American Consumers Newsletter

by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press
June 2006

The One-Third Rule

1. Hot Trends: THE ONE-THIRD RULE
2. Q & A: HOW MUCH DID KATRINA CHANGE NEW ORLEANS?
3. Cool Research Links: MID-DECADE POPULATION ESTIMATES, NEW DISABILITY DATA, MEN’S SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIOR
4. NEW FOR SUMMER 2006: THE AMERICAN GENERATIONS SERIES
5. NEW FOR SUMMER 2006: WHO’S BUYING BY AGE

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Among the nation’s 34 million residents born abroad, only 38 percent are naturalized citizens.

1. HOT TRENDS

The One-Third Rule

The immigration debate is nothing new. Every decade or so, the public and the politicians engage in a heated discussion of immigration and what to do about it. This time around, however, immigrants themselves have joined the debate to an unprecedented degree. This is the first flexing of the Hispanic muscle that will increasingly define the United States.

Just in time to inform the immigration debate, the Census Bureau released its mid-decade population estimates, showing the contribution of immigrants to our population growth. Immigration accounted for 42 percent of the increase in the U.S. population between 2000 and 2005 (natural increase–or births minus deaths–contributed the remaining 58 percent). Hispanics are the 51 percent majority of those immigrants. The engine of Hispanic growth is not just immigration, but natural increase as well. All told, Hispanics account for half the entire increase in the U.S. population since 2000.

As of July 1, 2005, the nation’s 43 million Hispanics accounted for 14 percent of the population–not an especially large figure, but in combination with blacks, Asians, and other minorities the share climbs to a more impressive and potentially powerful 33 percent. Reaching the 33 percent level is an important milestone. Demographers argue that when a subgroup becomes one-third of a population, it becomes a political force. At the one-third level, it needs only a relatively small slice of the rest of the population to create its own majority, allowing it to win elections.

Of course the nation’s minorities are a long way from adding up to one-third of voters, since many are not citizens and cannot vote. But they can march in the streets, stir up the opposition, and shape public policy.

For more on the changing demographics of the American population, see New Strategist’s just-updated American Generations Series: The Millennials, Generation X, The Baby Boom, and Older Americans. Visit New Strategist’s web site to order hardcopies or download these books today.

By Cheryl Russell, editorial director, New Strategist Publications
If you have any questions or comments about the above editorial, e-mail New Strategist at mailto:demographics@newstrategist.com.

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Seventy-one percent of households buy gasoline during an average week.

2. Q & A

How much did Katrina change New Orleans?

Thanks to a unique analysis by the Census Bureau, we now know of Hurricane Katrina’s enormous impact on the demography of New Orleans.

Following Katrina, FEMA designated 117 counties as disaster areas. In a special effort to determine just what happened to the population in those areas, the Census Bureau took its 2005 American Community Survey, fielded each year throughout the United States, and divided the data from the disaster counties into two pieces–the eight months before Katrina (January through August 2005) and the four months following Katrina (September through December 2005). Results of the analysis are available at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/ gulf_coast/index.htm.

Here are the before and after data for the New Orleans metropolitan area:

Population before Katrina: 1,190,615
Population after Katrina: 723,830
New Orleans lost a stunning 466,785 people, or 39 percent of its population.

Civilian labor force before Katrina: 599,172
Civilian labor force after Katrina: 342,625
New Orleans lost more than a quarter million workers, or 43 percent of its labor force.

School enrollment before Katrina: 312,899
School enrollment after Katrina: 170,269
The number of students in metropolitan New Orleans plunged 46 percent.

Blacks as a share of the metropolitan area population before Katrina: 37 percent
Blacks as a share of the metropolitan area population after Katrina: 22 percent
The white share of the population grew from 59 to 73 percent.

Percentage of people living in poverty before Katrina: 16.9 percent
Percentage of people living in poverty after Katrina: 12.7 percent
Median household income climbed from $39,793 to $43,447.

Households without vehicles before Katrina: 13.6 percent
Households without vehicles after Katrina: 5.8 percent

If you have any questions or comments about the above Q & A, e-mail New Strategist at mailto:demographics@newstrategist.com.

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Among the nation’s 7 million children who speak Spanish at home, 71 percent speak English “very well.”

