Thursday, September 16, 2021

Median Earnings by Educational Attainment, 2020

According to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, men who worked full-time, year-round in 2020 earned a median of $63,678—half earned more and half earned less. Here are the medians for men by educational attainment...

Median earnings of men who work full-time by educational attainment, 2020
  $36,423: less than 9th grade
  $37,413: 9th to 12th grade, no diploma
  $49,661: high school graduate only
  $56,267: some college, no degree
  $61,100: associate's degree
  $81,339: bachelor's degree
$101,130: master's degree
$131,268: doctoral degree
$150,509: professional degree
Among all women who work full-time, year-round, median earnings were $51,869 in 2020. Median earnings ranged from a low of $26,591 for women with less than a 9th grade education to a high of $110,717 for women with a professional degree.

Source: Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables: People

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Median Household Income in 2020: $67,521

One of the most closely watched economic statistics was released yesterday by the Census Bureau. According to the 2021 Current Population Survey (CPS) fielded in March 2021 (which asks about income in the previous year), median household income in 2020 was $67,521. This is 2.9 percent below the record high median of $69,560 in 2019, after adjusting for inflation. Here is the trend in median household income over the years...

Median household income for selected years (in 2020 dollars)
2020: $67,521
2019: $69,560 (record high)
2018: $65,127
2012: $57,623 (post Great Recession low)
2010: $58,627
2000: $63,292
1999: $63,423 (previous record high)

But there's a problem with both the 2020 and 2021 medians. Remember the low response rate to the 2020 Current Population Survey, fielded in March 2020, as everything shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic? The response rate was just 73 percent—a good 10 percentage points lower than normal. Even worse, higher-income households were more likely than lower-income households to respond to the survey. No wonder median household income in 2019 leaped up by 6.8 percent—a bigger one-year increase than ever before in CPS history dating back to 1967. The Census Bureau published a working paper about the problem (Coronavirus Infects Surveys, Too: Nonresponse Bias during the Pandemic in the CPS ASEC). In the paper, bureau analysts Jonathan Rothbaum and Adam Bee adjusted the 2019 median for nonresponse bias. After the adjustment, they estimated median household income in 2019 to be a smaller $66,790—but still the highest ever recorded by the CPS.

What about the median income number released yesterday? Unfortunately, the March 2021 CPS has the same problems, according to an analysis by Rothbaum and Charles Hokayem (How Did the Pandemic Affect Survey Response: Using Administrative Data to Evaluate Nonresponse in the 2021 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement). While the survey response rate rose to 76 percent, it was still well below normal. Not only that, but "nonresponse bias in 2021 looks more like it did in 2020 than in prepandemic years," Rothbaum and Hokayem report. Consequently, they estimate the 2021 median to be about 2 percent lower than the $67,521 shown above. The good news is that even after the adjustment median household income in 2021 is about the same as the adjusted 2019 median—in other words, surprisingly close to a record high.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2020

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How Far Do You Live from Your Mother?

If you're like most Americans with living mothers, your mom lives only a few miles away. Yes, even in these modern times.

"Very close residential proximity to one's mother beyond coresidence is common across the life course even in the geographically large United States," reports a study of proximity to mother in the journal Demographic Research.

Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the study's researchers looked at how far children born between 1951 and 1968 lived from their mothers over a 47-year time period. Here are the results for children whose mother was alive at each given age...

Median distance adult children live from mother at each given age
Age 25 to 34: 6.3 miles
Age 35 to 44: 11.1 miles
Age 45 to 54: 12.4 miles
Age 55 to 64: 10.1 miles

"Overall, a large share of children lived very close to their mother through midlife," concludes the study.

Source: Demographic Research, Proximity to Mother over the Life Course in the United States: Overall Patterns and Racial Differences

Monday, September 13, 2021

Wild Swings in Spending in 2020

The average household spent $61,334 in 2020. This was 3.9 percent less than the $63,792 record high spending by the average household in 2019, after adjusting for inflation. The decline in spending during the pandemic comes as no surprise, of course. The wild swings in spending on so many categories of products and services are also not surprising—but they still are eye popping. Take a look...

% change in average household spending on selected categories, 2019–2020 (in 2020 dollars)
-67%: public transportation (airline fares, bus, subway, etc.)
-52%: fees and admissions to entertainment events
-33%: food away from home (restaurants)
-26%: gasoline
-25%: apparel
-19%: personal care products and services
-18%: alcoholic beverages
-13%: education

  +5%: food at home (groceries)
+13%: cash contributions (church, charitable, political)
+22%: reading material (newspapers, magazines, books)

The increase in spending on reading material was the largest among the 14 major components of spending tracked by the Consumer Expenditure Survey, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Every age group spent more on reading material in 2020 than in 2019, after adjusting for inflation. The biggest spenders on reading material continue to be the oldest Americans. Householders aged 75 or older spent $196 on newspapers, magazines, and books (digital as well as hardcopy) in 2020, up from $161 in 2019. Householders under age 25 spend the least on reading material—just $51 in 2020. But this was 10 percent more than they spent in 2019.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey

Thursday, September 09, 2021

How Many Americans Are "Low Tech"?

How many Americans just aren't tech savvy? In a major new survey of Americans and technology, Pew Research Center has come up with an estimate: 30 percent.

To measure the size of the "low-tech" public, Pew asked two separate questions: 

Question 1. "Overall, how confident, if at all, do you feel using computers, smartphones, or other electronic devices to do the things you need to do online?" and

Question 2. "Which of the following best describes you, even if neither is exactly right? When I get a new computer, smartphone, or other electronic device, I usually...  
—Need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it, or
—Am able to set it up and learn how to use it on my own"

Pew classified those who responded "only a little/not at all" to Question 1 AND those who responded that they usually need help to set up a new electronic device to Question 2 as having "lower tech readiness." Those who said they were somewhat/very confident in using digital devices AND they usually are able to set up and learn how to use a new device on their own as having "higher tech readiness." 

So who are the "lower tech" Americans? Older adults, of course...

Percent of adults who are "lower tech"
Total 18-plus: 30%
Aged 18 to 29: 16%
Aged 30 to 49: 17%
Aged 50 to 64: 34%
Aged 65 to 74: 54%
Aged 75-plus: 68%

Source: Pew Research Center, The Internet and the Pandemic

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Health Problems Mount Rapidly for the Less Educated

For 39 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked the labor force experience of a cohort of Baby Boomers as they aged from their teens and twenties into their fifties and sixties. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth was first fielded in 1979, when a nationally representative sample of young adults aged 14 to 22 answered a battery of questions. This cohort has been surveyed repeatedly for decades, the latest being in 2018–19, when these late Boomers (born from 1957 to 1964) were aged 53 to 62. 

