- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2002

The Census Bureau released a sea of data last year, and from it has emerged the picture of a nation that earns and learns more than it did a decade ago and that is growing faster and more diverse than ever.
The figures show that between 1990 and 2000:
Median household income the amount that half the population exceeded and half did not leapt to $41,343, an $11,287 gain.
Eighty-two percent of persons 25 years and older have graduated from high school, up from 75.2 percent. Twenty-five percent in that age group had a bachelor's degree or better a 5 percent gain.
The number of U.S. residents soared to 281,421,906, an increase of 33 million, or 13.2 percent, an unexpectedly high and historically rapid gain.
There are 31.1 million foreign-born persons in the nation, including 8 million "illegals." In 1990, the foreign-born population numbered 19.8 million. The Hispanic population currently numbers 35.3 million, 2.5 million more than previously estimated. That means Hispanics now rival blacks as the country's largest minority group.
Some of these data come from the 2000 census the head count the Constitution requires every 10 years so Congress will have current population figures when recalculating the number of seats each state will have in the House of Representatives. The detailed "lifestyle" facts about education and income are from a "supplemental" survey taken simultaneously with Census 2000.
The supplemental census asked a representative sample of some 700,000 persons 41 questions of the kind that appeared in the decennial Census "long form."
Although the survey queried fewer persons than the long form, which went to one in six residents, it is the biggest survey the Census Bureau has undertaken aside from the decennial enumeration.
Long form results won't be released until spring. But the supplemental survey has revealed facts on such topics as:
Commuting. It's taking Americans longer than ever to drive to work an average of 24.3 minutes, one way.
The average, one-way trip for persons working in the District is 28.5 minutes. New York City workers have it worst. It takes them 39 minutes.
The work trip takes Marylanders 28.5 minutes, second to New York state residents, who travel for 29.1 minutes. Virginians make it to the job in 25.4 minutes.
Seventy-six percent of workers drive to work alone, a gain of 3 percent.
Vehicles. A record 35.3 million of America's 115 million households own one car, van, or truck. Some 40.3 million own two vehicles, and 19.1 million own three. Almost 10 million households have no vehicles.
Homes. The national median value of owner-occupied, single-family housing units soared from $79,000 in 1990 to $120,162. But in Hawaii, the median is $284,536; in California, $215,597.
One in four homes has seven or more rooms, and one of five new homes has 3,000 square feet of space. Mortgages are big, too. The median monthly mortgage is $1,307, contrasted with $737 in 1990.
The median monthly rent is $612, contrasted with $447 in 1990.
Language. Persons who speak a language other than English at home now constitute 17.6 percent of the U.S. population, up from 13.8 percent a decade ago. California leads in this regard, with 39.5 percent of its residents speaking a foreign language.
Telephones. Some 3.2 million homes lack phones, down from 4.8 million in 1990.
Families. The number of married-couple households (54.5 million) slipped from 55 percent to 52 percent, while the number of people living alone (27.2 million) rose from 24.6 percent to 25.8 percent.
The number of households consisting of unmarried persons living with or without children came to 5.5 million. The persons in 594,391 of those households are of the same sex.
For the first time, the Census Bureau analyzed the number of "multigenerational family households."
It found there are 3.9 million three-generation families 2.6 million consist of the householder plus his children and his grandchildren, and 1.3 million consist of the householder, the householder's children and the children's parents or parents-in-law.
An additional 78,000 families harbor four generations.
Sex. The number of males in the U.S. population increased faster than the number of females. That means the traditional numeric gap between the sexes is closing, although women make up 51.3 percent of the population (143.4 million) and men 50.9 percent (138.1 million). The margin of difference between the populations dropped from 6.2 million in 1990 to 5.3 million in 2000.
Of 245 places in the country with 100,000 or more people, males outnumber females in just 44. And among the 10 largest U.S. cities, men outnumber women only in Phoenix, San Diego and Dallas.
Age. There was a 55 percent increase in the number of persons in the 50-to-54-year-old age group, which means that it is the decade's fastest-growing group and indicates the baby boomers persons born in 1946 through 1950 are well-entrenched in middle age. With an increase of 45 percent, the 45-to-49-year-olds form the second-fastest-growing group.
There are 22.7 million persons in the country aged 35 to 39. They constitute 8.1 percent of the population and are the largest single group. The nation's 22.4 million 40-to-44-year-olds make up 8 percent of the populace and constitute the second-largest group.
The number of people age 85 and over increased 38 percent while the number of people 65 to 74 years old increased by less than 2 percent.
Race. America's 211,460,626 whites form the largest racial group 75.1 percent of the total population.
Blacks number 34,658,190 (12.3 percent); Asians, 10,242,998 (3.6 percent); American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2,475,956 (0.9 percent) and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, 398,835 (0.1 percent).
Hispanics, who may be of any race, number 35,305,818, or 12.5 percent, of the population, slightly more than the number of blacks.
The supplemental survey that produced most of this information is part of a continuing trial intended to show it is feasible to replace the census long form with a permanent "American Community Survey" that would question a large sample of the nation's population each year.
If Congress approves the measure, the community survey will begin next year and start producing some of the most descriptive population data available. Because the survey would be continuous, with analyzed data reported annually, it is expected to be more valuable to Congress than the long form data. After all, the long form data, which is collected just once a decade, takes two years to process and is almost guaranteed to be outdated.
The complete Census 2000 and supplementary survey results can be seen at www.census.gov.


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