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DECEMBER 2020

US Households Decline Taking shelter brought many back home Restaurant Nostalgia Eating out not what it used to be 2019 Incomes Set Record ...or is bias skewering the data? Learning Got Complicated But schools still cool for parents Statistical Snapshots Giving unto others On The Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF DRINKERS Is the glass half empty or half full?


YOU’D THINK LAW OF AVERAGES WOULD KICK IN AT SOME POINT. OH, HELL. WHO’S TURN TO GET THE NEXT ROUND?


DECEMBER 2020

IN THIS ISSUE OF PUBLISHER Phillip Russo

EDITORIAL STAFF Brad Edmondson Tim Simmons

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American Demographics Goes Digital

Cheryl Russell Sara Williamson

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US Households Decline in 2020

George Puro Joe Azzinaro

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Restaurant Nostalgia

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2019 Incomes Set Record

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The Demographics of Drinkers

Dane Twining Sylvia Stein Tom Prendergast

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Melissa Subatch

14 Learning Got Complicated American Demographics and americandemographics.com

16 Statistical Snapshots on Charitable Giving

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N OV E M B E R / D EC E M B E R 2020

US Households Decline Taking shelter brought many back home Restaurant Nostalgia Eating out not what it used to be 2019 Incomes Set Record or is bias skewering the data? Learning Got Complicated But schools still cool for parents Statistical Snapshots Giving unto others On The Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF DRINKERS Is the glass half empty or half full?

American Demographics goes Digital... and on Holiday

e have been saying since our first issue as the new publishers of American Demographics it is our intention to take the magazine 100% digital. We continue to stand behind that statement, but things are about to change a little. This final issue for 2020 becomes our first purely digital edition. We had planned 6 new digital issues for 2021, but challenging financial conditions have altered those plans. For the foreseeable future, American Demographics will come to you by email in the form of an e-newsletter. Our goal is continue bringing you timely and interesting insights from the realms of demographic and sociological research on a regular basis. We’re working out the details and will have more to share with you in our first newsletter. If you already signed up as a subscriber, you need do nothing further. If you meant to but have not done it yet, please do so at your earliest convenience. There is no charge to subscribe. You may know the return of this venerable publication was brought to you free of charge, completely financed by the owner. We are grateful to you—our readers—and to our exceptional team of writers, editors and designers who have dedicated their considerable talents, goodwill, time, and energy to bringing American Demographics back. We hope you will enjoy perusing this digital edition. We also hope you will watch your inbox for our new e-newsletter. Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season and may we all look forward to a healthy and safe new year. Kind regards, Phillip Russo, Publisher publisher@americandemographics.com

to subscribe, visit: www.americandemographics.com

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AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS I DECEMBER 2020


By Cheryl Russell

US Households Decline in 2020 Taking shelter brought many back home

hese are historic times. For those keeping count, here’s another eyebrow-raising consequence of the coronavirus pandemic: fewer households. That’s right, there are fewer households in the United States in 2020 than there were in 2019. The decline was slight, but unprecedented. Since the founding of the nation, households in the US have increased each time they have been measured—every 10 years by the census earlier in our history and annually by the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey more recently. The data used to produce household estimates are collected by the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, fielded in March of each year. A lot was happening in March 2020, none of it good. Americans were taking shelter from the pandemic at home, and some fled to the homes of others. There were 128,451,000 households in the US in March 2020, down from 128,579,000 in March 2019. While the overall decline was small—just 128,000 households—it was much bigger for one group—Generation Z, the nation’s youngest adults. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the oldest Gen Zers were beginning to establish their own households. This foray into independent living came to a halt for many in the spring of 2020, a fact documented by the 2020 household estimates. The number of households headed by Gen Zers (defined here as householders under age 25) was a stunning 12.8 percent lower in March 2020 than in March 2019—a loss of 793,000 households. Millennial house-

holds (householders aged 25 to 44) also shrank in 2020, but the decline was much smaller—a loss of 125,000 households, or less than 1 percent. (The number of households headed by 45-to-54-year-olds also fell in 2020, but this decline has been ongoing for the past decade and due to the small Generation X moving into the age group.) What happened to all those young adults who threw in the towel on independent living? You know what happened. They went home to Mom and Dad. An analysis by Pew Research Center of 2020’s monthly Current Population Survey data reveals that the 52 percent majority of 18-to-29-year-olds were living with their parents in July, up from 47 percent in February. Fifty-two percent is an historic high, Pew notes, surpassing the previous measured high of 48 percent in the aftermath of the Great Depression—that’s Depression, not Recession. The Gen Z retreat to the safety and security of home occurred in every race and Hispanic origin group, according to Census Bureau estimates. The number of Gen Z households fell 11 percent among non-Hispanic whites, 14 percent among Blacks and Hispanics, and 18 percent among Asians. “These new living arrangements may have an impact not just on young adults and their families, but on the US economy overall,” Pew cautions. It’s been a rough year for everyone, but especially for the youngest adults. Let’s hope next year is better.

