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

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Asking Questions About Evictions

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight writes about the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS):

The survey that Williams was part of, the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS), may be the first rigorous, detailed look at eviction in a major city. Interviewers like Williams spoke to about 1,100 Milwaukee-area tenants between 2009 and 2011, asking them a battery of questions on their housing history. The survey has already fundamentally changed researchers’ understanding of eviction, revealing the problem to be far larger than previously understood.

New Census Reports on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

The U.S. Census Bureau released two new reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014. The reports find no real change in either income or poverty level, but the percentage of people without health insurance has declined.

From the press release:

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent, which means there were 46.7 million people in poverty. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from 2013 estimates. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate.

Median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,657, not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median income. This is the third consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive annual declines.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013. The number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period.

The Geography of Prisons Is Changing

Prison populations from big cities have been dropping since 2006, while those from small rural counties have been rising. The New York Times Upshot examines this trend:

Just a decade ago, people in rural, suburban and urban areas were all about equally likely to go to prison. But now people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than people in populous counties.

The stark disparities in how counties punish crime show the limits of recent state and federal changes to reduce the number of inmates. Far from Washington and state capitals, county prosecutors and judges continue to wield great power over who goes to prison and for how long. And many of them have no interest in reducing the prison population.

What Happens in Neighborhoods with Sharply Rising Home Values

Emily Badger of Wonkblog looks what happens when a neighborhood — Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, specifically — experiences a sharp increase in home values, but income remains the same.

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2015

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics us a picture of minimum wage workers in 2015. Some highlights (from the report website):

Age. Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 11 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of workers age 25 and older. (See table 1 and table 7.)

Gender. Among workers who were paid hourly rates in 2015, about 4 percent of women and about 3 percent of men had wages at or below the prevailing federal minimum. (See table 1.)

Full- and part-time status. About 7 percent of part-time workers (those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week) were paid at or below the federal minimum wage, compared with about 2 percent of full-time workers. (See table 1 and table 9.)

State of residence. The states with the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the South: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia (all were about 6 percent). The states with the lowest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the West: Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington (all were about 1 percent). It should be noted that some states have laws establishing higher minimum wage rates than the federal minimum wage. (See table 2 and table 3.)

H/T Data Detectives

NIA Has Updated It’s Strategic Directions

Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, wrote in the Inside NIA bog about their updated version of the NIA’s Strategic Directions, Aging Well in the 21st Century.

NIA’s previous strategic approach was published in 2007. Since then, we have made a number of important revisions. Most critically, we have organized our approach into three “functional” areas:

  • Understanding the Dynamics of the Aging Process
  • Improving the Health, Well-Being, and Independence of Adults as they Age
  • Supporting the Research Enterprise

Read the full post.

How Mass Incarceration of Black People Skews Our Sense of Reality

Jeff Guo of Wonkblog examines how the absence of 1.6 million people from economic statistics affects the decisions politicians and policymakers make:

Though there are nearly 1.6 million Americans in state or federal prison, their absence is not accounted for in the figures that politicians and policymakers use to make decisions. As a result, we operate under a distorted picture of the nation’s economic health.

There’s no simple way to estimate the impact of mass incarceration on the jobs market. But here’s a simple thought experiment. Imagine how the white and black unemployment rates would change if all the people in prison were added to the unemployment rolls.

Predicting Crime

Maurice Chammah, writing for The Marshall Project, writes about the St. Louis police departments’ use of crime-predicting software.

HunchLab, produced by Philadelphia-based startup Azavea, represents the newest iteration of predictive policing, a method of analyzing crime data and identifying patterns that may repeat into the future. HunchLab primarily surveys past crimes, but also digs into dozens of other factors like population density; census data; the locations of bars, churches, schools, and transportation hubs; schedules for home games — even moon phases. Some of the correlations it uncovers are obvious, like less crime on cold days. Others are more mysterious: rates of aggravated assault in Chicago have decreased on windier days, while cars in Philadelphia were stolen more often when parked near schools.

H/T Flowing Data

Changes in Incarceration Rates

Keith Humphreys, writing for WonkBlog, examines recent changes in the U.S. incarceration rates:

After decades of growth, the U.S. imprisonment rate has been declining for the past six years. Hidden within this welcome overall trend is a sizable and surprising racial disparity: African-Americans are benefitting from the national de-incarceration trend but whites are serving time at increasingly higher rates.

Neighborhoods, Fatherhood and Race

Philip Cohen writes about a new paper by Raj Chetty, et al. and the role race plays, even while it is missing from the data:

The tricky thing with this data, and I don’t blame Chetty et al. for this, although I would like them to say more about it, is that they don’t know the race of the children. The data are from tax records, which allow you to know the income and marital status of the parents, but not the race. But they know where they grew up. So if they have a strong effect of the racial composition of the county kids grow up in, but they don’t know the race of the kids, you have to figure a big part of that is race of the kids — and by “you” I mean someone who knows anything about America.