The Urban Institute has produced 9 interactive charts describing wealth inequality over the last 50 years:
Why hasn’t wealth inequality improved over the past 50 years? And why, in particular, has the racial wealth gap not closed? These nine charts illustrate how income inequality, earnings gaps, homeownership rates, retirement savings, student loan debt, and lopsided asset-building subsidies have contributed to these growing wealth disparities.
According to Justin Wolfers, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy of The Upshot, there are roughly 1.5 million black men missing from the 25 to 54 age group due to incarceration and early death. “For every 100 black women in this age group living outside of jail, there are only 83 black men. Among whites, the equivalent number is 99, nearly parity.”
Read the full story and here is the methodology.
Max Ehrenfreund of Wonkblog uses Gwyneth Paltrow’s food stamp experiment to examine the barriers that people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program actually face when trying to feed themselves and their families.
Americans in general have unhealthy diets, and they don’t buy much produce, no matter how much they earn. And shoppers on food stamps who do want to feed their families more greens don’t just have to worry about the cost, but also about finicky children, spoilage, and any number of other hassles that are just minor inconveniences for more affluent families.
Raj Chetty of Harvard has been leading a team of researchers (including former Population Studies Center trainee Patrick Kline) on a project examining the geography of income mobility. From the project website:
Is America the “Land of Opportunity”? In two recent studies, we find that: (1) Upward income mobility varies substantially within the U.S. [summary][paper] Areas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families. (2) Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries. [summary][paper]
See The Equality of Opportunity Project website for executive summaries, papers, city rankings, data and more.
See the New York Times’ In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters for interactive maps based on this work.
The New York Times Upshot looks at the County Health Rankings and Roadmap Project from University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which studies income inequality and health at the county level.
We know that living in a poor community makes you less likely to live a long life. New evidence suggests that living in a community with high income inequality also seems to be bad for your health.
A study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examined a series of risk factors that help explain the health (or sickness) of counties in the United States. In addition to the suspects you might expect — a high smoking rate, a lot of violent crime — the researchers found that people in unequal communities were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even if the average incomes were the same.
H/T Data Detectives
Danielle Paquette reports on a recent HIV outbreak in Austin, Indiana and what it shows about the mobility of HIV, poverty and the lack of health care in rural areas.
Ri Liu used data from the World Bank and the UNDP 2014 Human Development Report to create a series of graphs illustrating the gender gaps in labor force participation, secondary education, parliamentary participation, and income levels in countries around the world.
H/T Flowing Data
An article in NPR’s Code Switch examines racial disparities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
While many Rust Belt cities — Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, etc. — have similar histories of African-American struggles, Milwaukee has some of the same problems but not the same profile, mainly because it isn’t well known for its large black population at all. But blacks make up 40 percent of the city and, for many who grew up there (like me), none of this data is surprising. Milwaukee is a vibrant city known for its breweries and ethnic festivals and can be a great place to live — unless you’re black. Statistically, it is one of the worst places in the country for African-Americans to reside. Here’s a breakdown of how — and why — being black in Brew City carries a heavy burden.
Read the full article.
An article in Wonkblog explores Robert Putnam’s new book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis and the influence he has had on politicians as diverse as President Obama and congressman Paul Ryan.
From the article:
For the past three years, Putnam has been nursing an outlandish ambition. He wants inequality of opportunity for kids to be the central issue in the 2016 presidential election. Not how big government should be or what the “fair share” is for the wealthy, but what’s happening to children boxed out of the American dream.
His manifesto, “ Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” will be published Tuesday. It places brain science, sociology and census data alongside stories of children growing up on both sides of the divide. Many of the findings draw on the work of other researchers who have long studied families, education or neuroscience. But Putnam has gathered up these strands under a single thesis: that instead of talking about inequality of wealth or income among adults, we ought to focus on inequalities in all of the ways children accumulate — or never touch — opportunity.
Gentrification in America Report
Mike Maciag | Governing
This resource is city-specific and provides both counts and maps of gentrified census tracts for the 50 largest cities. To be eligible for gentrification a census tract’s median household income and median home value were both in the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the beginning of the decade. The gentrified tracts recorded increases in the top third percentile for both measures when compared to all others in a metro area.
And more broadly, this resource has a special issue on gentrification:
The G-Word: A Special Series on Gentrification
The titles in this series are:
Do Cities Need Kids?
The Neighborhood Has Gentrified, But Where’s the Grocery Store?
Just Green Enough
Gentrification’s Not So Black and White After All
The Downsides of a Neighborhood ‘Turnaround
Some Cities Are Spurring the End of Sprawl
Keeping Cities from Becoming “Child-Free Zones”
From Vacant to Vibrant: Cincinnati’s Urban Transformation
Can Cities Change the Face of Biking?