Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Top 10 Occupations: Asians

Among the hundreds of detailed occupations examined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 10 in which Asians (alone) account for the largest share of workers...

Asian (alone) share of workers (average = 6%)
1. Misc. personal appearance workers: 55.3%
2. Medical scientists: 33.8%
3. Software developers, applications and systems: 31.9%
4. Statisticians: 24.5%
5. Computer hardware engineers: 22.8%
6. Electrical and electronics engineers: 21.4%
7. Sewing machine operators: 21.1%
8. Physicians and surgeons: 21.0%
9. Computer systems analysts: 20.9%
10. Computer programmers: 19.7%

See also: Top 10 Occupations: Non-Hispanic Whites
Source: Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment data from the Current Population Survey

Monday, February 08, 2016

Sandwich Consumption: Who, What, and When?

On an average day, 47 percent of Americans aged 20 or older eat a sandwich, according to the USDA's Food Surveys Research Group—52 percent of men and 43 percent of women.
  • Cold cuts are the most popular type of sandwich (27%), followed by burgers (17%), poultry (12%), and hot dogs (10%). Only 6 percent are peanut butter. 
  • Lunch accounts for nearly half of sandwiches eaten (48%), followed by dinner (31%), breakfast (13%), and snacks (8%).
  • Most sandwiches or their ingredients (58%) are purchased at a store. Twenty-seven percent are from fast-food restaurants. 
  • Fifty-nine percent of burgers and 46 percent of poultry sandwiches are from fast-food restaurants, while 76 percent of cold cut sandwiches are from a store.
Source: USDA, Food Surveys Research Group, Sandwich Consumption by Adults in the U.S.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Football is America's Favorite Sport

Football is by far America's favorite sport, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (go figure). Fully 38 percent of adults say football is their favorite. Then comes basketball (11 percent), baseball (9 percent), soccer (8 percent), auto racing (6 percent), and ice hockey (5 percent). Only 13 percent of Americans say they don't watch sports.

Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Nearly One-Third of Americans Say They Would Not Let Their Son Play Football

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Top 10 Occupations: Non-Hispanic Whites

Among the hundreds of detailed occupations examined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the 10 in which non-Hispanic Whites account for the largest share of workers...

Non-Hispanic White share of workers (average = 64%)
1. Tool and die makers: 95.5%
2. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: 94.9%
3. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: 94.1%
4. Medical transcriptionists: 91.0%
5. Veterinarians: 90.9%
6. Chiropractors: 90.1%
7. Television, video, and motion picture camera operators: 89.9%
8. Fundraisers: 89.8%
9. Construction and building inspectors: 89.1%
10. Appraisers and assessors of real estate: 88.8%

Stay tuned for the top 10 occupations among Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment data from the Current Population Survey

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Water Not Safe to Drink

Long before Flint Michigan's water problems became a national news story, a substantial 9 million American households identified their primary source of water as unsafe to drink. We know this thanks to the American Housing Survey, which asks respondents whether their primary source of water is safe for drinking. This is the percentage of households with water not safe to drink (excluding households whose primary source is commercial bottled water)...

Primary source of water is unsafe to drink
Total households: 8%
Owners: 6%
Renters: 11%
Blacks: 10%
Hispanics: 20%
Below poverty: 12%
Northeast: 6%
Midwest: 4%
South: 8%
West: 12%
Central city: 9%
Suburb: 7%
Nonmetropolitan: 6%

Source: Census Bureau, 2013 American Housing Survey

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Could Older Americans Work Longer?

Could older Americans work longer if they had to? The answer is yes, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study of the work capacity of people aged 55 or older.

The authors ask this question: "If people with a given mortality rate today worked as much as those with the same mortality rate in the past, how much could they work?" The answer: a lot. Among 55-to-59-year-olds today, 70.5 percent are in the labor force. But if they worked as much as the people of 1977 with the equivalent mortality rate, then a much larger 86.0 percent would be employed. Among 60-to-64-year-olds the employment rate would rise from 56.2 to 83.2 percent. Among 65-to-69-year-olds, the figure would rise from 32.3 to 74.1 percent.

