American Consumers Newsletter
by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press
Cities Continue to Sparkle
AMERICAN INCOMES, 9th ed.
AMERICAN MARKETPLACE, 11th ed.
AMERICAN ATTITUDES, 7th ed.
1. Hot Trends
Cities Continue to Sparkle
The nation’s cities continue to attract Americans by the millions, according to the Census Bureau’s 2013 county population estimates. A Demo Memo analysis of 2010-to-2013 county population trends along the Rural-Urban Continuum documents strong city growth (the bigger, the better) and unrelenting rural decline.
The Rural-Urban Continuum is the federal government’s way of classifying counties by their degree of urbanity. The continuum is a scale ranging from 1 (the most urban counties) to 9 (the most rural counties). If you sort the nation’s 3,143 counties by their rank on the continuum, then measure population change between 2010 and 2013 for each rank, this is the result…
County Population Change, 2010 to 2013
by Rural-Urban Continuum Rank:
Rank 1: 3.0%
In metro with 1 million or more people
Rank 2: 2.2%
In metro of 250,000 to 1 million people
Rank 3: 1.5%
In metros with less than 250,000 people
Rank 4: 0.0%
Nonmetro, adjacent to metro, urban pop 20,000+
Rank 5: 1.1%
Nonmetro, not adjacent to metro, urban pop 20,000+
Rank 6: -0.5%
Nonmetro, adjacent to metro, urban pop 2,500-19,999
Rank 7: -0.3%
Nonmetro, not adjacent to metro, urban pop 2,500-19,999
Rank 8: -1.1%
Nonmetro, adjacent to metro, urban pop under 2,500
Rank 9: -0.6%
Nonmetro, not adjacent to metro, urban pop under 2,500
Why Are Urban Counties Growing?
The nation’s most urban counties are growing faster than others, according to a Demo Memo Blog analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2013 county population estimates. Counties in metro areas with the largest populations are growing the fastest–a 3 percent increase between 2010 and 2013. Counties in smaller metros are growing at a slower rate, and those in rural areas are losing people.
What is behind these trends? One reason for the strong growth of the nation’s urban counties is domestic migration: Americans are voting with their feet for city life. The rate of domestic migration in the 2010-to-2013 time period was positive only for the most urban counties, those ranking a 1 or 2 on the Rural-Urban Continuum (counties in metro areas with 250,000 or more people). For less urban and rural counties, the domestic migration rate was negative–meaning more Americans moved out than moved in. Not only are less urban and rural counties losing residents to migration, but in the most rural counties–those ranking 8 or 9 on the Rural-Urban Continuum–deaths exceeded births in the 2010-to-2013 time period. This double whammy is resulting in historic population losses in the nation’s small towns and countryside.
Homeownership in 2013
The nation’s homeownership rate fell to 65.1 percent in 2013, according to annual statistics released by the Census Bureau. The 2013 homeownership rate was down from 65.4 percent in 2012 and the all-time high of 69.0 in 2004. By age, 2013 homeownership rates (and the percentage point change since 2004) look like this…
Under age 25: 22.2% (-3.0)
Aged 25 to 29: 34.1% (-6.1)
Aged 30 to 34: 48.1% (-9.3)
Aged 35 to 39: 55.8% (-10.4)
Aged 40 to 44: 65.0% (-6.9)
Aged 45 to 54: 71.2% (-6.0)
Aged 55 to 64: 76.6% (-5.1)
Aged 65-plus: 80.8% (-0.3)
Between December 2007 and December 2013, the labor force participation rate of people aged 16 or older fell from 66.0 to 62.8 percent. How much of that decline is due to the Great Recession and how much is due to the aging of the large baby-boom generation?
Mobility Rate by Generation
Only 5.9 percent of baby boomers moved between March 2012 and March 2013, according to a Demo Memo Blog analysis of the Census Bureau’s geographic mobility data. Mobility rates peak among young adults and fall with age. Here are the 2012-13 mobility rates by generation…
iGeneration (aged 1 to 18): 13.1%
Millennials (aged 19 to 36): 20.4%
Generation X (aged 37 to 48): 10.6%
Baby Boomers (aged 49 to 67): 5.9%
Older Americans (aged 68-plus): 3.5%
Wives Are Better Educated than Husbands
Among the nation’s married couples, wives are more educated than husbands in 20.7 percent. This figure exceeds, for the first time, the 19.9 percent in which husbands are more educated than wives, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.
Childhood Obesity and
the Demographics of New Mothers
A new study has found a big drop in obesity among the nation’s 2-to-5-year-olds, according to a New York Times article. The percentage of children in the age group who are obese fell from 14 percent in 2004 to 8 percent in 2012. This is good news, but no one can explain the decline. Some say it’s due to more breastfeeding. Others say children are consuming fewer calories from sugar. First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve children’s nutrition are also cited as a reason. Here’s a more likely explanation: the higher educational attainment of new mothers.
Between 2000 (when some of those 2-to-5-year-olds of 2004 were born) and 2010 (when some of those 2-to-5-year-olds of 2012 were born), the annual number of births in the United States declined as the Great Recession triggered a baby bust. Fewer women gave birth, and their demographics changed. New mothers in 2010 were much more educated than new mothers in 2000, according to the Census Bureau. The percentage of babies born to high school dropouts fell from 23 to 17 percent between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of babies born to women with college experience grew from 46 to 56 percent during those years. Educated people have better health, so it should come as no surprise that educated mothers have healthier children
Among occupations that employed at least 500,000 workers in 2013, these are the oldest and youngest (based on unpublished data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)…
Oldest Median Age
Farmers and ranchers: 56.1
Bus drivers: 52.7
Chief executives: 52.5
Youngest Median Age
Food prep workers: 27.8
Waiters and waitresses: 26.2
Spending on Reading Material
The average household spent $109 on reading material in 2012, slightly more than the $105 spent in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. What contributed to this boost in spending on reading material after the steep 46 percent decline between 2000 and 2010? Digital book readers, according to a Demo Memo Blog analysis of unpublished detailed spending data from the government’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.
