Tuesday, October 06, 2015

White Population Is Growing in Big Cities

In a reversal of past trends, the white population is growing in the nation's largest cities, according to an analysis of the American Community Survey by William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution. Between 2010 and 2014, reports Frey, the white population in the 50 largest cities grew by 491,494. Between 2000 and 2010, whites declined by 592,228.

White gains were greatest in two age groups: 25-to-34-year-olds and 55-to-74-year-olds. "Some of these gains are certainly related to the recent uptick in the attractiveness of cities to young adults and retirees," says Frey. But, he cautions, "city revival could be short-lived and related to the plight of struggling millennials."

Source: Brookings Institution, More Big Cities Are Gaining White Population, Census Data Show

Monday, October 05, 2015

Mining Big Data for Transgender Information

It's not easy to uncover information about the nation's transgender population. The Census Bureau does not include questions about sexual orientation or gender identity in the decennial census or American Community Survey. But there are other ways to shed light on the transgender segment—such as mining big data.

An economist at the Census Bureau, Benjamin Cerf Harris, has done just that. Harris mined the Social Security Administration's big data to determine whether transgender information could be gleaned from SSA records. By sifting through millions of Social Security files from 1936 to 2010, Harris located those in which a first name had been legally changed from male to female or female to male and also located those in which the sex-coding had changed. He found tens of thousands of transgender-consistent changes: 106,550 cases (at a 95 percent confidence threshold) in which a person aged 16 or older had legally changed his or her first name from one gender to another, and 28,234 cases in which there had been a first-name change and a sex-coding change. Overall, about 0.2 percent of files are what Harris calls "transgender consistent." The average age of identity change was mid-thirties.

The mining effort didn't stop there. For the transgender-consistent individuals who were still alive in 2010, Harris matched them to their census record and examined their response to the 2010 census question, "What is your sex?" He finds the transgender-consistents were more likely than non-transgender respondents to report being male and female (0.13 percent vs. 0.02 percent) or to report no sex at all (1.85 percent versus 1.13 percent). Harris also used 2010 census records to determine the geographical distribution of the likely transgender population.

Harris cautions that his research is not an attempt to estimate the size of the transgender population. Rather, it is an effort to show how big data can be mined to reveal something about the transgender population.

Source: Census Bureau, Likely Transgender Individuals in U.S. Federal Administrative Records and the 2010 Census

Friday, October 02, 2015

Household Income Rises in August 2015

Good news: Median household income in August 2015 reached a post-Great Recession high. August's median stood at $55,794, according to Sentier Research—1.1 percent higher than in July 2015, after adjusting for inflation. The August 2015 median was 5.0 percent higher than the August 2014 median and 7.6 percent above the $51,835 median of August 2011, the low point in Sentier's household income series. 

"The 1.1 percent increase in median household income between July and August 2015 is one of the largest month-to-month increases in income during the post-recessionary period," says Sentier's Gordon Green. We have now recaptured all of the income losses that have occurred since June 2009, when the Great Recession ended." Sentier's median household income estimates are derived from the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey. 

Median household income in August 2015 was not significantly different (finally!) from the median of June 2009, the end of the Great Recession. It was still 1.5 percent below the median of December 2007, the start of the Great Recession. It was 2.7 percent below the median of January 2000. The Household Income Index for August 2015 was 97.3 (January 2000 = 100.0).

Source: Sentier ResearchHousehold Income Trends: August 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Was College Worth the Cost?

Percentage of college graduates who "strongly agree" that their college education was worth the cost, by type of institution...

Total graduates: 50%
Public universities: 52%
Private, nonprofit universities: 47%
Private, for-profit universities: 26%

Source: Gallup, Recent Grads Less Likely to Agree College Was Worth the Cost

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Households with Children, 2014

Only 28 percent of the nation's households include children under age 18. The figure varies by race and Hispanic origin of householder...

Households with children by race/Hispanic origin of householder
25% of non-Hispanic White households
31% of Black households
36% of Asian households
43% of Hispanic households

Source: Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements: 2014

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

39 Million Americans Speak Spanish at Home

Sixty-three million people speak a language other than English at home—fully 21 percent of the population aged 5 or older, according to the 2014 American Community Survey. Of those who speak a language other than English at home, the 62 percent majority speak Spanish. Here are the non-English languages with at least 1 million home speakers...

Language other than English spoken at home (and % who speak English less than "very well")
Spanish: 39.3 million (42%)
Chinese: 3.1 million (56%)
Tagalog: 1.7 million (31%)
Vietnamese: 1.5 million (59%)
French: 1.2 million (20%)
Korean: 1.1 million (55%)
Arabic: 1.1 million (38%)

Source: Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey

Monday, September 28, 2015

Immigration What Ifs

Nearly 59 million immigrants moved to the United States between 1965 and 2015, according to a Pew Research Center report. If those immigrants had not come here, the nation would be far less diverse. Pew calculated the racial and ethnic mix of the nation if immigration had been zero during the past fifty years...

  • Non-Hispanic Whites would be 75% of population rather than the 62% of 2015 
  • Hispanics would be 8% of population rather than the 18% of 2015 
  • Asians would be less than 1% of the population rather than the 6% of 2015

During the next 50 years, continuing immigration will reduce the non-Hispanic White share of the population to 46 percent by 2065, projects Pew. The Hispanic share will grow to 24 percent. The Asian share will rise to 14 percent. By 2065, Asians will be a larger share of the population than Blacks (13 percent).

