American Consumers Newsletter

by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press
June 2016

Population Trends by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 to 2015

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. Hot Trends: 2015 POPULATION ESTIMATES BY RACE AND HISPANIC ORIGIN, BIRTHS IN 2015, HOUSES GETTING BIGGER, DECLINE IN MEDIA JOBS, ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, RISE IN HEALTHY LIFE EXPECTANCY, and more
2. New Tools:

THE AMERICAN MARKETPLACE, 13th edition

AMERICAN INCOMES, 11th edition
WHO WE ARE: ASIANS, 3rd ed.
WHO WE ARE: BLACKS, 3rd ed.
WHO WE ARE: HISPANICS, 3rd ed.

To see Cheryl Russell’s Demo Memo blog, click here.

1. Hot Trends

Population Trends by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 to 2015
The U.S. population grew by 12.1 million between 2010 and 2015, according to the Census Bureau. Non-Hispanic Whites accounted for just 5 percent of the gain, and the nation’s minorities accounted for the other 95 percent. In 2015, the minority share of the population climbed to 38.4 percent, up from 36.2 percent in 2010. Here are the 2015 estimates by race and Hispanic origin…
Total population: 321,418,820
The U.S. population grew by 3.9 percent between 2010 and 2015, a gain of 12.1 million.
Non-Hispanic Whites: 197,970,812 (61.6%)
The non-Hispanic White population grew by a minuscule 0.3 percent between 2010 and 2015, a gain of only 583,195. The non-Hispanic White share of the population fell from 63.8 to 61.6 percent during those years.
Hispanics: 56,592,793 (17.6%)
The Hispanic population grew by 11.5 percent between 2010 and 2015, a gain of 5.8 million. Hispanics accounted for 48 percent of the nation’s population growth between 2010 and 2015.
Blacks (alone or in combination): 46,282,080 (14.4%)
The Black population grew by 7.1 percent between 2010 and 2015, a gain of 3.1 million.
Asians (alone or in combination): 20,994,374 (6.5%)
The Asian population grew by 18.8 percent between 2010 and 2015, a gain of 3.3 million.
Fewer Births in 2015
The baby bust continues. The number of births in the United States fell to 3,977,745 in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That’s about 10,000 fewer births than in 2014. Except for a small increase in 2014, the number of births has declined in every year since 2007, which was when births hit a record high of 4.3 million.
Number of births (in 000s)
2015: 3,978
2014: 3,988
2013: 3,932
2012: 3,953
2011: 3,954
2010: 3,999 (start of baby bust)
2009: 4,131
2008: 4,248
2007: 4,316 (record high)
Record low birth rates are behind the decline in the number of births. In 2015, the birth rate of women in every age group under age 30 fell to new historic lows. The overall fertility rate–the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44–was 62.5 in 2015, matching the record low. Among women aged 30 to 44, birth rates increased as older women played catch-up.
New Houses Still Getting Bigger
Americans are buying bigger and bigger homes, according to the Census Bureau. The size of new single-family houses sold in 2015 hit another record high. The median square feet of floor area in new houses sold has increased in every year since 2009. Houses sold in 2015 were 21 percent larger than those sold in 2000.
Median square feet of new single-family houses sold
2015: 2,520
2014: 2,506
2013: 2,478
2012: 2,390
2011: 2,295
2010: 2,255
2009: 2,202
2005: 2,235
2000: 2,077
Median New House Price at Record High
The wait is over: the median sales price of new single-family houses sold hit an all-time high in 2015, finally surpassing the 2005 peak after adjusting for inflation. Between 2005 and the 2011 post-Great Recession low, according to the Census Bureau, the median price of new houses sold fell 18 percent. Since then, the price of new houses has climbed 24 percent. The 2015 price exceeds the 2005 price by 1 percent (or $4,043).
Median price of new single-family houses sold (in $2015)
2015: $296,400 (new record high)
2014: $283,136
2013: $273,586
2012: $253,128
2011: $239,399 (post-Great Recession low)
2010: $241,087
2009: $239,407
2008: $255,508
2007: $283,380
2006: $289,805
2005: $292,357 (previous record high)
Fewer Media Jobs: Thanks Internet!
Until the introduction of the smartphone in 2007, the effect of the internet on employment in traditional media–newspapers, magazines, and books–had been minimal. Between 1993 (when Mosaic was introduced–the first graphical interface for the Worldwide Web) and 2007, newspaper employment had fallen some, but the worst was yet to come. Employment in the magazine and book industries was almost unchanged during those years. Not so after the smartphone transformed the internet into something personal and portable, according to a Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data…
Employment change in newspaper industry
1993 to 2007: -79,000
2007 to 2016: -168,200
68% of job loss occurred since 2007
Employment change in magazine industry
1993 to 2007: -300
2007 to 2016: -48,400
99% of job loss occurred since 2007
Employment change in book industry
1993 to 2007: 700
2007 to 2016: -20,700
100% of job loss occurred since 2007
Traditional media jobs are disappearing, and new jobs are emerging in internet publishing and broadcasting–but not enough to fill the gap. Internet media employment grew by 125,300 between 2007 and 2016, or a little less than half the 237,300 jobs lost in the newspaper, magazine, and book industries. Even including job growth in television and film, there has been a net loss of 159,200 media jobs since 2007.
Decline in Daily Newspaper Readers: Thanks Internet!
Newspaper employment has plummeted over the past two decades, according to a Demo Memo analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, with most of the decline occurring since 2007–when the smartphone transformed the internet into something personal and portable. Behind the decline in newspaper employment is the shrinking newspaper audience, a trend starkly documented in Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2016. The percentage of Americans who read a daily newspaper (print or digital) has plummeted since 2007…
Percent reading a daily newspaper in 2015 (and in 2007)
Aged 18 to 24: 16% (33%)
Aged 25 to 34: 17% (34%)
Aged 35 to 44: 21% (43%)
Aged 45 to 54: 28% (53%)
Aged 55 to 64: 38% (59%)
Aged 65-plus: 50% (66%)
Startup Firms Account for Most Job Gains

