The U.S. Census Bureau, which releases some sort of data nearly every week, released its largest trove of data in a decade earlier this week with the 5-year estimates for the American Community Survey. Next week, it will release the first batch of results from the 2010 Census conducted earlier this year.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s important in each release:
American Community Survey 5-year estimates
These are estimates of all types of demographic and sociological information for every part of the country, from states all the way down to the smallest census-level geography called a block group. The American Community Survey is sent to 3 million households each year. From those surveys, the Census Bureau can perform estimates in several categories.
- To look up your community in the latest ACS estimates, check out the American Factfinder tool.
This latest 5-year ACS release covers 2005 to 2009. The Census Bureau has been releasing similar information, in either 1-year estimates or 3-year estimates, for larger levels of population since 2007. For example, 1-year ACS estimates cover places with more than 65,000 people. The 3-year estimates cover places with more than 20,000 people.
Since this is a survey, and not an actual count like the decennial census, these data points come with margins of error, much like you’d see margins of error in an election poll. The Census Bureau has a lot of technical documentation on how it figures the estimates, but what you need to know is that the smaller the population area, the higher the margin of error.
For example, the margin of error for the percentage of high school graduates in Wellston, Okla., is plus/minus 10 percentage points. For Oklahoma City, the same category has a margin of error of plus/minus 0.5 percentage points. That’s because Wellston has a population of about 1,000 people, and Oklahoma City has about 546,000 people. Fewer ACS surveys went to Wellston residents than they did to residents in Oklahoma City, but the Census also takes confidentiality into account.
Here’s how the Census Bureau describes it:
To maintain confidentiality, the Census Bureau applies statistical procedures that introduce some uncertainty into data for geographic areas with small population groups.
Despite these limitations at really small places or units of geography, the ACS data is still useful to policymakers, academics and the public. The real benefit from having this ACS data will come in the next few years, when we have a baseline against which we can compare new data releases.
The New York Times released a slick-looking interactive map showing some of the latest ACS estimates: Click for an interactive version
The newspaper, with the help of Social Explorer, plotted various demographic estimates for each Census tract in the country. They used what’s called a dot-distribution map, which spaced out the dots randomly within the area of that particular tract. While it’s visually compelling, that can cause dots to show up in strange places, like the middle of a lake.
2010 Census Apportionment/State Population data
This is the first batch of information from the 2010 census. It will be limited to population counts for the nation and states. By law, this data has to be reported to the president by Dec. 31.
The census uses this information to do apportionment, the allocation of congressional seats in the House of Representatives. Unlike 2000, when Oklahoma lost a congressional seat, there will be no change in the number of House seats this year.
The number of House seats–which now stands at 435–has been set since 1911. The first House of Representatives had just 65 seats in 1787. That rose to 105 after the 1790 Census.
For more on apportionment, check out this video from the Census Bureau:
Here’s some more information on previous population totals by state: Click for an interactive version
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting graphic today on its website from the latest American Community Survey data. The newspaper ranked all the nation’s metro areas for a quick index for housing stress.
I compiled similar data for the 11 Oklahoma counties covered under the latest ACS data. As you can see, Muskogee County appears to have the highest housing-stress index in Oklahoma. Rogers and Canadian counties are faring the best. The national average is 87.5, so even Muskogee County is faring well compared to the rest of the nation.
The WSJ housing-stress indicator is made up of three components: the percentage of the population not in the labor force; the percentage without health insurance; and the percentage of homeowners with a mortgage spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. From the Real Time Economics blog:
Financial advisers warn against spending more than 30% of a household’s income on housing costs, as it can crimp other expenditures and savings. It also leaves little room for unexpected shocks to income, such as illness or unemployment. Miami was at the top because it had the highest percentage of mortgage holders spending more than 30% on housing among large metro areas — 57.7% compared to the national average of 37.5%. At the same time, a quarter of the city’s residents are without health insurance — compared to the national average of 15% — making it difficult to deal with a the expense created by an illness and still pay a mortgage.
Click on the image below for the WSJ rankings of the metro areas.
Update: You can see the underlying numbers for the Oklahoma counties here.
