Category Archives: Statistics

Waging War on Poverty: Historical Trends in Poverty Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Source: Liana Fox, Irwin Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wimer, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. 19789, January 2014

From the abstract:
Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the March Current Population Survey, we calculate historical poverty estimates based on the new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) from 1967 to 2012. During this period, poverty as officially measured has stagnated. However, the official poverty measure (OPM) does not account for the effect of near-cash transfers on the financial resources available to families, an important omission since such transfers have become an increasingly important part of government anti-poverty policy. Applying the SPM, which does count such transfers, we find that historical trends in poverty have been more favorable than the OPM suggests and that government policies have played an important and growing role in reducing poverty — a role that is not evident when the OPM is used to assess poverty. We also find that government programs have played a particularly important role in alleviating child poverty and deep poverty, especially during economic downturns.

Union Members – 2013

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-14-0095, January 24, 2014

In 2013, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 11.3 percent, the same as in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.5 million, was little different from 2012. 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.

The “Ripple Effect” of a Minimum Wage Increase on American Workers

Source: Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Brookings Institution, The Hamilton Project, January 2014

From the summary:
….In this month’s Hamilton Project economic analysis, we consider the likely magnitude of the effects of a minimum wage increase on the number and share of workers affected. Considering that near-minimum wage workers would also be affected, we find that an increase could raise the wages of up to 35 million workers—that’s 29.4 percent of the workforce. For the purpose of this analysis, we set aside the important issue of potential employment effects, which is another crucial element in the debate about an optimal minimum wage policy. We also continue to explore the nation’s “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs needed to return to pre-recession employment levels.

Although relatively few workers report wages exactly equal to (or below) the minimum wage, a much larger share of workers in the United States earns wages near the minimum wage. This holds true in the states that comply with the federal minimum wage, in addition to those states that have instituted their own higher minimum wage levels.

An increase in the minimum wage tends to have a “ripple effect” on other workers earning wages near that threshold. This ripple effect occurs when a raise in the minimum wage increases the wage received by workers earning slightly above the minimum wage. This effect of the statutory minimum wage on wages paid at the low end of the wage distribution more generally is well recognized in the academic literature. Based on this recognition, we quantify the number of workers potentially affected by minimum wage policy using the assumption that workers earning up to 150 percent of the minimum wage would see a wage increase from a higher minimum wage. We hasten to note that a complete analysis of the net effects of a minimum wage increase would also have to account for potential negative employment effects. Our main goal of this empirical exercise is to dispel the notion that the minimum wage is not a relevant policy lever, which is based on the faulty premise that only a small number of workers would be affected. …
See also:
Interactive Map – Minimum Wage and Share of Workers Earning Equal to or Less Than 150 Percent of the Minimum Wage in 2012, by State

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009–11

Source: Allen J. Beck, Ramona R. Rantala, Jessica Rexroat, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report, NCJ 243904, January 23, 2014

From the abstract:
Presents counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011. An in-depth examination of substantiated incidents is also presented, covering the number and characteristics of victims and perpetrators, location, time of day, nature of the injuries, impact on the victims, and sanctions imposed on the perpetrators. Companion tables in Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 – Statistical Tables, include counts of types of sexual victimization reported for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, state prison systems, facilities operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sampled jail jurisdictions, privately operated jails and prisons, and jails in Indian country. Data are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), which has annually collected official records on allegations and substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual victimization since 2004.