One of the survey questions has asked respondents whether their health limits the kind or amount of work they can do. Not surprisingly, a growing share of respondents reported health limitations as they aged. Only 3.5 percent said their health was a limiting factor at age 24. The figure grew slightly to 4.9 percent at age 34, then more than doubled to 10.3 percent at age 44. By age 54, a substantial 19.9 percent of the cohort reported limitations in their work due to health issues. 

No characteristic plays a bigger role in determining the health status of aging Boomers than educational attainment...

Percent at specified age who said their health limits their work, by educational attainment
  at 54at 44  at 34  at 24
Total cohort  19.9%  10.3%   4.9%   3.5%
Bachelor's degree+    8.5    4.7   3.6   3.1
Some college/associate's degree  19.7  10.3   5.9   3.2
High school graduate only  23.9  12.2   5.1   3.8
No high school diploma  46.9  23.0   5.8   5.1

By age 54, nearly half (46.9 percent) of those without a high school diploma were limited in their work because of health issues. Among those with a bachelor's degree or more education, only 8.5 percent reported such limitations. The college graduates at age 54 were healthier than every other educational attainment group had been at age 44. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Only 9.3% of Small Businesses Have Vaccine Mandate

Covid-19 vaccine mandates are becoming more common among the nation's major employers but are still relatively rare among small businesses, according to the Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey. Nationally, only 9.3 percent of small businesses say they require employees to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before physically coming to work, according to the survey fielded August 23-29. 

Small businesses in the health care industry are most likely to require proof of vaccination, but even in health care just 15. 8 percent are mandating vaccination.

By state, small businesses in the District of Columbia are most likely to require proof of vaccination, at 26.3 percent. In Rhode Island the figure is 20.7 percent and in California 17.2 percent.

Among major metropolitan areas, San Francisco leads the pack with more than one-quarter of small businesses requiring employees to show proof of vaccination...

Percent of small businesses requiring employees to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before physically coming to work, selected metropolitan areas, August 23-29
San Francisco: 25.5%
San Jose: 22.3%
San Diego: 17.6%
Seattle: 17.6%
Sacramento: 16.8%
New York: 15.3%
Los Angeles: 14.8%
Riverside: 13.1%
Boston: 12.7%
Miami: 11.5%
Portland: 11.0%
Denver: 10.1%
Tampa: 9.4%
Philadelphia: 9.1%
Houston: 7.9%
Chicago: 7.0%
Minneapolis: 6.3%

Thursday, September 02, 2021

One in Six Older Americans Is Childless

Who will care for childless adults as they age and require more help? That is one of the questions asked by the Census Bureau in its first examination of the aging childless population. The answers are important because the older childless population is growing as the baby-boom generation ages.

"In the United States, much of the care for older generations falls to their children," the Census Bureau explains. But millions of Americans aged 55 or older are childless. Here are the numbers...

Number (and percent) of childless Americans aged 55 or older (numbers in thousands)
Total 55-plus: 15,190 (16.5%)
Aged 55 to 64: 8,212 (19.6%)
Aged 65 to 74: 4,761 (15.9%)
Aged 75-plus: 2,214 (10.9%)

Note: The childless are those who have zero biological children.

The data for the report come from the 2018 Survey of Income and Program Participation. In 2018, the baby-boom generation was aged 54 to 72. Among younger boomers, aged 55 to 64, fully one in five is childless. 

A substantial 40 percent of childless adults aged 55 or older live alone, according to the analysis. Among adults aged 55-plus who are parents, a smaller 21 percent live alone. "Childless adults appear to have fewer immediate sources of social support within their households," notes the report. "They are more likely than parents to be living alone and less likely to be living with a spouse."

But childless older adults also have some advantages. They are more educated than their counterparts who had children. As a consequence, their net worth is also higher than average. The median personal net worth of childless adults aged 55 or older was $153,900 in 2018. For all adults aged 55-plus, median personal net worth was a smaller $133,500 and for older parents just $130,400. The higher net worth of the childless "may put them at a greater advantage when it comes to obtaining paid care," states the report. 

Source: Census Bureau, Childless Older Americans: 2018

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

America's Favorite Fruits

The average American eats 58 pounds of fresh fruit per year, according to the the USDA's Economic Research Service. The amount of fresh fruit consumed by the public is significantly higher than it used to be thanks to greater availability and more convenient packaging. In 1970, the average person consumed only 44 pounds of fresh fruit per year. The figure topped 50 pounds for the first time in 1986.

Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit, with the average person eating 13 pounds of bananas in 2019 (the latest data available). Here are the pounds of fresh fruit consumed per year by type of fruit (only fruits with per capita consumption of 1.0 pounds or more are shown)...

Pounds of fresh fruit consumed per capita, 2019 (edible weight)
1. Bananas: 13.4
2. Apples: 9.8 
3. Watermelon: 4.7
4. Grapes: 4.5
5. Oranges: 3.6
6. Avocados: 3.0
7. Strawberries: 2.8
8. Tangerines: 1.9
9. Pears: 1.8
10. Blueberries: 1.7
11. Limes: 1.6
12. Pineapple: 1.6
13. Mangoes: 1.5
14. Cantaloupe: 1.3
15. Lemons: 1.3

Surprisingly, peaches are not on the list of the most popular fresh fruits. The average person consumed only 0.9 pounds of fresh peaches in 2019, down from a peak of 3.2 pounds in 1980. 

Source: USDA Economic Research Service, Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

69% of Small Businesses in Accommodation and Food Service Industries Are Having Trouble Hiring Workers

More than one-third of the nation's small businesses reported difficulty hiring paid employees in the past seven days, according to the Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey, fielded August 16-22. This iteration of the survey is the first time the Census Bureau has asked about hiring problems. 

Nationally, 35 percent of small businesses say they had trouble hiring employees in the past seven days. The figure is as high as 69 percent for businesses in accommodation and food services. This explains why service was so slow the last time you had dinner in a restaurant. Small businesses in manufacturing and health care also reported above-average difficulties in hiring. 

Forty-three percent of small businesses reported domestic supplier delays in the past seven days. The figure peaks at 68 percent among small businesses in manufacturing followed by retail trade (65 percent), construction (63 percent), and accommodation and food service (61 percent).

Percent of small businesses with problem in past week
42.6% had domestic supplier delays
34.7% had difficulty hiring paid employees
24.5% had difficulties in delivery/shipping to customers
17.5% had foreign supplier delays
13.9% had production delays

Monday, August 30, 2021

Americans Want More Space

The pandemic has given us a bad case of cabin fever. With many feeling like the walls were closing in because of lockdowns and social distancing, a growing share of Americans say their ideal living situation is bigger houses and more yard, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Here is Pew's question...

"Would you prefer to live in a community where the houses are..
—larger and farther apart, but schools, stores, and restaurants are several miles away, or
—smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores, and restaurants are within walking distance?"

When Pew asked this question in July 2021, fully 60 percent of the public chose the "larger and farther apart" option, up from 53 percent in 2019. Only 39 percent chose the "smaller and closer" option, down from 47 percent in 2019. Every demographic segment was more likely to choose the "larger and farther apart" option in 2021 than it was in 2019. 