Note: This is a slightly longer version of today’s story:
BY PAUL MONIES
The natural rivalry between the Oklahoma’s two largest cities has been overtaken by the way both have grown in the last decade.
Oklahoma City now has more in common with Tampa, Fla., and Boise, Idaho, than it does with Tulsa. Meanwhile, Tulsa is more like Wichita, Kan., and Cleveland, Ohio, than Oklahoma City.
That’s according to a new study of Census data in the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas — which include two-thirds of the U.S. population — by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization. The metros range in size from 500,000 people in Modesto, Calif., to 19 million in New York City. The study clusters metro areas into seven groups that share characteristics.
As a “mid-sized magnet” metro, Oklahoma City has had higher growth, lower diversity and lower educational levels than most other metropolitan areas. Tulsa, grouped into the “industrial core” type, has lower growth, lower diversity and lower educational attainment than the national average among metros.
“The new metro map of the United States forces us to think outside the conventional regional boxes that have informed America’s narrative for generations,” said Bruce Katz, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
The Brookings analysis highlights the changing nature of America’s metro areas, central cities and their suburbs from 2000 to 2008. In Oklahoma, Tulsa and Oklahoma City are at the front lines of emerging immigration, income and aging trends. Among the highlights:
- Migration: Oklahoma City ranked seventh and Tulsa ranked 15th in the percentage of residents who moved in the last year.
- Income: Tulsa suburbs ranked second in median household income growth from 2000 to 2008. Oklahoma City suburbs ranked 14th in the same category. However, median household income in the two metro areas overall slipped because of declines in the central cities.
- Immigration: Oklahoma City suburbs ranked 10th in the proportion of foreign-born immigrants who have arrived since 2000. Tulsa suburbs ranked 94th in that category. Because it uses census data, the Brookings analysis does not make the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.
- Education: Roughly one-fourth of residents in Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas have bachelor’s degrees, putting the Oklahoma City metro at No. 69 and the Tulsa metro at No. 79.
- Transportation: The Oklahoma City metro area ranks eighth nationally in the percentage of commuters who drive to work alone. The Tulsa metro area came in at No. 30.
Neither Oklahoma City nor Tulsa was affected by the rapid rise and fall of home values affecting many other metro areas that was a factor in the current recession. Although both metros have been hit by manufacturing and service job losses and rising unemployment, their relatively stable housing markets and energy companies have buffeted those declines.
“As the economy began to deteriorate in other parts of the country, Oklahoma City was prospering,” said Eric Long, manager of economic research for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “Low unemployment, coupled with stability in our housing market, were big factors.”
Long said inquiries about relocating to Oklahoma City from both companies and individuals have picked up after dropping off in the last year or so. Many come from people looking for a fresh start.
“They are unhappy with employment and cost of living issues in their home states and have heard about Oklahoma City,” Long said. “They may not have relatives or know anyone here, but are still willing to take a chance on our city.”
Retaining college grads
Officials from Tulsa and Oklahoma City chambers mentioned the importance of attracting and retaining college graduates and entrepreneurs, who in the past might have sought jobs or started companies in larger regional metros such as Dallas or Denver.
Susan Harris, senior vice president of education and workforce for the Tulsa Metro Chamber, said if the Tulsa area can grow its percentage of residents with college degrees just one percentage point, it would mean an extra $646 million per year in economic activity. The Tulsa metro area had a gross domestic product of $45 billion in 2008, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“We know a city that doesn’t grow dies, so growth is important,” Harris said. “Everything we’re doing is about making sure we are open and receptive to new people coming in and living here, locating their businesses and bringing their families and we are receptive to higher density development in the inner core of the city.
Harris said the chamber is working with colleges, universities and businesses to identify residents who were close to finishing a degree but never did. Another effort includes tightening the integration of career pathways. For example, in the nursing field, it includes ways for certified nursing assistants to get their licensed practical nurse certification and for registered nurses to get bachelor of science degrees in nursing.
More poor in suburbs
Nationally, the Brookings report found 53 percent of the metro poor now live in suburbs, up from 48 percent in 2000. This increasing suburbanization of poverty has implications for policymakers, who have traditionally directed social programs to large cities, said Alan Berube, Ö who headed up the analysis for the Metropolitan Policy Program.
