Are millennials living with mom and dad in your state?

Young adults, often unable to find good jobs, even with a college education, are increasingly staying with their parents…

Almost a third of young adults — 18 to 34 — lived with a parent in 2014, making it the most common living arrangement for that age group for the first time in modern history, according to a study published earlier this year by the Pew Research Center…

Multiple reasons are behind the trend, lingering effects of the Great Recession, high housing costs and student debt among them. Whatever the causes, millennials in some states are living with their parents in far greater numbers than in others.

In New Jersey, a whopping 43.9 percent of young people are living with at least one parent, according to a Stateline analysis of 2014 census data from IPUMS at the University of Minnesota. Connecticut (38.8 percent) was second and New York (37.4 percent) was third, followed by Florida (37.2 percent) and California (36.7 percent).

States with the fewest young people living with a parent were North Dakota (15.6 percent), Wyoming (18.7 percent), South Dakota (19.7 percent) and Nebraska and Iowa (both 20.7 percent).

In New York City and surrounding states, scarce and expensive rental housing is a major factor pushing young adults to return home, said Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California…

Full nests are also prevalent in other areas where renters are severely burdened by housing costs of more than half of their income, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando.

The high cost of homeownership is also a factor. Renters who might otherwise be homeowners end up renting longer, tying up the supply for those coming up behind them…

Millennials are the most educated generation ever. But in areas where housing is extraordinarily expensive, a college degree is not necessarily a ticket out of your childhood bedroom…

But financial stress may be only part of the story. More young people were living with their parents even before the Great Recession hit. Some see cultural factors at work…

Resurgent ethnic traditions may be another factor: In the New York metropolitan area, most adult children of Italian heritage live with parents…

In the New York area, “co-residence” rates are also high for people with Irish, Dominican, Puerto Rican and African-American roots…

And underemployment among young people…who can’t find the work they trained for, is also a factor, said Christopher McCarty, director of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Florida’s official unemployment rate is 5 percent. But McCarty points out that 10.6 percent of workers are unemployed or underemployed, with low-paid jobs they are overqualified for or part-time jobs when they would rather work full-time.

Whatever the reasons, change is often difficult for the families involved, parents and children alike. Some of this brings smiles, scripts for TV sitcoms. Some of it can end in explosive differences, exaggerated intrafamily conflict.

American household expenditures, income and expenses

Expenditures are a key but often overlooked element of family balance sheets. In measuring household financial security, significant attention is typically paid to income, but much less to whether those resources are sufficient to cover expenses. To begin addressing this gap…this chartbook uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey to explore household expenditures, examining changes in overall spending and across individual categories from 1996 to 2014. It also details the differences in expenditures by income, with a particular focus on the degree to which households have slack in their budgets that could be devoted to savings and other wealth-building efforts.

This analysis focuses on the working-age population, which includes survey respondents or their spouses who are between the ages of 20 and 60. For the purpose of examining differences in spending by income…

The analysis shows that both median income and expenditures contracted after the Great Recession, reflecting the economic turmoil of the country. By examining household spending, this research helps to shed light on family financial security over time, and especially in recent years.

Read it and weep.

Who actually earns the minimum wage?

Minimum-wage increases could appear on the ballot in as many as 34 states this year. President Obama has also proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10, from $7.25. Who makes the minimum wage, and who would be affected by any of the proposed increases..?

Minimum-wage workers are older than they used to be. Their average age is 35, and 88 percent are at least 20 years old. Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

These patterns are somewhat new. In 1979, 27 percent of low-wage workers (those making $10.10 per hour or less in today’s dollars) were teenagers, compared with 12 percent in 2013…

They’re split fairly evenly between full-timers and part-timers. Most — 54 percent — work full-time schedules (at least 35 hours per week), and another 32 percent work at least half time (20-34 hours per week).

Many have kids. About one-quarter (27 percent) of these low-wage workers are parents, compared with 34 percent of all workers. In all, 19 percent of children in the United States have a parent who would benefit from the increase…

A minimum-wage increase does much more to help low- and moderate-income households than any other groups. Households that make less than $20,000 receive 5 percent of the nation’s total earnings, for instance — but would receive 26 percent of the benefit from the proposed minimum-wage increase.

Most are women. Women make up 48 percent of the work force yet 55 percent of the would-be beneficiaries of the increase in the minimum wage.