"Employment declines rapidly as workers reach their 60s, while health declines steadily but quite gradually with age," say the researchers. "The fact that health does not plummet along with employment suggests that there are reasons other than health for the employment declines, such as the availability of Social Security," they conclude.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Health Capacity to Work at Older Ages: Evidence from the U.S., Working Paper 21940

Monday, February 01, 2016

Women Earn 97 Percent As Much As Men

Among recent college graduates, that is, and after controlling for college major.

A Liberty Street Economics analysis of the wages of men and women aged 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor's degree finds women earning 97 percent as much as men after controlling for college major. In 29 of 73 college majors examined, women earned more than men—including social services, treatment therapy, industrial engineering, and art history.

Among college graduates aged 35 to 44, however, the analysis found men earning 15 percent more than women on average. In every major in which women earned more than men among young adults, the advantage disappeared by middle age. In the majors in which men earned more than women among young adults, the earnings gap expanded. What's behind this shift?

Discrimination could be one reason for the shift, say the researchers, but women's greater family responsibilities are a likely major contributor. "Because raising a family often requires more flexible schedules, those with family responsibilities who have difficulty satisfying time sensitive work demands may face lower wages," they explain. "In fact, in jobs where such time demands are largely absent, and more flexibility is possible, the pay gap has been found to be much smaller."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liberty Street Economics, When Women Out-Earn Men

Friday, January 29, 2016

Who Owns a Gun?

Despite all the talk about guns, only 32 percent of Americans have a gun in their home, according to the General Social Survey—a figure that has fallen over the past few decades (it was more than 50 percent in the early 1980s). Gun ownership is much more common among non-Hispanic Whites than Blacks or Hispanics...

Percent of households with a gun
Black households: 15%
Hispanic households: 15%
Non-Hispanic White households: 42%

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2014 General Social Survey

Thursday, January 28, 2016

First-Time Homebuyer Watch: 4th Quarter 2015

Homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34, fourth quarter 2015: 45.9%

The homeownership rate of households headed by people aged 30 to 34 fell in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 45.9 percent, down 0.9 percentage points from the 46.8 percent of the third quarter. This is disappointing news for the housing industry, which is anxiously waiting for first-time homebuyers to return to the marketplace. The rise in the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds in the third quarter of 2015 appears to have been a bobble at the bottom and not a turnaround. 

Historically, homeownership became the norm in the 30-to-34 age group—rising above 50 percent. But beginning in 2007, the homeownership rate of 30-to-34-year-olds went into a tailspin. In the second quarter of 2011, the rate fell below 50 percent for the first time. It's been stuck there ever since. The new age of first-time home buying is 35 to 39, but even this age group has been slipping toward the 50-percent threshold. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds climbed to 56.2 percent—up from the third quarter's record low of 54.6 percent. The homeownership rate of 35-to-39-year-olds peaked in the first quarter of 2007 at 65.7 percent.

Nationally, the homeownership rate was 63.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, down from 64.0 percent a year earlier.

Source: Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Prescription Painkiller Abuse: The Personal Connection

Most Americans have a personal connection to prescription painkiller abuse, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. The 56 percent majority of Americans say they 1) personally know someone who has taken a prescription painkiller not prescribed to them; and/or 2) personally know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, and/or 3) personally know someone who died from a prescription painkiller overdose.

The demographic segments most likely to have a personal connection to prescription painkillers are Whites, those with a household income of $90,000 or more, adults under age 50, those with some college, college graduates, suburban residents, and men.

The demographic segments least likely to have a personal connection to prescription painkillers are Hispanics, people aged 65 or older, Blacks, those with a high school diploma or less education, urban residents, and women.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

American Culture Since the 1950s

"Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?"

