All Things Census


Is the Great Recession Linked to a Decline in Marriage?

Imagine that you see two people in the distance walking alongside each other down a busy sidewalk. Maybe they are a couple. Maybe they just happen to be heading in the same direction. In a crowd of people on a city street, it’s hard to tell.

That same challenge arises when researchers look at possible links among social, economic and demographic trends. Two trends are heading in the same direction, but are they related? Correlation, the statisticians frequently warn, is no guarantee of causation.

There is wide interest by researchers and journalists in finding data from the Census Bureau and other sources that could illustrate the impacts of the Great Recession on American life.  This posting recounts a recent debate over the strength of potential links between the recent decline in marriage rates and the national economic downturn.

When the Census Bureau released its 2009 American Community Survey estimates Sept. 29, many news accounts focused on showing how the numbers illustrated the impact of the Great Recession. A number of news stories—including those in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bloomberg news service, Associated Press and AOL news—picked up on findings that for the first time, more 25-to-34-year-olds have never married than are married. Among those ages 18 and older, 52% are married, the lowest proportion since the government began collecting data on this measure more than a century ago. Read more


Final Participation Rate for 2010 Census: 74%

The total included 2% of households for which forms were received after the April 27 deadline, too late to stop the bureau from sending a census-taker to knock on the door. The 72% mail participation rate achieved before that deadline also matched the 2000 Census rate.

The Census Bureau news release included a statement by agency director Robert Groves that he was very pleased. Data for individual states, counties, cities and neighborhoods are available on the bureau’s website.


Russia Takes a Census

The 2010 census is underway in Russia, and experts expect that the results will show the population is smaller than it was during the last count, in 2002. That census counted 145 million people; estimates for the current total are about 140 million to 142 million. The decline has been attributed to a combination of diminished migration, ill health and low birth rates (although government statistics indicate recent upticks in fertility). The census nearly was canceled because of cost considerations.

One challenge for the census is to have a correct count of the estimated 20% of the population who are ethnic minorities. The federal statistics service offers 1,840 possible categories for residents to choose from. To persuade Russians to cooperate with census-takers, the country’s top leaders posed for photographs with enumerators, and President Dmitry Medvedev recounted his own experiences as a census-taker.


Hispanic Eligible Voters, by State

Using 2008 American Community Survey data, the Pew Hispanic Center has constructed demographic and socioeconomic profiles of eligible Hispanic voters in 27 states with the largest numbers of them. The state fact sheets include breakdowns by age, gender, educational attainment, marital status, parenthood status, household income and homeownership rate, as well as the shares that are citizens by birth or via naturalization. Comparisons are provided based on all voters in those states, and nationwide.

In addition, the Pew Hispanic Center has published a new interactive feature, called Mapping the Latino Electorate, that includes eligible voter statistics for the 50 states and District of Columbia, as well as Hispanic and overall population and eligible voter statistics for the 435 congressional districts.

Eligible voters are defined as U.S. citizens, ages 18 and older.


Working Wives and Unemployed Husbands

Among married couples with their own children under 18 at home, the share with a working wife and unemployed husband went up in 41 states in 2009, compared with the year before, according to a new Census Bureau analysis of data from the American Community Survey. Nationally, the share of married couples with minor children where the wife was employed and the husband was not rose to 3.4% in 2009, compared with 1.8% in 2008.

The Census Bureau analysis links the rise to the Great Recession’s harsher impact on male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing, compared with female-dominated sectors such as health care. It also notes that the number of women older than 25 with advanced degrees (which can buffer against unemployment) rose from 2008 to 2009, while the number of men with advanced degrees did not change. A Pew Research Center report earlier this year reached some similar conclusions about marriage and gender; it found a rising share of U.S.-born women ages 30-44 are more educated and earn more income than their husbands.

The new Census Bureau analysis is among a dozen new ACS briefs released this week that use data from the 2009 survey. The briefs explore themes that include commuting, labor force participation, housing, use of public assistance, immigration, and science and engineering degrees.


Multi-Generational Households in Europe

Among Europeans ages 25-34, nearly one-in-three men and one-in-five women lived with at least one of their parents in 2008, according to a recent report from the European Commission. The highest shares were in Bulgaria for men (61%) and in Slovakia for women (42%).

These figures are higher than they are in the United States, where there has been a recent rise in multi-generational family households, as documented in a recent Pew Research Center report. According to the report, which is based on census data, 22% of men and 18% of women ages 25-34 lived in a multi-generational family household in 2008; in the vast majority of cases, they lived with one or both of their parents. In October 2009, a Pew Research Center survey found that 13% of  parents with grown children said one of their adult sons or daughters had moved back home in the previous year.


Marriage and College

Throughout the 20th century, college-educated Americans were less likely to be married by age 30 than Americans without a college degree. That pattern has now reversed, according to a new report by the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project of the Pew Research Center.

The report is based on data from the 1950 to 2000 Decennial Censuses and the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.


Iraq Postpones Its Census, Again

Iraq was supposed to conduct a census in 2007, but it has been put off repeatedly. The latest census date was supposed to be Oct. 24, but the government announced the count has been postponed until December because of tensions over control of land in the northern region. The last census, in 1987, tallied 16 million people, but the current total is believed to be 30 million, by some accounts.


Using Census Data to Document Economic Distress

The Census Bureau just released its 2009 American Community Survey statistics, and included some additional analysis to address public interest in using the data to document the impact of the economic downturn. The agency released seven data briefs that used estimates from the ACS to address topics including poverty, household income, health insurance coverage and use of food stamps or other nutrition benefits.

Much of the media coverage of the 2009 survey estimates focused on the theme of economic distress, including this Washington Post story about child poverty, this New York Times account of the recession’s impact on marriage rates, and this USA Today article about the recession “affecting every aspect of American life.”


New Unauthorized Immigration Estimates for the U.S.

The average annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the United States was nearly two-thirds smaller in the March 2007 to March 2009 period than it had been from March 2000 to March 2005, according to a report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The estimates are based mainly on data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population declined by 8%–or about a million people–from 2007 to 2009, according to the new estimates. There were an estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in March 2009, compared with 12 million in March 2007.

According to the report, the decline has been especially notable in states along the nation’s Southeast coast and in its Mountain West. By country of origin, the most marked decline has been in unauthorized immigrants from Latin American nations other than Mexico.

The new set of national estimates comes on the heels of a report released last month by the Pew Hispanic Center that provided estimates about the children of unauthorized immigrants.