Throwback Thursday: The 1900 Census

Today's surprise from yesteryear features a copy of the 1900 Census abstract book we found in our archives.The book is over 440 pages long and it contains enough statistics to make even Ken Jennings' head explode. But here are some you'll find interesting:

U.S. Population
1890: 62,947,714
1900: 75,994,575 (about 51% male)

Indiana in 1900
Population: 2,516,462
Population engaged in gainful occupations (at least 10 years of age): 1,006,755
Foreign born population: 1,058
Population unable to speak English (at least 10 years of age): 12,118
Males of "militia age": 530,615
Population attending school: 491,951
Illiterate population (at least 10 years of age): 90,539

The Voting Population is Gettin’ on in Years

An intriguing paper from Brookings relays how America’s voting population is skewing older. This is the first time in history (or at least the first census) in which people 45 and older made up the majority of the voting population.

These trends have combined today to yield an older nation. Median U.S. age is 37.2—up from 32.6 in 1990. Now nearly four in ten Americans (39 percent) are over age 45, up from 34 percent in 2000 and 31 percent in 1990…

Due to baby boomers “aging in place,” the population age 45 and over grew 18 times as
fast as the population under age 45 between 2000 and 2010. The aging of the U.S. population is most apparent when viewed from the perspective of age group growth patterns (Figure 1A). Each one of the broad age groups over age 45 show higher 10-year growth rates than each of those under age 45. As a consequence, the age-45-and-above population increased by more than one-quarter while the under-45 population increased by a mere 1.4 percent..

This advanced “middle aging” of our society may have important impacts on our politics, as this is the first census when persons age 45 and over represent a majority (53 percent) of the voting-age (18 and over) population. The political clout of older Americans will be even more magnifi ed if the traditional higher turnout of this group continues, and as the competition for resources between the old and the young becomes more intense.

Not All Aging is Created Equally

OK, it’s no secret that America is aging. But U.S. Census numbers reveal sharp differences in where younger populations are locating. Interesting numbers emerge from taking a close look at the recent Census counts.

Due to baby boomers “aging in place,” the population age 45 and over grew 18 times as fast as the population under age 45 between 2000 and 2010. All states and metropolitan areas are showing noticeable growth in their older and “advanced middle age” populations which, for the first time, comprise a majority of the nation’s voting-age population.

Although all parts of the nation are aging, there is a growing divide between areas that are experiencing gains or losses in their younger populations. In 28 of the 50 states, and 36 of the 100 largest metro areas, the population below age 45 declined from 2000 to 2010. Yet in 29 metro areas, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, and Atlanta, the under-45 population grew by at least 10 percent over the decade.

Areas experiencing the fastest senior (age 65+) growth are located in the Sun Belt, while areas with the highest concentrations of seniors are located primarily in Florida, the Northeast, and the Midwest. Yet baby boom generation “pre-seniors,” now just turning 65, are growing rapidly in all areas of the country due to aging in place. College towns such as Austin, Raleigh, Provo, and Madison are among those where pre-seniors are growing fastest.

Suburbs are aging more rapidly than cities with higher growth rates for their age-45-and-above populations and larger shares of seniors. People age 45 and older represent 40 percent of suburban residents, compared to 35 percent of city residents.

Metropolitan suburbs differ sharply in the degree to which they are attracting young adults and children. The suburbs of 34 metropolitan areas, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, registered declines in their child and under-45 populations in the 2000s, leaving high concentrations of “advanced middle aged” and older residents. An even larger number of cities experienced losses in these younger populations. 

Census Facts About American Businesses

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council has gleaned 10 interesting bullet points about U.S. businesses from the most recent census. Most likely, No. 11 would have been, "It’s now documented that Donald Trump has the most creative hair of all American business owners."

Consider the following "Ten Fascinating Facts about Business" based on the Census findings:

  • 51.6 percent of businesses were operated primarily from someone’s home.
  • 23.8 percent of employer firms operated out of a home.
  • 62.9 percent of non-employer businesses were home-based.
  • 20.8 percent of new businesses used no start-up capital.
  • "Roughly three in 10 (30.6 percent) of the respondent firms that required start-up capital launched their business with less than $5,000. Of the firms that needed start-up capital, 17.5 percent of employer firms needed less than $5,000; for nonemployer firms, the figure was 35.8 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, 1.5 percent of the firms needing start-up capital required $1 million or more for this purpose."
  • "One in 10 businesses (10.4 percent) was started or acquired by owners who used a credit card to finance the start-up or acquisition of their business. A similar percentage (10.7 percent) financed their start-up or acquisition with a business loan from a bank or financial institution."
  • Surprisingly, "e-commerce sales were reported by only 6.6 percent of firms."
  • "About 28.2 percent of firms were family-owned. These family-owned firms accounted for 42.0 percent of all firms’ receipts."
  • "Business owners were well-educated: 50.8 percent of owners of respondent firms had a college degree."
  • And 13.6 percent of business owners were foreign born.

Trivia Time: Fun with the Census

As Census time approaches, let’s see how much you know about American demographics: Take this quiz featuring 10 questions.

I’m hoping you achieve more than 20%, because then you will have defeated me. (In my defense, I thought some of the answers seemed too obvious so I went with another answer.) The old reverse psychology let me down in this instance … as it does in most instances.

2010 Census: Keeping Count (and Earning Cash)

What if I told you the U.S government plans to create 45,000 jobs in Indiana this year?

OK, maybe not the permanent, high-paying jobs we’re looking for. But that’s how many Hoosier workers will be hired for the 2010 Census.  The temporary positions (many lasting two to six weeks) will pay between $12.25 and $15 per hour. Jobs include census takers, office clerks and crew leaders.

Interested job seekers must take a basic skills test (check out the practice exam) and undergo a background check. Testing is going on now in Marion County and other parts of the state. Testing times and locations are available by calling toll-free (866) 861-2010. More information about the 2010 Census and employment is available on the state’s census site.

So what’s the big deal with the census? The United States conducted its first one in 1790 and has done so every decade since then. The population count determines the number of seats Indiana and others states have in the U.S. House of Representatives. Data also is used to determine political districts and funding distribution for schools, roads, elderly care and neighborhood improvement.

Basically, if every Hoosier is not counted that means less representation and less federal funding for communities. Most people will not fill the role of census taker, but all should take the time to fill out the 10-question form (look for it in the mail in mid-March) – that way a census worker won’t have to come knocking.

2010 Numbers Matter — for the Next 10 Years: Congressional Lines Redrawn

For those politically inclined, the work on the next election often begins before the current one takes place. In other words, while November 2008 was drawing plenty of attention at this time last year, there were at least some looking ahead to 2010. That is especially true when the "next" period ends with the number zero.

The every-10-year-period means a new census, a reapportionment of House seats in Congress and new maps for both legislative and congressional districts. There will be a great deal of time to discuss the politics of drawing the lines. For now, the early projections are in place on which states will be winners and losers in the amount of representation they have in Washington.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has its reapportionment outlook. Remember, they are only estimates at this point, but Indiana’s nine seats appear safe. The state, of course, came up short after the 2000 and 1980 population counts — losing a spot in the House each time. (Indiana once had 13 districts before dropping one each after the 1940 and 1930 censuses).

So who wins and who loses in 2011? The big, big winner, according to NCSL, is Texas with the potential of gaining three seats. The South and West also look to benefit from one additional seat for Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah.

On the other side, eight states stand to lose one seat each. They are Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Side notes: If the estimate holds, California would not increase its congressional power for the first time since becoming a state in 1850. Also, pending legislation would increase the size of the House from 435 to 437 — giving the District of Columbia its first vote and allowing one more state to add a seat. (Utah would gain the additional representative, for now, if the legislation passes this year.)