Percent who would prefer to live in a community where houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores, and restaurants are several miles away, 2021 (and 2019)
Aged 18 to 29: 55% (43%)
Aged 30 to 49: 63% (56%)
Aged 50 to 64: 66% (59%)
Aged 65-plus: 55% (47%)

The demographic segments most likely to prefer the "larger and farther apart" option are conservative Republicans (77 percent) and rural residents (74 percent). The segments most likely to prefer the "smaller and closer" option are Asians (58 percent) and liberal Democrats (57 percent). 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Vaccination Status of Americans, August 4-16

As of mid-August, the great majority of Americans aged 18 or older were fully vaccinated against Covid, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. Here are the latest results...

Vaccination status of adults 18-plus and children 12-17, August 4-16 (numbers in thousands)
   number  percent
Total 18-plus reporting  246,988   100.0%
Have received a vaccine  202,574     82.0
  Received all required doses  193,503     78.3
  Will receive all required doses      7,781       3.2
  Will not receive all required doses      1,290       0.5
Have not received a vaccine    43,427     17.6
  Will definitely get a vaccine      3,740       1.5
  Will probably get a vaccine      4,416       1.8
  Unsure about getting vaccine      8,514       3.4
  Will probably not get a vaccine      7,323       3.0
  Will definitely not get a vaccine    18,669       7.6
Adults in households with children 12-17    45,522   100.0%
Children have received a vaccine    26,128     57.4
Children have not received a vaccine    19,394     42.6
  Will definitely get a vaccine      3,145       6.9
  Will probably get a vaccine      2,185       4.8
  Unsure about getting vaccine      3,341       7.3
  Will probably not get a vaccine      2,679       5.9
  Will definitely not get a vaccine      5,300     11.6
  Do not know vaccine plans of children      2,443       5.4

The 18.7 million adults who say they will definitely not get vaccinated against Covid is a number that hasn't changed significantly since March. The question about children's vaccination plans has been asked only once before, and more than 5 million adults with children aged 12 to 17 said definitely not in both iterations. The naysayers appear to have dug in their heels. Time for mandates.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Screen Time During the Pandemic

During the pandemic, the nation's teenagers spent most of their leisure time in front of a screen, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. Before anyone starts tsk-tsking about the screen addiction of the younger generations, it is important to note that the nation’s oldest adults also spent most of their leisure time in front of a screen. 


On an average day during the months of May through December 2020, teenagers aged 15 to 19 enjoyed 6.40 hours of leisure time. The teens devoted 2.54 of those hours to watching television and another 1.88 hours to playing games and computer use for leisure—a total of 4.42 hours of screen time, or 69 percent of their leisure time on an average day in 2020. (Note: the category "playing games" includes board games as well as computer games.) The 69 percent share of leisure time teens devoted to screens was up from 61 percent during the same months of 2019. 

But wait. The oldest Americans—people aged 75 or older—spent an even larger 71 percent of their leisure time in front of a screen on an average day. With 8.05 hours a day of leisure on their hands in 2020, the 75-plus age group spent 5.20 hours watching television and another 0.51 hours playing games and computer use for leisure. (Note: While some of the game playing among older Americans is board games, computer games are increasingly popular in the oldest age group.) The 71 percent of leisure time the oldest Americans devoted to screens in 2020 was up from 66 percent during the same months of 2019.  

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 American Time Use Survey

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Most Favor Mask, Vaccine Mandates for Schools

The 58 percent majority of the American public somewhat/strongly favors mask mandates for students attending K-12 schools, according to an AP-NORC survey. An almost identical 59 percent support a mask mandate for teachers working in those schools. But there are deep partisan divides on this issue, which is playing out in school districts across the country...

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor mask mandates for students in K-12 schools
Total adults: 58%

Democrats: 83%
Republicans: 31%

Vaccinated: 69%
Not vaccinated: 29%

Support for a Covid vaccine mandate is almost as popular as a mask mandate, with 55 percent of adults somewhat/strongly in favor of requiring students aged 12 or older to be vaccinated to attend school in person. Fifty-nine percent of Americans support a vaccine mandate for teachers. Among Democrats, 77 percent favor a vaccine mandate for students and 81 percent for teachers. Among Republicans, the figures are 34 and 38 percent, respectively.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Household Spending is Highest in DC, Lowest in Miami

Among the 22 metropolitan areas for which the Consumer Expenditure Survey collects spending data, average annual household spending is highest in Washington, D.C., and lowest in Miami...

Metropolitan areas with the highest average annual household spending
Washington, DC: $95,441
San Francisco: $87,287
Minneapolis-St Paul: $84,006
Boston: $83,297
New York: $73,806

Metropolitan areas with the lowest average annual household spending
Chicago: $64,804
Atlanta: $64,103
Honolulu: $63,481
Tampa: $59,193
Miami: $57,472

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metropolitan Statistical Areas Tables, 2018–2019

Thursday, August 19, 2021

49% of U.S. Adults Have Tried Marijuana

Nearly half of U.S. adults have ever tried marijuana, according to a Gallup survey. Gallup has been tracking marijuana use for decades. A half century ago in 1971, just 4 percent of adults reported having ever used marijuana. The figure surged to 33 percent by 1985, reached 45 percent in 2017, and climbed to 49 percent in 2021. 

"The increase in the proportion of U.S. adults who have tried marijuana mainly reflects millennials replacing older traditionalists in the U.S. adult population," explains Gallup. 

There are no statistically significant differences in the percentages of Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millennials who have ever tried marijuana. Americans born before 1946, however, are much less likely to have tried it...

Percent who have ever tried marijuana by generation
Millennials: 51%
Gen Xers: 49%
Boomers: 50%
Older: 19%

When asked whether they currently use marijuana, differences by generation emerge. Among Millennials, 20 percent say they currently use marijuana. The figure is 11 percent among Gen Xers, 9 percent among Boomers, and 1 percent among older Americans.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

How Many Countries Have You Visited?

The 71 percent majority of Americans aged 18 or older have ever visited a foreign country, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Only 40 percent have visited 3 or more countries, however, and just 11 percent have visited 10 or more...

Percent distribution of American adults by number of countries ever visited
None: 27%
One: 19%
Two: 12%
3-4: 15%
5-9: 14%
10+: 11%

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Teen Unemployment Rate Is below 10%

Last month the unemployment rate among teenagers aged 16 to 19 was just 9.6 percent. This is a remarkably low rate. You would have to search in the records all the way back to 1953 to find a lower unemployment rate for the age group, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The unemployment rate for 16-to-19-year-olds climbed as high as 32.1 percent in April 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the nation. With employers now scrambling to fill entry-level positions, the teen unemployment rate in July 2021 was well below its pre-pandemic level. Two years earlier, in July 2019, 12.0 percent of 16-19-year-olds were unemployed. 

