The Office of Consumer Affairs
December 1997 Report
DOC Consumer-Related Activities
The following agencies are included in this report:
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS
-- Almost 80 percent of the 2.1 million Asian and Pacific Islander families in the United States in 1996 consisted of married couples.
-- The Asian and Pacific Islander population was estimated at 9.6 million persons in 1996 and represented 3.7 percent of the total population.
-- Fifty-nine percent of all households maintained by Asian and Pacific Islanders had three or more persons in them in 1996.
-- About 42 percent of the country's Asian and Pacific Islanders 25 years of age and older had at least a bachelor's degree and 83 percent at least a high school education.
For questions about the data, contact Claudette Bennett (301-457-2402). For more information, see The Asian and Pacific Islander Population in the United States: March 1996 (Update). For ordering information, contact Customer Services (301-457-4100). The Internet address is: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/race/api96.html.
-- A quarter of a million more people left the nation's metropolitan areas than moved into them during a 12-month period that ended in March 1996--the second time since the mid-1980's that metropolitan areas lost population due to migration.
-- Race and ethnic minorities moved more; Whites had lower overall rates of moving (16 percent) than either African Americans or Asian and Pacific Islanders (about 20 percent each). Persons of Hispanic origin had the highest move rate (23 percent).
-- Forty-three million Americans--16 percent of the population--moved during March 1995-March 1996. Most of the moves were local; 26.7 million stayed in the same county, 8 million moved between counties within the same state, 6.5 million changed states and 1.4 million moved to the U.S. from abroad.
For questions about the data, contact Kristin Hansen (301-457-2454). For more information, see Geographic Mobility: March 1995 to March 1996, (P20-497). For ordering information, contact Customer Services (301-457-4100).
-- In 1995, family median net worth was $56,400.
-- In 1996, 32 percent of households owned dogs and 27 percent owned cats.
-- In 1995, the average annual amount given to charities was $1,017.
-- The use of general purpose credit cards jumped from 56 percent of all families in 1989 to about 66 percent in 1995. About 52 percent always paid off their balances, 20 percent paid off sometimes, while 28 percent hardly ever paid them off.
-- Property crime (burglary, motor vehicle theft and theft) fell 9 percent between 1994 and 1995 to a rate of about 280 crimes per 1,000 households.
For more information, contact Lars Johanson (301-457-1171). For ordering information, contact Customer Services (301-457-4100) or the National Technical Information Service (703-487-4650). The Abstract is available on the Internet at http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/cc97stab.html.
ECONOMICS AND STATISTICS ADMINISTRATION
Selected Consumer-Related Information
• Consumer prices increased 0.1 percent in December and rose only 1.7 percent during 1997, their smallest yearly advance since 1986. The core rate of inflation (prices excluding food and energy) increased 0.2 percent in December and 2.2 percent for the year as a whole, their smallest yearly advance since 1965. This closely watched index increased 2.6 percent in 1996.
• Income after taxes posted a strong 0.7 percent gain in November after increasing 0.5 percent in October. Average monthly increases for the first ten months of the year were also 0.5 percent.
• Consumer spending was up 0.4 percent in November following a 0.5 percent increase in October and weak gains during the two prior months. A strong 0.8 percent increase in durable goods sales, after three monthly declines, led the November rise.
• Automobile sales held steady in November following declines of 3.7 percent in October and 5.7 percent in September. Light truck sales, by contrast, jumped 9 percent in November after easing only 1.4 percent in October from the high levels reached during the three prior months.
• Housing starts edged up 0.8 percent in October and November following a large 8 percent jump in September. For the year as a whole, housing starts are very close to the high levels attained in 1996.
• Mortgage commitment interest rates continued to decline from about 7.25 percent in October to 7.17 percent in early December. They are now hovering around or slightly below the 7 percent level.
OFFICE OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY)
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE
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