Sunday, September 07, 2014

52 minus 23 =

The PG has a story on national demographics and the latest factoid of note that the biggest single age cohort in the US is now made up of those 23 years old.  See: Being 23: The meteoric rise of Millennials a powerful force. Sure sounds like the same is true here?

It also says that "The U.S. Census does not break down the number of people by specific ages like its national figures," which is not quite true.  The census itself has no local intercensal estimates is correct, but it certainly had single year of age data from 2010 and that tells a pretty different story for Pittsburgh. The Census Bureau's national age breakdown for 2014 is itself just an estimate, and their are comparable local estimates out there.

In 2010, the single biggest age group in the Pittsburgh MSA was certainly not made up of those 23 years old and it wasn't even close. The biggest age cohort in the Pittsburgh MSA in 2010?  52 years old.  In fact the 5 largest age cohorts in Pittsburgh (the MSA) were ALL in their 50s. The number of 23 year olds is not even close to the number of any of the age cohorts in their 50s.  So a fun story nationally, but not really a local story no matter how you look at the data, almost the opposite.  And no, the last couple years has not seen a complete inversion of those numbers for Pittsburgh MSA. Here is what I see for the 5 largest single year age cohorts here....

Age                    #    
52 39,916
50 38,949
51 38,904
53 38,803
54 37,986

For comparison:
23 29,457

Source: 2010 Decennial Census SF1,  Table QT-P2,  Single Years of Age and Sex: 2010  

Data is sacred they say, but actual digits are pesky. Turns out that among age cohorts before mortality impacts the numbers, say the ages18-60, the number of 23 year olds in Pittsburgh (MSA) is actually one of the smaller cohorts we have here.  Think about that and go re-read the article.

and for those wondering.. not even true in the city of Pittsburgh where the largest age cohort is made up of 19 year olds, most certainly because of the young matriculants at local colleges and universities. 



Blogger Paz said...

Aren't you burying the lede a little bit, re: the city? Taking out 19-22 year olds, which are your typical undergrads, the single biggest year turns out to be...23. And the next 5 are all in the late 20s too.

Sunday, September 07, 2014 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but wasn't the same also true in 2000 for the city of Pittsburgh.. i.e. if you take out typical undergrad years, the biggest cohorts were those in their early 20s even then. Cross-tab age by students and you see the impact of enrollment well into the 20s. Not anything to do with the national demographic blip in 23 year olds in 2014. The lede is what? City has a lot of students, as it has had for some time?

Sunday, September 07, 2014 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Is Wander trying some kind of open carry thing or should I worry?

Monday, September 08, 2014 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger joe said...

Yes, we are old, but not in the way. What will become of our aging health care workforce?

How many at ages 50, 51, 52, 53 and 54 were there in 1990?

Ya Gotta Believe
(seriously, somebody bring together all those identified in the credits of that - h/t to @zjharr

Monday, September 08, 2014 11:20:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

This article has a nice chart illustrating what happened to the City's population distribution between 2000 and 2010:

The upshot is that both the early 20s and late 20s gained share, as did 50-64. That second thing is more or less the Baby Boomers moving through (2010-64=1946), and in fact you can see the same hump ten years earlier in the 2000 distribution.

That trough in the middle around the 35-44 range is, I believe, mostly the missing kids of the missing young adults of the steel bust era. Of course there is a natural outflow from cities to suburbs as people hit family-raising age, but that one is too steep to be normal. And then I think we are getting to their missing grandchildren in the 5-14 range.

Anyway, that 20s spike is not normal, and not explainable even by national demographics, and we have argued before exactly how much of that is purely transient students. That means interesting questions for the future are how many of those people end up continuing through the age distribution in future (subject to normal suburban outflow patterns), whether their kids will start showing up in the distribution (note the relative recovery in the under 5s), and whether there will be continued rapid growth in the 20s fueling more such changes in the future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 8:44:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

I'm in the trough. No wonder I'm so alone. It's all senior citizens and hipsters.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

One thing to be said in favor of being in the trough--people may look back on the relevant period as a golden age for buying property in the City.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 2:14:00 PM  

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