American Consumers Newsletter

by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press
July 2015

Uptick in Births in 2014


Hot Trends: Uptick in Births, Are Children under Age 5 Minority-Majority? Population by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2014, Marital Status of Men Depends on Earnings, Money for Children and Grandchildren, and much more


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

1. Hot Trends

Uptick in Births in 2014        

The annual number of births in the United States increased in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The 3,985,924 babies born in 2014 exceeded 2013 births by 53,743–a statistically significant 1 percent increase. The increase was the first since 2007, when births reached an all time high of 4,316,233.


Drilling down into the numbers reveals a dramatically changed pattern of childbearing in the United States. The fertility rate in 2014 inched up to 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, a bit higher than last year’s record low of 62.5. This was the first increase in the fertility rate since 2007. But for teenagers, the birth rate fell to a new historic low. For women aged 20 to 24, the birth rate fell to a new historic low. For women aged 25 to 29, the birth rate was essentially unchanged from the record low reached in 2013.


The action is occurring among women aged 30 or older. Among women in their thirties and forties, birth rates are rising and so are births. Many of these women are having their first child after years of delay. The first-birth rate increased for women aged 30 to 39, the government reports. But the overall first-birth rate hit a new record low in 2014 because younger women are reluctant to have children. Births increased in 2014 only because older women are playing catch up. The baby bust may have hit bottom, but at the bottom is where it remains.


Births by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014

The number of births ticked up in 2014, rising by 1 percent in the past year. This was the first increase since 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Births to Blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Whites all increased by 1 percent. For Asians, the gain was 6 percent. Here are the numbers in 2014 (and percent distribution) by race and Hispanic origin (Blacks and Whites are non-Hispanic)…


Number (and percent distribution) of births in 2014

Total:      3,985,924 (100.0%)

Asian:        282,724 (   7.1%)

Black:        589,016 ( 14.8%)

Hispanic:   914,116 ( 22.9%)

White:     2,146,482 ( 53.9%)


Population by Race/Hispanic Origin in 2014

The U.S. population grew by 9.5 million between 2010 and 2014, 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 2014, the minority share of the population climbed to 37.9 percent, up from 36.2 percent in 2010. Here are the 2014 estimates by race and Hispanic origin…


Total population: 318,857,056

The U.S. population grew by 3.1 percent between 2010 and 2014, a gain of 9.5 million.


Non-Hispanic Whites: 197,870,516 (62.1%)

The non-Hispanic White population grew by a minuscule 0.2 percent between 2010 and 2014, a gain of less than 500,000. The non-Hispanic White share of the population fell from 63.8 to 62.1 percent during those years.


Hispanics: 55,387,539 (17.4%)

The Hispanic population grew by 9.1 percent between 2010 and 2014, a gain of 4.6 million. Hispanics accounted for 49 percent of the nation’s population growth.


Blacks (alone or in combination): 45,672,250 (14.3%)

The Black population grew by 5.4 percent between 2010 and 2014, a gain of 2.3 million.


Asians (alone or in combination): 20,250,250 (6.4%)

The Asian population grew by 13.7 percent between 2010 and 2014, a gain of 2.4 million.


Are Children <Age 5 Minority-Majority?

The minority share of children under age 5 crossed an important threshold in 2014, according to the Census Bureau. For the first time, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities outnumbered non-Hispanic Whites in the age group–50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. But there’s a problem with these figures. The Census Bureau’s race-and-Hispanic-origin estimates of the population under age 5 do not match vital statistics data.


The Census Bureau has estimated that there were 19.9 million children under age 5 in the United States in 2014, a number nearly matching the 19.8 million births recorded in the 2010-to-2014 time period (the population under age 5 in 2014). The Census Bureau’s under-5 total population estimate aligns with vital statistics data. The mismatch occurs in the race-and-Hispanic-origin distribution of that population. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the minority share of births from 2010 to 2014 was 45.9 percent. The non-Hispanic White share of births was 54.1 percent. Is the nation’s under-5 population minority-majority? Perhaps not yet.


Marital Status of Men Aged 30-to-34 Depends on Earnings

For men, the 30-to-34 age group is the age of marrying. That’s when the percentage of men who are currently married rises above 50 percent, according to the Census Bureau. But that’s an average. In fact, the marital status of men in the age group depends on how much they earn, with the married share rising in lock-step with earnings. (The relationship between earnings and marital status is not found for their female counterparts.) Here are the 2014 statistics…


Men aged 30 to 34 who are currently married, by earnings

Total men 30 to 34:   50.4%

Less than $5,000:      26.3%

$5,000 to $14,999:    31.1%

$15,000 to $24,999:  37.8%

$25,000 to $39,999:  53.0%

$40,000 to $74,999:  61.2%

$75,000 to $99,999:  66.4%

$100,000 or more:     72.7%


Money For Children and Grandchildren

Older Americans give a lot of money to their children and grandchildren–enough to “be considered a major expenditure category,” according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute study. In the study, EBRI researcher Sudipto Banerjee examines cash transfers made by older householders to children and grandchildren during their lifetime rather than after death.