– Correctional administrators reported 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2011, a statistically significant increase over the number of allegations reported in 2009 (7,855) and 2010 (8,404).
– About half of all allegations (51%) involved nonconsensual sexual acts (the most serious, including penetration) or abusive sexual contacts (less serious, including unwanted touching, grabbing, and groping) of inmates with other inmates. Nearly half (49%) involved staff sexual misconduct (any sexual act directed toward an inmate by staff) or sexual harassment (demeaning verbal statements of a sexual nature) directed toward inmates.
– In 2011, 902 allegations of sexual victimization (10%) were substantiated (i.e., determined to have occurred upon investigation). The total number of substantiated incidents has not changed significantly since 2005 (885).
– Victims were physically injured in 18% of substantiated incidents of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, compared to less than 1% of incidents of staff-on-inmate victimization.
– More than half (54%) of all substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and a quarter (26%) of all incidents of staff sexual harassment were committed by female staff.
– Overall, more than three-quarters (78%) of staff perpetrators were fired or resigned. Nearly half (45%) were arrested, referred for prosecution, or convicted.
Press Release
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Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 – Statistical Tables
Source: Allen J. Beck, Ramona R. Rantala, Jessica Rexroat, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Statistical Tables, NCJ 244227, January 23, 2014
Press Release
ASCII file
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Trends in Poverty with an Anchored Supplemental Poverty Measure

Source: Christopher Wimer, Liana Fox, Irwin Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, Jane Waldfogel, Columbia Population Research Center, CPRC Working Paper. 1-25, December 5, 2013

Poverty measures set a poverty line or threshold and then evaluate resources against that threshold. The official poverty measure is flawed on both counts: it uses thresholds that are outdated and are not adjusted appropriately for the needs of different types of individuals and households; and it uses an incomplete measure of resources which fails to take into account the full range of income and expenses that individuals and households have. Because of these (and other) failings, statistics using the official poverty measure do not provide an accurate picture of poverty or the role of government policies in combating poverty. To address these well-known limitations, the Census Bureau recently implemented a supplemental poverty measure (SPM) which applies an improved set of thresholds and a more comprehensive measure of resources. The Census Bureau has released SPM statistics for 2010–2012. From these reports, we know that using the SPM results in a higher overall threshold, more income, but also more expenses. The net effect is a slightly higher overall poverty rate – 16.0 percent with SPM vs.15.1 percent with OPM in 2012. These reports also illustrate the crucial anti-poverty role played by programs not counted under the OPM (programs such as SNAP/Food Stamps and EITC). In recent work, we have produced SPM-like estimates for the period 1967-2012, using historical data on incomes from the 1968-2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (March CPS) and historical data on expenditures from the 1961, 1972/73, and 1980-2012 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). These estimates confirm that overall poverty is slightly higher with SPM than OPM but that government policies have played a more important role in reducing poverty than would be suggested by OPM, and particularly in recent years…
Waging War on Poverty: Historical Trends in Poverty Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure
Source: Christopher Wimer, Liana Fox, Irwin Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, Jane Waldfogel, Columbia Population Research Center, CPRC Working Paper 13-01, Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) Conference
Washington, DC, November 8, 2013

State Government Finances Summary Report: 2012

Source: Cheryl H. Lee, Robert Jesse Willhide, and Edwin Pom, United States Census Bureau, Governments Division Briefs, G12-CG-ASF, January 23, 2014

From the press release:
General revenues for state governments were $1.6 trillion in 2012, a 1.8 percent decrease from $1.7 trillion in 2011, according to the latest findings on state government finances from the U.S. Census Bureau. General expenditures by state governments fell 0.5 percent in 2012 to $1.6 trillion, down from $1.7 trillion in 2011. This is third time in the last four years that general expenditures have exceeded revenues.

A major contributor to the fall in general revenue was declining funding from federal grants. Federal grants to states totaled $514.2 billion, down 10.7 percent from $575.8 billion in 2011. (Federal grants make up 31.6 percent of states’ general revenue.)

Total revenue, which includes general revenues and social insurance trust revenue such as unemployment compensation funds, fell 15.6 percent to $1.9 trillion in 2012 (down from $2.3 trillion in 2011).

“A large part of the decrease in the federal grants revenue was due to the temporary nature of funding provided through federal stimulus money beginning in mid-2009,” said Lisa Blumerman, chief of the Census Bureau’s Governments Division. “The 2012 Census of Governments captures the third fiscal year since the beginning of the infusion of stimulus money.”

The findings are from the 2012 Census of Governments: Finance – Survey of State Government Finances, which shows revenues, expenditures, debt, and cash and security holdings for each state as well as a national summary of state government finances.