Unlike teens, the unemployment rate for adults aged 20 or older remains higher than it was pre-pandemic. In July 2021, 5.2 percent of adults were unemployed compared with 3.3 percent in July 2019. 

Note: The unemployed are people who have been actively looking for a job in the past four weeks. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force (the sum of the employed and the unemployed).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Teenage Unemployment Rate under 10 Percent for the Third Straight Month in July 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

It's Happening Again

People who identify themselves as some "other race" besides Asian, Black, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, or white are the second-largest racial group in the United States, according to 2020 census results. If you're scratching your head trying to figure out just what this "other race" could be, you're not alone. The fact is, most people of "other race" are Hispanics. They checked the "other" category because they could not find the terms "Hispanic" or Latino" as options on the race question of the 2020 census. The federal government considers Hispanic to be an ethnicity, not a race, and it collects information on Hispanic origin with a separate ethnicity question. 

This has happened before—on the 2010 Census. Even then, the Census Bureau was concerned about Hispanics checking "other race" on the race question, so it tested an alternative that asked for race and Hispanic origin in a single question. The test proved that the combined question worked much better, reducing the "other race" category to the residual it was meant to be. When presented with separate race and Hispanic origin questions, a substantial 7.1 percent of the population in 2010 checked "other race." When presented with the combined question, just 0.2 percent of the population checked "other race." After these test results were released in 2012, Demo Memo predicted: "Expect a combined race and Hispanic origin question on the 2020 census." 

Alas, it was not to be. Although a combined race and Hispanic origin question was planned for the 2020 census, the Trump administration nixed it. So, it's happening again—an enormous "other race" population and lots of confusion.

Race and Hispanic origin of U.S. population
 2020 Census    number% distribution
Total population  331,449,281      100.0%
American Indian     9,666,058          2.9%
Asian   24,000,998          7.2%
Black   46,936,733        14.2%
Native Hawaiian     1,586,463          0.5%
White 235,411,507        71.0%
Other race   49,902,536        15.1%
Hispanic   62,080,044        18.7%
Non-Hispanic white 191,697,647        57.8%

Note: Numbers by race will not add to the total population because people could identify themselves as more than one race. Hispanics may be of any race.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of 2020 Census results

Thursday, August 12, 2021

55% of 12-17 Age Group Has Received a Covid Vaccine

Just 55 percent of the nation's children aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey fielded July 21-August 2. This iteration of the survey is the first time the bureau has asked about the vaccination status of the 12-to-17 age group. With the school year starting in a few weeks, this relatively low vaccination rate is concerning. 

There are 15 million vaccine resistant parents, according to the Census Bureau—or one third of all parents. The bureau defines the vaccine resistant as all parents who say their child will "probably" get the vaccine as well as those who say their child will "probably not/unsure/definitely not" get the vaccine. Here are the reasons for their resistance (more than one reason could be cited)...

Reasons for vaccine resistance among parents of children aged 12-17
62% are concerned about possible side effects
39% plan to wait and see if it is safe
32% don't trust Covid-19 vaccines
26% don't trust the government
22% say children in household are not at high risk
21% do not believe children need a vaccine
12% are unsure if the vaccine will work for children
  9% say their children's doctor has not recommended vaccination
  4% say they do not vaccinate their children

The most recent iteration of the Household Pulse Survey asks adults whether they are fully vaccinated. As of early August, 79 percent of adults aged 18 or older report being fully vaccinated. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

It's Not Just You

Most Americans are feeling the frustrations of supply chain problems, according to a Gallup survey. In the past two months, 60 percent of the public reports being unable to buy a product because of shortages. Almost as many—57 percent—have experienced a significant delay in receiving a product they have ordered. 

Overall, 71 percent of the public reports experiencing one of these two problems, and 46 percent report having both problems. 

"From the toilet paper shortage at the beginning of the pandemic to a car shortage today, Americans have experienced firsthand what it means when production constraints or a shortfall of critical manufacturing components means retailers can't keep up with demand," reports Gallup. 

According to results of the Census Bureau's latest Small Business Pulse Survey, fielded in mid-July, 39 percent of all small businesses have experienced domestic supplier delays in the past seven days—a record high. Among small businesses in retail trade, the 60 percent majority has experienced domestic supplier delays in the past seven days.

Source: Gallup, Most U.S. Consumers Have Felt Supply Chain Problems

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Worst States for Health Insurance

Nationally, 14.5 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 did not have health insurance in 2019, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Texas is number one in the percentage of working-age adults without health insurance. Nearly one-third of Texans aged 18 to 64 does not have health insurance—more than double the national rate. In Oklahoma, one in four lacks health insurance. In Georgia and Florida, the figure is one in five. Why are these states doing so poorly? They have refused to expand Medicaid to all low-income adults (up to 138 percent of poverty level), as provided by the Affordable Care Act. 

States with the largest percentage of adults aged 18 to 64 without health insurance
Texas: 30.5%
Oklahoma: 25.6%
Georgia: 22.3%
Florida: 20.6%

Arkansas and North Carolina tie for 5th place on the list of the worst, with 17.8 percent of working-age adults uninsured. 

In states that have refused to expand Medicaid, an average of 20.8 percent of working-age adults do not have health insurance. In states that have expanded Medicaid, a much smaller 10.9 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 lack health insurance. The 17 states that had not expanded Medicaid as of 2019 were: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

Note: As of 2021, five additional states have adopted Medicaid expansion: Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah. 

Monday, August 09, 2021

Gun Owners and Non-Owners Disagree about Policies

Should the purchase of guns by the mentally ill be restricted? Fully 87 percent of Americans say yes, with gun owners and those who don't own guns in rare agreement, according to a Pew Research Center survey. When it comes to most other gun policies, however, gun owners and non-owners are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Take a look...

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places
Gun owners: 70%
Not a gun owner: 30%

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor allowing teachers to carry guns in K-12 schools
Gun owners: 63%
Not a gun owner: 33%

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor banning assault-style weapons
Gun owners: 37%
Not a gun owner: 74%

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor banning high-capacity ammunition magazines
Gun owners: 40%
Not a gun owner: 74%

Percent who somewhat/strongly favor creating a federal database to track all gun sales
Gun owners: 46%
Not a gun owner: 77%

Gun owners are a large minority of adults in the United States. According to Pew, 30 percent of adults personally own a gun and another 11 percent say they don't own a gun but someone else in their household does. This large constituency is what makes gun safety laws so elusive.

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Height and Weight of 18-Year-Olds

The average 18-year-old female is overweight, according to measurements collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. A body mass index (BMI) of 25.0 or higher is considered overweight. The average 18-year-old female had a BMI of 26.1 in 2015–18, the latest data available. 

The average 18-year-old male had been overweight in two previous iterations of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007–10 and 2011–14), but the average male fell into the normal range (BMI of 24.7) in the 2015–18 survey. 

