Author Archive for ljridley

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Pew Research Report on Religion in the U.S.

The Pew Research Center released it’s new report “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious“.

Family Transitions and Student Achievement

Nicholas Zill examines how family transitions affect student achievement for the Family Studies blog:

Among journalists who write about education, the stock explanation for student underachievement and school discipline problems is poverty. Yet there are examples in every school system of students from impoverished family circumstances who do well academically, as well as instances of students from affluent families who get D’s and F’s or wreak havoc in class. When poverty is overemphasized as a cause of instructional ills, other aspects of family life—such as conflict between parents or changes in student living arrangements due to divorce or remarriage—are typically ignored or underemphasized.

Formatting and Cleaning Data

Nathan Yau at Flowing Data gives a quick review of Trifecta Wrangler, which is free software for PC and Mac and aimed at streamlining the process of formatting and cleaning data.

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.