such debt was a substantial $12,430. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

47% Have Received at Least One Dose of Vaccine

Nearly half of American adults have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. The latest numbers were collected March 17-29. The 47 percent who reported having gotten a jab in the last two weeks of March was up substantially from the 34 percent who reported having done so in the first two weeks of the month.

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of March 17-29
Total 18-plus: 47%
Aged 18 to 24: 19%
Aged 25 to 39: 32%
Aged 40 to 54: 40%
Aged 55 to 64: 53%
Aged 65-plus: 81%

There is some erosion in the number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine. During this round of the survey, 39 million said no—down from 43 million in the first half of March. Non-Hispanic whites are the one segment of the population that has dug in its heals. The percentage of Hispanics and Blacks who say they will probably/definitely not get the vaccine declined during the month of March, while the percentage of non-Hispanic white naysayers was unchanged. 

Source: Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, March 17-29

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

The Growing Partisan Divide on Climate Change

Since 2016, the public's attitudes toward global warming have frozen, according to Gallup. But that doesn't mean things haven't changed. "This stability masks growing divergence between Republicans and Democrats," Gallup reports.

Overall, the 59 percent majority of Americans say the effects of global warming have already begun, identical to the share who said so in 2016. But Democrats are more likely and Republicans less likely to feel this way...

Percent who say the effects of global warming have already begun

     2020    2016    change
Total 18-plus      59%     59%        0
Democrats      82     77      +5
Republicans      29     40     -11

The gap between Democrats and Republicans on this issue grew from an already large 37 percentage points in 2016 to an enormous 53 percentage points in 2021. 

The pattern is the same when Americans are asked whether global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetime. A growing share of Democrats say it will—67 percent in 2021, up from 58 percent in 2016. Only 11 percent of Republicans feel this way, down from 20 percent in 2016. 

Passing legislation to deal with climate change will be a tough sell, warns Gallup, because "Republicans signing on to such legislation are likely to face blowback from the Republican base."

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Covid-19: Third Leading Cause of Death in 2021

Remember all the fanfare last week when the CDC announced that Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020? It took seven months for Covid to climb to the number-three spot on the top-10 cause of death list last year. 

This year, it took only three months. Covid-19 is already the third leading cause of death in 2021. More than 209,000 Americans have died from Covid through April 4 of this year. Let's hope vaccinations and mitigation will prevent Covid from rising even higher on the list in 2021. 

Source: CDC, Covid Data Tracker

Monday, April 05, 2021

Homeownership in 2020 Is below 2000

The 2000s have not been good for homeownership—so far, at least. The 66.6 percent homeownership rate of 2020 was below the 67.4 percent rate of 2000—not only nationally, but in almost every age group and in 30 of 50 states, according to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey. 

We all know how this happened—the housing bubble, the collapse of the housing market, the Great Recession, and the long recovery. During the bubble, the nation's homeownership rate climbed to an all-time high of 69.0 percent in 2004. In the slow recovery from the Great Recession, the homeownership rate fell for years. It hit a post-Great Recession low of 63.4 percent in 2016. Since then, the rate has been inching back up each year.

Only two age groups had a higher homeownership rate in 2020 than they did in 2000—householders under age 25, and householders aged 75 or older. Every other age group had a lower homeownership rate, with the biggest declines (5 or more percentage points) occurring among householders ranging in age from 30 to 59.

Homeownership rate by age of householder, 2000 and 2020
        2020     2000    change
U.S. total     66.6%     67.4%    -0.8
Under age 25     25.7     21.7     4.0
Aged 25 to 29     35.3     38.1    -2.8
Aged 30 to 34     49.1     54.6    -5.5
Aged 35 to 39     60.0     65.0    -5.0
Aged 40 to 44     65.5     70.6    -5.1
Aged 45 to 49     68.8     74.7    -5.9
Aged 50 to 54     73.2     78.5    -5.3
Aged 55 to 59     74.9     80.4    -5.5
Aged 60 to 64     78.2     80.3    -2.1
Aged 65 to 69     79.6     83.0    -3.4
Aged 70 to 74     82.1     82.6    -0.5
Aged 75-plus     79.0     77.7     1.3

By state, the biggest decline in homeownership between 2000 and 2020 occurred in North Dakota (down 6.5 percentage points), followed by Pennsylvania (-4.8), and Wisconsin (-3.9). Among the 20 states and the District of Columbia with gains in homeownership between 2000 and 2020, Delaware saw the biggest increase (5.9 percentage points), following by New Hampshire (5.3) and Vermont (4.4).

It remains to be seen how the coronavirus pandemic will affect homeownership. The housing market appears to be hot right now, but that's largely because the pandemic has reduced the number of sellers, driving up prices. 

