American Consumers Newsletter

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

Mobility Rate Hits New Low in 2015-16


2. Business Tools:


AMERICAN INCOMES, 11th edition

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

1. Hot Trends

Mobility Rate Hits New Low in 2015-16
The geographic mobility rate fell to a new all-time low in 2015-16, according to the Census Bureau. Only 11.2 percent of U.S. residents aged 1 or older as of March 2016 had moved in the previous 12 months. This rate is well below the previous low of 11.5 percent recorded in 2013-14. Behind the decline is a fairly large drop in the percentage of renters who moved.
Among people living in owned homes, 5.1 percent moved from one house to another between 2015 and 2016, higher than the all-time low of 4.7 percent in 2010-11. Among people living in rented homes, the mobility rate fell to an all-time low of 22.9 percent in 2015-16.
Mobility rate of total U.S. residents
2015-16: 11.2% (all-time low)
2010-11: 11.6%
2000-01: 14.2%
Mobility rate of people in owner-occupied homes
2015-16: 5.1%
2010-11: 4.7% (all-time low)
2000-01: 7.4%
Mobility rate of people in renter-occupied homes
2015-16: 22.9% (all-time low)
2010-11: 26.1%

2000-01: 30.3%

Young adults are waiting longer than ever to marry. The median age at first marriage climbed to yet another record high in 2016, according to the Census Bureau. Men and women are marrying at an older age than ever before based on data going back to 1890. Here is how the median age at first marriage has grown since 2000…
Women: median age at first marriage
2016: 27.4
2015: 27.1
2010: 26.1
2005: 25.3
2000: 25.1
Men: median age at first marriage
2016: 29.5
2015: 29.2
2010: 28.2
2005: 27.1
2000: 26.8

College Enrollment Declined in 2015
College enrollment fell again in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Only 19.1 million students were enrolled in college in 2015–74,000 fewer than in 2014 and 1.2 million fewer than in 2010. College enrollment has been declining since 2011.
Almost all of the enrollment decline is occurring at two-year schools. Behind the decline is the improving economy, luring two-year students back into the job market.
College enrollment in 2015 (and change since 2010)
Total enrollment: 19.1 million (-1,174,000, a 5.8% decline)
Two-year schools: 4.7 million (-1,187,000, a 20.1% decline)
Four-year schools: 10.7 million (+266,000, a 2.5% increase)
Graduate schools: 3.7 million (-253,000, a 6.5% decline)
Fewer Births Expected
One of these days the baby bust will end, but it might not be anytime soon. Women aged 15 to 44 in 2013-15 expect to have an average of 2.2 children in their lifetime–down from 2.4 children expected by their counterparts in 2006-10–according to the National Survey of Family Growth. Among childless women aged 15 to 24, fully 86 percent expect to have children someday. Among childless women aged 25 to 34, the figure is 77 percent.
But when will they have children? Will it be in the next year or two, causing a baby boom? Or will their childbearing stretch out over years, lengthening the baby bust. It looks like it will be a stretch. When childless women are asked when they expect to have their first child, only 12 percent say it will be within two years, 29 percent say in two to five years, and the largest share–36 percent–say more than five years from now.