Gen Z Households Plummet in 2020 Households by generation of householder in 2020 (and percent change 2019-2020) Gen Z (under age 25)

5,406,000 (-12.8%)

Millennials (aged 25 to 44)

41,856,000 (-0.3%)

Gen X (aged 45 to 54)

21,659,000 (-1.9%)

Boomers (aged 55 to 74)

44,630,000 (1.8%)

Older Americans (aged 75-plus) 14,900,000 (2.9%) Source: Census Bureau, 2020 Current Population Survey

AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS.COM I DECEMBER 2020

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Restaurant Nostalgia Eating out not what it used to be n the list of Americans’ favorite activities, going out to eat easily ranks among the top ten. Restaurants play a major role in our daily lives. Or, they played. Now, going out to eat most likely ranks among the top things we miss the most. It’s hard to overstate the importance of restaurants, pre-COVID. Not only were restaurants a source of sustenance and a convenience, but also a pleasure and a pastime. During an average week, three out of four households in the United States purchased restaurant food, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Forty-two percent lined up for fast-food lunches, 34 percent bought fastfood dinners, 28 percent enjoyed dinner at full-service restaurants, 23 percent grabbed fast-food breakfasts, and 20 percent sat down for lunch at full-service restaurants. Before the coronavirus pandemic, adults aged 18 or older went out to eat (or got takeout) an average of five times a week, according to the USDA’s America’s Eating Habits: Food Away from Home. For those who eat breakfast, that’s nearly one out of every four meals. For those who don’t, it’s more than one in three. It wasn’t always this way, of course. The frequency of going out to eat has been rising for decades, while cooking at home has been on a downward path. Time use data tell the story. Americans aged 18 or older spent 65 minutes a day engaged in meal preparation and cleanup in 1965. In 2019, we devoted only 37 minutes a day to these chores.

money we spend at restaurants and bars) was a stunning 52 percent lower than one year earlier in April 2019. Spending on food service recovered somewhat during the summer, but it remains well below where it was a year ago, according to the Census Bureau’s Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey. Spending on groceries climbed 29 percent in March 2020 compared to a year earlier and continues to be above normal. Because of these shifts, the food service share of total food spending fell as low as 30 percent in April 2020, down from more than 50 percent in most months of 2018 and 2019.

Divergence in Spending

Food service spending is recovering, but not evenly. Quick-service restaurants (counter service only, no waitstaff) have been able to shift fairly easily to a takeout business model. Full-service restaurants, however, have emptied out due to COVID-19 occupancy limits and the public’s fear of infection, making the pandemic an existential threat to sitdown restaurants. This threat only intensifies as the weather turns colder and diners must decide whether the indoor experience is worth the risk.

APRIL

The growing dominance of quick-service restaurants in the United States was well underway before coronavirus. The pandemic will hasten the transformation. Between 2000 and 2015, according to the USDA’s study of food away from home trends, the number of quick-service establishments grew 20 percent to become the 54 percent majority of all restaurants. The number of full-service restaurants remained essentially unchanged during those years. In the months ahead, no change is the best that full-service restaurants can hope for.

All of this changed abruptly in the spring of 2020. In April, food service spending (the

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AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS I DECEMBER 2020

(percent change in spending at restaurants and bars and at food and beverage stores by month in 2020 versus the same month in 2019) FEBRUARY Restaurants and bars

