Category Archives: Statistics

The Costs of Being Poor: Inflation Inequality Leads to Three Million More People in Poverty

Source: Christopher Wimer, Sophie Collyer, Xavier Jaravel, Columbia University, Center on Poverty and Social Policy and London School of Economics, November 2019

From the summary:
It is widely recognized that income inequality has skyrocketed in recent decades. Incomes at the top of the distribution have grown rapidly, far outpacing income growth at the bottom. Recent research also shows that prices have risen more quickly for people at the bottom of the income distribution than for those at the top —a phenomenon dubbed “inflation inequality.” An implication of this new finding is that we may be under-estimating income inequality and poverty rates in the United States—two national statistics that rely heavily on the annual inflation rate as part of their calculation. In this brief, we utilize an adjusted inflation index that accounts for inflation inequality across the income distribution and re-estimate recent trends in poverty and income inequality from 2004 to 2018. Our adjusted inflation index indicates that 3.2 million more people are classified as living in poverty in 2018, and that real household income for the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution actually declined by more than 7 percent since 2004. These results show that inflation inequality significantly accentuates both the incidence of poverty and income inequality.

Democracy Counts 2018: Increased Student and Institutional Engagement

Source: Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, 2019

From the Washington Post article:
College students across the United States more than doubled their rate of voting between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections, according to a study published Thursday by Tufts University — a dramatic spike in political engagement that could draw unprecedented attention to these voters in next year’s presidential election. The study found that 40 percent of students who are eligible to vote cast ballots last year, up from 19 percent in 2014.

Related:
2018 Data Portal

Ballotpedia releases research on public-sector union membership

Source: Dave Beaudoin, Ballotpedia, Daily Brew, September 20, 2019

Nearly 50% of the country’s public-sector union employees are located in five states, according to a new Ballotpedia study released this week. This finding is based on data for 228 of the most prominent public-sector labor unions nationwide as selected based on media reports, consultation with local and state experts, and our own research efforts. In total, we counted 5,654,109 members in those 228 public-sector unions. Throughout 2019, Ballotpedia researched and analyzed the membership, finances, and political spending of public-sector unions. We’ll be sharing these findings in the weeks ahead in Union Station — our newsletter covering the latest developments in public-sector union policy.

Since it is nearly impossible to collect comprehensive data on membership of every public-sector union, we identified the most prominent public-sector unions in each state and determined their membership. This included state-level affiliates of national unions, such as the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and the Fraternal Order of Police. ….

Among the 228 unions, these five states had the highest number of public-sector union members:

– California: 811,483 members belonging to six large unions—approximately 14% of the nationwide total.

– New York: 808,669 members belonging to five unions—14% of the nationwide total.

– Illinois: 342,518 members belonging to five unions—6% of the nationwide total.

– New Jersey: 324,750 members belonging to four unions—6% of the nationwide total.

– Pennsylvania: 324,411 members belonging to five unions—6% of the nationwide total…..

Undercounting Hispanics in the 2020 Census will result in a loss in federal funding to many states for child and family assistance programs

Source: David Murphey, Dana Thomson, Lina Guzman, Claire Kelley, Child Trends, Issue Brief, August 14, 2019

This brief examines the potential reduction in funding to states for five critical federal programs that could result from an undercount of Hispanics in the 2020 Census. More than 300 federal programs allocate funding based on Census-derived data. The five programs we examine serve children and families and account for almost half of all federal funding to states. Hispanics are the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the United States and are especially at risk for being undercounted a problem which research indicates may be exacerbated by ongoing concerns about efforts to link citizenship status to Census respondents. ….

….. The interactive maps and tables below illustrate low, medium, and high estimates of potential losses of federal funding to states for five programs: the Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid, children only), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title IV-E Foster Care, Title IV-E Adoption Assistance, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The low-estimate scenario is based on published research by the Urban Institute, and assumes a Census count that proceeds as planned by the U.S. Census Bureau. The medium and high estimates (based on research published by the Census Bureau and Harvard University researchers, respectively) assume that participation will be reduced due to data-privacy and other concerns resulting from federal efforts to determine the citizenship status of Census respondents. …..

…. Under existing federal funding formulas, a total of 37 states will forfeit a portion of federal funds for the five aforementioned child and family programs as a result of a Hispanic undercount in the 2020 Census. ….

2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey

Source: U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), June 2019

From the press release:
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today released findings from the 2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) the most comprehensive source of state- and local jurisdiction-level data about election administration in the United States. ….

Some notable findings from the 2018 EAVS include:

Turnout
• More than 120 million Americans, or 52 percent of the estimated Citizen Voting Age Population, voted in the 2018 Midterm Elections.
• The nationwide turnout rate was 15.5 percentage points higher than in the 2014 Midterm Election, with some states reporting turnout levels that approached those of a typical Presidential Election.

