Increasing number of unmarried in Augusta area will be one part of U.S. Census examination

As Here Comes the Bride played softly from speakers, Betty Love looked squarely at Bernard Hollis and offered him a final opportunity to rethink his decision.

"All right, Bernard, this is your last chance," the owner of Love's Wedding Chapel on Wrightsboro Road said Wednesday with a laugh to the soon-to-be husband.

Hollis, 25, flashed a quick smile but didn't waver in his plans to marry his sweetheart, Patsy Chambliss. Twenty minutes later, he did.

"By the state of Georgia ... it is my privilege and honor to present Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Hollis," Love, an ordained minister, said to the small gathering of friends and family who witnessed the ceremony.

With that, the Hollises bucked a nearly three-decade trend.

Data from the past two censuses and the 2008 American Community Survey show an increasing number of people in the three-county Augusta area are choosing to stay single.

In 2008, Richmond County had the highest percentage of people age 15 and older who had never married, at nearly 38 percent. Columbia County had the lowest, at nearly 23 percent.

But all three area counties, including Aiken, have seen an increase in those percentages since 1990. Correspondingly, the percentage of people who are married declined over that time. The percentage who got a divorce increased.

Data compiled from the 2010 census will show the state of these trends and other ones locally and nationally at the end of the past decade. The U.S. Census Bureau will mail or deliver questionnaires to households nationwide beginning Monday.

The importance of census data goes beyond population count and how $4 trillion in federal dollars will be divvied up over the next 10 years. It tells a community where it's heading, and, perhaps, how to counter any negative trends, said one demographics expert.

"Beyond the federal dollars coming back and stuff, it tells you how many people there are in your community, whether you're growing, where they're living, their age, their gender, their race," said Doug Bachtel, a University of Georgia demographer and a sociology professor.

Augusta and Aiken officials say the data are useful for long-term planning.

"Basically we use the census data first of all to evaluate the demographics of the community as they exist now and as they existed in the past," said Paul DeCamp, Augusta-Richmond County's planning director. "We use those trends to make projections, especially about specific populations and employment growth in the city."

Statistics can also show a county which areas are growing most quickly and where new roads and infrastructure are needed.

DeCamp said projects such as the construction of Jimmy Dyess Parkway, the widening of Tobacco Road and, most recently, the widening of Interstate 20 were initiated because of census findings.

"Those kinds of transportation projects have all come about because at different times in the past we forecast employment or population growth in those areas," he said.

The information also is used to develop plans that outline needs of the area, such as new fire and water districts, said Stephen Strohminger, Aiken County's planning director.

Census data have limitations because of their shelf life, said Walter Sprouse, the director of the Development Authority of Richmond County.

The authority uses information about education levels, median income and housing units to lure new companies to Augusta. But because yearly census data take time to compile, the organization sometimes must buy information from private research companies, Sprouse said.

"In this age of instant information, we have to go with what is going to help us the most," he said.

Though it's an important economic development tool, one of the most important aspects of census data is the picture they help paint of a community, Bachtel said.

Take Richmond County.

It has the lowest percentage of people married in the three-county area, at 40 percent. Because studies show married households are the most stable economically, the declining number of such families helps explain why Augusta has the area's lowest median household income, a main reason it also has the highest poverty level, at 24 percent, Bachtel said.

"Here's what the poverty problem is in Richmond County. It's intergenerational poverty," he said. "Like if you're born poor, you're going to be poor. And you grow up in these families that don't stress education and getting a job skill and staying in school and stuff like that. It just passes down, and as a result, it becomes the norm.

"The research shows that people who grow up in these families, they tend to be exactly the same as the households they grew up in."

At the other end of the spectrum, Columbia County has the area's highest median household income and the lowest poverty rate, at 5.7 percent.

Bachtel said he doesn't expect the 2010 census numbers to show any major changes in the local trends.

"These things are not going to change very rapidly. It takes decades, but it can be done," he said.

Patsy Hollis wasn't thinking about trends when she said her vows Wednesday. She wasn't surprised when told that fewer people are getting married, noting that she knows many people who have chosen to just live together. That, however, wasn't for her.

"Marriage is very important to me," said Hollis, 22. "I think we both like the old traditions."

 

 

 

AUGUSTA-RICHMOND COUNTY CENSUS DATA

Data compiled from the past two censuses --1990 and 2000 -- and 2008 American Community Survey.

* indicates estimates

POPULATION STATISTICS
GENDER RACE
Population Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian
1990 189,718 48.5% 51.5% 55.1% 41.9% 1.1% 1.7%
2000 199,775 48.2% 51.8% 45.6% 49.8% 2.8% 1.5%
2008 199,486* 47.6% 52.4% 43% 52.3% 2.9% 1.7%

PLACE OF BIRTH (Residents)
Born in GeorgiaOther statesForeign born
1990 58.9% 35.2% 3%
2000 60% 33.7% 3.3%
2008 59%* 35.3%* 3.6% *

HOUSING
OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS
Units Owner occupied Renter Home value (median)
1990 77,288 N/A N/A $58,500
2000 82,312 58% 42% $76,800
2008 87,140* 60.6% 39.4%* $102,400*

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT (POPULATION 25 AND OLDER)
High school graduate or higher Associate degree Bachelor's degree Graduate or professional
1990 70.9% 5.6% 11.4% 5.7%
2000 78% 6.5% 12% 6.6%
2008 79.1%* 6.9% 10.6%* 7.4%*

MARITAL STATUS
Never married Now married Divorced
1990 28.8% 46.3% 10.8%
2000 31.6% 46% 12.1%
2008 37.8%* 40.3%* 13.9%*

INCOME
HOUSEHOLD PUBLIC ASSISTANCE POVERTY
(Median) Households with without All people
1990 $25,265 7,155 61,629 16.6%
2000 $33,086 3,843 70,096 16.2%
2008 $37,796* 1,558* 74,307* 24.1%*

EMPLOYMENT (CIVILIAN POPULATION)

16 YEARS AND OLDER

INDUSTRY (TOP 3)

1990 Education, health and social services: 28.6%; retail: 17.8%;manufacturing: 14.8%

2000 Education, health and social services: 26.8%; retail: 12.6%;manufacturing: 12.3%

2008 Education, health and social services: 27%; retail: 11.3%; arts, entertainment and recreation and accommodations and food services: 11%*

GRANDPARENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR GRANDCHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18

1990: NA

2000: 3,312

2008: 3,910*

 

COLUMBIA COUNTY CENSUS DATA

Data compiled from the past two censuses --1990 and 2000 -- and 2008 American Community Survey.

* indicates estimates

POPULATION STATISTICS
GENDER RACE
Population Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian
1990 66,031 49.8% 50.2% 85.9% 11% 1.0% 2.3%
2000 89,288 48.8% 51.2% 82.6% 11.2% 2.6% 3.3%
2008 110,627* 48.5% 51.5%* 78.7% 15.2% 2.8% 3.3%

PLACE OF BIRTH (RESIDENTS)
Born in Georgia Other states Foreign born
1990 51.9% 41.9% 3.4%
2000 49.7% 42.4% 4.8%
2008 51.2%* 39.8%* 5.9% *

HOUSING
OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS
Units Owner occupied Renter Home value (median)
1990 23,745 N/A N/A $83,700
2000 33,321 82.1% 17.9% $110,200
2008 44,031* 81.7% 18.3%* $171,100*

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT (POPULATION 25 AND OLDER)
High school graduate or higher Associate degree Bachelor's degree Graduate or professional
1990 81.3% 7.5% 15.4% 8.4%
2000 87.8% 8.2% 19.9% 11.9%
2008 89%* 9.4% 20.7%* 13.8%*

MARITAL STATUS
Never married Now married Divorced
1990 20.5% 66.2% 7.2%
2000 20% 66.7% 8.6%
2008 22.9%* 62.8%* 9.8%*

INCOME
HOUSEHOLDPUBLIC ASSISTANCEPOVERTY
(Median) Households with without All people
1990 $40,122 978 20,812 6.4%
2000 $55,682 621 30,491 5.1%
2008 $64,462* 1,082* 37,385* 5.7%*

EMPLOYMENT (CIVILIAN POPULATION)

16 YEARS AND OLDER

INDUSTRY (TOP 3)

