Digest of Education Statistics, 2007

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The 43rd in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.

Source: NCES

Social Security Trustees Release 2008 Annual Report

Source: Social Security Administration

News release: The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds. While the key dates for program costs exceeding tax revenues and Trust Fund exhaustion remain unchanged, the 2008 Trustees Report shows improvement in the projected long-term financial status of the Social Security program from last year — particularly in the latter half of the long-range projection period. This improvement is principally the result of methodological changes for projecting certain aspects of immigration.

At the end of 2007, almost 50 million people were receiving benefits: 34 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 9 million disabled workers and their dependents. Dur¬ing the year an estimated 163 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes. Total benefits paid in 2007 were $585 bil¬lion. Income was $785 billion, and assets held in special issue U.S. Treasury securities grew to $2.2 trillion.

2008 Annual Report: Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The Medicare Program is the second-largest social insurance program in the U.S., with 44.1 million beneficiaries and total expenditures of $432 billion in 2007. The Boards of Trustees for Medicare report annually to the Congress on the financial operations and actuarial status of the program. Beginning in 2002, there is one combined report discussing both the Hospital Insurance program (Medicare Part A) and the Supplementary Medical Insurance program (Medicare Part B and Prescription Drug Coverage). The Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) prepares the report under the direction of the Boards. The Boards of Trustees issued their most recent report on March 25, 2008.

2008 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds (242 pages, PDF).

Job Patterns For Minorities And Women In Private Industry 2006

Source: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]

As part of its mandate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires periodic reports from public and private employers, and unions and labor organizations which indicate the composition of their work forces by sex and by race/ethnic category. Key among these reports is the EEO-1, which is collected annually from Private employers with 100 or more employees or federal contractors with 50 more employees. In 2006, nearly 50,000 employers with more than 55 million employees filed EEO-1 reports.

The confidentiality provision which governs release of these data (Section 709 (e) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972) prohibits release of individually identifiable information. However, data in aggregated format for major geographic areas and by industry group for private employers (EEO-1) are available. The tables are national aggregations by those industries with the greatest employment.

SIC Industry definitions and codes used in the tables from 1998 through 2002 are based upon those given in the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual. NAICS Industry definitions and codes used in the 2003 through 2006 tables are based upon those given in the 1997 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Manual. Starting with year 2006, Metropolitan Statistical Areas are based on the CBSA (Core Based Statistical Area) as defined by the Office of Management and Budget of December 2005.

Due to the unique racial and ethnic composition of the population of Hawaii, employment data for establishments in that state have been excluded from all aggregates of EEO-1 data.

Job Patterns For Minorities And Women In Private Industry 2006 (EEO-1) [14 March 2008]


New Orleans’ Parishes Top Nation in Population Growth Rate

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

From the news release:
St. Bernard and Orleans, two Louisiana parishes hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, were the nation’s fastest-growing counties in 2007, according to population estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Top 10 Counties in Population Growth

St. Bernard — the nation’s fastest-losing county from 2005 to 2006 — experienced a 42.9 percent population increase between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, upping its population by almost 6,000. Orleans’ population rose by 13.8 percent, or nearly 29,000.

According to the estimates, all but one of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing counties were located in the South or West, with Pinal, Ariz. (near Phoenix) ranking third at 11.5 percent; Kendall, Ill. (in the Chicago area) fourth at 10.6 percent; Rockwall, Texas (in the Dallas area) fifth at 8.2 percent; Flagler, Fla. (between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville) sixth at 7.2 percent; and Union, N.C. (near Charlotte) seventh at 7.2 percent. Rounding out the list were three Georgia counties: Forsyth (7.2 percent), Paulding (6.7 percent) and Jackson (6.7 percent). Forsyth and Paulding are in the Atlanta metro area, with Jackson bordering on Athens-Clarke County.

Maricopa County, Ariz., home of Phoenix, was the top numerical gainer, increasing by 102,000 people between 2006 and 2007. Among the 10 counties that added the largest number of residents between 2006 and 2007, half were in Texas (Harris, Tarrant, Bexar, Collin and Travis), two in North Carolina (Wake and Mecklenburg), and one each in California (Riverside) and Nevada (Clark).

Los Angeles, Calif., remained the most populous county, with a July 1, 2007, population of 9.9 million, a decline of 2,000 residents from 2006.

Resource List for State Anti-Poverty Strategies

Source: National Governors Association

This document provides a list of organizations, individuals and reports that states can use as resources when developing policies to reduce poverty and promote family economic opportunity. Information in the guide includes a list of free technical assistance providers that states can access; descriptions of poverty research centers and institutes; issue specific resources and organizations; and information on national anti-poverty reports, task forces, and projects.

Full Document (PDF; 198 KB)

Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2008 Update in Perspective

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The Trustees of the Social Security system have just issued the 2008 projections for the system over the next 75 years. The report contains two surprises. First, the 75-year deficit dropped to 1.70 percent of taxable payrolls from the roughly 2 percent it has been for the last 14 years. The decline was driven primarily by a change in the way Social Security projects immigration. Although the Trustees still project that the trust fund will be exhausted in 2041, the improved outlook enables scheduled payroll taxes to cover more than three-quarters of promised benefits after that point. The second noteworthy difference between this report and earlier ones is that it has not been signed by any public trustees. But this omission reflects a failure with the political process, not with the program itself.

Full Report (PDF; 105 KB)

Federal Guidance to Assist States in Improving State-Level Pandemic Influenza Operating Plans

Source: U.S. Government (12+ different agencies)

Effective State, local and community functioning during and following an influenza pandemic requires focused planning and practicing in advance of the pandemic to ensure that States can maintain their critical functions. The Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States – Early, Targeted, Layered Use of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (February 2007) was developed to provide guidance for pandemic planning and response. For community mitigation strategies to be effective, State governments need to incorporate them into their operating plans and assist local communities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and the public in doing the same. State governments must have robust operating plans that have been sufficiently tested and improved by staff who understand and perform proficiently their supporting activities. Community partners must also perform proficiently their roles and responsibilities and understand accurately what the State government will and won’t do and how it will communicate with both them and the public.

This document provides a strategic framework to help the 50 States, the District of Columbia (DC), and the five U.S. Territories improve and maintain their operating plans for responding to and sustaining functionality during an influenza pandemic. Hereinafter within this document, the terms “States” and “State-level” refer to all 56 governmental entities.

At the heart of the strategic framework are the supporting activities that State-level operating plans should address. Representatives of several United States Government (USG) Departments (see Annex) developed this document with input from State representatives.

Full report (PDF; 1.5 MB)

The Role of Nurses in Hospital Quality Improvement

Source: Center for Studying Health System Change

From press release (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation):

As the nation’s hospitals face increasing demands to participate in a wide range of quality improvement activities, the role and influence of nurses in these efforts is also increasing, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Hospital organizational cultures set the stage for quality improvement and nurses’ roles in those activities. Hospitals with supportive leadership, a philosophy of quality as everyone’s responsibility, individual accountability, physician and nurse champions, and effective feedback reportedly offer greater promise for successful staff engagement in improvement activities.

Yet hospitals confront challenges with regard to nursing involvement, including: scarcity of nursing resources; difficulty engaging nurses at all levels–from bedside to management; growing demands to participate in more, often duplicative, quality improvement activities; the burdensome nature of data collection and reporting; and shortcomings of traditional nursing education in preparing nurses for their evolving role in today’s contemporary hospital setting. Because nurses are the key caregivers in hospitals, they can significantly influence the quality of care provided and, ultimately, treatment and patient outcomes. Consequently, hospitals’ pursuit of high-quality patient care is dependent, at least in part, on their ability to engage and use nursing resources effectively, which will likely become more challenging as these resources become increasingly limited.

Full text

Most Republicans Think the U.S. Health Care System is the Best in the World. Democrats Disagree

Source: Harvard School of Public Health

A recent survey by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harris Interactive, as part of their ongoing series, Debating Health: Election 2008, finds that Americans are generally split on the issue of whether the United States has the best health care system in the world (45% believe the U.S. has the best system; 39% believe other countries have better systems; 15% don’t know or refused to answer) and that there is a significant divide along party lines. Nearly seven-in-ten Republicans (68%) believe the U.S. health care system is the best in the world, compared to just three in ten (32%) Democrats and four in ten (40%) Independents who feel the same way.

This poll was conducted during a period of debate over the comparative merits of the U.S. health care system and the health care systems in other countries. President Bush and other prominent political figures have claimed that the U.S. has the best system in the world. At the same time, the World Health Organization and other organizations have ranked the U.S. below many other countries in their comparisons, while Michael Moore presented a similarly negative assessment of the U.S. health system in a popular format with his film Sicko.

So how might this issue impact how Americans vote in the upcoming presidential election? When asked if they would be more likely to support or oppose a presidential candidate who advocates making the U.S. health care system more like health systems in other countries, specifically Canada, France, and Great Britain, only one in five (19%) Republicans say they would be more likely to support such a candidate. This is compared to more than half (56%) of Democrats and more than a third of Independents (37%) who say they would be more likely to support such a candidate.

Americans’ views on the U.S. health care system (Word; 340 KB)