+5%

Food and beverage stores

+3.7%

MARCH Restaurants and bars

-27%

Food and beverage stores

+29.2%

Restaurants and bars

-52.4%

Food and beverage stores

+12.3%

MAY Restaurants and bars

-38.1%

Food and beverage stores

+14.6%

JUNE Restaurants and bars

-22.9%

Food and beverage stores

12%

JULY Restaurants and bars

-19.3%

Food and beverage stores

+11.1%

AUGUST Restaurants and bars -

-15.7%

Food and beverage stores

+9.6%

SEPTEMBER Restaurants and bars

-14.4%

Food and beverage stores

+10.5%

Source: Census Bureau, Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey


2019 Set Income Records …or is bias skewering the data? “appy days are here again” is what we would be singing if the nation wasn’t in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-September, the Census Bureau released the latest official income statistics from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). The statistics show a huge rise in median household income—in 2019, before coronavirus. Not only did median household income climb to a record high of $68,703 in 2019, but the 6.8 percent increase in the median between 2018 and 2019, after adjusting for inflation, was the largest oneyear gain in the history of the series dating back to 1967. But it turns out coronavirus can infect surveys as well as people. In fact, that’s the title of a working paper released by the Census Bureau along with the 2019 income data (Coronavirus Infects Surveys, Too: Nonresponse Bias during the Pandemic in the CPS ASEC). There’s a reason the data and this study were released at the same time. The study shows the Current Population Survey’s ASEC was itself infected by the coronavirus and the results should be taken with a grain of salt. How does a 2020 pandemic taint 2019 income statistics? By selectively undermining survey response rates. Each year, the Census Bureau fields the Current Population Survey’s ASEC in March, asking respondents to report their income for the previous year. The 2019 income statistics were collected in March 2020—just as the pandemic swept through the country. The response rate for the ASEC in March 2020 was 10 percentage points lower than the rate in March 2019. Response rates did not drop evenly, however. Instead, lower-income households were much less likely than higher-income households to respond to the ASEC. Because higher income households were more likely to respond, the official 2019 income statistics are inflated.

How high, then, was median household income in 2019? In their study, the Census Bureau’s Johnathan Rothbaum and Adam Bee figure it out. After adjusting the numbers for nonresponse bias, they estimate median household income was $66,790 in 2019 rather than $68,703. They also determine that the increase in median household income between 2018 and 2019 was a more modest 3.9 percent rather than the record-busting 6.8 percent. The nonresponse bias baked into the 2019 income data makes it difficult to use the statistics to discern trends or inform policy. But thanks to Rothbaum and Bee, one important fact emerges from the numbers. Even after adjusting for nonresponse bias, the median household income of $66,790 in 2019 is an all-time high. This record high has been a long time coming. For the past two decades, median household income had not managed to significantly surpass the high reached in 1999—until 2019. That’s something to be happy about.

Median household income reached a record high in 2019 (median household income for selected years; in 2019 dollars) 2019:

$66,790* (new record high)

2018:

$64,324

2015:

$60,752

2010:

$59,509

2005:

$62,479

2000: $64,245 1999:

$64,377 (previous record high)

* Adjusted for nonresponse bias. Note: Median household income prior to 2017 has been adjusted for methodological and question changes in the Current Population Survey as per Census Bureau guidance. Source: Census Bureau, Census Bureau Still Studying Full Impact of Pandemic on Income Data

AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS.COM I DECEMBER 2020

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BY J E FF S IEG E L

The Demographics of Drinkers Is the glass half empty or half full?


The Year of Coronavirus has led to some strange new phenomena when it comes to alcohol consumption in the US, whether it’s the long-distance Zoom cocktail hour or the curbside pickup of cocktails, wine, beer, and spirits from local restaurants. It’s hard to say whether any of these changes are likely to endure past the pandemic. But even at this turn of the seasons— associated in any normal year with glasses topped up with holiday cheer, followed by the inevitable sober reflection and resolutions come January—there’s one prediction that seems nearly certain to prove accurate: The total amount of alcohol consumption in this country won’t change much, if at all. US alcohol consumption peaked just before World War I at twoand-a-half gallons per person per year, the equivalent of about a case of wine, or a bit more than a case of beer. Guess what, the US per capita alcohol consumption at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century is pretty much the same as it was a century ago.

1960s: Spirits reign supreme. Tom Collins, Rob Roy, Sidecars, Pink Ladies and the ubiquitous dry Martini—whether shaken or stirred—are typical libations at many a “Mad Men” era metropolitan cocktail bar.

US alcohol consumption stands in stark contrast to other affluent countries. “Over there,” people drink more alcoholic beverages than Americans do on average, and the amounts they drink have increased over time as they have become more affluent. But the unchanging consumption level in the US doesn’t mean the demographics and behaviors of drinkers aren’t constantly shifting. Each generation, whether it’s baby boomers, millennials, Gen Xers, or Gen Zs are creating their own distinctive drinking preferences. “The one consistent thing about these trends,” says analyst Christian Miller of Full Glass Research in the San Francisco Bay Area, “is that different generations approach alcohol differently, and that’s tied into different cultures among the different generations.”