Minority of Public School Students
Are Non-Hispanic White

The non-Hispanic White share of students in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools slipped below the 50 percent mark in 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2024, non-Hispanic Whites will account for only 45.6 percent of public school students…
Non-Hispanic White share
of public elementary/secondary students
2024: 45.6%
2016: 48.7%
2010: 52.4%
2000: 61.2%
Occupations Dominated by Women
Women accounted for 47 percent of employed workers in 2015, according to a Demo Memo analysis of occupational statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the female share of workers by occupation ranges from a low of less than 0.5 percent to a high of nearly 99 percent. Here are the 10 occupations in which women account for the largest share of employed workers…
Occupations with the largest share of female workers
98.6% of speech-language pathologists
96.8% of preschool and kindergarten teachers
96.4% of dental hygienists
94.9% of childcare workers
94.6% of dietitians
94.5% of secretaries
94.2% of hairdressers
94.1% of dental assistants
92.1% of word processors and typists
91.4% of teacher assistants
Occupations Dominated by Men
Men accounted for 53 percent of employed workers in 2015, according to a Demo Memo analysis of occupational statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the male share of workers by occupation ranges from a low of just 1.4 percent to a high of 100 percent (after rounding). Here are the 10 occupations in which men account for the largest share of employed workers…
Occupations with the largest share of male workers
100.0% of heavy vehicle service technicians
99.9% of bus and truck mechanics
99.8% of cement masons
99.4% of automotive body repair workers
99.3% of pipe layers and plumbers
99.3% of brick masons
98.8% of electrical power-line installers and repairers
98.7% of construction helpers
98.5% of automotive service technicians
98.4% of drywall installers
Who’s Afraid of Clowns?
Not many of us are afraid of clowns, according to the Chapman University Survey of American Fears. Only 7.8 percent of adults report being “afraid” or “very afraid” of clowns, which places this fear close to the bottom of the 79 things that frighten Americans–ahead of only “others talking about you behind your back” (6.8%). Of course, Chapman University fielded its survey last April, months before the first clown sightings and subsequent mass hysteria.
According to the Chapman survey, the number-one fear is of corrupt government officials. Fully 60.6 percent of Americans are “afraid” or “very afraid” of public corruption.
Top 10 Fears of Americans
60.6% are afraid of public corruption
41.0% are afraid of a terrorist attack
39.9% are afraid of not having enough money for the future
38.5% are afraid of terrorism
38.5% are afraid of government restrictions on firearms
38.1% are afraid of people they love dying
37.5% are afraid of economic/financial collapse
37.1% are afraid of identity theft
35.9% are afraid of people they love becoming seriously ill
35.5% are afraid of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare
Interestingly, more people are afraid of Obamacare (35.5%) than of high medical bills (33.1%). More are afraid of public speaking (25.9%) than of dying (19.0%). And more are afraid of whites no longer being the majority in the U.S. (17.9%) than of 17 other items including computers replacing people in the work force, germs, zombies, strangers, ghosts, and clowns.
Death by Injury: The Storyboard
If you ever wondered how many Americans are killed by firearms each year, then the National Center for Health Statistics’ new Injury Mortality Data Visualization is for you. With a few clicks of the mouse, you too can be an expert on death by injury “mechanism” (poisoning, motor vehicle, firearm, drowning, falling, burning, etc.) and “intent” (accident, suicide, homicide, or legal intervention), by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin.
Although the number of firearm deaths in the United States climbed from 28,874 in 1999 to 33,599 in 2014, the rate of death was the same in both years–10.31 deaths per 100,000 population. Firearms ranked third as a mechanism of injury death in 2014, after poisoning (51,966) and motor vehicles (33,736). In 1999, motor vehicle deaths were in first place, firearms second, and poisoning third. Poisoning claimed the number-two position in 2004 and rose to number one in 2008 as deaths by poisoning (i.e. drug overdoses) more than doubled in the 1999 to 2014 time period. The death rate from poisoning climbed from 7.07 to 16.19 per 100,000 population during those years.
The firearm death rate is greatest among Black men aged 15 to 24, at 73.06 deaths per 100,000 population–more than seven times higher than the overall rate. The poisoning death rate is greatest among non-Hispanic White men aged 25 to 44, at 46.35 deaths per 100,000 population–almost three times higher than the rate for the population as a whole.
News Preferences of Young and Old
The 42 percent plurality of young adults prefer reading rather than watching the news. Most young adult readers prefer to read news online (81%) rather than in print (10%), according to a Pew survey. In contrast, the 58 percent majority of people aged 65 or older prefer watching rather than reading the news, and among older watchers television is by far the preferred medium (89%).
News delivery preferences of 18-to-29
Reading: 42%
Watching: 38%
Listening: 19%
News delivery preferences of 65-plus
Reading: 27%
Watching: 58%
Listening: 10%
Interestingly, among the 10 percent of older Americans who prefer listening to the news, 48 percent prefer listening to television while a smaller 43 percent prefer listening to radio.
One in Four Kids Has Immigrant Parent
Twenty-four percent of American children under age 18 have at least one parent who is an immigrant, according to an Urban Institute report, up from 21 percent in 2006. Most children with an immigrant parent were born in the United States, making the children U.S. citizens.
The children of immigrants “account for all growth in the child population between 2006 and 2014,” notes the report. Between 2006 and 2014, the number of children with an immigrant parent grew 12 percent, while the number with two native-born parents fell 3 percent.
Employer-Provided Health Insurance Costs
With so much attention being paid to the rising cost of Obamacare premiums, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most Americans (56 percent) are covered by employment-based health insurance. If you want to understand trends in the cost of health insurance for the majority of Americans, you won’t find a better source than the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component Chartbook 2015. The Chartbook details the cost of health insurance benefits provided by private- and public-sector (state and local government) employers. The Chartbook examines trends in costs for single coverage, employee-plus-one, and families. These are the trends in single coverage costs over the past decade…
Total premium for single coverage
2015: $5,963
2005: $3,991
Change: +49%
Employee contribution for single coverage
2015: $1,255
2005:    $723
Change: +74%
Annual individual deductible
2015: $1,541
2005:    $652
Change: +136%
Houses vs. Cars: The Urban-Rural Divide
Millions of Americans live in far-flung suburbs and rural areas, thanks to the automobile, but that freedom comes at a cost. Rural households must devote a substantial 22.8 percent of their household budget to transportation, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. For urban households, the figure is a mere 16.5 percent.
Percent of household spending devoted to transportation
Urban households: 16.5%
Rural households: 22.8%
But there’s a flip side to that equation. By living in remote locations, rural residents spend less on housing. In 2015, rural households devoted 26.8 percent of their spending to housing compared with a larger 33.4 percent for urban households.
Percent of household spending devoted to housing
Urban households: 33.4%
Rural households: 26.8%
Combined, rural households devote 49.6 percent of their average annual expenditures to housing and transportation. For urban residents, the figure is an almost identical 49.9 percent.
College Freshmen Lack Confidence
in Computer Skills
The American Freshman Survey has long recorded the supersized confidence of college freshmen. Compared to the average person their age, the great majority of freshmen rate themselves above average in academic ability, intellectual self-confidence, competitiveness, drive to achieve, and leadership ability, to name just a few. But they admit to having some shortcomings. Fewer than half of college freshmen say they are above average in these abilities…
Percent rating self above average
Artistic ability: 28.2%
Computer skills: 32.6%
Spirituality: 37.2%
Public speaking: 40.5%
Risk-taking: 43.4%
Self-confidence (social): 46.6%
Writing ability: 47.9%
Mathematical ability: 49.0%
The Rise of the 55-Plus Homeowner
A lot has happened to the nation’s homeowners in the past few years, according to Census Bureau statistics. There are fewer of them, for one thing. The total number of homeowners fell by more than 1 million between 2006 (the peak year) and 2015. But the loss occurred only because of the steep decline in homeowners under age 55, the number falling by 7.8 million (down 18 percent) as younger adults became increasingly unwilling or unable to buy a home.
In contrast, the number of homeowners aged 55 or older expanded by 6.4 million (up 20 percent) between 2006 and 2015, thanks to the aging of the baby-boom generation. Today, the 52 percent majority of homeowners are aged 55 or older, up from just 43 percent in 2006.
Gen Xers Spend the Most
Who are the biggest spenders–Millennials, Gen Xers, or Boomers? The answer: Gen Xers, of course, because they’re in their peak earning years and have the highest incomes. In 2015, Gen X households spent $66,981, Boomer households $59,646, and Millennials $47,113, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey. But Millennial and Boomer households spend more than Gen X households on a number of categories, including these…
Millennials spend more than Gen Xers on rent, household personal services (mostly day care), and clothes for children under age 2.
Boomers spend more than Gen Xers on property tax, other lodging (mostly hotels and motels), landline phone service, reading material, new cars and trucks, and pets.
Most Support Legalizing Marijuana  
The 57 percent majority of Americans think the use of marijuana should be legal, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Only the oldest continue to oppose it…
Marijuana use should be legal
71% of Millennials
57% of Gen Xers
56% of Boomers
33% of older Americans
Average Household Spending on Marijuana
For years, the Consumer Expenditure Survey has listed marijuana among its hundreds of detailed spending categories. And for years, Americans have reported virtually no spending on marijuana–until now.
In 2015, the average household spent $3.57 on marijuana, according to a Demo Memo analysis of detailed Consumer Expenditure Survey data. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an average and includes both marijuana buyers and those who would never in their wildest dreams purchase marijuana. The $3.57 spent by the average household on marijuana is about what the average household spends on everyday products and services such as artificial sweeteners, towing charges, and decorative pillows.
Households headed by young adults–people under age 30–spent an average of $20.04 on marijuana in 2015, more than five times the average. Households headed by people aged 30 or older spent much less–an average of 75 cents. Young adults spent more on marijuana than they spent on books or newspapers. Their spending on marijuana was almost equal to their spending on video game software.
These estimates are based on the tiny fraction of households that reported spending on marijuana during an average week of 2015. Consequently, the numbers should be taken with a big grain of salt. But as a growing number of states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, we could see marijuana spending become as common as spending on tobacco or alcohol.
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


