As our nation embraces–and as the workplace demands–postsecondary education for an increasingly wider swath of students graduating from high school, the question arises: what factors discourage, or even prevent, high school students from applying for admission to Virginia’s many fine postsecondary institutions? Certainly, finances, family constraints, academic and career interests, and other issues may influence whether a high school senior undertakes the process of surveying schools of interest, collecting application forms, taking placement tests, and completing the complex process of submitting applications to one or more institutions of higher education. Many educators and policy makers assume that the level of education of the students’ parents may have a significant impact on whether students apply to college and on how well they do once admitted; and initiatives are developed to support these so-called “first generation” students, once they are enrolled in a college or university in the Commonwealth.
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During the last three decades, growth in the U.S. working age population, ages 20 to 65, has easily outpaced total U.S. population growth. But in coming decades further growth in the working-age population is on track to be considerably slower, increasing at less than half the rate of the rest of the population. As the large baby boomer generation leaves the workforce, there will be hardly enough twenty-year-olds entering the workforce to replace them. Meanwhile, as Baby Boomers age, the population over 65 will swell and become the fastest growing age group in the U.S. This shift in the structure of the U.S. population – a relatively small population of 20-year-olds to replenish jobs vacated by a large population of Baby Boomers – will reshape local economies across the country.
Sources: Decennial Census Counts, *Weldon Cooper Center National Population ProjectionsComparing the U.S. age distribution in 1980 with the current U.S. age distribution below, reveals how the working-age population grew so quickly between 1980 and 2010, and why growth is now hard to come by. Read Full Article →
No other age group experiences as much change within such as short period of time as young adults do. Until around age 18, the vast majority of children live with family and attend school. But then a great dispersion takes place, many young adults move away to attend college (69 percent of 2015 high school graduates enrolled in college), young adults will also often move to work in their first full-time jobs. Between 15 and 24, nearly 30 percent of Virginia’s young adults move in any given year, in comparison, after age 45 less than 10 percent of adults move annually. In Virginia, some localities attract more young adults than others, likewise, some localities lose more of their young adults than others.
Data is from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, accessed using University of Minnesota, IPUMSRecently released census age estimates show that so far this decade some of Virginia’ cities and counties with universities are experiencing an influx of 15 to 24 year olds, but most of Virginia’s counties are experiencing a significant outflow of their 15 to 24 year old population. Between 2010 and 2015, 88 of Virginia’s 95 counties had more 15 to 24 year olds move out than in, this is up from 69 counties between 2000 and 2005. Out-migration was largest in rural counties. In contrast, Virginia’s cities and counties with universities received a large inflow of 15 to 24 year olds, with 24 of Virginia’s 38 independent cities experiencing an increase in their 15 to 24 year population from in-migration. Read Full Article →
In June, the National Center for Health Statistics released the total number of births in the U.S. during 2015. Given that the economy has been growing for six years since the recession ended in 2009, most economists were expecting the number of births to increase. However, there were actually fewer births in 2015 than in 2014 with the U.S fertility rate (the number of births per 1000 women ages 15 to 44) reaching an all-time low.
Source: Chart produced by the Centers for Disease Control
Altogether there have been 3.4 million fewer births since 2007 than would have been expected if pre-recession fertility rates had not declined. The continuing decline in births has caused economists to worry about its long term impact on society and the economy. Recently, the Census Bureau cut its 2008 projection of the U.S. population in 2050 from 439 million to 398 million, in part because of lower fertility rates. The Social Security Administration has also warned that the decline in births could cause the size of the social security deficit to double because there will be fewer workers to support the rapidly growing retiree population.Read Full Article →
One of the predominant long-term trends in American demography has been the steady rise in the portion of the population that lives in cities or nearby them. The percentage of the U.S. population living in metropolitan areas has risen from 56 percent in 1950 to 87 percent in 2015. The percentage living in large metropolitan areas (over a million residents) has nearly doubled to 57 percent. In addition to the growth in population, the geographic size of metropolitan areas has increased noticeably since 1950. For much of the 20th century, this was due to urban areas becoming more sprawled out. But a major reason for this geographic growth today is that as the urban cores of metropolitan areas have grown larger, they have attracted a rising number of commuters from nearby rural counties, in many cases causing the rural counties to become part of their metropolitan area.
