How much are we working?

Our World in Data has your answer with the article, Working Hours.

The researchers Michael Huberman and Chris Minns published estimates of weekly work hours going back to the late 19th century. This data – shown in the following visualization – shows that over this time working hours have steeply declined. Full-time workers in these countries work 20 or even 30 hours less every week than in the 19th century.

As always with Our World in Data, they have interactive graphs that can be downloaded (such as the one here – you also have choices of countries) along with the data set. The article has a total of six interactive graphs and data related to work, productivity,  income, and gender.

What are the differences in infant mortality by race?

The NYT has a lengthy article, Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis (4/11/18 by Linda Villarosa)  and Kevin Drum follows this up with the handy chart posted here in his post Our Disgraceful Infant Mortality Epidemic.  He notes that although infant morality has decreased the difference between Black and White infant morality has increase (by percentage):

In 1950, according to the CDC, the black rate of infant mortality was 64 percent higher than the white rate. Today it’s 133 percent higher

We also aren’t keeping up with the rest of world:

In 1960, we ranked 11th in infant mortality among rich countries. Not great, but not terrible. Today we rank 24th out of 27 rich countries, ahead of only Turkey, Mexico, and Chile.

You can find infant mortality data at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics page  (tables 10-13).

How much has growing season/allergy season increased in your town?

Climate Central has your answer with their post, Here’s How Frost-Free Season Affects Allergy Season (4/4/18). You will find a drop down menu to produce graphs like this one for Grand Rapids, which has seen as average increase of about 25 frost free days. On the downside,

 A study sampling 10 locations from Texas to Saskatoon, Canada indicated that pollen seasons lengthened between two to four weeks from 1995 to 2009, with the largest increases in the northernmost areas.

In addition, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide enhances photosynthesis in plants, meaning that they produce more pollen.

They don’t provide the data, unfortunately, but they do provide a clear methodology so that you can create the data set for your city. You can get weather data from NOAA Climate Data Online. There is great potential here for student projects in statistics courses.

Are teachers being paid fairly?

An August 2016 report by EPI, The teacher pay gap is wider than ever (8/9/16 by Allegretto and Mishel), suggests not. For instance, the graph here shows that teachers are paid 23% less than other college graduates in 2015 and the gap has been increasing since 1980.

Average weekly wages (inflation adjusted) of public-sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, from $1,122 to $1,092 (in 2015 dollars). In contrast, weekly wages of all college graduates rose from $1,292 to $1,416 over this period.

For all public-sector teachers, the relative wage gap (regression adjusted for education, experience, and other factors) has grown substantially since the mid-1990s: It was ‑1.8 percent in 1994 and grew to a record ‑17.0 percent in 2015.

The report includes 8 graphs with data plus two tales. There are comparisons between females and males, as well as union and non-union.

What is known about world income inequality?

The World Inequality Report 2018 provides a complete summary of world income inequality.  The executive summary contains thirteen charts to explore such as the one here.

The poorest half of the global population has seen its income grow significantly thanks to high growth in Asia (particularly in China and India). However, because of high and rising inequality within countries, the top 1% richest individuals in the world captured twice as much growth as the bottom 50% individuals since 1980 (Figure E4). Income growth has been sluggish or even zero for individuals with incomes between the global bottom 50% and top 1% groups. This includes all North American and European lower- and middle-income groups.

The executive summary also notes:

Research has demonstrated that tax progressivity is an effective tool to combat inequality. Progressive tax rates do not only reduce post-tax inequality, they also diminish pre-tax inequality by giving top earners less incentive to capture higher shares of growth via aggressive bargaining for pay rises and wealth accumulation. Tax progressivity was sharply reduced in rich and some emerging countries from the 1970s to the mid-2000s. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the downward trend has leveled off and even reversed in certain countries, but future evolutions remain uncertain and will depend on democratic deliberations. It is also worth noting that inheritance taxes are nonexistent or near zero in high-inequality emerging countries, leaving space for important tax reforms in these countries.

The methodology page includes files with all the data.

How do NYC securities employee bonuses compare to U.S. household income?

Statista has your answer with their post Wall Street Bonuses Outpace Household Income  (3/28/18 by Dyfed Loesche) and their chart here.

