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Tag Archives: social justice

What are the economic prospect for 2019 high school grads?

EPI has its annual report on the prospects for 2019 high school grads.  Class of 2019 High school edition by Elise Gould, Julia Wolfe, and Zane  Mokhiber (6/6/19) has 17 key findings and 11 graphs with data.  For example, their graph here (figure I) gives hourly wages in 2018 dollars for high school graduates not enrolled in further schooling.  As compared to 2000 wages for men as well as Black high school graduates are lower; all other groups have gone up. In fact, Hispanics make more than all other groups, including White graduates.

A few other highlights from the key findings:

Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders are significantly more likely to have begun on the college path at this age than any other racial/ethnic group.

Young black high school graduates are roughly twice as likely to be unemployed as their white and AAPI peers.

Average wages for young high school graduates recently surpassed their 2007 level, but remain just below their 2000 level, representing two lost decades of wage growth.

Black students (that go on to college) take on a disproportionate amount of debt, in part because their families generally accumulate less wealth than white families.

The entire report is worth reading.

Related post: What are the prospects for high school grads?

Where do we buy our food?

How you answer the question of where do you buy your food probably says a lot about your socioeconomic status. The chart here is from the Business Insider article Here’s where Americans are buying their groceries by Hayley Peterson (6/21/17).  Note that CVS, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General each outsell Whole Foods, for example. Why does this matter? The recent Guardian article Fears grow over ‘food swamps’ as drugstores outsell major grocers by Gabrielle Cannon (6/4/19) provides context.

Shelf-stable options tend to be highly processed and high in fat, sodium and sugar. Where they are the easiest option available, communities experience higher rates of chronic illness, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“Highly processed food makes you sick,” says William McCarthy, an adjunct professor of public health at UCLA. “CVS and other pharmacies make money selling highly processed, long shelf-life foods, because it is all convenient.” But, he says, his research has shown that it’s not just about having more healthy options.

Interestingly,

In a 2016 study, researchers stocked corner stores in “food swamps” across East Los Angeles with affordable produce, hoping to test whether food retail interventions could be successful. They weren’t. While perceptions of the stores and community accessibility changed, patrons continued to purchase processed food instead of the fresh stuff.

Grocery sales data is available for 2018 (estimated) from the Winsight Grocery Business article WGB, Kantar Reveal ‘The Power 20’ Retailers by Meg major and Jon Springer (7/17/2018). They estimate CVS as fourth in grocery sales with Dollar General and Dollar Tree at 12 and 17, respectively. The Guardian article links to a couple of studies with statistical information suitable for a stats course.

 

Are there correlations between one or more deceased parents and race, gender, or socio-economic status?

The Census Bureau report Parental Mortality is Linked to a Variety of Socio-economic and Demographic Factors by Zachary Scherer (5/6/19) provides charts of deceased parent(s) by sex, race (chart copied here), and socio-economic status.

For example, among those ages 45 to 49, 26% have lost their mother, while 45% have lost their father. Along these same lines, 7 in 10 of those ages 60 to 64 have a deceased mother, while about 87% have lost their father.

For example, among those ages 35 to 44, 43% of those living below the FPL have lost one or both parents, compared to 28% for those living in households with an income-to-poverty ratio of at least 400% of the FPL.

Parental loss, which varies by race and socio-economic status, is often accompanied by psychological and material consequences. These statistics demonstrate the way these new SIPP data can help assess how socio-economic and demographic characteristics are associated with parental mortality in the United States.

There are two other charts and a link to the SIPP data source.

 

How has the U.S. ranking in the world press freedom index changed since 2018?

Reporters without Borders releases a world press freedom index each year. The U.S. dropped three spots to 48 out of 180 countries and is considered a “problematic situation.”

The RSF Index, which evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories every year, shows that an intense climate of fear has been triggered — one that is prejudicial to a safe reporting environment. The hostility towards journalists expressed by political leaders in many countries has incited increasingly serious and frequent acts of violence that have fueled an unprecedented level of fear and danger for journalists.

If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly towards a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Halting this cycle of fear and intimidation is a matter of the utmost urgency for all people of good will who value the freedoms acquired in the course of history.

The site includes the downloadable 2019 data, an interactive map, and the main article also has a couple of graphs.

Related post: Where does the U.S. rank on the world press freedom index?

Opioid prescription, grandparents raising grandchildren, a connection?

The Census Bureau report States With High Opioid Prescribing Rates Have Higher Rates of Grandparents Responsible for Grandchildren by Lydia Anderson (4/22/19) draws a connection:

In the wake of the opioid epidemic that was declared a public health crisis in 2017, there has been increasing concern about what happens to the children of parents with substance abuse disorders who may be unable to care for their children.

New Census Bureau research shows that grandparents may sometimes step in to care for these children.

According to the report the states with the highest opioid prescription rates are Alabama (121 per 100 residents), Arkansas (114.6), Tennessee (107.5), Mississippi (105.6) and Louisiana (98.1). These states represent four of the top 5 states where the percentage of the population age 30 and over are raising grandchildren.  The article has a companion map to the map of opioid prescription rates copied here with rates of grandparents raising grandchildren.  There are also links to the data.