Data is from the 1950 to 2010 Decennial Census, as well as the 2015 Census Population Estimates
The expansion of metropolitan areas into rural America
The widespread construction of interstates and highways after World War II made it much easier for workers to commute longer distances to job centers. At the same time, agricultural employment declined in nearly every rural U.S. county, while manufacturing jobs in most small towns also began to disappear by the 1980s. The result of these two trends has been that residents in most rural counties have grown more dependent on nearby cities for jobs. Counties get included in a metro area once a certain percentage of their working residents are commuting into a nearby city, rather than participating in the rural county’s economy. In many rural counties, as the map below shows, the proportion of workers commuting to a nearby city has risen above a quarter of all workers, causing counties to become part of another city’s metropolitan area.The Office of Management and Budget determined the 1960 to 2015 metropolitan area boundaries
The United States is growing both in size and age, as shown in our recently released population projections for each decade till 2040. My last post was more about the growth in population across the states and identifying commonalities over the projected time horizon. But as we focus our lens on the future, no matter how we examine the numbers, aging seems to be a fundamental underlying theme. By 2020, one in six people, or more than 16% of the population, will be above 65 years of age. The share of older Americans is expected to keep rising to nearly 20% by 2030.
Much of the growth during the 1990-2010 period was fueled by immigration and births to immigrants. The growth dynamics of the decades ahead though are expected to be very different. With the baby-boomers aging into their senior years, the gains in life-expectancy are becoming more and more noticeable. In addition, the continued low birth rate, delayed childbearing, and decline in immigration will over time affect the shape of the U.S. population’s age-distribution. The charts below reflect this clearly with the population pyramid losing its distinct baby boomer and echo boomer edges and evolving into a smooth wine barrel shape, reflecting less growth from births and immigration.
Our new population projections over 2020, 2030, and 2040 for the nation as well as the 50 states and District of Columbia were released today. Looking forward, the U.S. population is expected to reach 383 million by 2040, but the rate of growth is projected to slow down from nearly 10% over the 2000-2010 decade to 6% between 2030-2040. Similar trends are also expected from most states.
The geographic distribution of this growing population also tells an interesting story. Back in 2000, six of the top ten largest states belonged to the North. By 2040, five of the top ten are expected to be in the South. The slowing down of the northern states along with rapid population growth in the south and west, means that over time the country will become more Southern and Western. This trend in regional population distribution is already evident from the shift in the mean center of population for the United States charted by the Census Bureau from 1790 to 2010, and will continue south-westward in the next few decades.
Black households earn more in mid-Atlantic states, particularly in Virginia, than in any other state where Blacks make up a substantial portion of the population. As the previous post noted, neither the region’s overall wealth nor the concentration of federal government jobs in mid-Atlantic states fully accounts for why higher income Black households are disproportionately located in the region. This post explores an alternative explanation by looking into Virginia and mid-Atlantic history.William Faulkner famously wrote that “the past is never dead, it’s not even past.” Past acts, he argued, continue to resonate in and shape the present. A number of social scientists have found that income and educational attainment is in large part intergenerational, that is, parents’ and grandparents’ socioeconomic status is one of the best determinants of the economic well-being of their children and grandchildren. Beyond the level of the individual or family, Bureau of Economic Analysis data also shows that it usually takes generations for the income per person in one state to change considerably when compared with other states, suggesting that patterns of economic wealth (or deprivation) have both historic roots and predictive value..
Black Poverty Rate by County in 2014
Data is from the Census 2014 American Community Survey, counties with small Black populations and large margins of error were excluded. The national poverty rate in 2014 was 15 percent.
One of the most persistent statistics in American demography has been the gap that exists between Black Americans’ incomes and the rest of the population. But among those who identified themselves as Black or African American in 2014, there were noticeable geographic differences in their incomes. In states with a substantial Black population, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware had the highest household incomes and lowest poverty rates among Blacks. While the median household income for Blacks in these three states is still only about 70 percent of the median income for all their households, it is noticeably higher than in many other states where the typical Black household often earns closer to half that of non-Black households.Data is from the Census 2014 American Community Survey, accessed using Census DataFerret. Only states where non-Hispanic Blacks made up a significant portion of the population (above the national average) were included in the chart.
The concentration of upper income Black households in these three neighboring states does not have a simple explanation. The federal government’s significant presence in the region certainly boosts incomes across the board. But other states with high levels of federal salary expenditures, such as West Virginia and Alabama, are not nearly as well off. Additionally, a state being wealthy does not always mean that its Black residents also have high income levels; the median household income in Illinois is only $2,000 less than in Delaware, but the median household income for its Black residents is $12,000 (or 25 percent) less than Black residents’ median household income in Delaware. Read Full Article →
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