American Consumers Newsletter
by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press
This is the New Normal
1. Hot Trends: THIS IS THE NEW NORMAL
2. Q & A: HOW MANY DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?
3. New, Updated Reference Tools: AMERICAN MARKETPLACE, RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY, MILLENNIALS, GENERATION X, BOOMERS, AND OLDER AMERICANS
|1. Hot Trends
This is the New Normal
According to the Census Bureau, median household income fell by a substantial 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, after adjusting for inflation. The downward trend is likely to continue. In fact, the demographics guarantee it. Between 2007 and 2008, all but one age group (65+) saw its median household income decline. This is just a preview of what lies ahead as Americans adjust to a greatly diminished standard of living. During the past two decades, the demographic trends worked for us, creating boom times and record levels of affluence. Now the trends are working against us, impeding recovery and creating a new normal. Here’s why.
How do businesses survive the new normal? First, they need to accept the fact that business-as-usual is the road to bankruptcy. Second, they need to reinvent their products and services, and restructure their costs, to appeal to a weakened, chastened, and frightened middle-class that can no longer afford the homes, cars, vacations, or college educations that the old middle class took for granted.
By Cheryl Russell, editorial director, New Strategist Publications
|BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Percentage of Gen Xers who are satisfied with their finances: 21.
|2. Q & A
How Many Do Not Have Health Insurance?46 million U.S. residents did not have health insurance in 2008, according to the Census Bureau. With incomes going down and poverty going up, it may seem surprising that the percentage of people without health insurance has remained essentially unchanged at 14 to 15 percent for the past eight years. In 2008, 15.4 percent of U.S. residents did not have health insurance.
There is a reason for this stability, and it is called Medicaid–the federal government’s health insurance program for the poor. A far larger percentage of Americans are covered by Medicaid today than a few years ago–particularly children. Since 2000, the percentage of people under age 18 who are on Medicaid has grown from 21 to 30 percent. Consequently, only 9.9 percent of the nation’s children did not have health insurance in 2008.
Universal coverage is the norm for nearly everyone aged 65 or older through Medicare, the federal government’s health insurance program for the elderly. In 2008, only 1.7 percent of U.S. residents aged 65 or older did not have health insurance.
Young adults are most likely to be uninsured. But the 29 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds who were uninsured in 2008 was not much greater than the 27 percent who were uninsured in 2000.
The situation is more dire among 25-to-54-year-olds, where the percentage without insurance is spiking. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, the figure climbed from 21 to 27 percent between 2000 and 2008. Among 35-to-44-year-olds, it rose from 15 to 19 percent. Among 45-to-54-year-olds–an age group in which health problems become much more common and severe–the uninsured increased from 12 to 16 percent. The increase was much smaller among 55-to-64-year-olds, with the figure climbing from 12 to 13 percent. Overall, 20 percent of working age adults (aged 18 to 64) did not have health insurance in 2008.
Note that the Census Bureau defines the uninsured as those who did not have health insurance during the entire year of 2008. Anyone who lost his or her insurance as the recession deepened during the year does not count among the uninsured.
By Cheryl Russell, editorial director, New Strategist Publications. If you have any questions or comments about the above Q & A, e-mail New Strategist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who are covered by the federal government’s Medicare health insurance program: 93.Percentage of older Americans who think the federal government should help people pay their medical bills: 40.
3. Find Out How American Consumers Spend Their Money
· The American Marketplace: Demographics and Spending Patterns, 9th ed.
· Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Whites, 6th ed.
The American Generations Series, four volumes that examine the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of each of the four living generations:
· The Millennials: Americans Born 1977 to 1994, 4th ed.
· Generation X: Americans Born 1965 to 1976, 6th ed.
· The Baby Boom: Americans Born 1946 to 1964, 6th ed.
· Older Americans: A Changing Market, 6th ed.
For your convenience, all New Strategist titles are available as searchable single- and multiple-user pdfs that are linked to spreadsheets of the data tables for analysis and PowerPoint presentations.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW