Author Archives: Brent Roderick
For many Americans, the rise in student loan debt means slowing economic recovery, delaying lifestage changes, and even postponing retirement.
Usually considered an issue that impacts only recent college graduates, new studies find that student loan debt is growing among pre-retirees and even those who have already retired. The 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) notes that the rise in student loan debt is pervasive and affects nearly every age group. Families with education loans increased between 2010 and 2013, continuing the long-term trend of rising education debt. Forty-five percent of all American families have outstanding student loans, up from 33 percent in 2007. Between 2001 and 2013, education debt increased from 22.4 percent to 38.8 percent for young families—a household headed by someone younger than age 40.
How is this situation impacting the overall US economy?
Because of their student loans, many younger people are delaying home ownership, marriage, and having kids until their finances improve. Because most of this group aren’t establishing their own households now, growth of the broader economy remains sluggish. Many aren’t buying houses, or items such as furnishings, baby/children’s products, or home improvement/construction materials.
Movies come in many different genres, and data identifies the people who watch them.
Ever since the first grainy black and white images flickered silently across a screen, movies have fascinated Americans, and the love affair continues unabated today. The movie industry is a major contributor to the US economy. According to Statista, by the end of 2014, the movie industry generated $564 billion in sales in the US. Over the next four years, this figure will grow to $679 billion. PricewaterhouseCoopers says that by 2018, total revenue generated by US filmed entertainment will rise to $39.16 billion, from $31.12 billion.
Drama, comedy, romance, action, horror, or family movies—each category has devoted fans. Esri’s Market Potential and Tapestry Segmentation data was used to create this interactive map of the US by county that shows areas where movie fans are located along with basic demographics and their favorite genre. See where your county ranks for each category.
Demographics, lifestyle, and spending data provide answers to the “Who, What, and How” questions that business owners need to ask.
When local Economic Development departments need to attract new businesses to fill empty sites, where do they start? The answer: Show ‘em some data!
Data about the types of people who live, work, and shop near a site is like gold to business owners, revealing incredibly valuable intelligence. To learn where a new site can be successful, business owners need answers to three basic questions about an area population:
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- How do they spend their money? Continue reading
“Do your homework, study hard, and make good grades.” We all probably heard those instructions many times during our school years. When viewing the relationship between educational attainment and earning power, this advice can be validated by cold, hard facts. According to the 2014, 4th quarter report, The Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time workers age 25 and older with no high school diploma earned a weekly median wage of less than $500, compared to $664 for high school graduates with no college, and $1,224 for those holding at least a Bachelor’s degree. Continue reading
Singles who can afford to spend on themselves have become a formidable consumer market.
In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced that selfie, defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” was their Word of the Year.
But there’s another definition. Economist Edward Yardeni uses “selfies” to describe singles who can spend on themselves or save for later because they’re not supporting a family, saving for college, or paying off a mortgage. William Frey of the Brookings Institute states in the City Families; Suburban Singles report, “More than 80 percent of nonfamily households are single persons living alone; of these, more than one-third are 65 years and older.” More than 125 million people are single in the US; more than half of all US adults are unmarried. From seniors to Millennials, selfies are found in every age, race, and income group. Continue reading
While their behaviors confound retailers and marketers, we’re starting to gain a better understanding of what makes this cohort click.
Do you know any Millennials? You might even be a Millennial yourself.
Milliennials are contradictions, alternately described as lazy, entitled, idealistic, close to family, and racially diverse. Pew Research notes that Millennials are not bound to organized politics or religion, support a more activist government, are linked by social media, carry debt, and are optimistic about the future.
Demographers disagree about the exact time frame this huge group encompasses. Some say that Millennials were born between 1982 and sometime in the early 2000s. Pew Research says that Millennials range in age from 18 to 33 years. Continue reading
For generations, Americans worked hard, lived within their means, saved for retirement, spent their golden years in relative comfort, and passed on a healthy inheritance to their children. Many Classic Boomers held only one or two jobs during their careers; received healthy raises, bonuses, and pensions; and didn’t have to worry about healthcare costs gutting their assets. These were traditionally-held patterns and goals. Based on these behaviors, many in succeeding generations could count on an inheritance to help finance large expenditures such as buying a house or paying for their children’s educations. Now? Maybe not so much. Ironically, in the days before the first wave of Boomers began to retire, economists warned against the impact of the largest transfer of wealth in our nation’s history.
“Are we there yet?”
Vacationing parents usually answer this familiar question with a resounding “No!” The inquiry also resonates with economists who agree that median household income in the United States is “not there yet.”
Median household income is nowhere near the pre-Great Recession figures. According to Esri’s Updated Demographics data, median household income was $53,150 in 2007. During calendar year 2008 (the first year after the start of the recession), median household income rose to $54,700. In the intervening years, median household income fell from $54,700 in 2009 to $54,442 in 2010, and dropped in 98 percent of US counties. In 2013, Esri’s Updated Demographics data notes that with a figure of $51,314, median household income is still in recovery, increasing by only $1,157 from $50,157 in 2012. Continue reading
Playing on the beach with grandchildren, fishing in mountain streams, and perfecting golf scores…those are fading dreams of retirement for scores of older people in the US. Many have changed or postponed their retirement plans due to job losses, reduced home values, and decimated 401k assets. Some now believe they’ll never retire. Even more alarming is the lack of savings among those of retirement age. According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), most workers questioned say they have virtually no savings or investments. And 37% of those surveyed think they will have to wait until after age 65 to retire.
When they can least afford it, many seniors are also carrying mortgages and credit card debt. Others have made loans to adult children that have not yet been repaid. AARP comments that 34% of older Americans have used credit cards for basic expenses such as mortgage payments, healthcare, groceries, and utilities. As a result, their average household credit card debt stands at approximately $8,248.
Change has been the constant for the US demographic landscape recently. Two major demographic differences since Census 2000 are the growth of minority populations and changes to household composition. Traditional households of “dad, mom, two kids, and a dog” are no longer the norm. Household types are changing and evolving, so it may be a slow goodbye to the household type portrayed in “Everybody Loves Raymond”, and hello to a group of entirely different kind of households. Continue reading