How will raising the federal minimum wage impact workers?

The EPI article, Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would life pay for nearly 40 million workers, by David Cooper (2/5/19) covers their analysis of raising the minimum wage.  Their graph here shows the gap between the minimum wage and median wage over time. The report is lengthy and detailed. A few quick highlights:

Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would undo the erosion of the value of the real minimum wage that began primarily in the 1980s. In fact, by 2021, for the first time in over 50 years, the federal minimum wage would exceed its historical inflation-adjusted high point, set in 1968.

All told, raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would directly or indirectly lift wages for 39.7 million workers, 26.6 percent of the wage-earning workforce.

Indexing the minimum wage to the median wage would ensure that low-wage workers share in broad improvements in U.S. living standards and would prevent future growth in inequality between low- and middle-wage workers.

The article has over 20 graphs/charts/tables and each one has the associated data.  The report does include “a discussion of the research on the likely effects such a raise would have on businesses, employment, and low-wage workers’ welfare.”

How do we humanize data?

When comparing countries or even within countries, we can talk about GDP, Gini coefficients, poverty rates, etc., but sometimes (all the time?) it is hard to know what this really means for people. If a picture is worth a 1000 words then Dollar Street has 30,000,000 words as they “visited 264 families in 50 countries and collected 30,000 photos” resulting in an excellent example of humanizing data.

The pictures here represent the bathroom for a family in India earning $4621 per month and for a family in Egypt earning $775 per month (which is which?).  Dollar Street has large sets  of pictures like this from around the work for over 100 different categories such as armchairs, beds, computers, earrings,  floors, hands, ovens, and plates.  Difference can be explored by picture within countries or the world. These sets of pictures provide both a sense of what poverty is really like around the world, while at the same time there are much more similarities than one might expect even with seemingly large gaps in income. Take the time to visit Dollar Street.

What are the differences in the college aspirations of teens?

Pew reports results of a detailed survey in their article Most U.S. Teens See Anxiety and Depression as a Major Problem Among Their Peers — For boys and girls, day-to-day experiences and future aspirations vary in key ways by Juliana Menasce Horowitz and Nikki Graf (2/20/19). Here, we highlight college aspirations:

Girls are more likely than boys to say they plan to attend a four-year college (68% vs. 51%, respectively), and they’re also more likely to say they worry a lot about getting into the school of their choice (37% vs. 26%). Current patterns in college enrollment among 18- to 20-year-olds who are no longer in high school reflect these gender dynamics. In 2017, 64% of women in this age group who were no longer in high school were enrolled in college (including two- and four-year colleges), compared with 55% of their male counterparts.

There are also differences by parental education and economic class:

Among teens with at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree or higher, as well as those in households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more, about seven-in-ten say they plan to attend a four-year college after high school. By comparison, about half of teens whose parents don’t have a bachelor’s degree or with household incomes below $75,000 say the same.

The article has a number of other charts and a detailed methodology section (perfect for a stats  course).

 

How much money do parents spend on children?

Parental Financial Investments in Children per Quarter by Household Income Percentile Rank (2014 dollars).

 

The graph here from the American Sociological Review paper Income inequality and Class Divides in Parental Investments by Schneider, Hastigs, and LaBriola (5/21/18) summarizes changes in spending on children by income.

The past 40 years have witnessed historic increases in income inequality in the United States (Piketty and Saez 2003). Over the same period, existing class divides—by household income and by parents’ educational attainment—in how much money parents spend on children and how much time parents spend in childcare have widened considerably (Altintas 2016Kornrich and Furstenberg 2013Ramey and Ramey 2010). These increasingly evident class divides in parental investments of time and money spark concern, because parental investment is an important factor in the intergenerational perpetuation of advantage (Downey, von Hippel, and Broh 2004Potter and Roksa 2013Waldfogel and Washbrook 2011). If affluent families are increasingly able to transmit their advantages to children, that bodes poorly for an open opportunity structure.

Of course,

We would expect rising income inequality to increase class gaps in parental financial investments in children mechanically if rising income inequality simply means the affluent have more to spend. But, rising income inequality might also widen class gaps in investments in children if it reshapes parents’ preferences for these practices differentially by class.

It is also possible that income inequality is not related to class gaps in parental investment. Indeed, recent work suggests a narrowing of gaps in early achievement by family income, and a narrowing or arrested divergence in some gaps in parenting practices, even as income inequality has continued to rise, raising questions about this often assumed empirical relationship (Kalil et al. 2016Reardon 2011Reardon and Portilla 2016).

We empirically investigate these questions.

The paper has interesting charts and data, and worth reading for their conclusions. Also, the supplemental materials include some mathematical modeling.

What’s new at sustainabilitymath.org?

The first two interactive graph have been posted at sustainabilitymath.org.  They can be found at the new Interactive Graphs page. The two graph represent mean and median wages by race and gender with regression lines from 1973 to 2017 (data from EPI).  Check them out because they are interesting and both could be used in a QL or stats course.