So who drinks what? The connections that do exist point to a complex interplay between traditional demographics like age, sex, income, ethnic background, and city vs. rural, but also take in changes elsewhere in the culture, and include generational shift. For example, wine became more popular in the early 1960s as overall consumption increased, and that may well be because the first baby boomers who reached drinking age rejected the alcohol choices of their parents in the same way they were beginning to reject their parents’ socio-economic values, says George Koob, PhD., the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “You can see some of the same things now with the perception of marijuana,” says Koob. “The culture became less strict about alcohol, just like it has become less strict about marijuana. The perception of marijuana today is that it is safe and it’s OK to use, and that became the perception of alcohol, that it wasn’t as immoral to drink as it had been.” AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS.COM I DECEMBER 2020

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It’s also possible to see this sort of complex interplay in the 1980s at the beginning of the wine boom, says Dale Stratton, president of the Wine Market Council. The introduction of light beers made American beers taste blander at the same time California producers were making better quality wines, as well as wines that were fruitier or sweeter or both, like white zinfandel. This coincided with a significant cultural shift about attitudes toward food: We wanted more variety, more flavor, and higher quality. Most beer, regardless of brand, tasted the same, but wine drinkers could choose between different varietals, different styles, and different countries. Which, Stratton adds, would eventually lead to the emergence of craft beers, offering a similar kind of variety for a younger generation. In this, many stereotypes about alcohol consumption turn out to be true. Gallup has surveyed Americans in regard to their drinking habits every year since the end of World War II; its 2019 results found men twice as likely to drink beer as women, who prefer wine; and that college graduates drink more wine than anyone else, while those with a high school degree or less drink more beer.

Millennials, meanwhile, drink less than Gen Xers, who in turn drink less than boomers do; and non-white Americans drink less wine, while consuming more beer and spirits than white Americans do. It’s also worth noting that religion still matters, even in the second decade of the twenty-first century and a hundred years removed from Prohibition and its religious and moral imperatives. A study compiled by the Pew Research Center, looking at drinking among Christian faiths, found Catholics drink more frequently than Protestants do by about a six to five margin. Evangelical Protestants drink less frequently than mainline Protestants by about three to two, and are much more likely to view drinking as immoral than anyone else—about one in four, compared to one in 13 among mainline Protestants and one in six among Catholics.

Poring over details Jarret Hart, PhD., a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California-Davis, who has published several studies about US alcohol consumption patterns and demographics, in conjunction with several colleagues, has dug even deeper. In a 2019 study, he and Julian Alston, the director of the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics at California-Davis, found a relationship between political affiliation, ethnic origin, population density, age, and price in beer and wine preferences. The results, says Hart, could have been affected by the fact that data were limited to sales in states that sell beer and wine in supermarkets (most don’t sell spirits). Still, he says that findings based on data from 20062016, seem consistent with past studies that and point to several larger trends. For example, market shares of higher-priced craft beers are growing, while shares of lower-priced beer from the biggest producers, are slowing. There also seems to be growth in pricier wine labels at the expense of cheaper wines.

Evolution of social drinkers (pre-COVID). Millennials were more likely than older counterparts to opt for drinking in moderation at an upscale wine bar.


2019 found men twice as likely to drink beer as women, who prefer wine; and that college graduates drink more wine than anyone else, while those with a high school degree or less drink more beer. Interestingly, people who prefer craft beer are more likely to have voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, live in a rural area, drink less expensive or sweet wine if they drink wine, and spend more money on alcohol than anyone else. Conversely, those who buy higher-priced wine are more likely to drink imported beer, live in cities, spend less overall on alcohol than anyone else, but they also tend to prefer Trump more than those who drink cheap wine. This study looked as well at Hispanic ancestry and whether the consumer came from a beer or wine culture—and again, the results were not always typical. Hispanics tended to prefer craft beer and high-priced wine. Those from a beer culture still preferred beer, either craft or Big Beer. Those from a wine culture drank more cheap wine and preferred craft and imported beers. “One of the things that we wanted to look at was whether regional differences still existed in the US for alcohol preference,” says Hart, “given that these differences are disappearing in the rest of the world. And they still do exist. Part of it is religion, but that doesn’t explain all of it. And neither does income, since it’s not necessarily true that wealthier people switch to wine. And why should ancestral background still matter?” With all these factors in play, “it’s amazing that overall consumption has remained so stable for so long,” says Hart. “The broader trend is that countries are becoming more alike in their drinking thanks to globalization. But in the US, that theory breaks down, and we’re still different from everyone else.”

A History of Drinking It wasn’t difficult to decipher US drinking habits in the 175 years before World War II. There was little wine made in the US, so there was little wine consumption. Spirits, and most noticeably whiskey, were more common than beer until industrialization in the late nineteenth century, since whiskey was easier to make. In 1860, Americans drank 2.5 gallons of alcohol a year, and spirits accounted for 90 percent of that. By the beginning of World War I, beer made up about 58 percent of alcohol consumption, even though we drank that same 2.5 gallons a year. Our overall consumption pales in comparison to most of the affluent world. Russians drink some 3.1 gallons per person— the equivalent of about four cases of wine per person a year. That’s about one-third of what it was in 1980, at the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Germans drink even more, 3.8 gallons, or about 1 2/3 cases of beer. The French, who still drink more than Russians do, have seen alcohol consumption fall by more than one-half since 1920. Which brings us to Prohibition. Americans didn’t drink alcohol (legally, anyway) between 1920 and 1933. In this, the US is the only industrialized country in world history to ban drinking, though temperance movements have been common throughout British history, which includes pub closing laws and the formation in 1865 of the Salvation Army. The irony about Prohibition, say some scholars, is that even though overall consumption probably decreased, the country’s alcoholism rate probably didn’t, and may even have increased. That’s because, given fewer opportunities to drink, those who did crammed more drinking into fewer opportunities.


Drinking through the Decades US alcohol consumption can be divided into seven periods since the end of World War II, when production and demand returned to levels that were more-or-less normal following Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the war:

Late 1960s through the 1970s

Late 1940s to early 1960s Overall consumption declines to less than two gallons per person, among the lowest in US history. This happens despite a booming economy and the end of the Korean War. Spirits—think the “Mad Men” era—dominate what we drink.

Wine emerges as a significant consumer category, increasing its market share from less than ten percent to more than 13 percent.

Late 1980s “Just Say No.” Alcohol consumption begins a decline to near 1950s levels, thanks to the emergence of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving; new, higher, drinking ages enacted across the United States; and tougher drunk driving laws. Ironically, the appearance of “healthier” light- and reduced-calorie products gives Big Beer a larger share of a smaller market.

1950 1960 1970 1980 12

AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS I DECEMBER 2020


2010s

The cocktail renaissance renews interest in spirits, which had fallen out of favor in the 1980s. Wine growth ends while craft beer growth slows. Younger consumers start drinking less alcohol; when they do, it’s often less traditional products, like hard seltzer.

1990s

The wine boom begins thanks to the “French Paradox,” which suggests French wine drinkers are healthier, while craft beer makes its first appearance thanks to brew pubs.

2020 2000s

Craft beer takes off, while Big Beer begins a decline that hasn’t ended yet.

Future demographers will doubtless report numerous impacts of a pandemic that shuttered restaurants and bars, thrusting prohibitions of various kinds upon drinkers of every generation. What ensues a collapse of routine, curtailing activities outside the home, maintaining social distance, and thirsting after any creative accommodation to the utter absence of normalcy? That story remains to be written.

1990 2000 2010 2020 AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS.COM I DECEMBER 2020

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Learning Got Complicated But parents’ view of the schools is not ifty-three million children are enrolled in the nation’s schools, from kindergarten through the twelvth grade. Thirty-one million families have at least one child in kindergarten, elementary, middle, or high school. Nearly seven million teachers and administrators work in those schools. Education is an enormous industry in the United States and one that has been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. But don’t mistake disruption for dissatisfaction. It may be hard to fathom in these divisive times, but parents are the biggest boosters of their child’s school. According to surveys, parents aren’t just satisfied with their child’s school. The majority (64 percent) are very satisfied, according to the Na-

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AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS I DECEMBER 2020

tional Center for Education Statistics’ Parent and Family Involvement in Education survey (Parent and Family Involvement in Education: 2019). Most parents are very satisfied with their child’s school regardless of whether it is public or private. They are very satisfied no matter whether their child is in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, or high school. They are very satisfied with large schools and small schools. They are very satisfied whether the school is in a city, a suburb, or a rural area. And that’s not all. Most parents are also very satisfied with their child’s teachers, very satisfied with the school’s academic standards, and very satisfied with the way the school communicates with them.


The National Center for Education Statistics fielded this latest survey of parent satisfaction during the 2018-19 school year, before the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person learning to a halt in the spring of 2020. The shutdown affected schoolchildren everywhere. Literally everywhere. A nearly universal 99 percent of parents with children in grades K-12 in spring 2020 reported that their child’s classes were taught in a distance learning format or changed in some other way due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. Everyone had to cope with coronavirus. So, has the coronavirus knocked schools down a notch in the opinion of the nation’s parents? No, it has not. Despite all the turmoil of the past few months, parents remain staunch supporters of their child’s school, as revealed by a Washington Post-Schar School poll of parents. When asked how their child’s school handled education during the coronavirus outbreak in the spring, 79 percent of parents say good or excellent. Yes, parents are frustrated with distance learning, but fear of coronavirus far outweighs frustration. Sixty-six percent oppose requiring public schools to open for full-time, in-person classes. Sixty-three percent think it will be January 2021 or later until it is safe for children to go back to school. But when asked whether they are confident school officials can keep their children safe when they do go back to school, 65 percent of parents say yes.

We Love Our School! (percentage of students in grades K-12 whose parents report being “very satisfied” with their child’s school, by selected characteristics, 2018-19)

Total students

64%

Public school

62%

Private school

80%

Fewer than 300 students

69%

300 to 599 students

65%

600 to 999 students

63%

1,000 or more students

59%

City school

64%

Suburban school

65%

Rural school

62%

Asians

61%

Blacks

59%

Hispanics

64%

Non-Hispanic whites

67%

Grades K-2

73%

Grades 3-5

67%

Grades 6-8

60%

Grades 9-12

58%

Family below poverty level

58%

Family at or above poverty level

65%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Parent and Family Involvement in Education: 2019

AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS.COM I DECEMBER 2020

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B y S a r a W i l l i a m s o n , P h D.

STAT I ST I CA L S N A P S H OTS

Giving Unto Others Americans are generous, choosy and cautious When we found ourselves in times of trouble, we wondered about the extent to which good neighbors can still be counted on. Happily, we discovered that even in the midst of present economic uncertainties, most people are generous when it comes to supporting those in need.

Here are the highlights:

In a survey conducted online with 691 Americans, we identified two-thirds of the respondents (444) as “active givers,” that is, those who say they contribute at least occasionally. Four in ten are giving more than they have in recent years and another 35% are giving the same. Neverthess, many also expressed some degree of wariness with regard to what happens to their gifts.

About two out of ten respondents say they are frequent or regular contributors to charitable causes. Three percent of those surveyed say they are frequent givers, while 16% say they give “regularly.” An additional 45% donate “occasionally.” Some 26% contribute “rarely” and 10% “never do. About two out of ten respondents say they are frequent or regular contributors to charitable causes. Three percent of those surveyed say they are frequent givers, while 16% say they give “regularly.” An additional 45% donate “occasionally.” Some 26% contribute “rarely” and 10% “never do.” In recent months, top causes resonating with the active donors we surveyed were social justice child welfare food banks disaster relief religious affiliated groups environmental preservation

42% 43% 38% 34% 31% 31%

Social media and online charity are popular More frequent contributors are highly influenced by internet-based platforms. Among those who say they are giving more in recent years, ninety percent use social media sites like GoFundMe and CrowdRise. Seventy-three percent utilize payment apps such as PayPal or Venmo, and 70% contribute directly to charity websites. However, forty percent of all givers are also likely to eschew these methods entirely, offering direct support to a person in need.

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AMERICANDEMOGRAPHICS I DECEMBER 2020

$67

is the average amount given in donation to a particular cause.

Frequent donors report a significantly greater average amount of $287 per gift. Those donating occasionally give $56, but regular donors give $119 – more than twice as much. Those who give only rarely contribute $25 on average. Surprisingly, only 2% of all givers say they decide how much to contribute based on their tax deductions.

Philanthropy proceeds with caution Fewer than half of the respondents, forty-six percent, report that they have no operational or philosophical issues with groups they have supported. But among the majority who do, there were concerns about transparency―how their money is spent and overall accountability to donors. Tax deductibility and record-keeping are low on their list of issues.

31%

inability to track how the donation was used

18%

uncertain accountability of the organization

17%

high overhead costs

Who was in our sample? Among 691 women and men surveyed via the Prolific online recruitment platform, the average age was 35 and the female-male ratio was 51-48. Twenty-one percent reported yearly income of $20,000 to 39,999; 14% earned between $100,000 and $149,999.


The 1850 Census―taking place after Texas became a state (1845) and the Mexican Cession (1848) of much of the present-day southwestern US, which instantly changed thousands of Mexicans into US citizens―was the first in which Latinos were counted. But whether they were counted as white, Black or “mulatto” depended on the enumerator. In New Mexico Territory, for example, Spanish-speaking enumerators were hired and Mexican Americans there were marked as white.

A lawyer and sociologist shines a spotlight on how government institutionalism continues to micromanage the identity of more than 60 million Americans.

