Singles, Mingles and Wedding Jingles: Partnerships and Living Arrangements from 1967 to 2014

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Written by: Emily Schondelmyer and Jonathan Vespa

For nearly half a century, the Census Bureau has been collecting data on America’s living arrangements. Young adults age 18 to 34 have experienced significant changes in who they live with when compared over several generations. This blog will examine some of those differences.

In 1967, almost nine in 10 young adults were living in just two arrangements, either with a parent or with a spouse. While about half of 18- to 24-year-olds still live with a parent today, the other half live in more diverse arrangements. Among young adults between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority no longer live with a spouse but with a partner, alone or with others (see Figure 1). Living with others includes living with relatives other than a parent (such as a child) or nonrelatives.

Young adults today live in more complex arrangements than in 1967

The biggest change in living arrangements since 1967 is related to the delay in marriage. On average, young adults wait nearly six years longer to get married today than in 1967. Marrying later is part of the reason why the 25- to 34-year-olds of 2014 resemble the 18- to 24-year-olds of 1967 in terms of percentage living with a spouse (see Figure 1). For example, 39 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds lived with a spouse in 1967, similar to the 43 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in 2014. Today, only 8 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds live with a spouse.

We now have cohabitation estimates dating back to 1967. While a direct measure for cohabitation is not available, we created an estimate based on adults who lived with an opposite-sex adult nonrelative. The proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds living with an unmarried partner is about nine times higher today than in the 1970s and about 15 times higher for 25 to 34yearolds. Cohabitation has become so widespread that women now have about a 75 percent chance of living with a partner before marriage by age 30.

These dramatic changes in the last few decades may be related to the changing characteristics of young adults.

Over the last 50 years, the proportion of 25- to 29-year-olds with a college degree has more than doubled, from about 15 percent to 34 percent. Young adults are also delaying childbearing but are not necessarily waiting for marriage to have children. Only 60 percent of young adult parents live with a spouse. The remaining 40 percent are single parents. This is one reason we see an increase over time in young adults living with other relatives, because single parents are counted in this category.

As they delay marriage, fewer young adults are living with a spouse

While young adults are delaying marriage, research shows they are choosing to live alone, with others or with an unmarried partner while they pursue higher education, seek stable employment and form families. Adults under the age of 35 today are living in a wider variety of living arrangements than what has been the norm in decades past. To see the changes for all age groups, please visit the Families and Living Arrangements website.

What do living arrangements of the older population look like? Find out tomorrow in our next blog.


Posted in Families, Marriage | Leave a comment

How Long Do People Receive Assistance?

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Written by: Shelley K. Irving

A recent report examines means-tested program participation rates, the extent to which the programs are used, and median monthly benefit amounts from January 2009 through December 2012 using longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The means-tested programs included in the report include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Assistance (GA).

This report examines the accumulated (not necessarily consecutive) months of participation in major means-tested programs for people who received the specified benefit type in one or more months over the 48-month period from January 2009 to December 2012.

These data show whether recipients tended to be short-term program participants (between one and 12 accumulated months of participation), long-term participants (between 37 and 48 accumulated months of participation) or somewhere in between. A means test is a determination of whether an individual or family is eligible for government assistance, based upon whether the individual or family has income and/or assets that fall below specified thresholds. Figure1 The amount of time spent receiving means-tested assistance programs varied by certain characteristics. People living above the poverty threshold, adults with one or more years of college and full-time working adults are most likely to be short-term program participants. Those most likely to be long-term program participants include people living under the poverty threshold, children, blacks, those in female-householder families, adults with less than a high school degree and adults not in the labor force.

The total combined median monthly benefit amount from TANF/GA, SSI and SNAP was $404. Median SSI benefit amounts ($698) were larger than those from TANF/GA ($321) and SNAP ($300). Median monthly benefit amounts were highest for those living under the poverty threshold, children, blacks, Hispanics and adults not in the labor force. Figure2

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Challenge to Hackers: Use New Software Kit to Create Apps that Benefit Cities

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Written by: Avi Bender

Since the U.S. Census Bureau launched its open API (application programming interface) in 2012, we have listened to developer feedback and continued to make improvements to the tool. Our latest update, the City Software Development Kit (City SDK), will help developers create even more powerful, data-driven apps for the public.

Next month, the Census Bureau will challenge developers to use the City SDK as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking  to address a sustainability issue facing their city. The City SDK provides better interoperability across Census Bureau demographic, economic and geographic data sets upon which data can be overlayed.

The goal of the City SDK project is to streamline the creation of open data apps for cities and communities across the country; this tool makes it easier for developers to search Census Bureau data variables and mesh different datasets together.

Through our City SDK, we are aiming to provide a user-friendly “toolbox” for civic hackers to connect local and national public data.

For the past two years, we have been engaging developers around the country to learn about how many use the API and build code to combine diverse datasets.  We have created the City SDK to make it easier for the developer community to collaborate as they harness the Census API. This is an example of how the Census Bureau, in line with the Department of Commerce, is making data more useful and accessible.

Tools already on the City SDK include code that converts latitude/longitude to FIPS (state and county) codes; the ability to request GeoJSON (an open source geographic shapefile/boundary format) right along with data from Dataweb (for mapping); a modular architecture that makes mashing up Census data with third-party data a snap; and more. The City SDK is built as an open-source project with the goal of getting direct input from developers and creating a place for improvements to be crowdsourced.

Through the City SDK, the Census Bureau will enable the development of products and solutions that rely on open data and ultimately provide tangible benefits to cities across the country. We are encouraging developers to submit the apps they are building to the Census City SDK Data Solutions Challenge on, and visit the Developers Forum to see examples of apps created with our APIs.

The challenge will open on Saturday, June 6, and will close July 31, 2015. To learn more about the challenge click here. You can become a #citySDK ambassador by hosting a National Day of Civic Hacking project in your city. Create a #citySDK event in your city and register it now!

Posted in Data Tools, Web Transformation | Leave a comment

Growth in Small Town America

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Written by: Sarah Gibb and Rodger Johnson

Many people are nostalgic for “small town” America, where everyday life was commonly organized around a bustling Main Street lined with small shops and restaurants. While it is true that less of the nation’s population resides in small towns today compared with 50 years ago, many small towns have been reinvigorated in recent years.

The U.S. Census Bureau measures population change for small towns across the country and for all areas of general-purpose government every year. These governments include incorporated places, minor civil divisions and consolidated cities. Incorporated places are the most common of these, which include cities, towns, boroughs and villages.

There were 19,509 incorporated places across the nation in 2014, the majority of which were  small. A total of 85 percent (16,486) had populations of less than 10,000 on July 1, 2014. An additional 12 percent (2,274) had a population size between 10,000 and 50,000. The remaining 4 percent (749) had populations of 50,000 or more.

Places with populations smaller than 10,000 constituted about 9 percent of the nation’s population on April 1, 2010, and this has held steady for every year between 2010 and 2014.

Cities and towns with fewer than 10,000 people were geographically concentrated in the Midwest and the South. These regions contained 46 percent and 34 percent, respectively, of the nation’s small places.

Contrary to popular belief, many of these places are growing. Between Census Day (April 1, 2010) and July 1, 2014, the populations of small places grew by 293,000 (1 percent), with a corresponding growth in their housing stock of 1 percent as well.

If you would like to continue to explore the population estimates for cities and towns released today, or to examine other population trends in the United States, please go to For the economic side of this story, see the Census Bureau’s ZIP Code Business Patterns, which provide statistics on business establishments with small numbers of employees for specific industries, and the Economic Census Geographic Area Series, which offers statistics on the number of establishments in cities and towns, also by industry.

Posted in Population | 3 Comments

One-Stop Shop for Stats on Specific Industries: Now with Even More Information

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Written by: Andrew Hait

Screenshot of industry snapshot tool

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or business development specialist looking for key information about an industry in your local area, you are in luck.

The Census Bureau today launched an expanded version of its Industry Snapshots. These Snapshots permit you to select one of more than 1,000 detailed industries and pull up national and state-level data tables and county-level thematic maps for that industry.

Starting today, these popular Industry Snapshots include annual statistics on employer and nonemployer businesses from County Business Patterns and Nonemployer Statistics, respectively. This includes key measures such as number of establishments, employment and payroll, as well as per capita ratios using data from population estimates up to 2013. This update enhances the data previously available from the economic census, which is conducted every five years in years ending in “2” and “7.”

To access the Industry Snapshots, visit the “Finding Data” page on the Census Bureau’s Economic Census site ( From there, click on “View an Industry Snapshot” and choose the specific industry you are interested in from the menu or the search tool. Once the page for that industry appears, you can select your state to view a thematic state map by county that you can customize. A detailed table showing current and historical data for that industry in your state as well as bar and line charts is also shown. So from A (accountants’ offices) to Z (zoos and botanical gardens), Industry Snapshots now really has you covered!


Industry Snapshots is just one of several tools that use the Census Bureau’s application programming interface. The API lets developers create custom apps to reach new users and makes key statistics more accessible than ever before.

The updated Industry Snapshots are just one way the Census Bureau continues to transform the way we deliver data to the public. The Industry Snapshots provide a “one-stop shop” to the most up-to-date key statistics on any specific industry in your state, now utilizing multiple data sources.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments