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Thread: Demographic quirks of your community: what's behind it?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator
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    Demographic quirks of your community: what's behind it?

    Warning: demographic geekery ahead.

    In the dating thread, I mentioned how it seems like most of the women that respond to my online dating profile are older than me, with a large number being 5 to 20 years older; in their 50s and early 60s. In another FAC thread where there were pictures of my town, Zoning Goddess remarked on the predominance of gray-haired older women. Meanwhile, around town, I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of Boomer ladies on the streets, without a correspondingly high number of men in the same age group.

    "Confirmation bias! Confirmation bias!" Nope. Here's the numbers. Percentage of population of a gender for various age groups in town.

    35 to 39 years - Men 5.3% Women 3.4%
    40 to 44 years - Men 3.6% Women 3.5%
    45 to 49 years - Men 3.4% Women 3.1%
    50 to 54 years - Men 2.9% Women 4.5%
    55 to 59 years - Men 3.4% Women 3.2%
    60 to 64 years - Men 1.0% Women 3.2%

    Nationally:

    35 to 39 years - Men 6.6% Women 6.5%
    40 to 44 years - Men 6.9% Women 6.7%
    45 to 49 years - Men 7.3% Women 7.3%
    50 to 54 years - Men 7.2% Women 7.2%
    55 to 59 years - Men 6.3% Women 6.5%
    60 to 64 years - Men 5.4% Women 5.6%

    So, what kind of demographic forces are at play that would give a place a disproportionately large percentage of women in the 50-65 age group? The town where I live has a large lesbian community, but I don't think it's enough to account for the 1:3 female/male ratio in the 60-64 age group.

    This isn't the only place I've lived where there was some apparently unexplainable quirk in the demographics. There was the suburb of Orlando where a plurality of residents, if not a majority, worked in construction and the trades. The number of times I've heard Nextel beeps since I left many years ago is probably the same as what I heard in one day there.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Interesting how the presence of the school population skews the percentage distribution of the over 35 population from the national.

    Maybe the men in the 50-54 and 60-64 were all out on sabbatical when the census was taken? Notice how the male 35-39 percentage goes the other way? Probably attracted to Ithaca by coed pheromones.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Warning: demographic geekery ahead.

    In the dating thread, I mentioned how it seems like most of the women that respond to my online dating profile are older than me, with a large number being 5 to 20 years older; in their 50s and early 60s.
    Dude! Maybe you just got it going on!

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    Cyburbia Administrator
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Interesting how the presence of the school population skews the percentage distribution of the over 35 population from the national.
    Very true. I think doctoral students and postdocs account for the 35-39 numbers (men 5.3%, women 3.4%) . In the next age group, the percentage of men takes a dive.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    60 to 64 years - Men 1.0% Women 3.2%



    So, what kind of demographic forces are at play that would give a place a disproportionately large percentage of women in the 50-65 age group? The town where I live has a large lesbian community, but I don't think it's enough to account for the 1:3 female/male ratio in the 60-64 age group.
    .
    I think it has something to do with hippies. Seriously.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbia Administrator
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Dude! Maybe you just got it going on!
    Dude! The Amy Goodman look just doesn't do it for me.

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I think it has something to do with hippies. Seriously.
    How does that explain the gender imbalance?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbia Administrator
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    Mystery solved, I think.


    Bearded dude in the red shirt is gettin' lucky tonight!

    Why so many 50-65+ women in this town? It's both additive and subtractive; women moving in, men moving out.

    1) Lesbians. Ithaca became a destination for lesbians in the 1970s, following the rise of feminism, the sexual revolution, and the emergence of the liberal college town phenomenon. As discussed in an earlier thread, lesbian meccas tend to be smaller towns, while gay meccas tend to be larger cities.