Voter Registration
• More than 211 million persons were reported as registered and eligible to vote in the 2018 Midterm Elections, an increase of 11 percent over the 2014 Midterm Elections.
• Nearly 80 million voter registration applications were received between the 2016 and 2018 Federal Elections.
• Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) remained the most utilized method for voter registration and accounted for 45 percent of registrations, an increase of 33 percent over 2014.
• Online voter registration is allowed in 40 states and territories, and accounted for 16 percent of registrations in 2018, a six-point increase over 2014. This represented a slight decrease from 2016.
• Nearly half of states have some kind of policy allowing for same day voter registration and more than 800,000 same day registrations were processed during the 2018 Midterm Elections.

By-Mail and In-Person Early Voting
• Voting in-person on Election Day remained the most-used mode of voting. More than half of voters cast their ballots in person on Election Day.
• However, by-mail voting was used by a quarter of the electorate in 2018.
• Nearly one-fifth voted at in-person early voting sites, a rate that more than doubled since the 2014 elections. In six states, more than half of ballots were cast at in-person early voting sites. ….

2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2019

From the summary:
The 30th edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book begins by exploring how America’s child population — and the American childhood experience — has changed since 1990.

And there’s some good news to share: Of the 16 areas of child well-being tracked across four domains — health, education, family and community and economic well-being — 11 have improved since the Foundation published its first Data Book 30 editions ago.

The rest of the 2019 Data Book — including the latest national trends and state rankings — rely on a shorter review window: 2010 to 2017.

The data reveal, in the United States today, more parents are financially stable and living without burdensome housing costs. More teens are graduating from high school and delaying parenthood. And access to children’s health insurance has increased compared to just seven years ago.

But it is not all good news. The risk of babies being born at a low weight continues to rise, racial inequities remain systemic and stubbornly persistent and 12% of kids across the country are still growing up in areas of concentrated poverty.

Locally, New Hampshire has claimed the No. 1 spot in overall child well-being, followed by Massachusetts and Iowa. Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico sit at the other end of this list — and among familiar company. In fact, save for California and Alaska, the lowest 18 ranked states call Appalachia, the South or the Southwest home.

How to Adjust the Official Poverty Measure

Source: State Policy Reports, Vol. 37 no. 10, May 2019
(subscription required)

A recent request by a federal agency is purportedly intended to gather information to inform a future decision, but some observers see a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Related:
Trump May Redefine Poverty, Cutting Americans From Welfare Rolls
Source: Justin Sink, Bloomberg, May 6, 2019

• OMB says in regulatory filing it may recalculate poverty level
• Switch to so-called chained CPI would slow growth of poverty

FAQ: The Trump Administration’s Proposal to Lower the Federal Poverty Line
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 30, 2019

On May 6, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a notice requesting comments on changing the methodology for updating the federal poverty line for inflation. The notice floats the idea of updating the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds using an alternative, lower measure of inflation than the traditional Consumer Price Index (known as the CPI-U) — either the “chained” CPI or the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index. This would result in lower poverty thresholds, with the gap between the current and proposed methodologies increasing each year….

BLS publishes experimental state-level labor productivity measures

Source: Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, Michael W. Jadoo, Bhavani Khandrika, Jennifer Price, James D. Mildenberger, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, June 2019

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published experimental data on state-level labor productivity for the private nonfarm sector, including state-level output per hour, output, hours, unit labor costs, hourly compensation, and real hourly compensation data series. These annual data series, covering 2007−17, provide insights into the variation in productivity across states. Over this period, average annual productivity growth ranged from 3.1 percent in North Dakota to −0.7 percent in Louisiana. However, California, whose productivity grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent, was the largest contributor to national productivity growth due to the large size of its economy. This article describes the data and methodology used to estimate this new experimental state-level labor productivity series. In addition, it examines the compensation-productivity gap, the relationship between productivity growth and the share of output in the information and communications technology producing sector, and whether state-level labor productivity was converging in the postrecession period.

Projections of Education Statistics to 2027

Source: William J. Hussar, Tabitha M. Bailey,National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NCES 2019001, February 2019

From the abstract:
Projections of Education Statistics to 2027 is the 46th in a series of publications initiated in 1964. This publication provides national-level data on enrollment, teachers, high school graduates, and expenditures at the elementary and secondary level, and enrollment and degrees at the postsecondary level for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2027. For the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2027. The methodology section describes models and assumptions used to develop national- and state-level projections.

Related:
Weak enrollment projections highlightrising credit risk for some US colleges
Source: Cassandra Golden, Susan I Fitzgerald, Dennis M. Gephardt, Moody’s, Sector Comment, March 6, 2019
(subscription required)

Union Members – 2018

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press Release, USDL-19-0079, January 18, 2019

The union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 10.5 percent in 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.7 million in 2018, was little changed from 2017. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

Highlights from the 2018 data:
–The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent). (See table 3.)
–The highest unionization rates were among workers in protective service occupations (33.9 percent) and in education, training, and library occupations (33.8 percent). (See table 3.)
–Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (11.1 percent) than women (9.9 percent). (See table 1.)
–Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
–Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 82 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($860 versus $1,051). (The comparisons of earnings in this release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)
–Among states, Hawaii and New York had the highest union membership rates (23.1 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively), while North Carolina and South Carolina had the lowest (2.7 percent each). (See table 5.)