Here are the measurements of the nation's youngest adults...

Females aged 18,
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 152 pounds
BMI: 26.1

Males aged 18
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 167 pounds
BMI: 24.7

Among the nation's 19-year-olds, both males and females are overweight. The average 19-year-old female weighs 156.5 pounds (BMI of 26.9), and the average 19-year-old male weighs 176 pounds (BMI of 26.1). 

Among adults aged 20 or older, the average woman weighs 171 pounds (BMI of 29.6) and the average man weighs 198 pounds (BMI of 29.1). A BMI of 30.0 or higher is considered obese.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Americans Are Increasingly Pessimistic about Covid

The percentage of Americans who think the coronavirus situation is getting better plummeted between June and July, according to a Gallup survey. In June, fully 89 percent of the public thought the Covid situation was improving. In July, just 40 percent felt that way. The optimists are now outnumbered by the 45 percent who say the situation is getting worse—the first time since January 2021 that the pessimists have outnumbered the optimists, Gallup reports.

Attitude toward Coronavirus Situation, July 2021 (and June 2021)
Getting better: 40% (89%)
Getting worse: 45% (3%)
Staying the same: 14% (8%)

A growing number of Americans are somewhat/very worried about catching Covid, with the vaccinated more likely to be worried (33 percent) than the unvaccinated (20 percent).

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Does Intelligent Life Exist on Other Planets?

The 65 percent majority of Americans aged 18 or older say "their best guess is that intelligent life does exist on other planets," according to a Pew Research Center survey. But opinions differ by religious affiliation and practice. Only 40 percent of white evangelicals think intelligent life on other planets is likely versus 85 percent of atheists. Here are the percentages by frequency of prayer...

Percent who say their best guess is that intelligent life DOES exist on other planets
54% of those who pray daily
64% of those who pray weekly
72% of those who pray a few times a month
80% of those who pray seldom or never

Monday, August 02, 2021

National Park System Visits Fell 28% in 2020

Visits to the national park system plunged in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic temporarily closed parks across the country and kept many people from traveling. The 237 million recreational visits in 2020 were 90 million fewer than in 2019, according to the National Park Service—a 28 percent decline. The number of visits in 2020 was the smallest since 1980, a time when there were many fewer parks (325 versus 423 in 2020). Not every park saw a decline in visitors, however. 

Top 10 national parks visited in 2020, number of visits (and percent change in visits 2019–20)
1. Great Smoky Mountains NP: 12.1 million (-4%)
2. Yellowstone NP: 3.8 million (-5%)
3. Zion NP: 3.6 million (-20%)
4. Rocky Mountain NP: 3.3 million (-29%) 
5. Grand Teton NP: 3.3 million (-3%)
6. Grand Canyon NP: 2.9 million (-52%)
7. Cuyahoga Valley NP: 2.8 million (+23%)
8. Acadia NP: 2.7 million (-22%)
9. Olympic NP: 2.5 million (-23%)
10. Joshua Tree NP: 2.4 million (-20%)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been the most visited national park since 1944. It maintained its number-one position despite the pandemic. 

Two national parks fell off the top-10 list in 2020: Yosemite fell from 5th to 12th place, and Glacier fell from 10th to 13th place. Two national parks moved onto the top-10 list in 2020: Cuyahoga Valley rose from 13th to 7th place as visits there increased by 23 percent, and Joshua Tree rose from 11th to 10th place despite fewer visitors.

Source: National Park Service, Annual Visitation Highlights

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Oh My Aching Back

It's a common refrain and for good reason. Millions of Americans have back pain, according to the National Center for Health Statistics—not just 1 or 2 million but tens of millions. More than 80 million, in fact.

In 2019, The NCHS asked a representative sample of Americans aged 18 or older this question: "Over the past 3 months, how much have you been bothered by back pain? Would you say not at all, a little, a lot, or somewhere in between?" A substantial 39 percent reported having had a little to a lot of back pain. 

Percent with back pain in past 3 months
Aged 18 to 29: 28%
Aged 30 to 44: 35%
Aged 45 to 64: 44%
Aged 65-plus: 46%

And that's not all. Almost as many adults (36.5 percent) reported having pain in their hips, knees, or feet in the past three months, including 50 percent of people aged 65 or older. Thirty-one percent reported having pain in their hands, arms, or shoulders. 

Overall, the 59 percent majority of Americans aged 18 or older reported being in pain in the past three months. 

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Back, Lower Limb, and Upper Limb Pain among U.S. Adults, 2019

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Is Voting a Fundamental Right or a Privilege?

It depends. Overall, 57 percent of Americans aged 18 or older say voting is a "fundamental right for every U.S. citizen and should not be restricted," according to a Pew Research Center survey. Another 42 percent of adults say voting is a "privilege that comes with responsibilities and can be limited." But beliefs about voting vary by demographic characteristic and political affiliation. 

  • Younger adults are most likely to say voting is a fundamental right, with the figure peaking at 64 percent among 18-to-29-year-olds. Sixty percent of 30-to-49-year-olds agree. Among people aged 50 or older, however, only 50 to 51 percent say voting is a fundamental right. 
  • Among Blacks, 77 percent say voting is a fundamental right, as do 66 percent of Asians and 63 percent of Hispanics. Among non-Hispanic whites, only 51 percent say voting is a fundamental right. 
  • The biggest gap is by political party affiliation. Fully 78 percent of Democrats say voting is a fundamental right versus just 32 percent of Republicans. The 67 percent majority of Republicans say voting is a privilege that can be limited. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 2nd Quarter 2021

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, second quarter 2021: 48.0%

Homeownership rates in the second quarter of 2021 are little changed from the first quarter rates and well below the levels recorded in 2020—when the coronavirus pandemic greatly reduced the response rate to the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey and consequently distorted homeownership trends.  

The overall homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2021 was 65.4 percent, not significantly different from the 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021. The nation's homeownership rate peaked at 69.0 percent in 2004.

The homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds (the age group in which householders typically buy their first home) was not significantly different from the 48.2 percent recorded in the first quarter of the year.  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 sunk below 50 percent in the data series that began in 1982. 

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 for selected years, 1982 to 2020 and by quarter in 2021
2021: 48.0% (second quarter)
2021: 48.2% (first quarter)
2020: 49.1% (pandemic bump)
2019: 48.0%
2016: 45.4% (low point)
2015: 45.9%
2011: 49.8% (first time below 50 percent)
2010: 51.6%
2004: 57.4% (high point)
2000: 54.6%
1990: 51.8%
1982: 57.1% 

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Monday, July 26, 2021

Leisure Time Expanded in 2020

The amount of time people aged 15 or older spent in leisure activities increased in 2020 compared with 2019—rising from 4.99 to 5.53 hours on an average day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. Americans devoted more time to many leisure activities including playing games and using the computer for leisure (up 38 percent), reading (16 percent), sports and exercise (16 percent), and watching television (11 percent). 