But first, Dr. Gómez relates the origin story of Latinos. The story begins with Spain’s colonization of “The New World.” Spain sent soldiers and missionaries to the Americas, where they came in contact with some 80 million Indigenous people. Just 10 million survived. This caused what the author calls “an acute labor shortage in the Spanish colonies.” To solve that, the Spanish brought 11 million slaves from Africa to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America between 1551 and 1770. But sexual and marital union between Indigenous people, Blacks, and Spaniards was allowed. In a chapter entitled “The Elusive Quest for Whiteness,” Dr. Gómez examines the ongoing dilemma for Hispanics that resulted: “In the American racial order, where do they fit?” From a demographic perspective, the concept of where Hispanics fit has depended on who is making the decision. For census purposes, this decision was undertaken for most of the Census’ history by enumerators.

But a separate question about Hispanic identity has introduced other issues. Since the question was introduced, Hispanics have chosen the non-descriptive “other” as their race between 37 and 43 percent of the time, instead of white, African American, Native American, Asian American, or a combination of those. Puerto Ricans also have a varied response to the questionnaire. In 2000, 80% of the inhabitants of Puerto Rico identified themselves as white. But among Puerto Ricans living on the mainland, only 47% identified as white (with the rest identifying as other (40%), Black (6%) and two or more races (8%).

Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism

In 1980, for the first time, the US Census began counting the Hispanic population. This count “fundamentally transformed” how Latinos think of themselves and how they are thought of, according to the new book Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism, by Dr. Laura E. Gómez. Dr. Gómez, a professor of law, sociology and Chicana/Chicano studies at UCLA, examines this switch and other critical changes in earlier Censuses in assessing the Latino identity today.

Latinos moved from being thought of as regional groups to a nationwide minority, marketed to as one group, often around three cultural traits: Spanish language, Catholicism, and the family.

In 1860, the Census began counting Indians living outside of Tribal Nations. This time, many Mexican Americans may have been counted as Indians. By 1930, the Census had added the term “Mexican” as an option for “color.” The 1940 Census attempted to clear things up with these instructions: “Mexicans are to be returned as white, unless definitely of Indian or other non-white race.” Finally, in 1970, the Census took the labeling decision out of the hands of enumerators and entrusted a household member to identify the race of all members of the household. Interestingly, the American Indian population jumped 48% in that Census, compared to 18% for the entire US population. The author attributes the jump both to enumerators’ poor ability to classify Native Americans in previous censuses, as well as “the identity-expressive function of some whites who claim a distant Indian ancestor.”

The Census Bureau tried to remedy that situation by dropping the Hispanic ethnicity question for the 2020 Census and instead including Hispanic as an option for the race question. (The Census proposed adding a Middle East/North African choice as well). Testing of this new format resulted in less than 1% choosing the “other” option. Despite this, the Trump Administration decided in 2018 to keep the separate-question format from 2010. “The decision to ignore years of research and the expert advice of scientists is a blow to science and the collection of the best data possible,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, in a written statement at the time. As such, the way we count Latinos stays largely the same as it has since 1980, and, the author would argue, still does not give the Hispanic population the accurate count and representation it deserves. Indeed, Dr. Gómez advocates eliminating the Hispanic ethnicity question and including Latinos in the race question for the 2030 Census. The Hispanic ethnicity question in 2020:

This desire to capture the Hispanic identity more accurately brings us to the next Census in 1980. The 1980 Census added an “Hispanic ethnicity” question to be asked next to the existing question about race. As Dr. Gómez notes, the 1980 Census was transformative, leading to “mainstream recognition that Latinos existed.”

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M AY 2 0 1 9

American Demographics is Back!

Yes, American Demographics is Back!

First-time Home Owners:

Crime Rate:

Where are they?

Is it going up or down?

Tracking DNA:

Eating Out:

CDC questioning widespread use of DNA for health purposes?

JUNE 2019

Do frequent restaurant visits affect nutrition and diet?

Welcome to the Age of Grandparents

Are happy days ahead for the housing market?

What Americans Think About Race

New report shows changes in attitudes

American Generosity: 84% either can’t afford to be generous or can’t be bothered

On the Bookshelf

New books are putting population trends into focus

Is Rural America Growing Again?

A look at counties adjacent to metropolitan areas

Millennials Are Making Ride-Sharing Happen. In fact, they turned “uber” into a verb Proof At Last: The country is going to the dogs On The Bookshelf Two new books are putting population trends into context

GEN X:

THE 2020 CENSUS BEST EVER OR DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

THE FORGOTTEN CONSUMER

Is Retirement Obsolete? It isn’t what it used to be

What Happened to the Nuclear Family? It’s down to 20% of U.S. households

Your Chances of Surviving Middle Age Who will be there for your 50th high school reunion?

