Thursday, May 5, 2011

US Demographic and Labor Changes

Interesting factoids from the Census with a lot of great maps and charts (HT: Newmark): Where has US population growth been above average? Mostly the mountains and deserts of the West, metropoloitan Texas, all of Florida, and the DC-NYC corridor.

Detroit is now smaller than it was in 1920.

Not adjusting for inflation, the greatest per capita income growth happened in DC, Louisiana (!), Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana, growing by 50% between 2000 and 2010. The states that were unable to keep up with the 27% inflation over the decade: Navada, Michigan, Georgia, and Colorado, with Ohio and Indiana just keeping up.

(HT: Economist) “… Whites still constitute a slender majority, 54%, of those under 18” but with minorities accounting for 92% of the population growth of the last decade, fewer than half of the children my sons age or younger are white. So even though population growth has been in traditionally Republican-leaning states, if the growth is largely in Democrat-leaning population, there could be some real political shifts in the long run.

Combine all this with declining male employment, particularly for the less-educated and the picture looks a lot grimmer. The Economist’s article on US employment policies makes for interesting reading.
French complains that government regulation is making it more costly to hire and fire people. He argues this leads firms to hire seniors rather than teens and that this does a real disservice to the future of the country. The one difficulty is that the regulations he cites do not discriminate between the young and the elderly. His primary argument applies just as surely without any government interference at all:
Mr. Jones with a 40-year track record of showing up on time and really needing to supplement his Social Security check is a surer, safer bet than Danny Jones, who, while seeming bright and enthusiastic,  has never held a job and has classes and band to schedule around.  Who knows if Danny Boy will stick around?

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