According to the American Consumers Newsletter by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press, here’s a collection of hot trend metrics and back stories, for classic marketing segmentation.
2013 Births, Population and Projections
At first glance, the 2013 estimate of births in the United States changed little: the 3,957,577 estimate of 2013 was only 4,736 greater than 2012 and remained at a level 8% below the all-time high of 4,316,233 in 2007.
On second glance, says the report, the estimate is startling. Although the overall number of births held steady, the fertility rate fell to a new all-time low of 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. This is 9% below the rate in 2007. Even more startling is the plummeting fertility of young women. In 2013, the fertility rate of women in three age groups (15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29) fell to new record lows. Never before have young women had so few children.
The first-birth rate also hit an all-time low in 2013, with the rate dropping for women in every age group under age 30. Clearly, young women are reluctant to have children, and the number of births is essentially unchanged only because older women are playing catch up before time runs out, notes the report.
The baby bust is conflicting the Census Bureau's population projections which had projected 7% more births in 2013 than the National Center for Health Statistics in its preliminary report. Rather than 4,238,995 births in 2013, the nation's women gave birth to 281,000 fewer babies than were projected.
Not a big difference says the report, except Hispanic births in 2013 were a substantial 19% below what the Census Bureau had projected. Rather than the projected 1.2 mm Hispanic births in 2013, only .9 mm Hispanics were born. Conversely, more non-Hispanic whites were born in 2013 than were projected.
This means the U.S. is becoming a minority majority nation more slowly than had been assumed by the Census Bureau. Only 49% of total births in 2013 were projected to be non-Hispanic white. But because births to Hispanics have plummeted, non-Hispanic whites still account for the majority of births, 54% in 2013.
2013 Births (And % Distribution) By Race And Hispanic Origin
Source: American Demographics Strategist Press, June 2014
Families with Preschoolers Down A Million
The number of families with preschoolers has dropped by more than 1 million over the past six years, according to Census Bureau data on families, as the baby bust accounts for the disappearance of infants and toddlers. The number of births peaked in 2007 and has been falling since then. The number of families with children under age 6 fell from 16.3 million in 2007 to 15.0 million in 2013.
Divorce Rate Higher than Ever (What?)
Not so, according to demographers Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles, says the report. In their research paper, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Count,” the researchers blame a deterioration of the statistical system for uncertainty about trends in union instability over the past three decades. Their analysis shows that rather than declining, the divorce rate in 2011 was at a record high.
When the National Center for Health Statistics ceased to collect data on marriage and divorce in the 1990s, says the Kennedy/Ruggles report, there was little to go on except the Survey of Income and Program Participation, which had a high rate of non response. In 2008, however, the American Community Survey asked respondents whether they had married or divorced in the past 12 months and the number of times they had ever been married. After analyzing the ACS data, Kennedy and Ruggles report a phenomenon missed by most observers: a 40% increase in the age-standardized divorce rate between 1980 and 2008. After a slight dip in 2009, the rate began to rise again and "2011 has the highest divorce rate of any year to date."
Divorce has been declining among adults under age 35, say Kennedy and Ruggles, largely because fewer are marrying and those who do marry are the most compatible. But among adults aged 35 or older, about half have experienced divorce or separation by their late fifties. "The Baby Boom generation was responsible for the extraordinary rise in marital instability after 1970," they explain. "They are now middle-aged, but their pattern of high marital instability continues."
Old Cars and New Data
According to an analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. the average age of the nation's cars, vans, and SUVs was 11.3 years in 2012, up from 10.2 years in 2007. But the small uptick in average age masks the marked change in the age distribution of the nation's vehicles, observes the analysis:
But, points out the report, annual vehicle maintenance costs do not vary all that much by age of vehicle. Americans spend an average of $437 a year maintaining new-to-5-year-old automobiles. Spending peaks at $588 a year on 6-to-10-year-old vehicles. The oldest vehicles, at least 26-years-old, cost an average of $502 in annual maintenance.
City Growth Continues in 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, the population of the nation's 743 largest cities (incorporated places with populations of 50,000 or more in 2013) climbed 3.3%, according to Census Bureau estimates, says the report. The remainder of the United States grew by only 1.8%. Of the 743 largest cities, only 67 lost population between 2010 and 2013. City growth between 2010 and 2013 varies little by city size, and large cities of all sizes are growing faster than elsewhere:
City Population Growth 2010-2013 By City Size
New Single-Family Homes
Although fewer new single-family homes are being completed, according to the Census Bureau, those coming on the market are bigger than ever, says the report.
The number of renters surpassed 40 million in 2013, a gain of more than 5 million since 2006. The median age of renters climbed from 38.9 to 40.2 during those years. While the number of units coming to market is growing (almost all of them for rent), their characteristics are not aligning with the changing demographics of renters.
This is a collection of recent posts by Cheryl Russell in her Demo Memo blog. For more information please visit here.