The 54 percent majority of Americans agree with the statement:
“Science makes our way of life change too fast.”


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!
Quick and easy access is the goal of the new 13th edition of The American Marketplace: Demographics and Spending Patterns. Designed for convenience, The American Marketplace draws on scores of government sources to give you a population profile of the United States in one handy volume. 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 shifting patterns of household spending, from another baby bust to new attitudes toward gay marriage. 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 at New, where you can also download this unique reference tool as a PDF linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables.
Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-937737-21-4) 655 pages

Paper: $103.95 (978-1-937737-22-1)

PDF with Excel (single-user): 103.95 (978-1-937737-23-8)
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.
You can see the book’s introduction, table of contents, index, and sample pages at, where you can also download this unique reference tool as a PDF linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables.
Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-937737-24-5) 456 pages
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-937737-25-2)
PDF with Excel (single user): $103.95 (978-1-937737-26-9)
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.

You can see each book’s introduction, table of contents, index, and sample pages at, where you can also download these unique reference tools as PDFs linked to Excel spreadsheets of all data tables.

Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-937737-27-6) 283 pages
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-937737-28-3)

PDF with Excel (single user): $103.95 (978-1-937737-29-0)

Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-937737-30-6) 346 pages
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-937737-31-3)

PDF with Excel (single user): $103.95 (978-1-937737-32-0)

Hardcover: $138.00 (978-1-937737-33-7) 366 pages
Paper: $103.95 (978-1-937737-34-4)

PDF with Excel (single user): $103.95 (978-1-937737-36-8)

For your convenience, all of New Strategist’s titles are available as searchable single- and multiple-user PDFs linked to spreadsheets of each data table so you can do your own analyses and create PowerPoint presentations.

Ethnicity of Hispanics who live in Florida…

Cuban: 30%
Puerto Rican: 21%
Mexican: 15%
Other: 35%