Most are white, but minorities are overrepresented. Hispanic workers account for 16 percent of the work force but 24 percent of those who would be affected by the wage increase. For African-Americans, the comparable shares are 11 percent of the work force and 15 percent of those who would gain from the increase.

They’ve got some schooling, though less than other workers. Of those who would be affected by the increase, 78 percent have at least finished high school, about one-third have some college under their belts, and about 10 percent have graduated from college. By comparison, 91 percent of the total work force has at least graduated from high school, and 34 percent have completed college.

As with the population as a whole, low-wage workers are more educated than in the past. In the late 1960s, less than half had finished high school and only 17 percent had attended any college at all.

Their earnings are a big part of their family budgets. The average worker in this group brings home half of his or her household’s earnings; 19 percent of those who would get the raise are sole earners. Parents who would benefit from the increase bring home an even larger share of their families’ earnings: 60 percent.

They’re in every state, but are overrepresented in the South. Because most of the states that have raised their minimums above the federal level are outside the South, a national increase would have more bite there. Workers in Southern states make up 17 percent of the nation’s work force but 21 percent of minimum-wage beneficiaries; workers in Northern states make up about the same share of the work force but just 16 percent of those who benefit from the proposed increase.

While I tend to think of our elected officials as fitting snugly into the ignoranus class – especially regarding science, sophistication and world view – no doubt they know the real numbers even when they’re preaching populist gospel in a calculated soundbite. That’s a complex way of saying – the next time you hear a Tea Party senator or Confederate congressman spouting off that minimum wage is only for teenagers flipping burgers, he’s lying.

German cabinet agrees on $11.75/hr minimum wage


Demonstration by Confederation of German Trade Unions for minimum wage

Germany’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.75) per hour – a flagship project for the Social Democrats who share power with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

The minimum wage will take effect in Europe’s biggest economy from 2015 but will not cover minors, trainees and some interns. Some employers can continue to pay their workers less until the end of 2016 if they are covered by certain collective agreements…

The Bundestag lower house of parliament is due to debate the law in June before passing it in July. The Bundesrat upper house is expected to wave it through after the summer break.

Employer lobbies say blah, blah, blah.

Of the 28 states in the European Union, 21 have minimum wages. EU states without minimum wages tend to have smaller low-wage sectors than Germany and a bigger proportion of their workers are covered by collective wage deals between unions and employers.

Then, we have the United States where our courageous Democrats are considered too radical for Republicans and the rest of the right-wing crowd for offering a proposal that wouldn’t match inflation since the last update years ago – by the time the change took place. Assuming it ever gets past the Party of No in Congress.

Just one more moment to look back over the half-century or so since the end of WW2 and consider our victory in the War in Europe and what the losers have achieved compared to the winners.

The high price [and extra cost] of being a gay couple


Two-year-old Evan plays with his dads, Kevin Yoder, right, and Harvey Hurdle

Much of the debate over legalizing gay marriage has focused on God and Scripture, the Constitution and equal protection.

But we see the world through the prism of money. And for years, we’ve heard from gay couples about all the extra health, legal and other costs they bear. So we set out to determine what they were and to come up with a round number — a couple’s lifetime cost of being gay.

It was much more complicated than we initially imagined, and that’s probably why we’ve never seen similar efforts. We looked at benefits that routinely go to married heterosexual couples but not to gay couples, like certain Social Security payments. We plotted out the cost of health insurance for couples whose employers don’t offer it to domestic partners. Even tax preparation can cost more, since gay couples have to file two sets of returns. Still, many couples may come out ahead in one area: they owe less in income taxes because they’re not hit with the so-called marriage penalty.

Our goal was to create a hypothetical gay couple whose situation would be similar to a heterosexual couple’s. So we gave the couple two children and assumed that one partner would stay home for five years to take care of them. We also considered the taxes in the three states that have the highest estimated gay populations — New York, California and Florida. We gave our couple an income of $140,000, which is about the average income in those three states for unmarried same-sex partners who are college-educated, 30 to 40 years old and raising children under the age of 18.

Here is what we came up with. In our worst case, the couple’s lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.

RTFA. Long, detailed, through research – good journalism.

In a sense it’s just part of the healthcare debate – because that’s the most significant expense defining a lifetime relationship, an expandable family. In another, it’s the cost of bigotry that’s tailed along through our history – from the battles for enfranchisement at the polls to equal opportunity at education and employment.