Source: Pew Research Center, Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065

Friday, September 25, 2015

Do Americans Know How Much They Owe?

Americans are not dummies about debt. When researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York compared self-reported household debt in the Survey of Consumer Finances with debt reported by lenders to Equifax, the totals pretty much matched—with two exceptions: credit card debt and student loans.

Credit card debt was under-reported by 37 percent, according to the analysis, and student loans by 25 percent. While there may be methodological reasons for the lowballing of these debts in the Survey of Consumer Finances, it also may be that Americans are less knowledgeable about their credit cards and student loans than other types of debt.

"The poorer repayment rates we observe for uncollateralized debts may suggest an association between debt awareness and debt repayment quality," the researchers conclude.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review, Do We Know What We Owe? Consumer Debt as Reported by Borrowers and Lenders

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Living Alone Is #1 Household Type

The number of people who live alone has surpassed the number of married couples without children at home, making lone living the most common household type in the United States...

Percent distribution of households by type in 2015
28.0%: people who live alone
27.6%: married couples without children under age 18 at home
20.5%: married couples with children under age 18 at home
12.5%: female-headed families
  6.4%: unrelated people living together
  4.9%: male-headed families

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Women Surpass Men in Educational Attainment

The educational attainment of American women surpasses that of American men, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. In 2015, the percentage of women aged 25 or older with a bachelor's degree or more education climbed to 32.7 percent. Among men, the figure was 32.3 percent. Although the difference is small, it will grow in the years ahead as well educated younger women replace much less educated older women in the population. Here is the percentage of men and women with a bachelor's degree by age group (and the percentage point difference between women and men)...

Aged 25 to 34 (+6.2 percentage points)
Women: 39.2%
Men: 33.0%

Aged 35 to 44 (+5.6 percentage points)
Women: 39.0%
Men: 33.4%

Aged 45 to 54 (+1.8 percentage points)
Women: 34.0%
Men: 32.2%

Aged 55 to 64 (-0.4 percentage points)
Women: 30.7%
Men: 31.1%

Aged 65 or older (-9.3 percentage points)
Women: 22.5%
Men: 31.8%

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Households with Children Fall by Nearly 1 Million

The consequences of the ongoing baby bust are readily apparent in the recently released figures from the 2015 Current Population Survey. The number of households with children under age 18 fell by nearly 1 million (965,000) between 2014 and 2015—a substantial 2.4 percent decline.

Numerical (and percent change) in households with children, 2014-15
Total with children: -965,000 (-2.4%)
Married couples: -291,000 (-1.1%)
Female-headed families: -400,000 (-3.8%)
Male-headed families: -274,000 (-8.3%)

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

Monday, September 21, 2015

What Poverty Does to Children

The latest numbers from the Current Population Survey show that 21 percent of children under age 18 were poor in 2014. Even worse, nearly twice as many—39 percent—live in poverty for a period of time before they turn 18. This matters because children who have ever been poor are less likely to succeed than those who have never been poor, according to the Urban Institute.

In a study of Americans born between 1968 and 1989, those who had ever experienced poverty before the age of 18 were less likely than those who had never experienced poverty to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and earn a college degree. While 70 percent of the never-poor were consistently employed between the ages of 25 and 30, the figure was only 57 percent among the ever-poor. Twenty-four percent of the ever-poor had been arrested by age 20 compared with 16 percent of the never-poor.

Source: Urban Institute, Child Poverty and Adult Success

Friday, September 18, 2015

Households by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2015

Overall household growth was sluggish between 2014 and 2015, but that's because the number of non-Hispanic White households fell by more than 200,000—an 0.2 percent decline. In contrast, the number of households headed by Blacks (alone or in combination) grew 2.8 percent, as did the number headed by Asians (alone or in combination). Hispanic households increased just 0.9 percent. Here is the number (and percent distribution) of households in 2015 by race and Hispanic origin...

Households in 2015 by race and Hispanic origin
Total: 124,587,000 (100.0%)
Asian: 6,333,000 (5.1%)
Black: 17,198,000 (13.8%)
Hispanic: 16,239,000 (13.0%)
Non-Hispanic White: 84,228,000 (67.6%)

Note: Numbers do not add to total because Asians and Blacks are those who identify themselves as being of the race alone or in combination. Hispanics may be of any race.
Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sluggish Household Growth 2014-15

The number of households in the United States grew by just 0.53 percent between 2014 and 2015—from 123.9 million to 124.6 million, according to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. This is the fifth slowest rate of growth in more than five decades of keeping score. One factor behind the sluggish growth was the 4.2 percent decline in the number of households headed by the youngest adults. Here is the numerical (and percent) change in households by age of householder...

Change in households, 2014 to 2015 (numbers in 000s)
Total households:  656 ( 0.5%)
Under age 25:      -282 (-4.2%)
Aged 25 to 34:        87 ( 0.4%)
Aged 35 to 44:       -43 (-0.2%)
Aged 45 to 54:       -98 (-0.4%)
Aged 55 to 64:      114 ( 0.5%)
Aged 65-plus:       877 ( 3.0%)

The decline in households headed by people aged 35 to 54 is due to the small Generation X moving into those age groups. The increase in households headed by people aged 55 or older is due to the large Baby-Boom generation in those age groups. 

Source: Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014