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