    2) Deindustrialization. The closing of factories in the Rust Belt hit small towns in upstate New York especially hard. Despite being a college town, Ithaca also had its share of manufacturing, and several large industrial operations in the area closed in the 1980s and early 1990s. The blue collar, predominantly male workforce struggled. The fate of working women was much better, with most working in white collar jobs. Families broke apart, and many men left the region to find work. Women stayed behind with their kids and jobs.

    3) A safe space for women. Because of Ithaca's tolerant population, and its prospering lesbian community, Ithaca earned a reputation as a place where women of all orientations could find refuge and reinvent themselves, possibly after a failed or abusive relationship. The kind of women who would find Ithaca to be an "aspirational city", in the same way hipsters lust after Austin, are likely to be on the crunchy side themselves. They're also likely to have money, education, and specialized skills; a must to survive in a town with somewhat expensive housing and limited employment opportunities outside of academia. This may also explain the large number of non-profit special interest organizations that are based here.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Dude! The Amy Goodman look just doesn't do it for me.
    dude - the brain on that lady is Huge!!!
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Although I live in this county briefly about 10 years ago, after my recent move back, I've discovered just how many Italians there are.

    I'm told that the Italian population spread from the Eastern Market area of Detroit, north to the east side neighborhoods, and then ultimately into Macomb County.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    The demographic quirk of my community. It is the same as it is across Montana - a whole lot, and I mean a whole lot of white people. Like 95+ percent. Everyone in the city-county building is white. Things are slowly changing.

    I am bucking the whitey trend, though. My wife is a foreign-born, naturalized citizen from South America. Our son is half-Hispanic. And across the street from me is a black guy - not an American black guy - he's from Africa.

    A few years ago you would be hard pressed to see a non-white person in your everyday comings and goings. Now, in my town, you see a person of color most days. Native Americans and blacks mostly. We are seeing more Hispanics. Asians are still something of a rarity and mostly they are either Japanese women married to Anglos or adopted Chinese girls.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  11. #11
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The demographics in my neighborhood much different than other neighborhoods in the City in that we have a mix of ages, cultures, incomes, races, back grounds, education, and sexual orientation. But there is one exception... a lack school age children.

    Our public school system has not been the most popular in the past so there have been many people who have moved out of our neighborhood and into a better district. I am confident that it will get better and this trend is starting to shift as well.

    One interesting trend and success story has been the public/private/non-profit partnerships that have really helped to reshape the City and transform it over the past 20 years. Recently, this has started to shift and pick up more grassroots organizations made up of mostly young professionals that not only have a notable passion for urban living and urban development, but some educational foundation or real world practical knowledge to back up their ideas. It has resulted in several open discussions, presentations of pro-urban films, progressive dialog about ideas, trends, experiences in other cities, and ideas on how to make our City better. But the best part is that there is action behind the talk. Frankly, I am extremely excited at what my City will be in 10 years namely because the Planning Director and City Council not only supports and encourages these types of grassroots movements, they also react to them and make changes/ improvements whenever and where ever they can.

    People have stopped telling our government to do something and starting making things happen themselves and our local Government has loved some of the results of it.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    My community has a very high percentage of old people. Nationwide, 13% of the country is over the age of 65... in my community it's 30% (there is one small village just to the south of us with 39% of its residents above 65 ).

    Housing is very expensive compared to the rest of the region so that is a big burden of entry that many young families are unable to overcome. The lack of young folks is evident when walking through neighborhoods or going to the stores. When my wife and I take our daughter to the parks nearby, it always amazes us how much older the parents of the other similarly aged children are than us. Often, when we strike up a conversation with a mother that is our age, it turns out she is not the mother but is actually the nanny.

    One time I had to meet an investigator from the Office of Personnel Management who was doing a background check on a friend of mine who had just gone to work for the Treasury Department. We decided to meet for the interview at a local Starbucks. When he arrived, he looked around and the first thing he said to me was, "Man! There are a lot of old people here!"
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Anchorage has more Pacific Islanders than you would expect.
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