Compared to the average U.S. household income this is quite some money, keeping in mind these are payments on top of the regular pay. In 2016, the average Wall Street bonus stood at close to $158,000 and thus 2.5 times as high as the median household income of a little more than $59,000. (The U.S. Census Bureau has not yet released official household figures for 2017). The average number of people living in an American household stands at 2.5.

The post has links to the median household data as well as the bonuses. Not only is this useful data for a stats course, but there is also an interesting discussion to be had on the use of mean and median in this post.

What is the connection between race and generational income mobility?

The recent paper, Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective, by the Equal Opportunity Project, has the answer and makes the data available.  The executive summary has seven key findings, here are three:

Finding #1: Hispanic Americans are moving up in the income distribution across generations, while Black Americans and American Indians are not.

Finding #2: The black-white income gap is entirely driven by differences in men’s, not women’s, outcomes.

Finding #6: Within low-poverty areas, black-white gaps are smallest in places with low levels of racial bias among whites and high rates of father presence among blacks.

There is something in this paper to challenge everyone’s views at some point. For example,

We find analogous gender differences in other outcomes: black-white gaps in high school completion rates, college attendance rates, and incarceration are all substantially larger for men than for women. Black women have higher college attendance rates than white men, conditional on parental income.

At the bottom of the executive summary are links to data, slides, and the full paper. You can go directly to the data here.

How is climate change impacting Easter Island?

A New York Times article,  Easter Island Is Eroding, (3/15/18 by  Casey and Haner) has the answer.

Tourists usually begin their days in Tongariki, where they gather to watch the sunrise from behind a line of monoliths facing inland. Groups split off to Anakena, the island’s one sandy beach, or to the ancient platforms at Akahanga, a sprawling site of former villages on the shore where, tradition holds, the island’s mythical founder, Hotu Matu’a, is buried in a stone grave.

Yet all three sites now stand to be eroded by rising waters, scientists say.

“We don’t want people seeing these places through old photos,” Mr. Rapu said.

A beach is already lost:

The damage has been swift on Ovahe Beach, near where Mr. Huke came across bones in the sun. For generations, there had been a sandy beach here that was popular with tourists and locals. Nearby, a number of unmarked burial sites were covered with stones.

Now the waves have carried off almost all of the sand, leaving jagged volcanic stone. The burial sites have been damaged and it’s not clear how long they will survive the waves.

Walls collapsing:

At a site called Ura Uranga Te Mahina on the island’s southern coast, park officials were alarmed last year when blocks of a stone wall perched about 10 feet above a rocky coast collapsed after being battered by waves.

There is more and the article has fantastic photos.

Where can we find basic climate information?

The answer is Climate Kids by NASA.  Climate kids is aimed at, well, kids, but it serves as a fantastic primer of basic climate science.  For example, under Big Questions and then How do we know the climate is changing? we find short explanations of the following questions (with links to  further resources):  So what if Earth gets a tiny bit warmer? Why is Earth getting warmer? (includes the CO2 graph copied here) How do we know what Earth was like long ago? How can so little warming cause so much melting? Doesn’t rising sea level just bring us closer to the beach? How does climate change affect other species?

The main menu of pages has Big Question. Weather and Climate. Atmosphere. Water. Energy. Plants & Animals. No matter how much you know about climate change, you’ll find something interesting on Climate Kids. You can also do a quick check of what you know with their Climate Trivia game.

Is wage inequality growing?

The EPI article, The State of American Wages 2017 by Elise Gould, has a full summary of growing wage inequality. A few of their key findings:

From 2000 to 2017, wage growth was strongest for the highest-wage workers, continuing the trend in rising wage inequality over the last four decades.

While wage inequality has generally been on the rise for both men and women, wage inequality is higher and growing more among men than among women.

At every decile and at the 95th percentile, wage growth since 2000 was faster for white and Hispanic workers than for black workers.

This is an in depth article with over 30 bullet points of key findings. There are numerous graphs, such as the on posted here, with data sets. The cumulative graph here is broken into female and male graphs farther down in the article. What you will find is that, for example, the increase in the median wages is almost entirely due to increases in the median female wage (7.9% since 2000).  There is a lot to learn in this post and plenty of material for courses.