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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011


The United States is growing more slowly

From the Brookings report, Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011


Nearly all these 5 (of many) findings from the Brookings  State of Metropolitan America analyses over the past year have major public health implications, especially

  • Americans are increasingly stuck at home
    “Americans move around more than their counterparts in other developed countries, but a lot less than they used to. Some fear that in the short run, homeowners are stuck in places with too few jobs, and not able or willing to move to places with healthier labor markets. Longer run, and perhaps more importantly, states and metro areas that relied too heavily on in-migration for growth must re-calibrate their economies to create better, more diverse job opportunities for current and future residents.”
  • Minorities are driving growth, replenishing America’s youth
    “Large metro areas, and increasingly their suburbs, stand at the forefront of America’s transformation into a multiethnic society. How they respond to and manage that shift, especially the social and economic opportunities they provide to a highly diverse population of families with children, will establish the course for our nation’s well-being over the coming decades. Rapid growth in the immigrant population in some parts of the country produced late-decade policy backlashes that could threaten these places’ longer-run economic well-being.”
  • Boomers continue to age, transforming America’s households
    “The older population is growing everywhere, and a host of public and private services will be adapted to an aging population in the decades to come. Areas that are also gaining younger populations may have a resource advantage in responding to those changes, compared to rapidly aging northern states and metro areas. Yet because the former areas have more racially and ethnically diverse young people, they too may face challenges in managing competition for scarce public resources between predominantly white seniors and minority families with children.”
  • America lost ground in income and poverty in the 2000’s
    “Census 2000 captured American households at a high-water mark economically, a far different situation than they faced in 2010. Economic growth strategies for the coming decade must place greater emphasis on achieving shared prosperity that lifts incomes for a broad segment of households. With unemployment projected to remain high for some time, many parts of the country will confront higher fiscal and social burdens associated with poverty, including concentrated poverty, for the foreseeable future. All metro areas, meanwhile, must continue to adapt a traditionally city-focused social services infrastructure for helping the poor to the reality of region-wide needs.”


Related Resources
                    Great places to start searching for statistics about
    • People and Households (age, children, community, health insurance, housing, income, school enrollement, and much more)
    • Data Access Tools –  links to interactive internet tools (as online mapping tools) and free downloadable software

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Public Health, statistics, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , | Leave a comment

Census Bureau Releases New Set of 5-Year American Community Survey Estimates

Logo of the American Community Survey, a proje...

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Estimates Provide Detailed Look at Every Community Nationwide

From the US Census press release

The U.S. Census Bureau today released findings from the American Community Survey — the most relied-on source for detailed, up-to-date socio-economic statistics covering every community in the nation every year — for the combined years from 2006 to 2010.

Consisting of about 11 billion individual estimates and covering more than 670,000 distinct geographies, the five-year estimates give even the smallest communities timely information on more than 40 topics, such as educational attainment, income, occupation, commuting to work, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

Visitors to the Census Bureau website can find their community’s estimates in the <American FactFinder> database.

“These estimates are ideal for public officials to use to make key decisions,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “School boards will find them helpful in forecasting demand for classroom space, teachers and workforce training programs, and they will be a tremendous asset to planners in identifying traffic concerns and building roads and transit systems to ease commutes. Local governments will also find them useful in forecasting needs for services such as police and fire protection.”

Today’s release is based on completed interviews with almost 2 million housing units each year from 2006 through 2010. By pooling several years of survey responses, the American Community Survey can generate detailed statistical portraits of smaller geographies. The Census Bureau issues new sets of these five-year estimates every year, permitting users to track trends in even the smallest of areas over time.

Two Briefs Using the Five-Year Estimates

In addition to the estimates released in the 940 detailed tables through American FactFinder, the Census Bureau is also releasing today two five-year ACS briefs, which are short, topic-based reports that analyze statistics for a wide range of topics. These new five-year briefs join the series previously only using one-year data and estimates. The five-year briefs take advantage of the very small geography and groups that can only be estimated with five years of data. A complete list of all released Briefs is accessible here: <>.

Native North American Language Speakers Concentrated in a Handful of Counties

Sixty-five percent of Native North American language speakers lived in just three states, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Nine counties within these states contained half the nation’s Native American language speakers. Apache County in Arizona had 37,000 speakers of a Native American language, making it the highest in the nation. McKinley County, N.M., had the second most speakers at 33,000. Together, about 20 percent of all Native American language speakers in the nation lived in these two counties.

The most commonly spoken Native North American language was Navajo, with more than 169,000 people speaking this language nationally. The number of Navajo speakers was nearly nine times larger than the second and third most commonly spoken languages of Yupik and Dakota, with each having about 19,000 speakers. Although the majority of Native North American language speakers resided in an American Indian and Alaska Native area, only 5 percent of people living in an American Indian and Alaska Native area spoke a Native North American language.

More than One-in-Five Live in “Poverty Areas”

People living in poverty tend to be clustered in certain neighborhoods rather than being evenly distributed across geographic areas. About 67 million people across the nation, or 23 percent of the population, lived in “poverty areas” — that is, census tracts with poverty rates of 20 percent or more. Among states, the percentage ranged from 46 percent in Mississippi to 5 percent in New Hampshire. In 15 states and the District of Columbia, more than one-quarter of the population resided in poverty areas.

Of the 10 million people residing in tracts where poverty was especially prevalent (poverty rates of 40 percent or more), 43 percent were white, 38 percent were black, 3 percent were Asian, 11 percent were some other race, and 2 percent reported two or more races.

Individuals residing in tracts with poverty rates of 40 percent or more were less likely to have completed high school, to work year-round, full time and to own a home, and were more likely to be living in a female-householder family and to be receiving food stamps than individuals living in tracts with low poverty rates (poverty rates of less than 13.8 percent).


December 9, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment


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