How many of us are poor?
Answering that question is not as easy as one may think. Yes, we do have an official poverty statistic that is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau, but nobody likes it. Many on the Left think it is too low, failing to capture the full array of expenses that families face. Folks on the Right think it is too high because it does not account for the effects of many anti-poverty programs and tax credits on family budgets.
Even the Census Bureau is not entirely satisfied with current poverty statistics. As they continue to produce the official measure, they have recently been releasing alternative statistics through the “Supplemental Poverty Measure” (SPM) program. These new numbers reflect a more nuanced look into poverty, and are widely believed by researchers and the media to better capture the actual financial circumstances of American families.
But the SPM has its limitations. Primary among them is that the new measure is designed for the national level. State estimates are only available as three-year averages, and local-level estimates are not available at all.
This is unfortunate for a state like Virginia, which has wide regional inequalities in terms of economics, education, and even basic demographics. Because of this, official poverty statistics don’t make sense in Virginia. A one-size-fits-all measure that defines poverty in Northern Virginia the same as it does in coal country does not work and belies our commonsense understanding of the actual resources and costs families face across regions. A better method is needed.
Today, the Cooper Center is releasing its work on a new “Virginia Poverty Measure” (VPM) that will provide SPM-like estimates for Virginia and its local regions.
By popular demand, I’m attaching dot density maps for more Virginia cities plus a new statewide map…enjoy:
Plus the ones from the previous post:
Our recent post on dot density mapping of U.S., Canadian, and Mexico census data by MIT’s Media Lab got a lot of attention…so we decided to give it a try ourselves, taking a deeper look into census data for Virginia’s major urban centers and smaller cities. All of the dots on the following maps represent one person, as enumerated by the 2010 Census, with a little bit of a twist. Rather than giving everyone a black dot, as MIT’s Media Lab did, we added another layer of data by assigning color dots based on race and ethnicity. The results are quite illuminating…
Every year, the Cooper Center produces the official population estimates for the commonwealth of Virginia. The current estimates are based on changes since the 2010 census in housing stock, school enrollment, births, deaths, and driver’s licenses. They are used by state and local government agencies in revenue sharing, funding allocations, planning and budgeting.
Since 2010, Virginia has grown faster than the nation, growing by 2.3% between the 2010 census and July 2, 2012, to nearly 8.2 million residents. Within Virginia, the largest population gains continue to be concentrated in the urban centers of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads. And much of Virginia’s overall growth remains driven by the rapid growth of Northern Virginia, with 54% of the state’s growth between 2010 and 2012 occurring in NoVA.
Figure 1. Numerical Population Change, 2010-2012
Although many growth patterns in the population estimates appear to be the continuation of past trends – Northern Virginia’s continued growth, stagnant growth and population loss in more rural areas of the state—the 2012 estimates also show signs of population aging and renewed growth in Virginia’s independent cities.
On Monday, the Virginia Senate narrowly passed (20-19) a new redistricting bill that will dramatically change the boundaries of the current Senate districts drawn just two years ago. The plan, passed by Senate Republicans on a party-line vote when a Democratic Senator was away on Inauguration Day, has been criticized by Democrats as an overt attempt to give Republicans an advantage in future elections by “packing” and “cracking” black communities in Virginia in order to dilute their voting power. Republican Sen. John Watkins, the legislator who sponsored the redistricting amendments, instead says the new plan would defuse possible Voting Rights Act legal challenges by creating a new minority-majority district and also cited improvements in district compactness.
The move by Senate Republicans is unusual, as such massive changes to a district map are typically reserved for redistricting sessions right after the decennial census. As a result, this recent redistricting drama has garnered much national attention this week and was a top-ten story on Politico.com Wednesday.
The Virginia Public Access Project has made the proposed HB259 plan available for viewing on their interactive maps:
We can expect the number of Virginians with disabilities to increase in coming years, leading to increased demands for services such as Social Security Disability or home-health services. There are for two reasons for this:
- Increases in life expectancy. Disability is much more common at older ages; as people live longer, they will be more likely to live long enough to develop a disability.
- Aging Baby Boomers. The large cohort of Baby Boomers began to turn 65 in 2010; disability rates increase substantially after age 65. Statewide and nationally, the population 65 and older will grow as the Baby Boomers age.
Since 2008, the American Community Survey, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, has asked a set of questions to capture six dimensions of disability. The types of disability reported range from sensory disabilities (vision and hearing), difficulty performing self-care tasks such as dressing or bathing, or difficulties performing activities associated with independent living such as shopping or going to the doctor.
The proportion of disabled individuals in Virginia increases dramatically with age, as shown by the graph below. Fewer than 5 percent of Virginians under the age of 30 report any disabling condition while more than one in three Virginians ages 65 and older report at least one disability.
Disability Rate by Age in Virginia, 2011 ACS
In addition to producing total population projections for 2020, 2030, and 2040 for Virginia and its localities, we also produced projections of future population by age, sex, and race, and by age, sex, and ethnicity. Today, I want to highlight the age structure of projections for the state of Virginia, with specific attention to population aging.
Population aging is occurring worldwide, as improvements in living conditions and medical care lead people to live longer, healthier lives. Not only will larger numbers of individuals be reaching older ages (65 and older) than ever before, but a rising proportion of the population will be at older ages in the future. These population changes are anticipated to have wide-ranging impacts: families may face increased caretaker demands; new businesses and services may develop to serve this large population with new and changing needs; and, in the United States and other countries, population aging has long-term implications for the economy.
We’ve just released the new 30-year population projections for Virginia, its 134 localities, 22 planning districts, and large towns – projections of total population; population by age, sex, and race; and population by age, sex, and ethnicity. So there’s a lot of data involved. We’ll be blogging about it more in the days to come.
Today, I want to highlight the projections for total population. The state is projected to grow by more than 800,000 people in each successive decade, reaching 10.5 million by 2040, but this growth isn’t evenly distributed across the state. The table below shows the projected 2020 population and growth rate by region compared to the 2010 Census counts.