During an average quarter of 2012, nearly 2 percent of households bought a digital book reader. While that doesn’t sound like much, it was a higher rate of purchasing than for personal digital audio players (such as iPods) and nearly as high a rate as for online gaming services. The result was a boost in spending on the overall reading category despite ongoing declines in spending on books, newspapers, and magazines.
The introduction of digital book readers explains why average household spending on reading material grew especially strongly among householders under age 55 during the 2010-to-2012 time period…
Percent change in average household spending on reading material, 2010-12 (in 2012 dollars)
Under age 25: 7.2%
Aged 25 to 34: 12.1%
Aged 35 to 44: 10.4%
Aged 45 to 54: 7.8%
Aged 55 to 64: 0.3%
Aged 65-plus: -4.4%
With more Americans owning digital book readers, perhaps spending on books will begin to grow in the years ahead.
The percentage of Americans who are self-employed shrinks a bit more nearly every year. Last year was no exception. In 2013, only 6.5 percent of the employed aged 16 or older were self-employed–yet another record low. This figure was down from 7.0 percent in 2010 and 7.3 percent in 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Median income of men who work full-time by place of residence…
City of metro area: $47,744
Suburb of metro area: $53,779
Nonmetropolian area: $42,069
2. Q & A
For decades we’ve been hearing about the billions boomers would inherit as their elderly parents (the richest elders in history) passed on. But a new study of inheritances finds their impact declining rather than growing. The study, published inThe Journal of Economic Inequality and reported on in the Monthly Labor Review, uses 1989 to 2007 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine the impact of inheritances on household net worth.
The impact is a fizzle, not a boom. Rather than increasing as a share of household net worth during the 1989 to 2007 time period, the inheritance share fell from 29 to just 19 percent. Where did the money go?
3. Cool Research Links
To keep up-to-date on ever-changing demographics and lifestyles, check out these useful links.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Percentage of Americans who believe the universe began with a huge explosion (Big Bang), by region…
Here are three all new and expanded one-stop resources for understanding American consumers–vital, cost-effective information. Get the answers you need for business success in today’s competitive economy!
Household Incomes Chapter 1 examines trends in household income over the past 12 years. It also presents detailed 2012 household income statistics by age of householder, race and Hispanic origin of householder, type of household, and other important demographic characteristics.
Men’s Incomes Chapter 2 examines trends in men’s incomes and provides detailed 2012 income statistics for men by a variety of demographic characteristics.
Women’s Incomes Chapter 3 examines trends in women’s incomes and provides detailed 2012 income statistics for women by a variety of demographic characteristics.
Discretionary Income Available only in American Incomes, the hard-to-find statistics in Chapter 4 show that despite the Great Recession most American households have some money to spend after paying taxes and buying necessities.
Wealth The statistics in Chapter 5, from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, provide a comprehensive portrait of the assets, debts, and net worth of American households by demographic characteristic.
You can see the book’s introduction, table of contents, index, and sample pages on New Strategist’s web site where you can also download this unique reference tool as a PDF linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables. Call 800-848-0842 for information about Multi-user Licenses. 450 pages.
Single-user pdf: $103.95 (978-1-940308-32-6)
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-940308-37-1)
The American Marketplace reveals the latest demographic trends and tells the American story. It examines changing lifestyles in rich detail, from growing racial and ethnic diversity to declining homeownership, from disappearing nuclear families to recovery in household spending, from another baby bust to new attitudes toward gay marriage. New to this edition of The American Marketplace are 2012 population estimates for the nation, states, and metropolitan areas, revealing changing patterns of growth. The Attitudes chapter has data from the 2012 General Social Survey. The Income chapter, with 2012 income statistics from the 2013 Current Population Survey, reveals the struggle to stay afloat.The American Marketplace is a reference tool that will help you cut through the clutter and track the trends.
You can see the book’s introduction, table of contents, index, and sample pages on New Strategist’s web site, where you can also download this unique reference tool as a PDF linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables. Call 800-848-0842 for information about Multi-user Licenses. 612 pages.
Single-user pdf: $103.95 (978-1-940308-35-7)
Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-940308-33-3)
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-940308-34-0)
In hundreds of tables, the 7th edition of American Attitudestaps into the General Social Survey gold mine, revealing what the public thinks about topics ranging from gay marriage to the American Dream, how Americans feel about their financial status, their hopes for their children, how often they socialize and with whom, their religious beliefs, political leanings, and standard of living. It shows those answers by the demographics that shape perspective-sex, age, race, Hispanic origin, education, and region. American Attitudes reveals 2012 attitudes by demographic characteristic, and for every 2012 question for which historical data are available, it shows the history of response all the way back to the first appearance of the question on the General Social Survey. American Attitudesprovides the latest data and is an invaluable resource for historic trends
American Attitudes is organized into nine chapters: Public Arena, Government and Politics, Science and Information, Religion, Work and Money, Family and Friends, Diversity, Personal Outlook, and Sexuality.
You can see the book’s introduction, table of contents, index, and sample pages on New Strategist’s web site, where you can also download this unique reference tools as a PDF linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables. Call 800-848-0842 for information about Multi-user Licenses. 484 pages.
Single-user pdf: $103.95 (978-1-940308-30-2)
Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-940308-29-6)