Percent saying America has changed for the worse
72% of White evangelical Protestants
67% of Republicans
58% of White mainline Protestants
58% of White Catholics
53% of all Americans
43% of non-Christian religion affiliation
43% of Black Protestants
41% of Hispanic Catholics
40% of Democrats
35% of religiously unaffiliated

Source: Public Religion Research Institute, Two-Thirds of Republicans Say American Culture Has Worsened Since 1950s

Monday, January 25, 2016

Older Singles Spend More on Health Care

For Americans aged 65 or older, out-of-pocket per person health care expenses are greater for singles than for couples, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. EBRI analyzed two types of out-of-pocket expenses: recurring (dental visits, doctor visits, and prescription drugs), and nonrecurring (outpatient surgery, hospital stays, in-home care, and nursing home care). During a two-year period, recurring expenses average $2,500 per person regardless of age or whether the elderly person lives alone or with a spouse. "It was clear that the recurring health care expenses were very predictable," notes EBRI.

Nonrecurring out-of-pocket expenses are another story. Not only are per person expenses higher for singles than for couples, but the difference increases with age. For singles aged 65 to 74, average nonrecurring expenses were $766 more for singles than for couples ($2,790 versus $2,024 over two years). By age 85-plus, singles spent an average of $4,825 more than couples on a per person basis ($13,355 versus $8,530).

What makes nonrecurring out-of-pocket expenses so much more costly for singles than for couples? Singles do not have the advantage of a live-in caregiver, suggests EBRI. The biggest differences in out-of-pocket nonrecurring costs were for nursing homes and home health care. "As health breaks down with age," EBRI concludes, "the advantage of having a spouse or partner to act as caregiver results in lower spending."

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, Differences in Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses of Older Single and Couple Households

Friday, January 22, 2016

Even Among Centenarians, Hispanics Less Likely to Die

There were 72,197 people aged 100 or older in the United States in 2014, reports the National Center for Health Statistics in an analysis of centenarian mortality. The 2014 death rate in this oldest age group was a substantial 35.9 per 100 centenarians. In other words, more than one-third did not make it through the year. But the death rate varies by race and Hispanic origin...

Deaths per 100 centenarians by race and Hispanic origin
Hispanics: 22.3
Non-Hispanic Blacks: 28.6
Non-Hispanic Whites: 39.3

Among centenarians, Hispanics have a lower death rate than Blacks and a strikingly lower death rate than non-Hispanic Whites. This Hispanic advantage is also found among those younger than 100-plus. It's a phenomenon called the "Hispanic paradox." Hispanics have lower mortality rates and a longer life expectancy than others despite their lower socioeconomic status. The Hispanic advantage is due to lower mortality from a variety of leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and Alzheimer's, according to an NCHS analysis. These diseases are also leading causes of death among centenarians. Consequently, even in the oldest age group, Hispanics are less likely to die.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Mortality Among Centenarians in the United States, 2000-2014

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Cities Have Been Gentrifying

A shortage of leisure time may be behind the growing vibrancy of the nation's cities, suggests a National Bureau of Economic Research study. Over the past few years cities have become magnets for time-starved skilled workers, who are driving up housing prices. By analyzing tract-level data for the 27 largest U.S. cities from 1980 through 2010, the study's authors find a critical shift in relative housing prices: In 1980, prices were higher in the suburbs than in city centers. By 2000, city centers had the highest housing prices.

Behind the shift in housing prices is reduced tolerance for commuting among time constrained, highly skilled (read: college educated) workers. "Gentrification may be the result of high-income households seeking to protect increasingly scare leisure by reducing time spent on low-utility activities such as commuting," summarizes the NBER Digest.

Living in the suburbs is doable when husbands work shifts and wives are at home, but the suburbs make less sense for a work force increasingly dominated by full-time workers (many of them dual-income couples). As leisure time contracted among skilled workers between 1985 and 2005, say the authors, those who could afford to cut the commute bought homes in urban centers, driving up prices and gentrifying neighborhoods.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Bright Minds, Big Rent: Gentrification and the Rising Returns to Skill, Working Paper 21729 ($5)