1990 Education, health and social services: 26.9%;retail: 16.1%; manufacturing: 15.7%

2000 Education, health and social services: 25.6%; manufacturing: 12.9%; retail: 11.3%;

2008 Education, health and social services: 26.5%; manufactur-ing: 11.9%; professional, scientific and management and administrative and waste management services: 9.4%*

GRANDPARENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR GRANDCHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18

1990: NA

2000: 825

2008: 992*

 

AIKEN COUNTY CENSUS DATA

Data compiled from the past two censuses --1990 and 2000 -- and 2008 American Community Survey. * indicates estimates

POPULATION STATISTICS
GENDER RACE
Population Male Female White Black Hispanic Asian
1990 120.940 48.4% 51.6% 74.9% 24.1% 0.5% 0.4%
2000 142,552 48.1% 51.9% 71.3% 25.5% 2.1% 0.6%
2008 154.071* 48.2% 51.8%* 70% 25.3% 3.5% 0.5%

PLACE OF BIRTH (Residents)
Born in South Carolina Other states Foreign born
1990 47% 51.3% 0.9%
2000 43.5% 53.4% 2.2%
2008 44.6%* 49.4%* 3% *

HOUSING
OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS
Units occupied Renter Owner Home value (median)
1990 49,266 N/A N/A $61,700
2000 61,987 75.6% 24.2% $76,800
2008 69,040* 73.8% 26.2%* $116,700*

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT (POPULATION 25 AND OLDER)
High school graduate or higher Associate degreeBachelor's degree Graduate or professional
1990 70.9% 5.8% 11.7% 5.5%
2000 77.7% 6.3% 13% 6.8%
2008 81.8%* 6.2% 15.9%* 6.7%*

MARITAL STATUS
Never married Now married Divorced
1990 22.4% 58.9% 7.6%
2000 23.4% 59.3% 9.8%
2008 27.2%* 54.4%* 11.8%*

INCOME
HOUSEHOLD PUBLIC ASSISTANCE POVERTY
(Median) Households with without All people
1990 $29.994 3,075 41,882 13.7%
2000 $37,889 1,585 55,590 13.8%
2008 $42,445* 848* 59,937* 16.8%*

EMPLOYMENT (CIVILIAN POPULATION)

16 YEARS AND OLDER

INDUSTRY (TOP 3)

1990

Manufacturing: 27.3%; education, health and social services: 19.8%;retail: 13.1%

2000 Education, health and social services: 19.6%; manufacturing: 17.5%; transportation, warehousing and utilities: 11.5%

2008 Education, health and social services: 20.3%; manufacturing: 14.5%; professional, scientific and management and administrative and waste management services: 11.7%*

GRANDPARENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR GRANDCHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18

1990: NA

2000: 1,729

2008: 852*

Source: Census bureau

Augusta area's higher education percentage grows
Manufacturing jobs fade away around Augusta
How to identify a census taker

- Census workers will have an official identification badge.

- They will carry bags that have "U.S. Census Bureau" on them.

- The census taker will ask only the questions that appear on the census form. They will never ask for your Social Security number or personal banking information, such as account numbers or passwords.

- If no one answers at a residence, a census taker will visit that home as many as three times, each time leaving a door hanger with a phone number; residents can call the number to schedule the visit.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Census 101

Q: Why does the U.S. complete a census each decade?

A: The U.S. Constitution mandates that a population count be taken every 10 years.

Q: How will the information be used?

A: Results are used to apportion representatives to Congress by state and divvy up more than $4 trillion for projects such as transportation, affordable housing, hospitals, emergency services, job training and education.

Q: What is the timeline for the 2010 census?

A: March: Census forms are mailed or delivered.

April 1: National Census Day

April-July: Census takers visit homes that did not mail in responses

December 2010: Census Bureau delivers population information to the president for apportionment.

Q: What questions will the 2010 census ask?

A: The census asks how many people live in your home, whether you rent or own your home, information about the people living in the home and their sex/age/race and a phone number where you can be contacted in case your information is illegible or incomplete.

Q: Where is the local census office?

A: 3435 Wrightsboro Road, Suite 8

(706) 262-4330

Q: How can I get a job as a census taker?

A : To apply for any openings and set up a test, call (866) 861-2010.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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