Institute and Richmond Fed host third annual Data Day

Charlotte Data Day 2015

Richard Fry, featured speaker at Charlotte Data Day 2015, asserted that Millenials (born 1981-96) are the most diverse and best educated generation but also face a tougher economy at the start of their careers than previous generations.

Fry, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, spoke October 7 at the third annual Charlotte Data Day.  Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, this annual event strives to make data more accessible to the community.

Lectures and interactive workshops centered around the theme of changing demographics were presented over a day and a half, with sessions at both the Federal Reserve branch in Uptown Charlotte and UNC Charlotte’s main campus.

According to Fry’s research, almost three-quarters of Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) and two-thirds of Gen X-ers (born 1965-80) and members of the Silent Generation (born 1928-45) think today’s young adults face more economic challenges than they did when they were entering the workforce.  

However, stark differences appear when you break down the data by education level. College-educated Millennials earn more than those in earlier generations did as young adults.  Millennials with only a high school degree or some college earn less.

Other speakers throughout the event touched on a number of different aspects of demographic change, including:

Aging: UNC Charlotte lecturer and demographer Jamie Strickland remarked that aging is not a natural disaster but a spectrum that covers the entire lifespan.  Although the Charlotte region is relatively young compared to other parts of North Carolina, the region's population is growing older, in some counties more so than others.  

Immigration: Local immigration expert Claire Schuch highlighted Charlotte’s emergence as a new immigrant gateway and the tremendous growth in the Hispanic/Latino population, over 800% growth between 1980 and 2000.

Race: Professors Regine Jackson (Agnes Scott College) and Darrick Hamilton (the New School in New York) presented findings from their research on the racial wealth gap in Boston and a number of other metro areas.  Wealth is the economic indicator with the greatest racial disparity, for example African American families have 6 cents for every $1 of wealth held in white families.

Researchers from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors revealed unexpected racial differences in mobile banking adoption.  A recent survey showed that among individuals with a bank account and mobile phone, non-white respondents have adopted mobile banking at higher rates than white respondents.  Less surprising, mobile banking and payments were much more common among younger respondents than older ones.

The event wrapped up with a series of workshops where participants learned about new interactive mapping tools from the Census Bureau, the latest version of the Quality of Life Explorer, tools and techniques for visualizing and presenting data, and data resources from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center.

All of the presentations from Charlotte Data Day 2015 are available here.