3. COOL RESEARCH LINKS

To keep up-to-date on ever-changing demographics and lifestyles, check out these useful web sites:

Mid-Decade Population Estimates
http://www.census.gov/popest/ estimates.php
The Census Bureau’s mid-decade population estimates available at this site show the rapid change in our nation’s population over the past five years. The total population grew from 281 million on census day, April 1, 2000, to 296 million on July 1, 2005. During those years, 21 million Americans have been born, 13 million have died, and the nation has gained more than 6 million immigrants. At this site you can access national estimates by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin. Demographic characteristics by state and county will be available later this summer.

New Disability Data
http:// www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/sipp/disable02.html
Perhaps no population characteristic is more difficult to nail down than disability. Everyone–and every government survey–defines disability differently. The new disability report from the Census Bureau, based on its 2002 Survey of Income and Program Participation, shines some light into the black box of disability statistics. The results show that 2.7 million Americans use a wheelchair, 4.1 million use a hearing aid, and 9.1 million use canes, crutches, or walkers. Ten million Americans aged 15 or older need help to live independently. The 63 percent majority of those needing help gets help from relatives only. Another 20 percent receive help from both relatives and nonrelatives. Only 15 percent rely on nonrelatives only, while just 2 percent have no helpers.

Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Behavior
http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/pressroom/06facts/fatherhood.htm
Just in time for father’s day, the National Center for Health Statistics released a groundbreaking report on men’s sexual and reproductive behavior. The report is based on the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which asked men, for the first time, about their fertility, contraceptive use, and fatherhood status. The NSFG, fielded every few years by the National Center for Health Statistics, typically examines the sexual behavior and fertility status of American women aged 15 to 44. Now men are included too, and results show that the average man in the 15-to-44 age group has fathered one child. Fourteen percent have had a paternity test for at least one child. Only 46 percent of those living with children under age 19 think they are doing a “very good” job as a father.

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

People aged 65 or older spend one-fourth of their waking hours watching television.

 

4. NEW FOR SUMMER 2006: The updated AMERICAN GENERATIONS SERIES

New Strategist continues to do the work for you with a new update of the four-volume American Generations Series:

  • The Millennials: Americans Born 1977 to 1994, 3rd ed.
    $69.95; 1-885070-88-8; 416 pgs.; hardcover
  • Generation X: Americans Born 1965 to 1976, 5th ed.
    $69.95; 1-885070-89-6; 352 pgs.; hardcover
  • The Baby Boom: Americans Born 1946 to 1964, 5th ed.
    $69.95; 1-885070-90-X; 352 pgs.; hardcover
  • Older Americans: A Changing Market, 5th ed.
    $69.95; 1-885070-91-8; 392 pgs.; hardcover

The four volumes in the American Generations Series are designed for easy use, with ten chapters bringing you the latest data on each generation’s Education, Health, Housing, Income, Labor Force participation, Living Arrangements, Population, Spending, Time Use, and Wealth.

New to the series is the chapter with data from the government’s fascinating American Time Use Survey. And The Millennials includes updated estimates of the sexual activity and drug use of teens and young adults, along with the latest numbers on alcohol and cigarette use among teenagers.

Order all four volumes in the American Generations Series and receive a free CD containing the previous editions of these books in .pdf format. What a deal! (CD available only with hardcopy orders.)

American Generation Series + CD (ISBN 1-933588-07-1) $265.00.

To see detailed tables of contents, introductions, bibliographies, indexes, and sample pages of these books, or to download them in .pdf format, go to http://www.newstrategist.com.

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Percentage of teenagers who think divorce is the best solution when couples can’t work out their marriage problems: 45.

5. NEW FOR SUMMER 2006: The all new WHO’S BUYING BY AGE

For anyone interested in spending by age–and age is probably the most important predictor of spending–Who’s Buying by Age could be considered the new bible of spending patterns.

  • Who’s Buying by Age
    $59.95; 1-933588-04-7; 214 pgs.; paper

Who’s Buying by Age is your only published source for weekly and quarterly spending data. It gives you, along with its in-depth annual spending data, a full picture not only of what households buy and how much they spend, but how often they buy certain items. Best of all, you get 2000 to 2004 spending trend data by age.

Who’s Buying by Age opens with an overview chapter that examines average spending in 2000 and 2004 for seven age groups ranging from under 25 to 75 or older. The twelve chapters that follow focus on spending by product category–alcohol, apparel, entertainment, financial products and services, gifts for nonhousehold members, groceries, health care, household operations, shelter and utilities, restaurants, transportation, and a chapter on personal care, reading, education, and tobacco.

To see the detailed table of contents, introduction, index, and sample pages from this report, or to download it in .pdf format, go to http://www.newstrategist.com.

 

BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW

Ninety percent of Americans have a brother or sister.