The Cost of Prescription Drugs Prescription drug use and spending The lull in the storm

Looking Under the Mattress Census Bureau releases survey that takes a peek

The Rise and Fall of Household Spending on Guns A surprising look at America’s ownership habits

Tipping Points The road to a minority majority On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

Transportation Spending Is Down Americans are keeping their cars longer

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

LIVING WITH SURGING WATERS

N OV E M B E R 20 1 9

What the Economy Could Look Like in 2028 Bureau of Labor Statistics offers some clues

Americans Are Becoming Less Religious… Or Are They? Millennials may hold the answer

Checking Up on Americans Economic Well-Being How smart are we about money?

RETAIL REALITY DIVERSITY AND DEMOGRAPHICS COLLIDE

OCTOBER 2019

Are We Getting Ready for a Recession? New income and spending statistics may give a clue

The Baby Bust May Be Permanent Children are harder to find in today’s homes

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

THE REAL COST OF STUDENT DEBT

MEET THE HENRYS: High Earners, Not Rich Yet

MARCH 2020 WINTER 2020

The Rise (and Fall) of TV Time Millennials choosing online viewing Americans Charted by Class How lowest and highest see themselves

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A Rise in Homeownership

Where spending is part of loving Are Tweets Changing Our Lives? Twitter may be a force for good

SEPTEMBER 2019

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SUMMER 2019

Seeing Less of the USA Air travel minimizing travel to states Who Makes Mobile Payments? POS smartphone transactions not popular with everyone

FEBRUARY 2020

Boom Times for the Elderly Get ready for the decade of caregiving

A Big Little Number Why life expectancy did not increase in the 2010s.

Surprising Population Trends 2019 estimates hint at 2020 Census findings

The Great Divide: Immigration Americans split on importance of new arrivals

The College Crowd Trends in educational attainment

Walking Is In, Again The automobile may have finally met its match

Travel Riding High on the Bucket List 45-54 age group are biggest spenders

The Artist in Each of Us Results from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

Statistical Snapshots How successful are DNA test kits? Low Wages: More Common than You Think Understanding the other end of the economic ladder

The Old Are Spending More And it’s not just for health care

What’s the Matter with Rural America? A new study analyzes the differences between rural and urban life

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

GEN Z:

Listening to the Footsteps

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF LABOR SHORTAGES

APRIL 2020

THE INFLUENCERS: Marketing Powerhouses Who Live Across the Street

J U LY/A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

M AY 2 0 2 0

The Doctor Will See You Now Americans are avoiding the doctor’s office

Going Cashless Coronavirus is changing the way people pay

Boomers at the Ballot Box Older voters could decide the next election

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt Rising financial problems of householders 65 and older

Bye-bye Babies? US fertility rate hits all-time low

Millennials Are Were Buying Homes The impact of coronavirus on real estate

Connecting During a Crisis The “smartphone-mostly” crowd keeps growing

This Is Not Going to be Fun to Read The US population could actually decline after 2020

Statistical Snapshots Whose news do we trust?

Statistical Snapshots Texting vs talking — That is the question

On The Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

What If Immigration Fell to Zero Without it, America’s population would shrink

Happiness Is a U-Shaped Curve Survey shows age is key to that good feeling

Who’s Afraid of Mother Nature? The environment ranks high in 2020 election

The Average American Is Plus-Sized Growing girth is opening a big market

Demographics of a Pandemic Comparing 1918’s worldwide influenza with today’s COVID-19

THE NEW WORLD OF WORK Powerful Trends are Driving Changes in the Workplace

On the Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

S E P T E M B E R /O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

FINDING THE PULSE OF THE PANDEMIC The Census Bureau responds by tracking the vitals

Sizing the Population Up (and Down) Who’s growing, who’s slowing The Marriage Market What does it take to make the grade? Housing Our Elders How many homes are age ready Small Businesses Are in Trouble Resiliency may be pushing its limits Statistical Snapshots

Does love conquer all?

On The Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

N OV E M B E R / D EC E M B E R 2020

US Households Decline Taking shelter brought many back home Restaurant Nostalgia Eating out not what it used to be 2019 Incomes Set Record or is bias skewering the data? Learning Got Complicated But schools still cool for parents Statistical Snapshots Giving unto others On The Bookshelf New books and films are putting population trends into focus

THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF DRINKERS Is the glass half empty or half full?

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