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey

Thursday, April 01, 2021

11% of All Deaths in 2020 Due to Covid-19

It's official. Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020. The CDC's provisional count of deaths by cause in 2020 show Covid-19 behind only heart disease and cancer. Covid replaced suicide on the top-10 cause of death list, the CDC reports. Covid was the underlying or contributing cause of 377,833 deaths—11 percent of all deaths during the year. 

With Covid boosting deaths, the total number of deaths in 2020 exceeded the 2019 number by more than 500,000—an 18 percent increase. The overall age-adjusted mortality rate increased 16 percent. 

Total number of deaths
2020: 3,358,814 
2019: 2,854,838 
Change: +503,976

Age-adjusted mortality rate 
2020: 828.7 deaths per 100,000 population
2019: 715.2 deaths per 100,000 population

Source: CDC, Provisional Mortality Data—United States, 2020

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Membership in Religious Congregations Falls below 50%

The percentage of Americans who belong to a religious congregation fell below 50 percent in 2020, according to a Gallup survey. This is the first time the figure has fallen below 50 percent since Gallup started asking the question in 1937. In 2020, only 47 percent of Americans aged 18 or older answered "yes" when asked, "Do you happen to be a member of a church, synagogue or mosque?"

Membership in religious congregations peaked in the years following World War II, when 76 percent of Americans aged 18 or older were members. The figure remained near the 70 percent level until the 2000s when it began a steady decline. 

Gallup notes that the decline "appears largely tied to population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong." Gallup has aggregated three of the most recent years of data to show membership by generation...

Member of a church, synagogue, or mosque, 2018–20 
Millennials: 36% 
Gen Gers: 50% 
Boomers: 58%
Older Americans: 66% 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Most Young Adults Have "Mental Health Symptoms"

The mental health of millions of Americans has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Young adults have been hit the hardest. This makes sense, since young adults are the ones whose lives have been disrupted the most. Their college classes are remote, their career prospects put on hold, their friends and potential romantic partners socially distanced. 

The Census Bureau has been tracking the mental health of the population in its biweekly Household Pulse Survey. A CDC analysis of the survey's mental health data reveals two worrisome facts: the mental health of Americans was not all that great in August, and between August and February it has gotten worse.

Here's what the Household Pulse Survey asks: How often in the past seven days have you felt 1) nervous, anxious, or on edge; 2) unable to stop or control worrying; 3) little interest or pleasure in doing things; 4) down, depressed, or hopeless? Respondents who reported experiencing one or more of these feelings on most of the past seven days were classified as having mental health symptoms. 

In August 2020, a substantial 36.4 percent of adults aged 18 or older were classified as having mental health symptoms, according to the CDC study. By February 2021, the figure had grown to 41.5 percent—a statistically significant increase. 

Symptoms of anxiety/depressive disorder during past 7 days, January 20—February 1, 2021
Total, aged 18-plus: 41.5% 
Aged 18 to 29: 57.0% 
Aged 20 to 39: 45.9% 
Aged 40 to 49: 41.1% 
Aged 50 to 59: 41.2% 
Aged 60 to 69: 33.4% 
Aged 70 to 79: 26.3% 
Aged 80-plus: 22.5% 

Mental health problems are particularly severe among 18-to-29-year-olds. Not only are most young adults experiencing mental health symptoms, but the 18-to-29 age group is also the one whose mental health is eroding the fastest. Between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of young adults with mental health symptoms grew by 8 percentage points. While the share of the population with mental health symptoms increased in every age group during those months, the rise was largest among 18-to-29-year-olds. It's well past time to open up vaccination sites to all adults, regardless of age, to give young people some hope. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Who's Online "Almost Constantly"

Are you online almost constantly? Every few years Pew Research Center asks Americans how frequently they go online. In 2021, nearly one-third (31 percent) told Pew they were online "almost constantly," up from 21 percent who reported this frequency in 2015. Here is the frequency with which Americans go online...

Frequency with which people aged 18-plus say they go online, 2021
Almost constantly: 31%
Several times a day: 48%
About once a day: 6%
Several times a week: 4%
Less often: 4%
Never: 7%

Not surprisingly, young adults aged 18 to 29 are most likely to be online "almost constantly," with 48 percent reporting this level of internet use. The "almost constantly" figure is 42 percent among 30-to-49-year-olds, 22 percent among 50-to-64-year-olds, and just 8 percent among people aged 65 or older. 

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

Thursday, March 25, 2021

34% Have Received At Least One Dose of Vaccine

Vaccination rates continue to rise. As of mid-March, 34 percent of the population aged 18 or older had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. This is up from 25 percent in the previous survey fielded during the last two weeks of February.

