Nation to Become a Plurality, but Some Areas Already Are

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Written by: Jason E. Devine and Jennifer M. Ortman

When people discuss our nation’s increasing diversity, they often think about the point at which the non-Hispanic White alone population will comprise less than 50 percent of the nation’s total population. This transition has been described as the point at which we become a “majority-minority” nation. Here, minority is defined as any group other than non-Hispanic White alone. At this point, the non-Hispanic White alone population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority and the United States would become a “plurality” of racial and ethnic groups.

While the nation is projected to become both a “majority-minority” and a “plurality” nation by 2043, some states and many counties have already crossed these thresholds. California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, and the District of Columbia have populations that are already “majority-minority.” Nearly one-third of Americans already live in a “majority-minority” county. According to new Census Bureau estimates released today, this was the case in 355 (11 percent) of the nation’s 3,143 counties in 2013.

The term “plurality” considers the diversity of the aggregate minority population. The populations in the “majority-minority” states are also considered “pluralities,” because no race (alone) or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of the state’s population.

In 2013, of the 355 counties where the combined minority populations make up more than 50 percent of the population, 143 counties are “pluralities,” where no race or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of their county’s total population. In the remaining 212 counties, a race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic White alone (e.g., Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black alone, non-Hispanic Asian alone, etc.) makes up greater than 50 percent of the county’s total population.

The figure below shows examples for the race and Hispanic origin distribution of 10 “plurality” counties (of those with populations greater than 25,000 in 2013), where no one group accounts for more than 40 percent of the total population. Three of these counties are in Hawaii, two each are in New York and California, and the remaining three counties are in North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas.

Selected Plurality Counties: July 1, 2013

To explore more information on the latest demographic characteristics of the nation, states, and counties, please visit: http://www.census.gov/popest/

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Why Do We Move? Did the Reasons Change Over Time?

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Written by: David Ihrke

Between 2012 and 2013, 35.9 million people age 1 and over moved in the United States. Each person moved for a specific reason or set of reasons, whether it was to establish their own household, attend or leave college, or for a change of climate. If we compare back to 1999, we can see how the main reason for moving given has changed over time.

A new U.S. Census Bureau report — “Reason for Moving: 2012 to 2013,” based on data primarily from the 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey — sheds light on the reasons why people moved during the previous year. Respondents have 19 possible choices, including the option to write in a response. A comparable version of this question has been asked on the survey since 1999.

It is interesting to note how estimates for these responses have changed since 1999. For example, “to establish own household” was selected less as a reason for moving in 1999 than in 2013 (7.7 percent compared with 10.5 percent). This indicates that establishing a household was either a more important or more common reason for moving in 2013 than it was in 1999.

Some reasons did not significantly change during this period, such as moving because of a “new job or job transfer.” In 1999, it accounted for 9.5 percent of the reasons for moving. In 2013, it was 9.0 percent.

Another way to review results from the reason for move data is to collapse the 19 individual reasons into four categories: family-related, job-related, housing-related and other. This allows you to follow fluctuations over time more efigure1_rbasily.

Figure 1 contains the four collapsed categories from 1999 through 2013. As you can see, there is some variation within the categories by year but none of them intersect. This means that the order of the collapsed reason for move categories has not changed over time. One other important aspect of this figure is the recent and sudden decrease in the collapsed “other” category. While the exact reason for this decline is unknown, it is apparent that it was not simply a shift from one collapsed category to another. On the contrary, the family-related and housing-related categories have increased from this shift. The apparent change in the job-related category was not statistically significant.

 

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Oil and Gas Continue to Fuel Population and Housing Growth in North Dakota

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Written by: Rodger Johnson

For much of the last century, population totals declined in some areas of the northern Great Plains as people were drawn to opportunities in other parts of the country. In particular, faster growing areas in the southern and western states, such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, experienced substantial population growth.

Recently, the trend in parts of the northern Great Plains has reversed as the oil and gas extraction industry expanded in areas underlain by the Bakken shale formation, a major petroleum preserve in the northern United States and southern Canada. North Dakota’s population previously peaked in 1930 at 680,845, and only surpassed that level in 2011. The state’s 2013 population estimate now exceeds 723,000.

The city and town level estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau highlight continued population and housing growth among oil and gas rich communities in western North Dakota, a trend already seen in state, county and metro area estimates released earlier this year. In fact, Census Bureau Director John Thompson recently visited North Dakota to witness this spectacular growth first hand and meet with officials and people throughout North Dakota  to see how to best measure it, both in our population estimates and as we prepare for the 2020 Census. Read his blog about his trip here.