The data come from the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, which tracks a representative sample of householders aged 50 or older. Cash transfers are defined as “giving money, helping pay bills, or covering specific types of costs such as those for medical care or insurance, schooling, down payment for a home, rent, etc. The financial help can be considered support, a gift or a loan.” The results…

  • Many provide financial help. The 51 percent majority of householders aged 50 to 64 in 2010 had transferred cash to children or grandchildren during the past two years. Although the share of older householders who did so declined with advancing age, even among those aged 85 or older a substantial 28 percent had transferred cash.
  • Thousands of dollars are provided. The average cash transfer ranged from a low of $4,787 for householders aged 85-plus to a high of $8,350 for 50-to-64-year-olds.
  • The affluent give more. Among 50-to-64-year-olds, the percentage who gave ranged from a low of 31 percent for those in the lowest income quartile (average amount provided = $7,419) to a high of 70 percent for those in the highest income quartile (average amount provided = $27,378).

“Transfers are actually a significant expense when compared with other items in a household budget,” concludes Banerjee, “though they are not traditionally thought of as a budget item.” The report examines trends in cash transfers from 1998 to 2010 and also looks at the much less common transfer of cash from younger to older family members.


ACA Putting a Dent in the Uninsured

The Affordable Care Act is making a difference, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The percentage of Americans without health insurance fell from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 11.5 percent in 2014. That 2.9 percentage point decline shows the ACA is moving the needle. Among people aged 18 to 64, the decline was a larger 4.1 percentage points–from 20.4 percent uninsured in 2013 to 16.3 percent in 2014. Among 19-to-25-year-olds, the percentage without health insurance fell 6.5 percentage points–from 26.5 percent in 2013 to 20.0 percent in 2014. Here is the percentage without health insurance by age in 2014…


Percent without health insurance

Total people:     11.5%

Under age 18:     5.5%

Aged 18 to 24:  18.3%

Aged 25 to 34:  22.6%

Aged 35 to 44:  17.6%

Aged 45 to 64:  11.7%

Aged 65-plus:     0.8%


Wireless-Only Households: 2014 Update

In the last half of 2014, Americans crossed a threshold. According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, the plurality of households now has only cell phones–surpassing for the first time the percentage with both cell and landline phones. In July-December 2014, fully 45.4 percent of households were wireless-only and 42.7 percent had both landline and cell phones. Only 8.4 percent of households are landline only and another 3.2 percent have no telephone. By age of householder, these are the wireless-only households…


Wireless-only households, July-December 2014

Total households: 45.4%

Aged 18 to 24: 58.0%

Aged 25 to 29: 69.2%

Aged 30 to 34: 67.4%

Aged 35 to 44: 53.7%

Aged 45 to 64: 36.8%

Aged 65-plus: 17.1%


Most Nonmetropolitan Counties  

Are Losing Population

Two-thirds of the nation’s nonmetropolitan counties lost population between 2010 and 2014, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service. The number of nonmetro counties with declining populations reached an historic high of 1,310 in the 2010-14 time period.


Population decline is caused by two factors: more people moving out than in, and more deaths than births. The number of nonmetro counties experiencing the “double jeopardy” of net-outmigration and natural decrease climbed from 387 in 2003-07 to 622 in 2010-14.


According to a Demo Memo analysis of population growth by metropolitan status, the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, with a population of 1 million or more, grew 4.2 percent between 2010 and 2014. Smaller metropolitan areas grew 2.7 percent. Nonmetropolitan counties as a whole lost 0.2 percent of their population during those years.


Who Works at Home?

Overall, 23 percent of employed Americans work at home on an average work day. The figure is about the same for men and women and for full- and part-time workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey. By educational attainment, however, there are big differences in who works at home…


Employed who work at home on an average work day

11.5% of those with less than a high school diploma

13.8% of those with a high school diploma only

17.5% of those with some college or an associate’s degree

39.1% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more


The Impact of Behavioral Change  

on Life Expectancy

American life expectancy is rising. The increase is due in part to better medications and improved medical interventions. It’s also due to changes in behavior. How much has good behavior by the American public contributed to the rise in life expectancy over the past half century? How much has bad behavior limited the rise? Those questions now have been answered by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Between 1960 and 2010, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. grew 6.9 years. To determine how much of that rise was due to behavioral change, the researchers examined the impact on life expectancy of six factors: smoking, drinking, motor vehicle fatalities, obesity, poisonings, and firearms. Here’s how changes in each of those behaviors affected life expectancy over the past half century…


Impact on life expectancy (in years)

+1.26 years from less smoking

+0.43 years from safer motor vehicles

+0.06 years from less heavy drinking

-1.00 years from more obesity

-0.26 years from more drug overdoses

-0.03 years from more firearm deaths


The gains from good behavior were nearly offset by declines due to bad behavior. Nevertheless, the researchers conclude, “our study demonstrates the enormous benefits of public health and behavior change in improving population health.”


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


Labor force status of married couples…

Husband and wife in labor force: 52%
Husband only in labor force: 23%
Wife only in labor force: 8%
Neither in labor force: 18%