One of the leisure categories that lost ground in 2020 was "socializing and communicating." Americans spent 18 percent less time socializing and communicating on an average day in 2020 than in 2019. A more detailed look at this category reveals why, with examples taken verbatim from the American Time Use Survey Activity Lexicon...

Activities included in the category "socializing and communicating"
Entertaining family
Visiting with family
Hanging out with family
Hugging or kissing family
Arguing with family
Entertaining friends
Hanging out with friends
Talking with friends
Hugging/kissing friends
Giving gifts to friends
Opening Christmas gifts with others
Opening birthday presents with others
Talking with neighbors
Greeting neighbors
Visiting adult in nursing home

While we spent less time engaging in the above activities in 2020, we spent 33 percent more time "relaxing and thinking," according to the BLS. These are some of the activities included in this category: doing nothing, wasting time, lying around, hanging out alone, daydreaming, worrying, crying, and grieving.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Changes in Time Use during the Pandemic

How much did your life change in 2020? Probably a great deal. Maybe you worked from home instead of going to the office, your commute time dropped to zero, and you devoted much more time to supervising your children. Now we have the numbers in hand—time use data for 2020—and you can see whether the pandemic changed your life more or less than the life of the average American.

Of course, the 2020 data are not perfect. The Bureau of Labor Statistics had to suspend American Time Use Survey data collection during the early months of the pandemic—from mid-March to mid-May. Consequently, the BLS says it cannot produce annual estimates for 2020. But it has released estimates for the time period from May 10 through December 31. The report released today compares the 2020 averages for the May through December time period with the averages for the same time period in 2019. Here is how time use changed for the average person...

  • Waking time spent at home increased from 7.62 hours per day in 2019 to 9.71 hours per day in 2020 as more worked from home and social activities were curtailed due to the pandemic. 
  • Waking time spent alone increased from 6.06 hours per day in 2019 to 7.01 hours per day in 2020 because of the need for social distancing. The biggest increase in alone time occurred among 15-to-19-year-olds, rising from 4.28 hours a day in 2019 to 6.00 hours in 2020.
  • Time spent watching television as a primary activity climbed from 2.74 hours per day in 2019 to 3.05 hours per day in 2020. The biggest increase in television time occurred among people aged 75 or older, rising from 4.52 hours per day in 2019 to 5.20 hours in 2020. 
  • Time spent traveling (including commuting) fell from 1.22 hours per day in 2019 to 0.79 hours per day in 2020. 
  • Among adults living in households with children under age 18, time spent caring for children as a primary activity (meaning the main activity) increased modestly from 1.18 hours per day in 2019 to 1.27 hours per day in 2020. 
  • Among adults living in household with children under age 13, time spent caring for children as a secondary activity (while the adult was doing something else, such as working) grew from 5.07 hours per day in 2019 to 6.06 hours per day in 2020. 
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

It's Official: Life Expectancy Fell 1.5 Years in 2020

Life expectancy at birth in the United States fell by 1.5 years in 2020, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Covid-19 deaths accounted for most but not all of the decline. From 78.8 years in 2019, life expectancy fell to 77.3 years in 2020. The decline was much greater for some groups than others... 

Change in life expectancy at birth, 2019 to 2020 (in years)
Total: -1.5
Females: -1.2
Males: -1.8

Blacks: -2.9
Hispanics: -3.0
Non-Hispanic whites: -1.2

Hispanic males: -3.7
Black males: -3.3
Black females: -2.4
Hispanic females: -2.0
Non-Hispanic white males: -1.3
Non-Hispanic white females: -1.1

"Mortality due to Covid-19 had, by far, the single greatest effect on the decline in life expectancy at birth between 2019 and 2020," reports the NCHS. Covid accounted for 74 percent of the negative change in life expectancy. More deaths due to unintentional injuries (mostly drug overdoses) contributed another 11 percent, and the rise in homicides contributed 3 percent. 

Fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, and Alzheimer's prevented life expectancy from falling even further.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2020 (PDF)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

64% Are Confident in Science, Down from 70% in 1975

America's confidence in science has slipped over the past half century, according to a Gallup survey. While the 64 percent majority in 2021 reported having "quite a lot/a great deal" of confidence in science, this figure is below the 70 percent who expressed such confidence in 1975—the last time Gallup asked the question. It took Gallup nearly 50 years to pose the question a second time—perhaps because Gallup's researchers assumed having such confidence as we progressed into the 21st century was a no brainer. Looks like that assumption was incorrect. 

Where is the erosion occurring? Among Republicans. Here is the percentage of adults in 1975 and 2021 with "quite a lot/a great deal" of confidence in science by political party affiliation...

Percent with "quite a lot/a great deal" of confidence in science, 1975
Democrats: 67%
Republicans: 72%
Percentage point gap: Republicans +5

Percent with "quite a lot/a great deal" of confidence in science, 2021
Democrats: 79%
Republicans: 45%
Percentage point gap: Democrats +34

In 1975, Republicans were 5 percentage points more likely than Democrats to have "quite a lot/a great deal" of confidence in science. In 2021, Republicans were 34 percentage points less likely than Democrats to have confidence in science. 

Gallup notes: "The current 34-point gap in confidence in science is among the largest Gallup measured for any of the institutions in this year's poll, exceeded only by a 49-point party divide in ratings of the presidency and 45 points in ratings of the police." 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Newsroom Employment Has Fallen 26 Percent

Newsroom employment has plummeted since 2008, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people employed in newsrooms fell from 114,000 in 2008 to just 85,000 in 2020—a 26 percent decline. Pew defines newsroom employment as reporters, editors, photographers, and videographers who work for newspapers, radio, broadcast television, cable, and "other information services" (digital-native news publishers). 

Newspapers dominated newsroom employment in 2008. But employment at newspapers fell by a whopping 57 percent between 2008 and 2020. Consequently, the newspaper industry is just a shadow of its former self. At the other extreme, the number of newsroom employees who work in the digital-native industry has more than doubled and now accounts for 21 percent of the total.

Newsroom employment by industry, 2008 and 2020
   2020     2008     % change
Total    84,640   100.0%       114,260   100.0%          -26%
Newspapers    30,820     36.4         71,070    62.2          -57
Broadcast TV    29,700     35.1         28,390    24.8             5
Digital-native    18,030     21.3           7,400      6.5         144
Radio      3,360      4.0           4,570      4.0          -26
Cable TV      2,730      3.2           2,830      2.5            -4

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Fewer Are Claiming Social Security Benefits at 62

Boomers are waiting longer to retire than their parents did. Only about one in four Boomers born in 1957 claimed Social Security retired worker benefits at the earliest possible age of 62, according to an analysis of Social Security Administration data by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. In contrast, early claiming was the norm for men and women born in 1940 or earlier. 

