Tag Archives: inequality

How has the black/white earnings gap changed over time?

Kevin Drum has the answer with his post Black Incomes Have Fallen Further Behind Whites for the Entire 21st Century.

Black men have made essentially no progress in the past four decades, while black women have fallen considerably further behind. Since 2000, both both men and women have fallen further behind their white counterparts.

There are two other graphs and he notes:

Black households made income and wealth gains up through about 2000, but since then have gone backwards. Any way you look at this, the gap between blacks and whites has gotten worse throughout the entire 21st century. Anyone who doesn’t understand why the African-American community has seemingly become more despairing of racial progress lately should take a look at this.

The data for the graph here comes from FRED. If you haven’t used FRED it is an excellent resource.  To get you started with FRED by comparing black vs white earnings (not separated by gender)  go here and then click on edit graph. Add the series LEU0252883700Q under customize data. Then under formula type a/b.  You should get the graph below. You can then download the data and graph.

What do you know about the top 1%?

The Chicago Booth post, Never mind the 1 percent Let’s talk about the 0.01 percent, provides an insightful summary of income distribution at the top.

Mankiw noted that the 1 percent’s share of total income, excluding capital gains, rose from about 8 percent in 1973 to 17 percent in 2010, the latest figures available at the time. “Even more striking is the share earned by the top 0.01 percent. . . . This group’s share of total income rose from 0.5 percent in 1973 to 3.3 percent in 2010. These numbers are not easily ignored. Indeed, they in no small part motivated the Occupy movement, and they have led to calls from policymakers on the left to make the tax code more progressive.”

There is detailed exposition on who makes up the top and how they got there. For instance,

Technology, from the internet to media such as ESPN and Bloomberg terminals, has given elite athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and financiers the ability to profit on a much larger, global scale, making the fruits of their labor more valuable than what previous superstars, such as, say, Pelé or Babe Ruth, brought in. Ruth’s peak salary of $80,000 would be worth about $1.1 million in 2016 dollars, around one-thirtieth of the $33 million the highest-paid Major League Baseball player, pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, made in salary alone in 2016.

And hedge-fund managers make multiples more than top athletes and entertainers. James Simons of Renaissance Technologies and Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates each made more than $1 billion in 2016, even though, as Institutional Investor’s Alpha reported, the top-25 hedge-fund earners took in the least as a group since 2005, largely because of the industry’s overall poor investment performance.

This is an excellent article about income and how it is distributed, with a number of graphs suitable for QL based courses.

What would minimum wage be if it grew with productivity?

According to the 3rd chart of EPI’s Top Charts of 2017, U.S. minimum wage would be $19.33 per hour if it grew at the same rate as productivity.  If it simply grew at the rate of average workers it would be $11.62 per hour.

The expectation that the minimum wage rise in step with broader trends in the economy would not have been unreasonable for previous generations—that was the trend throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Today’s minimum wage workers have been harmed both by the failure to raise the minimum wage in step with pay for typical workers and by the huge and growing gap between these nonsupervisory wages and economy-wide productivity. The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Such a raise would certainly bring the pay of minimum wage workers closer to providing a decent quality of life, even though it would still fall short of what the economy could have delivered for low-wage workers over the past 50 years.

All twelve of EPI’s Top Charts of 2017 include data and you can download the chart.

Is there a wealth gap due to discrimination?

The EPI provides evidence for yes in the 6th of their top charts of 2017, The racial wealth gap is the clearest legacy of past discrimination in housing markets. Their chart shows the differences for mean and median household wealth for black and white households. They key is housing:

Besides facing discrimination in employment and wages, black families historically have been shut out of the most important wealth-building market: housing. Overall, home equity makes up about two-thirds of all wealth for the typical household. In short, for median families, the racial wealth gap is overwhelmingly a housing wealth gap. And this housing wealth gap is no accident; it is the outcome of intentional policies at all levels of government, in particular housing policies that prevented blacks from acquiring land, created redlining and restrictive covenants, and encouraged lending discrimination. These policies created and reinforced the racial wealth gap we are still struggling to address.

You can download the data and graph for all of EPI’s top charts of 2017.

How many people don’t have access to electricity?

