The Federal Reserve released the 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking on May 27, 2015.
From the press release:
The Federal Reserve Board’s latest survey of the financial and economic conditions of American households released Wednesday finds that individuals’ overall perceptions of financial well-being improved modestly between 2013 and 2014 but their optimism about future financial prospects increased significantly.
Download full report (PDF)
The New York Times Upshot examines the rise of college tuition and fees and the restriction of in-state tuition breaks and what it means for the affordability of higher education.
Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place.
A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.
See also: Readers’ Turn: The ‘Rat Race’ of College Competition.
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.
In 2010, 0% of the residents of Washington, DC lived within 2 miles of a Wal-Mart. 5 years later, 41% of residents do. NPR compiled data on the locations of Wal-Marts in Washington, DC, Chicago, and Atlanta and explores what this expansion means for urban neighborhoods. Today’s story focuses on what it means for the workers
Lydia DePillis from Wonkblog examines data from a new AARP survey, as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Labor, and finds a harsh reality for workers over 50 who lose their jobs.
Quoctrung Bui of Planet Money used family income data from the 2013 American Community Survey to examine how much income it takes to be middle class in 30 U.S. cities. Detroit requires the lowest income, and San Jose, CA requires the highest.
Mikhail Zinshteyn of FiveThirtyEight examines measures of college readiness and the various ways they fail:
Before we can implement policies designed to shepherd more of this country’s residents toward a college degree, we must actually know what makes a student college-ready. But what if our definitions of college readiness are incomplete, or worse, painting an unreasonably dour picture of how prepared U.S. students are for the rigors of college?
“Everyone has their own definition of college readiness, which makes it a little tricky,” said Jack Buckley, the head of research at the College Board, who previously led the Department of Education’s research arm.
So tricky, in fact, that there’s sharp disagreement over whether test scores or high school grades are better predictors of college readiness.
Mark A.R. Kleinman, Angela Hawken and Ross Halperin propose a new solution to high incarceration rates, difficult re-entry into society and high recidivism rates.
For the transition from prison to life outside to be successful, it needs to be gradual. If someone needed to be locked up yesterday, he shouldn’t be completely at liberty today. And he shouldn’t be asked to go from utter dependency to total self-sufficiency in one flying leap. He needs both more control and more support. Neither alone is likely to do the job.