Overall labor market conditions deteriorated markedly in 2008 following the onset of the recession in December 2007. Although individuals in all race and ethnicity groups experienced labor market difficulties, labor market problems for blacks or African Americans and Hispanics or Latinos were especially acute in 2008. For example, in 2008, the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent for blacks and 7.6 percent for Hispanics. These figures were considerably higher than the unemployment rates for whites and Asians, at 5.2 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.
The labor market difficulties of blacks and Hispanics are associated with many factors, not all of which are measurable. Some of these factors are their lower average levels of schooling; their tendency to be employed in occupations with high levels of unemployment; their greater concentration in the central cities of urban areas, where job opportunities may be relatively limited; and the likelihood that they experience discrimination in the workplace. These and other factors may make it especially difficult for some black and Hispanic workers to find or keep jobs as the overall demand for labor contracts during economic downturns.
Monthly Archive for January, 2010
Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2007
By: Karen E. Cunnyngham and Laura A. Castner
Source: Mathematica Policy Research
From Press Release (12/9/09):
A new policy brief from Mathematica Policy Research detailing participation rates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program, shows that, overall, 66 percent of all eligible people and 56 percent of the eligible working poor participated in SNAP in 2007. The participation rate—the percentage of the eligible population that participates in the program—is a widely used standard for assessing how well the program reaches its target population.
Mathematica’s study shows that state rates vary widely. Some states, like Maine, Missouri, and Tennessee, have consistently high participation rates, while others, like California, Colorado, and Wyoming, have consistently low participation rates. Regionally, the Western Region’s participation rate of 56 percent was significantly lower than the rates for all other regions. The Midwest Region had the highest participation rate in 2007—77 percent—significantly higher than the rates for all other regions.
Trends in Breast Cancer Mortality in the United States
By: Rogelio Saenz
Source: Population Reference Bureau
Recent recommendations from the U.S. government suggesting a relaxation in the age women should begin undergoing regular mammography exams have raised major debate and concerns.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women in their 40s forego routine mammography exams until they turn 50, at which time they should have the procedure done every two years. The report came on the heels of a debate in the medical community initiated months earlier with the publication of an article that suggested the benefits of early mammography screening were exaggerated, with false-positive detections too easily disregarded.
Critics of the report have accused the task force of using cold cost/benefit analyses that could potentially overturn the reductions in breast cancer deaths over the last couple of decades. Many fear that the recommendations represent the rationing of health care and that the health insurance industry will use the new guidelines to block access to mammography exams to women younger than 50.
According to the American Cancer Society, death rates associated with breast cancer have declined since 1990 at about 2 percent per year for women 50 and older and 3.2 percent annually among those younger than 50. Early detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms has been credited as one of the primary reasons behind the declining death rate from breast cancer.
Despite the decline, the disease continues to inflict a heavy toll on women in the United States. In 2009, approximately 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer, while roughly 192,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with the disease. There are also substantial race and ethnic gaps in breast cancer mortality rates, which could potentially increase under the newly proposed guidelines.
U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity
Source: Guttmacher Institute
From the news release (1/26/10):
For the first time in more than a decade, the nation’s teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006, reflecting increases in teen birth and abortion rates of 4% and 1%, respectively.
These new data from the Guttmacher Institute are especially noteworthy because they provide the first documentation of what experts have suspected for several years, based on trends in teens’ contraceptive use—that the overall teen pregnancy rate would increase in the mid-2000s following steep declines in the 1990s and a subsequent plateau in the early 2000s. The significant drop in teen pregnancy rates in the 1990s was overwhelmingly the result of more and better use of contraceptives among sexually active teens. However, this decline started to stall out in the early 2000s, at the same time that sex education programs aimed exclusively at promoting abstinence—and prohibited by law from discussing the benefits of contraception—became increasingly widespread and teens’ use of contraceptives declined.
Robert Groves, U.S. Census Bureau Director and former director of the Survey Research Center at ISR, started a blog in October: “My idea is to use this blog to let you know my thoughts about how the country is doing as we approach this “national ceremony” that occurs every 10 years – the decennial census.” It can be read here.
The Pew Research Center has started a website called All Things Census: Methods, Findings, Resources. From their “About” statement: “All Things Census is a gathering place for postings about census methods, findings and resources. As the 2010 Census revs up its engine, this site will look at how the machinery is running. When the data come out, starting late this year, it will feature reports on what the numbers say and mean.”
Who Are America’s Poor Children? The Official Story
By: Vanessa R. Wight, Michelle Chau, and Yumiko Aratani
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty
More than 13 million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four. The number of children living in poverty increased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2008. There are 2.5 million more children living in poverty today than in 2000.
Not only are these numbers troubling, the official poverty measure tells only part of the story. Research consistently shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice the federal poverty level to make ends meet. Children living in families with incomes below this level – for 2009, $44,100 for a family of four – are referred to as low income. Forty-one percent of the nation’s children – more than 29 million in 2008 – live in low-income families.
Nonetheless, eligibility for many public benefits is based on the official poverty measure. This fact sheet – the first in a series focusing on economic and material hardship – details some of the characteristics of American children who are considered poor by the official standard.
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How Religious is Your State?
Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define “religious,” there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life used polling data to rank them on four measures: the importance of religion in people’s lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God.
Check out an interactive graphic at pewforum.org to see how your state — and all the other states — rank according to each of the four measure. (States with sample sizes that are too small to analyze are combined. As a result, the lowest ranking is 46 rather than 50.)
Chasing the Same Dream, Climbing Different Ladders: Economic Mobility in the United States and Canada
By: Miles Corak
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Economic Mobility Project
Canadians and Americans do not have the same likelihood of climbing the income ladder and experiencing economic mobility, but not because of different underlying values or societal goals, according to new data released today by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. The report, Chasing the Same Dream, Climbing Different Ladders: Economic Mobility in the United States and Canada, examines the differences in mobility over a generation and analyzes the results in conjunction with public opinion polls commissioned in both nations by the Project. It looks at differences in public attitudes and cultural values to understand to what degree they can explain the disparity in economic mobility.
Race and Hispanic Origin of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2007
By: Elizabeth M. Grieco
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
This report from American Community Survey data describes the race and Hispanic-origin composition of the foreign-born population in 2007 and compares it with that of the total and native-born populations. It shows the foreign-born have a pattern of race and Hispanic-origin reporting that is markedly different from the native population.
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