The International Energy Agency’s Energy Access Outlook 2017 has your answer. For example, the chart here answers the question for 2000 and 2015 with an interesting graphic that includes how the change occurred. In 2000, 1684 million people lacked access, 1130 million people gained access, but population grew by 557 million people, leaving 1111 million people without access in 2015. The graph is interactive on the page and breaks these changes down into four regions. There are eight other interesting charts related to electricity as well as access to clean cooking.

What is the pay gap between Hispanic women vs white non-Hispanic men?

The Economic Policy Institute has the answer with their post Latina workers have to work 10 months into 2017 to be paid the same as white non-Hispanic men in 2016. They compare not only wages by percentile (graph here), but also compare by occupation and education.

Much of these differences are grounded in the presence of occupational segregation. Latina workers are far more likely to be found in certain low-wage professions than white men are (and less common in high-wage professions). But, even in professions with more Latina workers, they still are paid less on average than their white male colleagues.

As Hispanic women increase their educational attainment, their pay gap with white men actually increases. The largest dollar gap (more than $17 an hour), occurs for workers with more than a college degree.

The EPI post includes downloadable graphs (such as the one here) as well as the data.

Is sexual harassment a serious problem?

YouGov asked the question, How serious of a problems do you think workplace sexual harassment is in the United States?  Very serious or somewhat serious was the response of 70% of the respondents.

But for women it is a greater concern: 78% of women say sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem today, and 33% of women say it is a very serious problem). 60% of men agree it is a serious issue, with 21% calling it very serious.

The article has more questions and graphs. The most interesting may be the breakdown by gender and political party.

However, Republicans are less likely than Democrats to say sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem in the United States – and that’s especially true among Republican men. Democrats – both men and women – are more likely to describe workplace harassment as a very serious problem. But there are big differences between Republican men and women. Seven in ten Republican women say sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem; less than half of Republican men agree.

Republican men have a very different view on this issue. At the bottom of the article there is a link to the data, which can easily be incorporated into a stats class followed by an interesting classroom discussion.

How much land would the world need if everyone ate like the U.S.?

Our World in Data has the answer in their post, 50% of the world’s habitable land is used for agriculture. If we all ate like New Zealanders we would need 200% of habitable land, which is supplied in the chart. Simply put, the world all can’t eat like the U.S. The world can’t eat like the countries colored in orange but can with those colored in green. Why?

Livestock takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, yet produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories. This means that what we eat is more important than how much we eat in determining the amount of land required to produce our food.

There is an association between wealth and diet as can be seen in the chart below, but there are variations.

Nonetheless, there are still large differences in dietary land requirements between countries of a similar income-level. Why, for example, is the requirement for a New Zealander more than double that of a UK citizen, despite them having similar levels of prosperity?

As always Our World in Data includes the data for each of their charts and there are more than the two here. They also allow you to download the graphics which was done for this post.

Who is Responsible for Unwanted Sexual Advances?

A recent YouGov article, Is anyone ever “asking for it?” Americans seem to think so, provides the pie chart to the left. According to the data, 40% of adults believe that a women wearing revealing clothing is fully or somewhat responsible for unwanted sexual advances.  Along with that, another 17% prefer not to say and 6% don’t know. Maybe a better way of reporting the results is that only 36% of adults say that the person is not at all or not very responsible. There is other data in the article as well as a link to the full survey results. This data that is sure to generate a conversation in stats or QL course.

When Were Confederate Statues Built?

Kevin Drum’s post, The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues, provides the associated chart about the timing of confederate monument and statue building.

This illustrates something that even a lot of liberals don’t always get. Most of these monuments were not erected after the Civil War. In fact, all the way to 1890 there were very few statues or monuments dedicated to Confederate leaders. Most of them were built much later.

This is an excellent example of how data and a good graphic helps tell an important story.

Yes, these monuments were put up to honor Confederate leaders. But the timing of the monument building makes it pretty clear what the real motivation was: to physically symbolize white terror against blacks. They were mostly built during times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of subjugation against blacks, and during those campaigns the message sent by a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of a courthouse was loud and clear.

Drum’s post, worth a quick read, links to the Southern Poverty Law Center report that contains this and other data and excellent graphics for a QL course. It is worth recalling the first statement of sustainability on our Defining Sustainability Page:  The current state of people is not a morally acceptable endpoint of societal development.