The latest food stamp numbers from the state Department of Human Services shows that the number of people getting food stamps in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros rose more than 30 percent between February 2009 and February 2010. But most outlying counties in those metro areas posted higher percentage increases than Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.
Katz, meanwhile, said America’s population growth and diversity, particularly in its metro areas, may be its “ace in the hole.”
“In the global context, the United States is a demographically blessed nation,” he said. “Established competitors like Japan, Britain and Germany are either growing slowly or actually declining; rising nations like China remain relatively homogenous.”
The Oklahoman’s Watchdog Team: Looking out for you.
Read the entire Brookings report on the new metro landscape.
Oklahoma fact sheets:
The mail part of the Census for 2010 has ended, and the results aren’t pretty for Oklahoma.
The U.S. Census Bureau said today that Oklahoma’s mail participation rate came in at 66 percent, down from 69 percent in the 2000 census. You can check out a Google map of the latest participation rates at the Census’ Take 10 site. Here’s the latest map of the mail participation rates by county in Oklahoma:
Nationally, the mail participation rate this year was 72 percent, unchanged from 2000, the Census said in a news release. Oklahoma’s participation rate of 66 percent in 2010 put it in the bottom tier of states, along with Louisiana, West Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska.
Wisconsin lead all states with a mail participation rate of 81 percent. It was followed by Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.
The next phase of the Census is the home visits by Census enumerators. They will begin showing up this weekend:
The nation’s response helps pave the way for the next phase of the 2010 Census: the deployment of 635,000 census takers across the country who will go door to door to obtain census responses from all remaining households. The temporary census workers are in training this week and will begin obtaining census responses this weekend.
You can’t really put a price on a child’s love and happiness, but the government is trying anyway.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report on the estimated costs of raising a child to adulthood. The 2008 estimate for a middle-income family clocks in at $221,190. (Read the AP story here.)
Before you wonder why the government is in the child-care expenditure business, here’s why the figures are important:
Issued by USDA each year since 1960, the report is a valuable resource to courts and state governments in determining child support guidelines and foster care payments. For the year 2008, annual child-rearing expenses for a middle-income, two-parent family ranges from $11,610 to $13,480, depending on the age of the child.
For the typical family in Oklahoma, the costs are slightly lower than the total estimates, most likely reflecting our lower costs of living. To raise a child to age 17, the USDA estimates that families in our region will spend between $149,610 to $346,320, depending on family income.
Here’s what the USDA estimates a typical family will spend their money on during the first 17 years:
The numbers also differ by income level. This chart shows that the highest-income families spend more than twice as much as the lowest-income families on child-rearing expenses:
In a somewhat understated aside, the report notes that it excludes expenses after age 17, with the largest being college or university education:
The expenditures also exclude costs made on children after age 17. One of the largest of these expenses is the cost of a college education. The College Board (2009) estimated that in 2008-2009, annual average (enrollment-weighted) tuition and fees were $6,585 at 4-year public colleges (in-State tuition) and $25,143 at 4-year private (nonprofit) colleges; annual room and board was $7,748 at 4-year public colleges and $8,989 at 4-year private colleges. For 2-year colleges in 2008-2009, annual average tuition and fees were $2,402 at public colleges.
Of course, the naked economics of quantifying a child’s life is alternately alarming and distasteful. So I’ll leave you with a few links to some recent psychological studies of how much children enrich their parents’ lives.
This report from a pair of British psychologists looks at the pleasures and rewards of time spent on daily activities:
In terms of pleasure, the results confirmed earlier findings, suggesting that we spend an awful lot of time doing things we don’t find pleasurable, including “work” and “shopping”. Out of 18 key activities, “time with children” and “sex” both came in around mid-table, far below “outdoor activities” and “watching TV”. However, consideration of the ratings for “reward” (as opposed to pleasure) told a rather different story, with “work” now the top scorer, and “time with children” not far behind.
