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America's Hispanic and Asian populations will triple over the next half century, meaning non-Hispanic whites will represent only about half of the country's total population by 2050, according to interim population projections from the Census Bureau.

Overall, the government says the country's population will continue to grow, increasing from 282.1 million in 2000 to 419.9 million in 2050. But beyond 2030, when the size of the Baby Boom generation begins to decline, the rate of increase could be the slowest since the Great Depression of the 1930's.

Nevertheless, the projected 49 percent population increase over the next 4.5 decades will be in sharp contrast to most European countries, whose populations are expected to decline by mid-century.

The Census Bureau's population projections represent only a small part of the data available from the agency that is pertinent to real estate interests. For example:

  • The typical commuter in 2000 left home between 6:30 a.m. and 8:29 a.m. and drove alone for 26 minutes to get to work. Overall, people were leaving home earlier and spending more time in traffic in 2000 than in previous censuses, an excellent selling point to buyers who may be balking at a long commute. According to Census, about 53 percent of all workers headed to their jobs between 6:30 a.m. and 8:29 a.m. Another 20 percent of workers departed for work between midnight and 6:29 a.m, up 2 percentage points or 4.8 million workers from a decade earlier, the largest hike in any time period of the day.
  • If you were a child living in Naperville, Ill., your chances of living with two married parents, a householder in the labor force, in an owned home or above the poverty level were highest or next to highest among children in all cities with at least 100,000 people.

    The finding is one of the conclusions of "Children and the Households They Live In: 2000," a special report on the social and economic characteristics of the nation's 72 million children, based on Census 2000 data.

    According to rankings of cities of 100,000 or more population, Naperville had only 1 percent of children living in unmarried-partner households, and only 2 percent were not sons or daughters of the householder. Also, the city had one of the lowest poverty rates for children under 18 (2 percent) and the lowest rate of children in homes receiving public assistance (0.4 percent).

    Following Naperville, cities with the lowest percentage of children living in unmarried-partner households were Irvine, Calif.; Plano, Texas; Provo, Utah; and Livonia, Mich., all around two percent. The percentage nationwide was 5.7 percent.

  • Housing units built before 1920 were valued at a little more than half the amount of those built since 1990.

    In a report titled "These Old Houses: 2001," the bureau said the median value of the 4.5 million detached, owner-occupied housing units built before 1920 was $98,794, compared with $183,502 for the 9.9 million units constructed since 1990. The country's total housing stock in 2001 was 119 million units.

    While the price might be right, many old houses did not have the amenities of newer models and their maintenance costs tended to be higher. For example, fewer than 3 in 10 old places had 2 or more full bathrooms. In new units, 9 of 10 had a minimum of 2 complete baths.

All of this information and much, much more is available online at www.census.gov, a website where a fascinating assortment of 1.5 million pages of data is open to anyone who can strike a keyboard.

The Census Bureau was one of the first government agencies to offer a Web portal, and is still one of the most popular. "The Census Bureau is on the cutting edge of using technology to make information available to all Americans and, indeed, to all the world," says Commerce Sec. Don Evans.

Changes during the past 10 years include the addition of the "American FactFinder" data retrieval system, which allows users to create customized tables and maps from a complex array of data sets, and the state and county "QuickFacts," which summarizes population and business statistics for every state and county in the country. Other popular features include the capability to produce maps and the 1990 Census Lookup tool.

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