Tag Archives: charts and graphs

Is the racial wealth gap evenly distributed by class?

The article The Racial Wealth Gap is About the Upper Classes by Matt Bruenig (6/29/2020) on the People’s Policy Project explains. First the racial wealth gap is large:

If you take the net worth of all white households and divide it by the number of white households, you get $900,600. If you do the same thing for black households, you get $140,000. The difference between these figures — $770,600 — is the best representation of the overall racial wealth gap.

The graphs here from the article show that the wealth in both groups is largely concentrated in the top 10%.

What this means is that the overall racial wealth disparity is being driven almost entirely by the disparity between the wealthiest 10 percent of white people and the wealthiest 10 percent of black people.


This means that even after you have completely closed the racial wealth gap between the bottom 90 percent of each race, 77.5 percent of the overall racial wealth gap still remains, which is to say that the disparity between the top deciles in each race drives over three-fourths of the racial wealth gap.


What this shows is that 97 percent of the overall racial wealth gap is driven by households above the median of each racial group.


What is the relationship between class, race, and police killings?

The People’s Policy Project reports on their recent research paper in the post Class and Racial Inequalities in Police Killings (6/23/2020). The full paper, Police Killings in the U.S. is by Justin Feldman, ScD. In general,

The highest-poverty areas have a police killing rate of 6.4 per million while the lowest-poverty areas have a police killing rate of 1.8 per million, a 3.5-fold difference.

The differences in killing rate have the same pattern when viewed by Black, Hispanic, and White populations. Differences by class among Hispanics is the least. Further,

He finds that class differences account for more than 100 percent of the difference between white and Latino police killing rates, meaning that, after adjusting for socioeconomic differences, Latinos have a lower police killing rate than whites. Class differences account for 28 percent of the difference between black and white police killing rates.

There are three other graphs in the post.

How has Black educational attainment changed?

The Census Bureau post Black High School Attainment Nearly on Par with National Average  by Jennifer Cheeseman Day (6/10/2020) notes:

In 1940, when the U.S. Census Bureau started asking about educational attainment, only 7% of Blacks had a high school education, compared with 24% for the nation as a whole.

In recent years, Black educational attainment has been much closer to the national average and today, 88% of Blacks or African Americans have a high school diploma, just shy of the national average, according to census data released last month from the Current Population Survey.

Related to the graph copied here:

The national average dropout rate declined from 19% in 1968 to about 6% in 2018. The Black dropout rate fell more steeply from 33% to 5%, bringing it in line with the national average.

Average enrollment for young adults increased from 26% to 41%. At the same time, the proportion of Black young adults in college more than doubled, rising from 15% to 38%.

The article contains five other graphs and links to the Census Bureau data sources.



How hot was May 2020?

From the NOAA Global Climate Report – May 2020:

The global land and ocean surface temperature for May 2020 tied with 2016 as the highest in the 141-year record at 0.95°C (1.71°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). The 10 warmest Mays have all occurred since 1998; however, the 2014–2020 Mays are the seven warmest in the 141-year record. May 2020 also marked the 44th consecutive May and the 425th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

The global land-only surface temperature for May 2020 was also the highest on record at 1.39°C (2.50°F) above the 20th century average of 11.1°C (52.0°F). This was 0.04°C (0.07°F) above the previous record set in 2012. The 10 highest May global land-only surface temperature departures have occurred since 2010.

The May 2020 global ocean-only surface temperature was near-record warm at 0.79°C (1.42°F) above average. This value was only 0.01°C (0.02°F) shy of tying the record warm May of 2016.

May time series data here. Climate.gov provides a summary of May 2020 in their post Was May 2020 warm and dry or cool and wet across the U.S.? It depends… by Rebecca Lindsey (6/9/2020)

How has Covid-19 impacted unemployment by race?

The chart here comes from using FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data). Since at least the 1970s Hispanic or Latino (using FRED terms) unemployment was consistently between Black or African American and White and more recently slightly closer to White unemployment. For possibly the first time since the 1970s Hispanic or Latino unemployment (18.9%) exceeded Black or African American (16.7%) in April 2020. The Feb 2020 to April 2020 increase in unemployment for the four groups in the chart are (in order from smallest to largest) Black or African American (10.9%), White (11.1%), Asian* (11.8%), Hispanic or Latino (14.5%). It would seem that by both the total increase and the magnitude of unemployment that the Hispanic or Latino population was hit hardest by Covid-19. Moving to May, while Hispanic or Latino unemployment has decreased, along with White unemployment while Black or African American is stable and Asian increasing, they still exceed the other three groups.

The link here to FRED is only for the graph of Black or African American unemployment. Use the Edit Graph button (top right) and then Add Line (middle top tab). Search for the other groups and add them to the chart. The chart will provide data starting in 1972. The graph is interactive and the data is available.

*Asian Unemployment numbers are not seasonally adjusted while the other three are – FRED didn’t have seasonally adjusted for Asians or I couldn’t find it.