New research data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals the importance of startup firms to employment growth.

Startup firms (less than 1 year old) accounted for fully 60 percent of the 2.7 million net gain in employment between March 2014 and March 2015, according to the data. “More than half of these jobs were from firms with fewer than 10 employees,” reports the BLS.

Older firms (10+ years) accounted for 29 percent of the gain.

Why More Young Adults Live with Parents
Young adults are more likely to live with their parents than with a spouse or partner, according to a Pew Research Center study–the first time in 130 years that living with Mom and Dad has been more popular than living with a partner. In 2014, 32.1 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds were living in a parent’s household, while a smaller 31.6 percent were living with a partner (married or cohabiting).
What’s behind this trend? The author of the report, Pew’s Richard Fry, disputes the assumption that the rise is due to the growing share of Blacks and Hispanics in the young adult population because the trend is also pronounced among non-Hispanic Whites. Instead, Fry finds the postponement of marriage a more likely factor. “The shift away from marriage can account for the entire increase in living with parents since 1960,” he notes.
Fry adds this important caveat: “This does not imply, however, that the shift away from marriage has ’caused’ the increase in living with parents, because other social and economic factors may have reduced the attractiveness of marriage for young adults and, at the same time, made living independently of parents more difficult.”
Who Is Urban?
How many Americans live in an urban, suburban, or rural area? There are two ways to answer that question–analyze Census Bureau data using government definitions, or simply ask people to describe where they live. Zillow asked, and in the FiveThirtyEight article, How Suburban Are Big American Cities?, it reported these results…
How Americans describe where they live
Urban: 26%
Suburban: 53%
Rural: 21%
Even in the most urban areas–the principal cities of metropolitan areas–only 47 percent of respondents describe their area as urban, 46 percent say suburban, and 7 percent say rural. “That means close to half of people who live within city limits describe where they live as suburban,” says Zillow’s chief economist Jed Kolko.
By matching its survey results to the zip code demographics of respondents, Zillow shows how population density determines the feel of an area. Those who live in zip codes with more than 2,213 households per square mile tend to describe their area as urban. With 102 to 2,213 households per square mile, residents tend to describe their area as suburban. If there are fewer than 102 households per square mile, residents tend to describe their area as rural.
Kolko measures the size of “urban” and “suburban” populations in the nation’s large cities based on Zillow’s density definitions. Many of the cities now growing the fastest, he finds, are more “suburban” than “urban.”
Eating Habits in 2014
64 minutes: that’s how much time Americans aged 15 or older spend eating and drinking as a primary activity on an average day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014 American Time Use Survey, analyzed by the USDA’s Economic Research Service. We spend another 16 minutes eating and drinking as a secondary activity–meaning eating and drinking while doing something else such as watching TV. These are the ways we eat…
  • Top three places for primary eating and drinking: own home or yard (71%), workplace (11%), restaurant or bar (9%).
  • Top three places for secondary eating and drinking: own home or yard (54%), workplace (22%), driving a vehicle (7%).
  • Top five activities while secondary eating and drinking: watching television (24%), paid work (23%), food and drink preparation (6%), socializing with others (5%), reading for personal interest (3%).
Most Americans Do Not Have A Will
Only 44 percent of Americans have a will, according to a Gallup survey, down from 51 percent in 2005. The percentage with a will has declined in every age group since 2005. Here is the percentage with a will by age in 2016…
Percent with a will
Aged 18 to 29: 14%
Aged 30 to 49: 35%
Aged 50 to 64: 56%
Aged 65-plus: 68%
Change in Life Expectancy, 2000 to 2014
The life expectancy at birth of non-Hispanic Whites increased by 1.4 years between 2000 and 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics–well below the increase for Hispanics or non-Hispanic Blacks.
Life expectancy at birth in 2014 (and change since 2000)
Blacks, non-Hispanic: 75.2 years (+3.6)
Hispanics: 81.8 years (+2.6)
Whites, non-Hispanic: 78.8 years (+1.4)
What explains the smaller increase in the life expectancy of non-Hispanic Whites? Rising death rates from unintentional poisoning, suicide, and chronic liver disease, reports NCHS. Between 2000 and 2014, the overall death rate rose among non-Hispanic Whites in three age groups: 25 to 34, 35 to 44, and 45 to 54. “Increases in death rates due to unintentional poisonings (mostly drug and alcohol poisoning) for these three age groups had the single greatest negative effect on the change in life expectancy,” concludes the report.
Disability Free Life Expectancy is Rising
The life expectancy of Americans at age 65 has been rising. Between 1992 and 2008, life expectancy at age 65 climbed from 17.5 to 18.8 years–a gain of 1.3 years. Even better, all of the gain was in disability-free years, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research analysis of data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.
In 1991-94, the 17.5 years of life remaining to a 65-year-old was about equally split between disability-free years (8.9) and years of disability (8.6). By 2006-2009, disability-free years of life remaining had expanded to 10.7, and disabled years had fallen to 8.1.
