September 22, 2009 in Idaho

Census data show effects of Idaho unemployment

The Spokesman-Review
 

High unemployment rates are altering how Idaho residents live, according to new data released Tuesday from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In more families, both parents are working or looking for work. More households have extended family members living with them. And the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren is also on the rise, according to Census statistics.

The estimates also showed that 17.8 percent of Idahoans had no health insurance in 2008, the 12th highest uninsured total in the nation. Another 11.7 percent had some form of public insurance such as Medicare. Almost 14 percent of those under 18 were uninsured, and 21.7 percent were covered by some kind of public plan.

The Census Bureau will release detailed financial and poverty estimates later this month. But information released Tuesday confirms the economic deterioration that has occurred since the recession began in December 2007.

• The median value of owner-occupied homes in Idaho dropped from $185,000 in 2007 to $183,700 in 2008.

• More than 3,000 people traded home ownership for renting between 2007 and 2008.

• The share of homes for sale that are vacant jumped from 1.7 percent in 2006 to 2.9 percent in 2008.

• Enrollment in colleges and community colleges rose more than 15,000 between 2007 and 2008.

The American Community Survey questions 3 million households across the United States each year to provide updated statistical data between the traditional census headcounts every 10 years.

The new estimates found that between 2006 and 2008, the number of working parents whose spouses were also working or looking for work increased 23,000 to more than 256,000, or 65 percent of all parents with school-aged children.

Over the same two years, the number of relatives – aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews – being put up by families rose 11,000 to more than 64,000. That’s a 20 percent increase at a time when Idaho’s household population rose less than 4 percent.

The number of grandparents responsible for raising grandchildren under age 18 was up more than 60 percent between 2007 and 2008 to nearly 13,600.


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