Robert Groves, Director of the US Census Bureau recently spoke at the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Forum, on the demographic patterns that drive public policy decisions. It was a great presentation with lots of figures. He had five main points:
1. US population growth rate is declining, creating an aging society
Since 1910, the US population has steadily decreased (21%) with the exception of the Great Depression low and the Baby Boomer high.
2. The US is experiencing an increasing immigration rate
Since 1970, the US has experienced in increase in the percentage of foreign born populations. Non-Hispanic whites have decreasing birth rates below 50%.
3. The income disparity is growing
The top quintile earns more than 50% of US income. Income at the 90th percentile is $138,000 and income at the 10th percentile is $12,000.
4. Hispanic and Asian populations are growing in size and dispersing geographically
The Hispanic population is moving from the western US to the north, east, and northeast US since 2000. The Asian population is moving from the two coasts to spread across the country.
5. Hispanic and Asian populations are exhibiting different human capital investment strategies
Hispanics are much less likely to complete high school than all other racial and ethnic groups. Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to have any college or graduate school experience, while Asians are the most likely to have college or graduate school experiences.
These facts provide the backdrop for public policy issues.
- For example, urban populations are increasing, and the mix of populations in urban areas is important to think about the type of transportation that is available and provided.
- Climate change and weather events affect people differently because of their geographical distribution.
- The K-12 educational choices made by parents in different geographical areas is creating regions with less educated residents. The national teacher population is mostly white and non-Hispanic, but teachers are expected to serve an increasing multi-ethnic, multi-lingual student population.
The Census Bureau is breaking out the data into smaller geographical units so it can be better used to inform local policy decisions.
To view the slides or listen to the presentation yourself:
Presentation Slides (Size: 2.7M)
MP3 Audio of Presentation (Size: 7.1M)
MP3 Audio of Q&A Session (Size: 4.9M)