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Lawler on Demographics: New Population Estimates Incorporate Unprecedented Methodological Changes
Demographics are very useful in predicting long term trends for housing and the economy.
The following note from housing economist Tom Lawler discusses the most recent release from the Census Bureau.
Last week Census released its “Vintage 2022” estimates of the US resident population by single year of age, and the estimates incorporated unprecedented methodological changes that, if accurate, significantly changed estimates of the age distributions of the US population from previous “vintage” estimates.
In December Census noted that because of some “issues” with Census 2020, it would create a “blended” base (or decadal starting point) for April 1, 2020 that would incorporate age and sex data from the 2020 Demographic Analysis. Stated another way, for (I believe) the first time ever the starting point for this decade’s population estimates do NOT reflect the age distribution from the Decennial Census. Here is an excerpt from its methodology section.
“At the national level, then, it is accurate to say that resident, household, and group quarters (GQ) population totals are derived from the 2020 Census, age and sex detail is drawn from 2020 DA, and race and Hispanic origin detail comes from V2020.”
Incorporation of this “blended” base resulted in significant changes in the age distribution of the resident population, as shown in the table below.
As the table shows, while the total population estimates for 4/1/2020 are virtually unchanged, there were sizable changes in population estimates for various age groups.
The Vintage 2022 estimates for net international migration, which normally have relied heavily on the ACS (which had Covid-related issues), relied on alternative data sources for the totals. Here is an excerpt from the methodology section.
After Vintage 2019, we updated the methodology to account for the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on international migration. The national non-U.S.-born immigration, non-U.S.-born emigration, and U.S.-born net migration totals are adjusted according to 2019-2022 time series on visa issuances, new student enrollments, refugee admissions, and humanitarian migrant cases from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Institute of International Education, Refugee Processing Center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Department of Justice. COVID-19 adjustments are for national totals only. We make no adjustments to states, counties, and characteristics.
Here are the Vintage 2022 estimates for net international migration compared to the Vintage 2021 estimates.
Late last year Census also released updated net international migration estimates for last decade, and for the 2011-2020 period these updated estimates were over 1.05 million higher than the previous estimates from Vintage 2020. However, Census has NOT yet released updated intercensal population estimates (either totals or by age) for the 2010 to 2019 period, and the latest available intercensal estimates 99 from Vintage 2020 – are NOT consistent either with the Census 2020 results or the most recent Vintage 2022 population estimates. As such, there currently is NO official set of population estimates for 2010-2019 that can be compared to the most recent 2020-2022 estimates, which is a bummer for people who like to look at time series. Hopefully updated intercensal estimates will be released soon.
The Vintage 2022 population estimates suggest that the US population grew by 1,256,003 from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022, a significant increase from the 520,042 increase the previous year. Here is a table showing the components of change.
Note that updated CDC death estimates suggest that Census’ estimate for deaths in 2022 may be understated by close to 20,000.
Here is a table showing the Vintage 2022 estimates of the resident population by 5-year age groups for the last three years.
I have, by the way, sent emails to my contacts at Census asking if these estimates were “correct,” but they are all away at a conference. If in fact they are, then I will attempt to do an updated intermediate term projection of the US resident population by age, probably later next week.
CR Note: The following graph, based on the 2022 population estimate, shows the U.S. population by age in July 2022 according to the Census Bureau. Note that the largest age group is in the early-to-mid 30s. There is also a large cohort in their early 20s. This estimated change in the late teens / early 20’s population in 2020 - that Lawler highlighted - is important (if accurate) for multi-family housing.
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