Archive for the 'Socioeconomic & Spatial Mobility/Inequality' Category

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Update to Lives of the Working Poor

David Lapp of Family Studies updates Lance’s story and explores how “shareholder capitalism” plays a strong role in the lives of the working poor: Man Cannot Live By Values Alone.

Reducing Prison Population

Erik Eckholm of the Upshot examines a new interactive “prison population forecaster” released by the Urban Institute.

Although the number of people held in state and federal prisons appears to have leveled off at about 1.6 million — 2.2 million if those in local jails are counted — some scholars and activists are calling for far more ambitious change. They ask: Why not reduce the prison population by a quarter or even by half? (That would still leave it far higher than it was a few decades back, when crime was more rampant than today.)

A new interactive “prison population forecaster,” posted online Tuesday by the Urban Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank in Washington, aims to help fill that void and yields some sobering conclusions.

Lives of the Working Poor

David Lapp of the blog Family Studies uses the story of Lance, age 24, to illustrate the lives of the working poor: “Lance got married before having kids, and he and his wife both work—yet they still come up short on rent.”

The Working Poor in 2013

The Bureau of Labor Economics released a report on the number of “working poor” in the United States from 1986-2013.

The number of “working poor” in the United States was 10.5 million in 2013. The working poor are people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force during the year—either working or looking for work—but whose incomes were below the official poverty level. The working-poor rate, or the ratio of the working poor to all those in the labor force for at least 27 weeks, was 7.0 percent in 2013.

See the full report (PDF).

The Geography of Childhood

Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham of Wonkblog use data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count to map the best and worst states for children on a variety of indicators, including poverty, food security, housing, family structure, education, exercise, and incarceration rates.

See also, The growing wealth gap that nobody is talking about.

The Influence of Economic Segregation

Emily Badger of Wonkblog examines the policy effects of economic segregation, particularly the skewed view the wealthy have of poverty:

The wealthy, surrounded by other wealthy people, generally believed the U.S. population was wealthier than it actually is. It’s easy to imagine why they might make this mistake: If you look around you and see few poor people — on the street, in your child’s classroom, at the grocery store — you may think poverty is pretty rare.

See also: Dawtry, Sutton & Sibley, Why Wealthier People Think People Are Wealthier, and Why It Matters

Changes in Hourly Earnings by State

The Economics Daily (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) reports on the percent changes in average hourly earning by state, May 2014 to May 2015 using data from the Current Employment Statistics (State and Metro Areas).

Housing Preference and Segregation

Emily Badger of Wonkblog examines how race influences where we choose to live.

Every day renters walk into the Oak Park Regional Housing Center certain they don’t want to live on the east side of town. The east side of town, in this small suburb that borders Chicago, is geographic code for uncomfortably close to where the poor blacks live.

See also the Wonkblog piece on the Obama administration’s new rules targeting segregation.

Housing Costs for American Renters

Jonnelle Marte of Wonkblog examines the costs of renting.

For many households, the monthly rent check is so big that it eats up the majority of their paycheck — and the burden is growing. Some 20.7 million rental households — or about half of all renters– spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing in 2013, according to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. About 11 million of those households spent more than half of their paycheck on rent and utilities, up 37 percent from 2003, the study found. (Financial advisers typically recommend that people spend less than a third of their pay on housing costs.)

Click here for an interactive map.

Railroads, Highways and Racial Segregation

Emily Badger and Darla Cameron of Wonkblog examine the ways railroads, highways and other man-made lines divided American cities by race.

Like many metaphors, “the other side of the tracks” was originally a literal epithet. Blacks were often historically restricted to neighborhoods separated from whites by railroads, turning the tracks into iron barriers of race and class.

In many cities, these dividing lines persist to this day — a reflection of decades of discriminatory policies and racism, but also of the power of infrastructure itself to segregate.