Several medium-sized cities in western North Dakota, with between 10,000 and 50,000 people, saw rapid population growth again this year. Williston was the fastest growing city of its size in the country, with an increase of 13.9 percent between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013. This increase bumped the city’s population over 20,000 for the first time in its history. Director Thompson recently toured Williston and other areas of North Dakota to see the growth in the state first-hand.

Dickinson, N.D., another city with one of the fastest-growing populations in the nation (5.5 percent) is in the same part of North Dakota. Dickinson ranked as the third-fastest-growing city in the state during the period, also passing the 20,000 mark this year for the first time.

Several counties in western North Dakota showed corresponding growth in housing units.

Among counties with 5,000 or more units, Williams was the fastest growing in the country, with a 15.6 percent increase in housing units between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013. Stark and Ward counties also experienced rapid increases in the number of new housing units (13.5 and 5.1 percent, respectively).

If you would like to further explore these figures released today or to examine other population trends in the United States, please go to http://www.census.gov/popest/.  You also may wish to contact the North Dakota Census Office for their perspectives on the growth occurring within the state. They are a member of the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates and can be reached at (701) 328-5300 or on their website at www.commerce.nd.gov/census/.

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How Much are School Systems Spending on our Children’s Education?

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Written by: Mark Dixon

For decades, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected data on how governments and school systems spend money on education, and the resulting statistics allow policymakers to see trends.

Current spending per pupil generally increased over the last decade with a slowing of growth for fiscal year 2009 and FY 2010. Current spending per pupil increased slightly from $10,600 in FY 2010 to $10,608 in FY 2011, an increase of only eight dollars from the prior year. Recently released Census Bureau data show spending per pupil in FY 2012 was $10,608, the same amount as the previous year.

Total expenditures of public elementary-secondary school systems decreased slightly (0.4 percent) from $596.3 billion in FY 2011 to $593.8 billion in FY 2012. This is the third straight year (and third year overall) that total expenditures decreased since the Census Bureau began collecting this data annually in 1977.  What contributed to this decline? School systems in this country spent $2.2 billion less on capital outlays such as construction and equipment expenditures, a 4.2 percent decrease from FY 2011. Many other expenditure categories showed only slight increases from the prior year, including employee benefits (2.0 percent increase) and support services expenditures (0.3 percent increase). Spending on instruction decreased 0.4 percent, while spending on salaries and wages decreased by 0.9 percent.

These recently released data provide the ability to compare the financial activity of public elementary and secondary school systems across states.  In addition to school system spending data, the annual Public Education Finances report provides information on the revenues, debt and assets of our nation’s school systems.

Although current spending per pupil for the country as a whole did not change in FY 2012, 29 states showed increases, while 21 states and the District of Columbia showed decreases.

The states (or state equivalent) with the most spending per pupil were New York ($19,552); the District of Columbia ($17,468), which comprises a single urban district; Alaska ($17,390); New Jersey ($17,266); and Connecticut ($16,274).

The states with the least spending per pupil were Utah ($6,206), Idaho ($6,659), Oklahoma ($7,466), Arizona ($7,559) and Mississippi ($8,164).

For more details on the finances of public elementary-secondary schools systems, read the full Public Education Finances: 2012 report.

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Where Do People Bike & Walk to Work? College Towns

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Cartoon_USWritten by: Brian McKenzie

Biking to work has increased in large U.S. cities over the last decade.  In cities such as Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis the percentage of people who biked to work more than doubled. These cities are known for their bike share programs, bike lanes, and pedestrian friendly sidewalks and streets.

Many small (populations of 20,000 to 99,999) and midsized cities (populations of 100,000 to 199,999) also have a sizable share of their workers commuting by biking or walking. Many of these places are better known for the colleges and universities that call them home. With much of the population of college towns made up of students living near the campuses where they are likely employed, it is no surprise that biking and walking are popular among commuters.

Of the 30 small and midsized cities that ranked among the highest in rates of walking to work, 22 were “college towns.” The small city of Ithaca, N.Y., home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, had among the highest rate of walking to work for small cities. In Ithaca more than 42 percent of commuters walked to work. Cambridge, Mass., is a midsized city that also has two large colleges within the city, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Twenty-four percent of its workers commute to work by foot. Cambridge also ranks high among midsized cities with high rates of biking to work, with 7.2 percent of workers commuting by bike. Among smaller cities, Davis, Calif., home to a University of California campus, 18.6 percent of people bike to work.

Several college towns rank high in both walking and biking to work. For example, in the city of Boulder, Colo., home of the University of Colorado, 9.2 percent of people walk to work and 10.5 percent bike to work.

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