Friday, May 06, 2005

Education and cars reference question

Finally, I got around to posting my reply to the reference query I referred to back in April. So here goes. A librarian at another library, called on behalf of a patron that wanted to know about percentages of people who went to college and who owned cars during the decades of the the 1960s through the 1980's. This would not have been as difficult had it not been for the fact they wanted to know it for Europe as well as the United States. As I understood it at the time, this was for some comparative study, so any form of this information I could find would be helpful. After much research, I sent the following. Note that in lieu of percentages, I sent actual numbers. Cross referring to actual population numbers would likely yield a percentage, but I did explain that population numbers could vary. The Census Bureau does give one number that includes civilians in the U.S. only and another that counts the military overseas as part of the U.S. population for example.

  1. The percentage (%) of college age people enrolled in United States colleges versus European countries (Great Britain, France, and Germany) for 1980 and 1960. For the most part, I located totals.
    1. For 1980, there were 9,547,000 students enrolled in Public Colleges and 2,640,000 enrolled in Private Colleges. The source cited by the Census Bureau is the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics. The table that provides this number can be found in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2004-2005 edition. Table #202 provides School Enrollment: 1970-2012 (from 2001 onward, the results would be projected).
    2. For 1960, the numbers get a bit trickier since the Census asked different questions. For 1960 then, there were 3,216,000 enrolled in Higher Education. It is broken down by 1,832,000 in Publicly Controlled Colleges (Publicly Controlled being the label used) and 1,384,000 in Privately Controlled Colleges. According to the table’s note where I found the information, this excludes Schools of Nursing not affiliated with institutions of higher education. The source cited by the Census for these numbers is the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of Education. The table that provides this information can be located in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1970. Table #146: School Enrollment, By Type of School: 1930 to 1968.
    3. To provide a context, the total resident population in the United States for 1980 (this means excluding Armed Forces abroad) was 227,225,000, and the total resident population of the United States in 1960 (this means excluding Armed Forces Abroad) was 179,992,000.
  2. For the three European countries in question. I was not able to find specific percentages, but I did find total enrollments:
    1. I did a search on USAID’s Global Education Database, which charts data from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics. I was only able to go back to 1970, so I do not have data for 1960 readily available. Also, there was no data available for Germany for the year of 1980. Very often these kind of statistics depend on whether the particular nations report them or not. It is possible there was no report for Germany that year.
    2. The term used by GED is Tertiary Enrollment, which is briefly defined as students having gone above a secondary education.
    3. For 1980, the total tertiary enrollment was 1,076,717 in France and 827,146 in the United Kingdom. In 1970 (as far back as I can go), the totals were 801,156 for France and 601,300 for the United Kingdom.
  3. For car/automobile ownership in the United States, this can take a couple of forms. I tried looking at asset ownership rates for the years in question in U.S. Data.
    1. For 1980, I used Table #1280: Appliances Used by Households, By Region and Family Income: 1987. This table is found in the Statistical Abstract, 1990 edition. It is based on the Residential Energy Consumption Survey: Housing Characteristics: 1987 created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It is one of those surveys that get made between the decennial censuses. Use is defined as “possessed and generally used by the household.” According to the table, for 1987, 30.8 million households, 34% of the total number, had one vehicle. 48.6 million, 53.7% of the total number, had two or more vehicles. For purposes of the survey, motor vehicles were defined as “all motorized vehicles used by U.S. households for personal transportation excluding motorcycles, mopeds, large trucks and buses.” The total number of households in 1987 for context was 90.5 million. The question of actual ownership was apparently not asked at this time, but it is found in later censuses under asset ownership.
    2. For 1960, the Statistical Abstract, 1970 edition, cites The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Finances to answer the question of auto ownership. This is listed in Table #843: Automobile Ownership, Age, and Financing: 1950-1969. IN 1960, the total number of families for the survey was 53.4 million. 77% of families owned automobiles. This breaks down to 62% owning one vehicle and 15% owning two or more vehicles.
  4. For the European countries, I was only able to locate information for 1999, which is the most current year provided by the resources I used. The place that provided the answer was, which cites World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002. The information is presented as cars per 1000 people in 1999. In United Kingdom there were 373 cars per 1000, in France, there were 469 per 1000, and in Germany there were 508 per 1000 people.
  5. The online resources can be found as follows:
    1. The Statistical Abstract of the United States can be accessed online at . The editions I used are available on this Census Bureau website.
    2. The Global Education Database is available here: . One can set up specific searches through various pulldown menus. The database then provides specific tables based on a request.
    3. NationMaster can be access at: Like the GED above, one can set parameters to create specific tables for the available data.

No comments: