Author Archive for ljridley

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Moving Out of Minimum Wage Jobs

Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight analyzed data from the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation and found that minimum wage workers are less likely to move out of those jobs than they were in the mid-1990s.

Even those who do get a raise often don’t get much of one: Two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in 2013 were still earning within 10 percent of the minimum wage a year later, up from about half in the 1990s. And two-fifths of Americans earning the minimum wage in 2008 were still in near-minimum-wage jobs five years later, despite the economy steadily improving during much of that time.

Pew Research Center on Immigration

The Pew Research Center has published many articles over the last few weeks on immigration, drawing from their new report, Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065:

Income Inequality and Political Polarization

Ana Swanson of Wonkblog examines a new study by Nolan McCarty, John Voorheis and Boris Shor that shows that the growing ideological gap between Republicans and Democrats may be due in part to the widening gap between rich and poor.

By looking at extensive data on U.S. states over the last few decades, the researchers show that the widening gap between the rich and the poor in recent decades has moved state legislatures toward the right overall, while also increasing the ideological distance between those on the right and those on the left.

The paper is Unequal Incomes, Ideology and Gridlock: How Rising Inequality Increases Political Polarization

U.S. Population Migration Data

The Internal Revenue Service released migration data based on year-to-year address changes based on income tax returns filed with the IRS.

They present migration patterns by State or by county for the entire United States and are available for inflows—the number of new residents who moved to a State or county and where they migrated from, and outflows—the number of residents leaving a State or county and where they went.

H/T Data Detectives

Number of Forcibly Displaced Persons Reaches 60 Million

The World Bank Open Data blog examines recent data from the United Nations Refugee Agency about the 60 million people currently forcibly displaced from their homes.

As we continue to see headlines and editorials almost every day about migrants and refugees, it’s not surprising when UNHCR reports that the number of forcibly displaced people has reached 60 million worldwide for the first time since World War II. This figure includes internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers.

While many are on the move as refugees, others migrate willfully at rates that have also reached unprecedented levels. Below, I’ve explored some trends in regional, country- and economic-level migration and refugee data.

U.S. Department of Education Releases College Scorecard Data

The U.S. Department of Education released the data it used for the College Scorecard, along with data on completion rates, financial aid, debt and earnings.

Via Flowing Data: “And it doesn’t look and work like an outdated government site. With all of my frustrations with government sites, the education release feels pretty great. It’s as if the department actually wants us to look at the data. Imagine that.”

On Mass Incarceration

Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight examines the phrase “mass incarceration” and how it relates to the prison population.

October’s cover of The Atlantic carries a headline that, even a decade ago, you probably never would’ve seen: “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” The 20,000-word article attached to it, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, covers the remarkable growth in the United States’ prison population and its outsize impact on black individuals, families and communities. That Coates’s piece employs the phrase “mass incarceration” 17 times is telling. The term has become ubiquitous in conversations about prison in the United States. But 10 years ago, barely anybody put the two words next to each other to talk about what the phrase has come to represent for many: everything that’s wrong with the American justice system.


The Institute for Family Studies blog recently had a few articles on the importance of cohabitation:

  • Cohabitation, Marriage, and Union Instability in Europe by Jaap Dronkers

    There has always been a fierce debate about the relationship between cohabitation and divorce risks. Some argue that cohabitation lessens people’s commitment to partnership and thus increases their risk of divorce, while others believe that a cohabitation phase before marriage (as a trial marriage) would strengthen marital stability. In the United States, data suggest that the effect of cohabitation on marriage is at best neutral; however, in European countries, the effect of cohabitation on marital stability varies markedly, according to a study covering the last decade of the twentieth century (Liefbroer and Dourleijn, 2006).

  • How Cohabitation Shapes Young African Americans’ Marriage Attitudes by Scott Stanley

    A study just out suggests that cohabitation may serve to “reposition” African-American young adults toward more positive attitudes about marriage. Ashley Barr, Ronald Simons, and Leslie Gordon Simons examined changes over time in marital attitudes in a sample of African American youth who were followed from fifth grade to when they were in their early to mid-twenties. While their methods did not allow for assessing actual transitions into marriage and marital outcomes, the authors were able to track relationships, relationship quality, transitions into cohabitation, and attitudes about marriage. Their working assumption was that cohabitation changes people regarding marriage in a number of ways, and that some of those changes might be positive. Indeed, they found that early cohabiting experiences generally led to more positive attitudes about marriage among these young African Americans.

  • The Importance of Couples’ Pre-Cohabitation Relationship History by Anna Sutherland

    As Galena Rhoades and Scott Stanley documented in a report for the National Marriage Project last year, couples’ relationship history prior to marriage has implications for the state of their relationship down the road. Looking at 418 Americans who married over the course of the five-year Relationship Development Survey, they found (among other things) that individuals who said their relationship with their spouse did not begin as a hook-up reported higher marital quality, on average, than those who said the opposite.

Work-Life Preferences of Highly Talented Men and Women

Anne Sutherland of the Family Studies blog writes about why women are so scarce in certainly STEM fields. In the article, she examines a 2009 study (PDF) by Vanderbilt scholars Kimberley Ferriman, David Lubinski, and Camilla P. Benbow which looked at the work preferences, lifestyle values, personal views, and life satisfaction of more than 500 young people who, in 1992, were first- and second-year graduate students in the country’s top 15 math and science departments.

U.S. and World Population Clock Has Been Updated with New Features

The Census Bureau has updated their U.S. and World Population Clock with new visualizations and data:

From the Director’s Blog:

Today, I’m excited to showcase the addition of several new features to the World Population Clock. For the first time, basic population facts and visualizations are available for 228 countries and areas around the world, just as they are for U.S. states.

In addition, World Population Clock users can now get Census Bureau data on international trade in goods by country. It’s amazing to see the range and value of goods that states export to countries around the world – and it’s easy to download, share and embed the data in social media.