Meanwhile, this report attempts to explain why children bring happiness even though everyone knows being a parent is hard work:
It is, on the other hand, much more likely that we as parents will end up spending a large chunk of our time attending to the very core process of child care such as ‘Am I going to be able to pick up David from his school in time?’ or ‘How do I stop Sarah from crying?’ Most of these negative experiences are a lot less salient than the positive experiences we have with our kids, which is probably why we tend not to think about them when prompted with a question of whether or not children bring us happiness. Nevertheless, it is these small but more frequent negative experiences, rather than the less frequent but meaningful experiences, that take up most of our attention in a day. It should therefore come to no surprise to us that these negative experiences that come with parenthood will show up much more often in our subjective experiences, including happiness and life satisfaction, than activities that are, although rewarding, relatively rare.
How much is too much when it comes to tracking our lives on the Web? Has the deluge of information online made us think differently about we see our world?
USA Today has a fascinating story today on those questions, and more.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I can get a wee bit obsessive about tracking government information on the Web. After all, that’s part of my job description. But I hadn’t realized how much this story hit home until I thought about the time I’ve spent tracking purchases from Amazon or Apple. For example, when I bought my Apple laptop in 2005, I could track its movement from the factory in China to my doorstep in Oklahoma City. And I did. Obsessively.
Of course, I don’t think I’m quite to point where I track every instance of my life on the Web. That’s the subject of this story from Wired magazine. You can also check out The Quantified Self site here. And if you’re on Twitter, you can track your life using it with this project from data visualization site Flowing Data.
The prize for the most visually interesting personal metrics project has to go to graphic designer Nicholas Felton, who has been producing “annual reports” of his life since 2005. Here’s the latest cover from 2008:
Today’s info-chroniclers are just the latest in a long history of diarists and scientists who kept notes by hand. Nineteenth-century English inventor and statistician Francis Galton, who introduced statistical concepts such as regression to the mean, was an obsessive counter who created the first weather map and carried a homemade object called a “registrator” to, among other things, measure people’s yawns and fidgets during his talks. (Mr. Galton’s preoccupation with data, specifically with human hereditary traits, also yielded an unsavory by-product — eugenics.)
In 1937, a social research organization called Mass Observation in London used about 2,000 volunteers to develop an “anthropology of ourselves.” For more than a decade, participants recorded such things as their neighbor’s bathroom habits and what end of their cigarettes they tapped before lighting up. Personal tracking also showed up in “Cheaper by the Dozen,” a 1948 book about efficiency experts Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth and their attempts to track and optimize the daily routines of their 12 children (including when they brushed their teeth and made their beds).
Finally, the award for too much information has to go to the squirm-inducing Bedpost!
The latest estimates for city populations came out today from the Census Bureau, and they show rapid growth in the outlying suburbs of the state’s two largest cities. (Read the national press release here.)
We included a number of charts with today’s paper version of the story. I also posted an online database on our Right to Know page so you can search the latest population estimates of almost 600 cities in Oklahoma.
Of course, the latest estimates showed continued growth in suburban cities. But growth was also fairly good in Oklahoma City, which gained about 45,000 people since 2000. That’s a growth rate of 9 percent. By contrast, Tulsa lost about 7,000 people, a drop of 2 percent, in the same time period.
There’s wasn’t much room in the story to go into detail on this point, but here’s a look at Oklahoma City and Tulsa population over the years 1920 to 2008. Both cities almost doubled in size in the years of the Oil Boom in the 1920s. The Dust Bowl and Great Depression then took their toll in the 1930s. By the 1970s, the cities were fairly close in size. The population gap has only widened since then.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa population, 1920 to 2008
Source: U.S. Census historical records
As for the other cities in the state, here’s a look at how they stack up in a bubble chart. The bigger the circle, the bigger the city. This helps you see the relative size of each city to others in the state. You can also select your city from the alphabetical list to the left of the bubbles.
Another type of visualization is a tree map. Here’s what the latest population estimates look like using a tree map. In this one, the boxes are relative to the size of each city, and the color shade shows the intensity of each city’s growth rate or decline.
The number of people aged 65 and older in the U.S. will reach more than 89 million by 2050, more than double the 39 million today , the U.S. Census Bureau said in its latest population projections.
Now, less than 8 percent of the world’s population is 65 and older. That will increase to 12 percent in 2030 and 16 percent by 2050, according to census projections.
“This shift in the age structure of the world’s population poses challenges to society, families, businesses, health care providers and policymakers to meet the needs of aging individuals,” said Wan He, demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division.
China and India will continue to be the world’s most populous countries by 2050, but India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2031, according to updated rankings.
Here’s a closer look at the U.S. projections:
|Midyear population (in thousands)||439,010||266,557||295,561||325,540||357,452|
|Growth rate (percent)||0.8||N/A||0.9||1.0||0.9|
|Total fertility rate (births per woman)||2.0||N/A||N/A||2.1||2.1|
|Crude birth rate (per 1,000 population)||13||N/A||14||14||13|
|Births (in thousands)||5,672||N/A||4,138||4,470||4,726|
|Life expectancy at birth (years)||83||N/A||N/A||79||80|
|Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 births)||4||N/A||N/A||6||5|
|Under 5 mortality rate (per 1,000 births)||4||N/A||N/A||7||5|
|Crude death rate (per 1,000 population)||10||N/A||8||8||9|
|Deaths (in thousands)||4,263||N/A||2,447||2,728||3,088|
|Net migration rate (per 1,000 population)||5||N/A||3||4||4|
|Net number of migrants (in thousands)||2,055||N/A||978||1,387||1,576|
It may be stating the obvious, but just in case you didn’t know, Oklahoma is in the midst of a torrid energy boom, this time from natural gas instead of oil.
The latest income numbers from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis spell it out in stark terms.
Since 2001, total income from jobs in Oklahoma’s energy sector has grown 125 percent. Put another way, those in the energy sector earned a collective $3.67 billion in 2001. By 2006, that figure had leapt to $8.26 billion–or roughly 12 percent of all income earned by those employed in Oklahoma businesses.
That’s as employment in what the government calls the Mining (oil and natural gas in these parts) sector grew to more than 70,000 in Oklahoma in 2006, up from 57,400 in 2001. And local energy companies continue to add jobs in the state.
On the other side of the coin, the state’s manufacturing sector lost almost 20,000 jobs from 2001 to 2006. Still, the jobs that are left tend to pay fairly well. Earnings in the manufacturing sector rose to $12.9 billion in 2006, up from $11.1 billion in 2001. Manufacturing jobs still account for almost $1 of every $5 earned by Oklahomans in the private sector.
More broadly, the bureau said per capita personal income in Oklahoma stood at $32,391 in 2006, an increase of 24 percent since 2001. Good news, certainly, but remember, they arrive at that number by dividing the total amount of income earned in the state by the number of people in the state. Since it’s such a broad measure, it includes the high and low incomes across all industries in the state.
The BEA’s measure of per capita income is just one of several used by government, academic and private sector economists. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey uses “money income” to figure its per capita income. That tends to result in a lower figure because it excludes employer contributions to pensions or insurance, and excludes government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare. (For a detailed explanation, click here.)
Some groups, such as Tulsa’s Community Action Project argue the income gains in Oklahoma–by whatever measure–are not being shared by all.
Drilling down into the BEA data by county also shows a very different picture of Oklahoma’s personal income growth from 2001 to 2006. Metro areas such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa show the highest growth; rural counties in the western half of the state post the lowest growth.
Of course, this is all in the past. The detailed, local 2007 numbers aren’t out yet, and none of these numbers reflects the current conditions in the Oklahoma economy, where consumers are dealing with higher gasoline and food prices.
Still, the broad economic indicators point to a more favorable picture here than in other parts of the country, especially those coastal areas where home price appreciation was the fastest. For more, check out The Oklahoman’s story from last Sunday.
You can also read Oklahoma State University’s latest Economic Outlook. (PDF link) In part, it said:
Our outlook for 2008 and 2009 remains basically
unchanged – that limited spillover from housing, a
smaller sub-prime concern, and the boost from high
energy prices will reduce the risk for the state in the
slowdown. We continue to believe that the primary
risk remains the indirect influence of slowing
However, the state is not immune to national
economic conditions and they have deteriorated
slightly faster and more deeply than anticipated in
our initial 2008 outlook.
To explore more from the BEA’s Regional Economic Accounts data, just click here.