How many jobs from 18-32?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics post People born in early 1980s held an average of 8.2 jobs from ages 18 through 32 (6/3/2020) includes the graph copied here. They note

Women with higher levels of education held more jobs than women with lower levels. Women with a bachelor’s degree held 8.8 jobs from ages 18 through 32, compared with 6.5 jobs for female high school dropouts. Men held a similar number of jobs regardless of their level of education.

People held an average of 4.5 jobs from ages 18 to 22. The average number of jobs dropped to 3.3 from ages 23 to 27, and then dropped more, to 2.3 jobs, from ages 28 to 32. The pattern of people holding fewer jobs as they aged was similar among women and men and across racial and ethnic groups and levels of education.

The chart data is available and there are links to the original survey.

What is our wet bulb temperature limit?

From the climate.gov article Brief periods of dangerous humid heat arrive decades early  by Alison Stevens (5/12/2020):

The paper authors used an index called “wet-bulb temperature” based on weather station temperature and humidity data. The reading, from a thermometer when covered in a wet cloth, is related to how muggy conditions feel. This map shows locations that experienced extreme heat and humidity levels briefly (hottest 0.1 percent of daily maximum wet-bulb temperatures) from 1979–2017. Darker colors show more severe combinations of heat and humidity. Some areas have already experienced conditions at or near humans’ survivability limit of 35°C (95°F).

Who’s close to the 95°F?

The authors identified over 7,000 past occurrences of wet-bulb temperatures above 88°F (31°C), over 250 above 91°F (33°C) around the world, and two stations that reported multiple daily-maximum wet-bulb temperatures above 95°F. These extremes occurred for 1–2 hours in parts of coastal southwest North America, South Asia, and the coastal Middle East.

The southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf of Mexico, had multiple incidences of wet-bulb temperatures at or above 88°F; specifically, in east Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Arkansas, and North Carolina. Parts of India, Pakistan, northwestern Australia, the coast of the Red Sea, and areas along the Gulf of California in Mexico saw even higher extremes.

The article links to the original paper.

Do we use more coal or renewable energy?

The EIA article U.S. renewable energy consumption surpasses coal for the first time in over 130 years by Mickey Francis (5/28/2020) has the data.

In 2019, U.S. annual energy consumption from renewable sources exceeded coal consumption for the first time since before 1885, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review. This outcome mainly reflects the continued decline in the amount of coal used for electricity generation over the past decade as well as growth in renewable energy, mostly from wind and solar. Compared with 2018, coal consumption in the United States decreased nearly 15%, and total renewable energy consumption grew by 1%.

The obvious question is are we using less electricity and if not what other source is picking up the slack? The eia Electricity explained page has an interactive time series of electricity generation.  Natural gas has picked up the slack.

The first article has two other charts and links to data.


How many billion-dollar disasters?

The Climate.gov article 2010-2019: A landmark decade of U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters by Adam B. Smith (1/8/2020) reports:

During 2019, the U.S. experienced a very active year of weather and climate disasters. In total, the U.S. was impacted by 14 separate billion-dollar disasters including: 3 major inland floods, 8 severe storms, 2 tropical cyclones (Dorian and Imelda), and 1 wildfire event. 2019 also marks the fifth consecutive year (2015-19) in which 10 or more separate billion-dollar disaster events have impacted the U.S.

Historical context:

In broader context, the total cost of U.S. billion-dollar disasters over the last 5 years (2015-2019) exceeds $525 billion, with a 5-year annual cost average of $106.3 billion (CPI-adjusted), both of which are records. The U.S. billion-dollar disaster damage costs over the last decade (2010-2019) were also historically large, exceeding $800 billion from 119 separate billion-dollar events. Moreover, the losses over the most recent 15 years (2005-2019) are $1.16 trillion in damage from 156 separate billion-dollar disaster events.

The article has other graphs and tables.  These events are tracked on NOAA’s Billion-dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview page.


How hot was April 2020?

For those of us living in the northeast or a good part of the U.S. we might have felt that April was cold and it was. It is easy to use that as evidence that climate change is “fake news” yet it is good to keep in mind that if it is cold where you are it is likely much warmer somewhere else. The map here is from NASA’s GISS Surface Temperature Analysis page where similar maps can be made for a variety of time periods.  Here we can see that for April 2020 parts of the U.S. and Canada where one of the  few cold spots in the world. The rest of the planet was warmer.

NOAA’s Global Climate Report – April 2020 notes:

Averaged as a whole, the global land and ocean surface temperature for April 2020 was 1.06°C (1.91°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F) and the second highest April temperature in the 141-year record. Only April 2016 was warmer at +1.13°C (+2.03°F). The eight warmest Aprils have occurred since 2010. April 2016 and 2020 were the only Aprils that had a global land and ocean surface temperature departure above 1.0°C (1.8°F).

Time series data is available on the NOAA page. Note that NASA uses 1951-1980 as their baseline while NOAA is using the 20th century. This accounts for the slight differences in their calculations on April’s anomaly from the baseline.