What accounts for this longer, healthier life? Fully 63 percent of the increase is due to fewer deaths and less disability from two health conditions, say the researchers: cardiovascular disease and vision problems. The improvement in these conditions is due in part to changing social factors, such as rising educational attainment, and due in part to better medical treatment. The researchers calculate that 15 percent of the overall increase in disability-free life expectancy is due to better medical treatment of cardiovascular disease. Five percent of the overall increase is due to cataract surgery.
The Big Business of Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine is big business. Americans spend $30 billion annually out-of-pocket on what the federal government calls “complementary health” practitioners and products, according to an analysis of data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. Complementary health practitioners are those who provide acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic services, massage, energy healing therapy, yoga, and tai chi, among other services. Complementary health products include fish oil, co-enzyme Q10, ginseng, melatonin, probiotics, and many other herbs or nonvitamin supplements.
How much is $30 billion? It’s 1.1 percent of total health care expenditures in the United States. It’s 9.2 percent of total out-of-pocket health care expenditures. The $12 billion portion devoted to natural products is 24 percent of the amount Americans spend out-of-pocket on prescription drugs. The $15 billion portion devoted to complementary health practitioners is 30 percent of the amount Americans spend out-of-pocket on physician visits.
Even The Best Surveys Have Problems
Just how accurate are even the best surveys–the federal government’s Current Population Survey, for example. The CPS is the source of vital economic indicators such as labor force participation and unemployment. Do the rates it measures reflect reality?
A National Bureau of Economic Research analysis (Working Paper 22333, $5) examines this question, analyzing some of the basic indicators measured by the CPS, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The goal of the analysis was to determine how much certain indicators vary depending on the number of times survey interviewers attempt to contact respondents. Disturbingly, the indicators vary quite a bit. The labor force participation rate is lower, for example, among participants who respond on the first attempt and higher for those who require three or four attempts before participating in the survey–even after controlling for demographic characteristics. The labor force participation rate was just 63.0 percent among respondents reached on the first attempt and climbed to 72.3 percent among respondents who could be reached only after three or four attempts. The unemployment rate was higher among those reached on the first attempt (8.1 percent) than among harder-to-reach respondents (6.7 percent). The researchers found similar troubling variations in measures produced by the other two surveys: household spending (Consumer Expenditure Survey), and obesity (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System).
How much do our important socioeconomic indicators reflect reality and how much are they a function of who is easiest to reach? What about those who can’t be reached after multiple attempts? The authors of the study are concerned.
Vehicle Purchases in Past 12 Months
How much do Americans love cars? They love them so much that one in four adults (or their spouse or partner) bought a car or truck in the past 12 months, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey. Among car/truck buyers…
  • 38% bought a new vehicle. Nearly half of high-income buyers, with household incomes above $100,000, bought a new vehicle (47 percent). Among low-income buyers, with household incomes below $40,000, only 27 percent bought new.
  • 35% bought a used vehicle from a car dealer, with little variation by household income.
  • 17% bought a used vehicle from a private seller. Only 6 percent of high-income buyers bought a used car from a private seller versus a substantial 31 percent of low-income buyers.
  • 9% leased a vehicle, with little variation by household income.
These are a sampling of posts published in the past few weeks in Cheryl Russell’s Demo Memo blog. Please send questions or comments to demographics@newstrategist.com.

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Among the nation’s 11 million workers without a high school diploma, Hispanics account for the 53 percent majority.

2. MEET YOUR CUSTOMERS

Here are your one-stop resources for understanding American consumers–vital, cost effective information. Get the answers you need for business success in today’s competitive economy!
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This new edition of American Incomes: Demographics of Who Has Money is your map to the changing consumer landscape, exploring and explaining the economic status of Americans in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It looks at household income trends through 2014 by age, household type, race and Hispanic origin, education, region, and work status; examines trends in the incomes of men and women by a variety of demographic characteristics; and provides data on the wealth of American households. The poverty population is also a focus of American Incomes.
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The Who We Are Series provides a comprehensive look at the characteristics of America’s three major minorities: Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics. In addition to detailed estimates of their numbers nationally and by state and metropolitan area, the three volumes in the Who We Are Series include the latest socioeconomic data on each population. Detailed household spending data, the latest on household wealth, and findings from the American Time Use Survey are also presented.

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BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

People who live alone head 35% of Black Households.