Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

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.

Mixed Race Identity Rises in the South

William Frey, writing for the Brookings Institute, examines the increase in persons identifying as “White and Black” in the southern states.

Yet, the South is attracting blacks in large numbers, including multiracial blacks, from all parts of the country. Thus, it is significant that when states are ranked by the growth rates in their “white and black” multiracial populations in the first decade of the 2000s, it is these Southern states that lead all others.

Teens, Technology and Friendships

The Pew Research Center released a new report on the ways teenagers make and maintain friendships in the digital age.

For American teens, making friends isn’t just confined to the school yard, playing field or neighborhood – many are making new friends online. Fully 57% of teens ages 13 to 17 have made a new friend online, with 29% of teens indicating that they have made more than five new friends in online venues. Most of these friendships stay in the digital space; only 20% of all teens have met an online friend in person.

See also: 6 takeaways about teen friendships in the digital age and 5 facts about America’s students.

More Americans of All Races Say Racism Is A Big Problem

The Pew Research Center released a report examining the results of a new poll, Across Racial Lines, More Say Nation Needs to Make Changes to Achieve Racial Equality.

Over the past year, there has been a substantial rise in the share of Americans — across racial and ethnic groups — who say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, and a growing number of Americans view racism as a big problem in society.

Download the full report (PDF)

See also the Wonkblog write-up.

Using Probability in Criminal Sentencing

FlowingData extracts a statistics lesson on probability from a piece in FiveThirtyEight about risk assessment and criminal sentencing.

Millennial Generation Still Living at Home

Despite an improved economy more young adults live with their parents: “In 2010, 69% of 18- to 34-year-olds lived independently. As of the first four months of this year, only 67% of Millennials were living independently.”

Pew Report here.

The Most and Least Racially Diverse U.S. Religious Groups

The Pew Research Center examined the racial/ethnic make up of 29 groups, including Protestant denominations, other religious groups and three religiously unaffiliated groups. The analysis included 5 racial and ethnic groups: Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians, and other/mixed-race.

See also: Major U.S. metropolitan areas differ in their religious profiles

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

Age at Marriage and Risk of Divorce

Christopher Ingraham of Wonkblog writes about a new analysis of family data data by Nicholas Wolfinger:

Conventional wisdom has it that the older you are when you get married, the lower your chances for divorce. But a fascinating new analysis of family data by Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah, suggests that after a certain point, the risk of divorce starts to rise again as you get older.

See Wolfinger’s report at Family Studies: Want to Avoid Divorce? Wait to Get Married, But Not Too Long.

See also his follow up, Replicating the Goldilocks Theory of Marriage and Divorce.

Marriage Chances by County

The NY Times’ Upshot analyzed data from the Equality of Opportunity group and found that where you grow up affects your chances marrying by age 26.

The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado.