Archive for the 'Poverty & Inequality' Category

Mapping gun violence

The Guardian has some interesting maps showing where gun violence is concentrated, by city and neighborhood.

Even within those cities, violence is further concentrated in the tiny neighborhood areas that saw two or more gun homicide incidents in a single year.

Four and a half million Americans live in areas of these cities with the highest numbers of gun homicide, which are marked by intense poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. Geographically, these neighborhood areas are small: a total of about 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, which, laid side by side, would fit into an area just 42 miles wide by 42 miles long.

H/T Flowing Data

World Bank Poverty Charts

The Data Blog from the World Bank has posted several charts showing different trends in poverty:

Update on Who Is Poor in the United States

The Brookings Institute updated their 2014 analysis of poverty to include the new Current Population Survey March Supplement poverty report: An Update On Who Is Poor in the United States.

Update: Rural Poverty

According to an article in yesterday’s Washington Post, the Census Bureau has announced that it is retracting the rural poverty findings in it’s recent Income and Poverty report.

The flawed estimates were based on the bureau’s Current Population Survey, one of several surveys conducted regularly by the bureau. The problem resulted from how, as the population grows and Americans move from one part of the country to another, the bureau must adjust the boundaries that define metropolitan areas. These adjustments, carried out every decade, altered the map for the Current Population Survey last year.

The changes in the boundaries moved almost 6 million people into metropolitan areas. These adjustments rendered meaningless the estimated change in rural incomes from one year to the next, according to the statement.

“The U.S. Census Bureau is removing the statistical comparisons between 2014 and 2015,” the statement read.

Rural Poverty

The NYTimes Upshot reexamines the Census finding on rural median household income in Actually, Income in Rural America is Growing, Too. Recent reports from the Census showed that while income in metropolitan areas grew 6%, income in rural areas fell by 2%. However, according to statistics buried in American FactFinder, rural income grew by 3.4%.

Affordable Housing and Public Assistance

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight examines the crisis in affordable housing in Why So Many Poor Americans Don’t Get Help Paying for Housing. The problem is two-fold: affordability and the inability of government programs to keep up with need.

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.

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

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.