What the 2010 Census Will Show

By Tom Exter

[Ed. note: Tables are available in the accompanying PDF document and include Population by Age in 2010, State of the States in 2010, Major Metro Markets in 2010, Ethnic Diversity in 2010, Living Arrangements in 2010, Bachelor's Degree or Bust in 2010, Workfork Demographics in 2010 and Retirement Roulette in 2010.)

As Census Bureau workers wrap up their massive decennial data collection effort, businesses are eager to know the results. Unfortunately, the numbers won't be released until next year. State total populations, used for reapportioning the House of Representatives, must be reported to President Obama by December 31st this year. But detailed results about the demographic characteristics of America's population and households will take years to fully tabulate. How has the Great Recession affected regional growth? Which cities are most impacted by immigration? As Baby Boomers turn "sixty-something," how are their living arrangements changing? Answers to these questions require not only fresh census results but time-consuming, in-depth analysis.

The final Census 2010 tally will draw a definitive portrait of America's population in 2010. In the meantime, several key trends are already apparent. A careful sifting of available population estimates and projections reveals likely results of the 2010 Census. What follows is an analysis, drawn from current statistics and the best-available demographic projections, that previews those key trends. Business planners can act today, knowing this tentative but reasonable sketch of the changing consumer landscape.

The 2010 Census will show that the nation's population grew to 309 million, up 10 percent from 281 million in 2000. That's 28 million more residents of these United States. About one-third of that growth (over 9 million) was due to net immigration, while two-thirds was due to natural increase or births minus deaths. Median age increased from 35.3 years to 36.8 years, a clear sign that the population is aging. But the impact of aging falls differentially on the nation's generations. Baby Boomers (aged 46 to 64 in 2010 - easy to remember because they were born between 1946 and 1964) began turning 60 at mid-decade, and now are storming the age 65 threshold, in a demographic tsunami. Over the decade, the age group 60 to 64 years grew by 55 percent for a gain of nearly six million people. Echo Boomers, largely the children of Baby Boomers, became the latest "twenty-somethings" only to start their careers in the face of the Great Recession. Baby Busters, born between Boom and Echo Boom, are now in their late 30s and early 40s, praying the Boomers will be able to afford retirement so they can move into that corner office.

As population growth plays out across the age spectrum, it also plays out geographically. The 2010 Census will show that Nevada - while still the overall 10-year fastest grower among the states - hit the skids the hardest in the second half. From census to census, Nevada grew by one-third. Breaking that out between the first half and second half of the decade, the state grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2005, but only 10 percent between 2005 and 2010. Two other high flyers experienced substantial slowdowns: Arizona grew 16.5 percent in the first half and 12 percent in the second half and Florida, 11.3 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Still, other growth states picked up the pace from the first to second half of the decade: Utah, up from 11.9 percent to 13.7 percent; Texas, up from 9.4 percent to 10.8 percent; Colorado and North Carolina, up from about 8 percent to 10 percent; and South Carolina and Washington State, up from about 6 percent to 8 percent. Clearly, there are still relative winners and losers in the high-stakes race to rebuild state economies and attract interstate migrants.

Politics, of course, is also in the mix. The 2010 Census will show (according to these PBBI preliminary calculations) a shift of congressional seats from states with a declining share of the national population to those with increasing shares. Reapportionment is the process of allocating the 435 House seats among the states such that each representative represents approximately the same number of people. Each state - not counting the District of Columbia - gets at least one seat so the census results are fed into a formula to reapportion the remaining 385 seats. Soon after official results are posted to the White House by December 31st, we will likely see that Texas is the overall winner with a gain of four seats. The biggest loser will be Ohio with a loss of two seats. Nine other states will lose one seat each, while seven states will gain a seat. There will be an interesting battle for the last seat among five states: two red states (North Carolina and Arizona) will battle two blue states (Minnesota and Oregon). A swing state (Missouri), however, is likely to be the winner according to our calculations. May the state with the highest census form completion rate be the winner!

The stakes are also high for the nation's metropolitan markets. The top five metro growth markets (measured by absolute population gain) were: Dallas (up 4 million), Atlanta (up 3 million), Houston (up 2 million), Phoenix (up 1 million), and Riverside (up almost a million - 938,578). The top five fastest growers (measured by percent increase in population) among metros with at least one million population were: Raleigh-Cary, NC (up 45.7 percent), Austin-Round Rock, TX (up 40.5 percent), Las Vegas-Paradise, NV (up 40.0 percent), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (up 36.6 percent), and Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC (up 34.1 percent). But those are the 2000 to 2010 figures. The metros that "put on the breaks" the hardest (whose growth rates fell the most in the second half of the decade) were: Las Vegas (down 11.5 percentage points), Riverside-San Bernardino (down 10 percentage points), Orlando (down 9.5 percentage points), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (down 5.1 percentage points), and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta (down 4 percentage points). The lesson here is not "the bigger they are the harder they fall." The lesson is: Population growth trends in the nation's largest metros closely track local economic trends. Similar indicators can be found in smaller metros, the micropolitan areas tracked in the Census Bureau's population estimates.

Many metro markets are known for their ethnic or cultural markets. But the big picture is this: The 2010 Census will show that the Hispanic population grew to nearly 50 million, up 40 percent (or 14 million) in 10 years. So in fact, Hispanic population growth accounted for half of total U.S. population growth during the decade. If the nation grew by 10 percent, the Hispanic population grew by four times that - 40 percent. The Asian-Hawaiian-Pacific Islander population grew by 33 percent (more than three times the national growth rate), and the African American population grew by 10 percent, equal to the national growth rate. When the final results of Census 2010 are tallied, some analysts will look for "minority-majority" states, metros and counties. But most businesses will look for growth wherever they can find it. Increasingly, that will be in communities where both internal and international migration trends over the decade created more ethnically diverse markets.

The 2010 Census will show that changing living arrangements, formally known as "household composition," remain a strong indicator of purchasing behavior. Married couples with children under age 18, the storied target market of the last half century, now represent only 22 percent of American households. Twenty-seven percent of households are empty-nest married couples; many are Baby Boomers, whose children have gone on to bigger and better things. The two other dominant household types are the 28 percent of households in which people live alone, and the 12 percent of households containing single parents, primarily female-headed but also male householders caring for children. So, the 2010 Census will confirm that American's living arrangements are also increasingly diverse - reflecting values, life stage, life style and the meanderings of young adults.

Some 2010 Census results can be estimated through analysis of the American Community Survey which replaced the traditional long-form census questionnaire. While ACS results will best apply to higher level trend analysis, there will be plenty to work with given the annual release of one-year, three-year, and five-year data. In the meantime, here's a sampling of what the ACS results for 2010 will show.

The 2010 Census will show that women overall, but especially younger generations of women made the most gains in educational attainment. Within the cohort of young adults aged 25 to 34, fully 33 percent of women but only 26 percent of men have attained a four-year college degree or higher. Women doubled that gap from 3.5 percentage points to 7 percentage points between 2000 and 2010. Among 35- to 44-year-olds, women have more higher education degrees than men by 32 percent to 29 percent. Overall among men and women aged 25 years and older, the education gap is now negligible but younger women clearly have the momentum. Trends in educational attainment ultimately play out in the labor force, which in turn drives trends in individual earnings and household income.

The 2010 Census will show that while overall aging of the work force is the dominant trend, women aged 55 to 64 (those leading-edge Baby Boomers) are increasing their contribution more than men. Their labor force participation rate grew by 8 points compared to a 2 percentage point increase among men in that age group. The story of the last half century was the increasing labor force participation of women and the earlier and earlier retirement of men. Now that defined pensions are fading into the history books, replaced by the 401K and stock market volatility (to say the least), both men and women - especially those Baby Boomers approaching retirement age - are working more and working longer. Of course, the current unemployment crisis has hit this age cohort especially hard, and it has hit men - 10 percent unemployed in April 2010 - a bit more than women - 8 percent unemployed in April 2010.

The end game is retirement roulette. The 2010 Census will show that household incomes have remained roughly the same in 2010, controlling for inflation, as they were in 2000. If one trend can be deduced it's that the incomes of mid-life householders and pre-retirees have gained a few points, primarily due to multiple household earners working longer hours and postponing retirement. Retirees have benefitted from inflation-adjustments to Social Security. Younger workers, on the other hand, have seen average incomes remain stable or decline. Many, of course, have stayed in school longer investing in their education. But alas, the decennial census - or even the old Current Population Survey, the official Census Bureau instrument for measuring income and poverty - is not the best way to measure income. Snapshot income measures tell us nothing about an individual's or family's historical income trajectory, to say nothing of accumulated wealth. But sadly, the block group level income distribution by age of householder will not be produced by the 2010 Census. The ACS will produce useful higher level income statistics, including age by income, but new sources and modeling methodologies must be developed to better track income trends.

Every census provides businesses with a needed data refresh. The 2010 Census will be no different. New benchmarks and growth patterns will inform site location research and marketing efforts well into the future. But clearly, the time is now to begin to anticipate census results and to plan for unprecedented access to mountains of new data. So much data and so little time to really enjoy it!

[Ed. note: Tables are available in the accompanying PDF document and include Population by Age in 2010, State of the States in 2010, Major Metro Markets in 2010, Ethnic Diversity in 2010, Living Arrangements in 2010, Bachelor's Degree or Bust in 2010, Workfork Demographics in 2010 and Retirement Roulette in 2010.)

Published Friday, June 11th, 2010

Written by Tom Exter

Published in


If you liked this article subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter...stay informed on the latest geospatial technology

Sign up

© 2017 Directions Media. All Rights Reserved.