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of March 3-15
Total 18-plus: 34%
Aged 18 to 24: 13%
Aged 25 to 39: 22%
Aged 40 to 54: 25%
Aged 55 to 64: 33%
Aged 65-plus: 70%

The number of people who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine fell slightly in this round of the survey—43 million are still saying no to the life-saving shots, down from 46 million at the end of February. Among the 20 million people who say they definitely will not get the vaccine, the single biggest reason—cited by 10 million—is that they don't trust the vaccine. 

Source: Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, March 3-15

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Homeschooling Surges during Pandemic

Homeschooling has "exploded" during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Census Bureau. And by homeschooling, the Census Bureau does not mean remote learning. Rather, it is homeschooling through "pandemic pods," stand-alone virtual schools, or homeschooling organizations. 

Before the pandemic, just 3.3 percent of households with school-aged children participated in homeschooling. By the spring of 2020 (April 23-May 5), the figure had grown to 5.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. By the fall of 2020 (September 30-October 12), a substantial 11.1 percent reported homeschooling their children. 

No state had a homeschooling rate of 10 percent or higher in the spring of 2020. At that time, the homeschooling rate was highest in Alaska (9.6 percent of households with school-aged children), followed by Delaware (8.9 percent), California (8.6 percent), Oregon (8.3 percent), and Montana (8.2 percent). 

By the fall of 2020, the homeschooling rate had climbed above 10 percent in 32 states. 

10 states with highest homeschooling rate, Sept. 30-Oct. 12, 2020
Alaska: 27.5% 
Oklahoma: 20.1%
Montana: 18.3%
Florida: 18.1% 
Virginia: 16.9% 
West Virginia: 16.6%
Georgia: 16.0%
Mississippi: 15.0%
Louisiana: 14.5%
New Mexico: 14.3%

Illinois had the lowest homeschooling rate in the fall of 2020, with only 5.4 percent of households with school-aged children engaged in homeschooling.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

One-Way Commute to Work Hit a Record High in 2019

The time it takes Americans to commute to work hit a record high in 2019, just before start of the coronavirus pandemic. The average one-way commute climbed to 27.6 minutes, up from 25.0 minutes in 2006. Since 2006, commuting time has increased in every year except 2009. Lest you think the pandemic is going to burst this bubble because so many are working from home, the data on commuting time is collected only from workers who do not work from home. 

Only 12 percent of workers report a one-way commute time of less than 10 minutes, down from 15 percent who said so in 2006. Another 10 percent of workers say their commute time is 60 minutes or more, up from 8 percent in 2006. 

The longest one-way commute is experienced by those who ride a long-distance train, commuter rail, or ferry—71.2 minutes. The shortest commute is for those who walk. Here are one-way commute times in 2019 by mode of transportation...

71.2 minutes: long-distance train, commuter rail, or ferry
48.8 minutes: subway or elevated rail
46.6 minutes: bus
27.6 minutes: average time
26.4 minutes: drove alone
21.2 minutes: bicycle
12.6 minutes: walk

Since 2006, the average length of the one-way commute has increased for workers in every type of geography—central cities, suburbs, and nonmetro areas. Commutes are shortest for those who live in the principal cities of micropolitan areas (18.3 minutes). Commutes are longest for those who live in the suburbs of metropolitan areas (29.1 minutes).

Among metropolitan areas with populations of 1 million or more, the share of workers whose commute is 60 minutes or more is greatest in the New York metro area (23 percent). The share of workers whose commute is less than 10 minutes is highest in Rochester, NY (15 percent). 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Small Business Pessimism Drops Below 50%

For the first time in nine months, the percentage of small businesses expecting the worst from the coronavirus pandemic has fallen below 50 percent, according to the Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey. That's progress.

The weekly Small Business Pulse survey asks businesses how long they think it will take before their business operations return to normal. During the week of March 8-14, slightly fewer than half of the nation's small businesses (49.5 percent) said it would take more than six months for them to return to normal, or their operations would never return to normal, or their business had permanently closed. This measure of pessimism has exceeded 50 percent since the week of June 7-13. The drop below 50 percent, although tiny, suggests economic conditions may be changing for the better.

How much time until your business operations return to normal? (March 8-14)
  0.8% say one month or less
  4.5% say two to three months
16.6% say four to six months
40.1% say more than six months
  7.3% say they do not think their business will ever return to normal
  2.1% say their business has permanently closed
16.9% say their business has not been affected by the pandemic
11.7% say their business has returned to its normal level of operations

Before we start singing happy days are here again, it's worth noting that the plurality of businesses still think it will be more than six months before their operations return to normal. Also, the great majority of small businesses in accommodation and food services (69 percent), arts and entertainment (66 percent), and educational services (69 percent) remain pessimistic.