ICMA 2013 Police and Fire Personnel and Expenditures

Source: International City/County Management Association (ICMA), ICMA Survey Research, Survey Summary, 2014

From an ICMA article:
ICMA’s Police and Fire Personnel and Expenditures Survey provides an overview of trends in staffing and expenditures across the country. As local governments have wrestled with budgets for the last six years, police and fire departments have not been immune, although they may have been among the last departments to be affected by reduced budgets. Staffing and expenditures are always a topic of discussion as budgets are prepared.
– The average entrance salaries are $45,664 for police officers and $40,887 for fire fighters.
– The average maximum salaries for police officers and fire fighters are $64,897 and $57,091, respectively.
– Both police and fire show average overtime expenditures of approximately $500,000.

The survey also covers staffing shifts and workweeks, which have been a focus of recent questions in the Knowledge Network related to police departments.

Results from ICMA’s 2013 Police and Fire survey show that
– Over 70% of local governments report a 40-hour workweek for police officers.
– Slightly more than 50% report 10/12-hour shifts for police officers.

Other highlights from the 2013 survey include:
– For firefighters, a plurality of local governments reports a 56-hour workweek.
– Approximately 75% of local governments report that firefighters work 24-hour shifts.
– The average number of police officers for responding local governments is 105 and 72 for firefighters, but population size, density, and other factors influence the staffing in each locality.
– For both police and fire the average per capita number of officers has decreased since 2012.

The survey summary also includes minimum and maximum salaries for an additional 12 police and fire department officer positions.

Best-Performing Cities 2013

Source: Ross C. DeVol, Minoli Ratnatunga, and Armen Bedroussian, Milken Institute, December 2013

What critical factors determine which U.S. metros are thriving or merely surviving? Which places possess the traits that will lead to success? Our annual Best-Performing Cities report provides a fact-based, comprehensive metric system across metropolitan areas that highlights the job, wage, and technology trends that shape current and future prospects.

Technology and energy were the forces powering this year’s top performers, even more so than in 2012. Of course, tech firms didn’t just fall from the sky; the leading tech metros cultivated these assets through indigenous innovation and strategic recruitment. Some were successful despite being high-cost, high- regulation locations. For example, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA; San Jose-Sunnyvale- Santa Clara, CA; and Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA, have developed critical masses of R&D assets and infrastructure that make it easier to innovate in those metros than in many lower-cost locations. The friction costs of innovation are minimized. Other tech centers are capturing more of their locally generated innovation and filling in the missing ingredients as needed. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX, Raleigh-Cary, NC, and Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO, fall into this category. …

…Among this year’s key findings:
» Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX, reclaimed the top spot as our 2013 Best-Performing Large City. Austin’s technology base is highly diversified and has been performing admirably.
» The Lone Star State, which has both technology and energy assets, claimed three of the Top 10 and seven of the Top 25 large cities.
» Colorado and California are each home to four of the Top 25 large cities.
» Technology hubs dominated with 13 of them in the Top 25, and technology growth helped propel several other metros into the top ranks.
» The shale oil and gas boom thrust nine other metros into the Top 25.
» Columbia, MO, was the Best-Performing Small City with the help of high-tech industries like telecommunications, which saw employment grow by 60 percent from 2007 to 2012.
» Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV, recorded the biggest gain among the large cities, vaulting 100 spots. …

How Will The Affordable Care Act Change Employers’ Incentives To Offer Insurance?

Source: Jean M. Abraham, Roger Feldman, Peter Graven, U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies, Working Papers, CES-WP-14-02, January 2014

From the abstract:
This study investigates how changes in the economic incentives created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect the probability that private-sector U.S. employers will offer health insurance. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component for 2008-2010, we predict employers’ responses to key ACA provisions. Our simulations predict that overall demand for insurance will rise, driven by workers’ desire to avoid the individual mandate penalty and the availability of premium tax credits in exchanges. Our analyses also suggest that the average probability of an establishment offering insurance will decline from .83 to .66 with ACA implementation, although there is considerable variation by firm size, industry and union status.