Early claiming has fallen with each succeeding cohort of Boomers (birth years 1946 through 1964), with the exception of an uptick in 2009 as a consequence of the Great Recession. Boomers born in 1957 turned 62 in 2019, the latest year for which SSA data are available... 

Percent who claimed Social Security benefits at age 62, by birth year and year turned 62
Birth year  Year 62     Men    Women
1957  2019     24.4%       26.6%
1956  2018     26.8       29.3
1955  2017     28.0       30.7
1954  2016     29.4       32.4
1953  2015     31.4       34.9
1952  2014     33.4       36.9
1951  2013     35.5       39.4
1950  2012     37.8       41.5
1949  2011     40.8       44.3
1948  2010     43.6       46.8
1947  2009     45.2       48.7
1946  2008     39.7       44.7
1940  2002     50.2       54.6
1930  1992     56.6       61.4

The fact that so few Boomers are claiming benefits early is a good thing. "Claiming later will lead to a higher monthly benefit check and generally improve retirement income security," say CRR's Anqi Chen and Alicia H. Munnell. While the Covid recession may have boosted early claiming in 2020, the researchers do not think it will permanently reverse the trend towards later claiming.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Pre-Covid Trends in Social Security Claiming

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Big Decline in Sexual Activity among Teens

What's up with teenagers? Way back in 1991, the 54 percent majority of teens (defined as students in grades 9 through 12) reported ever having had sexual intercourse, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. By 2019, the figure had dropped to just 38 percent. 

Percent of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse, 1991 and 2019

     2019     1991     pp change
Total, 9-12      38.4%      54.1%      -15.7
9th grade      19.2      39.0      -19.8
10th grade      33.6      48.2      -14.6
11th grade      46.5      62.4      -15.9
12th grade      56.7      66.7      -10.0

The decline in sexual activity has occurred in every grade. It is more pronounced among males (an 18.2 percentage point drop to 39.2 percent) than among females (a 13.2 percentage point drop to 37.6 percent). Teenagers in every race and Hispanic origin group are far less sexually active now than in the past. 

Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2020

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Record High Participation in Outdoor Recreation in 2020

More people participated in outdoor recreation in 2020 than ever before, most likely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 53 percent majority of Americans aged 6 or older engaged in an outdoor recreational activity in 2020—a record high, according to the Outdoor Foundation. "Outdoor spaces became places of refuge to safely socialize, improve physical and mental health, connect with family and recover from screen fatigue," the Foundation states in its annual report.

Percent of people aged 6-plus participating in the five most popular outdoor activities in 2020 (and percent participating in 2019)
1. Running: 21.0% (20.2%)
2. Hiking: 19.0% (16.4%)
3. Fishing: 18.0% (16.6%)
4. Bicycling: 17.3% (16.1%)
5. Camping: 15.8% (13.8%)

As more couch potatoes were forced to venture outside, the overall enthusiasm of participants took a noticeable hit, the Foundation reports. "About one-quarter of new participants say they do not want to continue their new activity, a number that may grow sharply as consumers return to pre-pandemic habits."

Source: Outdoor Foundation, 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report

Monday, July 12, 2021

Religious Identity in 2020

Nearly one in four American adults reports being religiously unaffiliated, according to PRRI's 2020 Census of American Religion. The 23 percent who say they are religiously unaffiliated is below the peak of 26 percent recorded in 2018. Nevertheless, the religiously unaffiliated group is larger than any single religious affiliation. 

Percent of Americans aged 18 or older who identify with religious group, 2020
23% religiously unaffiliated
16% white mainline Protestant
14% white evangelical Protestant
12% white Catholic
  8% Hispanic Catholic
  7% Black Protestant
  4% Hispanic Protestant
  2% other Catholic of color
  1% Jewish
  1% Latter-day Saint (Mormon) 
  1% Muslim
  1% Buddhist
  0.5% Hindu
  0.2% Unitarian

The PRRI survey notes a "precipitous drop" in white evangelical Protestant affiliation over the years—from 23 percent of adults in 2006 to just 14 percent in 2020. White mainline Protestants now outnumber white evangelical Protestants.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

50% of Adults Live in an All-Vaccinated Household

How many of us live in a household in which every member has had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine? Half of us, according to a KFF survey fielded June 8-21. Another one in five adults is in a "mixed" household, meaning some members are vaccinated and some are not...

Vaccination status of households
50% of adults are vaccinated and live in an all-vaccinated household
14% of adults are vaccinated, but live in a mixed household
7% of adults are unvaccinated, but live in a mixed household
25% of adults are not vaccinated and live in a household in which no one is vaccinated

How many of the vaccinated adults who live in a mixed household are living with children under age 12, who are ineligible for the vaccine? The answer is—surprisingly few. Among the 14 percent of adults who are vaccinated but live in a mixed household, only 34 percent say that all unvaccinated household members are children under age 12. The 65 percent majority say that some of the unvaccinated household members are aged 12 or older. 

The KFF survey also reveals a partisan divide in the vaccination status of households, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to live in an all-vaccinated household...

Vaccination status of households by political party affiliation
     Democrats     Republicans 
All-vaccinated household          67%       39%
Vaccinated, mixed household          18       12
Unvaccinated, mixed household            5         8
All-unvaccinated household          10       37

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

46% Have a Will

Fewer than half (46 percent) of adults in the United States have a will, according to a recent Gallup survey. Here's the question asked by Gallup: "Do you have a will that describes how you would like your money and estate to be handled after your death?"

Not surprisingly, the percentage of Americans who have a will is highest among those with household incomes of $100,000 or more (61 percent). It is also well above average among college graduates (57 percent). It is much higher among older than younger adults...

Percent who have a will
Aged 18 to 29: 20%
Aged 30 to 49: 36%
Aged 50 to 64: 53%
Aged 65-plus: 76%

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Born in 1970? Have We Got News for You

Who is the longest-lived human being on record? Her name was Jeanne Calment. She was born in Arles, France in 1875. She died 122 years and 164 days later in 1997. She currently holds the record for what is called the "maximum reported age at death."

How long will her record stand? That's what a study published in Demographic Research wanted to determine. Researchers Michael Pearce and Adrian E. Raftery of the University of Washington calculated the probabilities that the record would be broken by 2100. The chances are very good that Jeanne Calment's record will be broken by then. In fact, there's a 99 percent probability that someone will have lived more than 122 years 164 days by 2100, the researchers report. 

Pearce and Raftery also calculated the probability that the record would rise to 126, 128, and 130 years by 2100. There is an excellent (89 percent) chance that someone will live to be at least age 126 by 2100, they calculate. The probability is pretty good (44 percent) that someone will live to be at least age 128 by 2100. 

The probability is a smaller but still significant 13 percent that someone will live to be at least 130 by 2100. If you were born in 1970, we're looking at you. You might be the one who is still around in 2100 to celebrate your 130th birthday.

Source: Demographic Research, Probabilistic Forecasting of Maximum Human Lifespan by 2100 Using Bayesian Population Projections 

Thursday, July 01, 2021

No Increase in Vaccination Rate in June

Seventy-nine percent of adults aged 18 or older say they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey fielded June 9-21. The percentage of adults who said they had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine was unchanged from the previous iteration of the survey fielded May 26-June 7. 

Percent who have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as of June 9-21
Total 18-plus: 79%
Aged 18 to 24: 72%
Aged 25 to 39: 70%
Aged 40 to 54: 77%
Aged 55 to 64: 85%
Aged 65-plus: 91%

The stability in the numbers over the month of June suggests that the United States may be at the end of the road regarding vaccination unless it becomes mandatory at schools, workplaces, and other venues. 

Of the 52 million adults who have yet to receive a Covid vaccine, only 10 million say they probably/definitely will get vaccinated. The number who say they probably/definitely will not get the vaccine was unchanged from the previous survey at 27 million. Another 14 million say they are unsure about getting the vaccine, the same as before.  

Source: Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, June 9-21

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Life Expectancy in U.S. Falling Further and Further Behind Peer Countries

Life expectancy in the U.S. declined by 1.87 years between 2018 and 2020, according to an Urban Institute study. This decline was 8.5 times greater than the 0.22 average decline of 16 peer (high-income) countries. Not only did the U.S. suffer a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths overall, but the higher death rates among Blacks and Hispanics also contributed to our growing disadvantage in life expectancy.

For more than a decade, life expectancy at birth in the United States has been falling further behind life expectancy in peer countries. The difference in life expectancy between the U.S. and the 16 peer countries average was 1.88 years in 2010. The difference had grown to 3.05 years by 2018. In 2020, U.S. life expectancy was an even greater 4.69 years behind life expectancy in the peer countries. 

"A longstanding and widening U.S. health disadvantage, high death rates in 2020, and continued inequitable effects on racial and ethnic minority groups are likely the products of longstanding policy choices and systemic racism," the study concludes. 

Source: Urban Institute, Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 on Life Expectancy across Populations in the USA and other High Income Countries: Simulations of Provisional Mortality Data

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Nearly Half Think They Will Get Dementia

Americans overestimate their chances of developing dementia, according to an AARP survey. Nearly half (48 percent) of adults aged 40 or older say it is somewhat/very/extremely likely that they will get dementia as they get older. In fact, only 14 percent of people aged 71 or older have dementia. 

The widespread sense of impending doom may be due to the fact that most know someone now or in the past who has/had dementia. The 51 percent majority of adults aged 40 or older say they currently have or had in the past a close friend or relative with dementia. Not surprisingly, the percentage who have/had a close friend or relative with dementia rises with age...

Percent of adults aged 40-plus who have/had a close friend or relative with dementia
Aged 40 to 49: 42%
Aged 50 to 59: 50%
Aged 60 to 69: 55%
Aged 70-plus: 58%

Monday, June 28, 2021

Births Declined in All 50 States

The results are in. The coronavirus pandemic led to a substantial decline in births in the United States. There were fewer births in the United States in every month of 2020 than in the same month of 2019, the National Center for Health Statistics reports. The decline during the second half of the year (6 percent) was greater than the decline in the first half of the year (2 percent). The biggest decline occurred in December, with 8 percent fewer births in 2020 than in December 2019. 

"The impact of the pandemic on the United States in 2020 varied by month," the NCHS reports. "The impact also varied widely by state as the infection spread across the United States." 

In the first half of 2020, the number of births fell in 20 states due to the long-term trend of declining fertility. In comparison, 27 states had declining births in the first half of 2019. 

In the second half of 2020, the effects of the pandemic began to emerge. The number of births declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In comparison, births declined in only 9 states in the second half of 2019. Here are the states with the largest declines...

States with the largest decline in births, second half of 2020 versus 2019
-11% in New Mexico
  -9% in New York
  -8% in California
  -8% in Hawaii
  -8% in West Virginia

The remaining states and D.C. had declines of 3 to 7 percent. 

"Evaluation of trends in births by month will continue to determine whether these declines continued into 2021 or were unique to 2020 during the time of the initial Covid-19 pandemic," the NCHS concludes.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Birth Data, Declines in Births by Month: United States, 2020

Thursday, June 24, 2021

All of the Above

Among U.S. adults...

85% own a smartphone
77% own a desktop/laptop computer
77% have a broadband connection at home
53% own a tablet computer 

But how many Americans aged 18 or older have all of the above? It depends on their household income, according to a Pew Research Center survey...

Percent of U.S. adults who have "all of the above"
23% of those with household incomes below $30,000
42% of those with household incomes of $30,000 to $99,999
63% of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

What Is the Probability You Will Need Long-Term Care?

Older Americans face a great unknown: will they or won't they need potentially costly long-term care as they age. Researchers at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) wanted to shed some light on this great unknown, assigning probabilities to the need for long-term care. The goal, say the researchers, "is to help retirees, their families, and policymakers better understand the likelihood that 65-year-olds—over the course of their retirement—will experience disability that seems manageable, catastrophic, or somewhere in-between."

Not all long-term care needs are the same. Some older people will need long-term care only for a short period of time or for specific tasks that can be readily done by willing family members, making the financial burden manageable. Other older people will need long-term care not only for years but also for vital tasks such as bathing, eating, and toileting, which usually require professional help. This more intense long-term care can become an unmanageable financial burden if a lengthy stay in a long-term care facility is required. 

The CRR researchers wanted to determine the probabilities of each type of long-term care. They sorted potential long-term care needs into three categories based on two factors—the length of time care is needed and the type of care required. They labeled the three categories minimal (help needed for mundane tasks only, such as shopping or housekeeping), moderate (help needed with only one vital task such as bathing or toileting), and severe (help needed with two or more vital tasks or dementia). Then the researchers examined decades of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to determine the probabilities for each level of care from age 65 until death. Here are the results...

  • 17% of 65-year-olds will not require any long-term care.
  • 22% will require minimal long-term care, meaning they will need help only with mundane tasks such as housework, shopping, or preparing meals for any amount of time or they will need help with only one vital task for no more than one year.
  • 38% will require moderate long-term care, meaning they will need help with one vital task for one to three years or they will need help with two or more vital tasks or dementia for up to three years.
  • 24% will require severe long-term care, meaning help with one or more vital tasks/dementia for three or more years. This is "the type of severe needs that most people dread," the CRR researchers note.

Which long-term care path will an individual 65-year-old take? That's the $64,000 question. Some answers lie in the demographics, however. For example, from age 65 to death, college graduates are less likely than those with less education to have severe long-term care needs. Only 20 percent of the 65-year-old college graduates in the HRS database had severe needs during the remainder of their lives. This compares with a larger 28 percent of those with less education. Future CRR briefs will "identify people who are particularly at risk of experiencing needs they do not have the resources to meet."

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, What Level of Long-Term Services and Supports Do Retirees Need?