How much did wage inequality change in 2020?

The EPI article Wage inequality continued to increase in 2020 by Lawrence Mishel and Jori Kandra (12/13/2021) provides the graph copied here. As for the share of the overall pot:

This disparity in wage growth reflects a sharp long-term rise in the share of total wages earned by those at the very top: the top 1.0% earned 13.8% of all wages in 2020, up from 7.3% in 1979. That marks the second highest share of earnings for the top 1.0% since the earliest year, 1937, when data became available (matching the tech bubble share of 13.8% in 2000 and below the share of 14.1% in 2007). The share of wages for the bottom 90% fell from 69.8% in 1979 to just 60.2% in 2020.

The article also has two tables of data that could be useful in stats or QL course.

Which party can speak more freely?

The Pew article Republicans continue to see a national political climate more comfortable for Democrats than for GOP by Bradley Jones (12/8/2021) is another example of the disconnect in the U.S.

When Republicans take stock of the national climate for political discourse, they see a much more hospitable environment for Democrats than for members of their own party. About six-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in the United States (63%) think that “Democrats in this country are very comfortable to freely and openly express their political views,” but only about two-in-ten (19%) think Republicans around the nation experience that same level of comfort.

Responses from Dems go the other way but aren’t as extreme. Pew provides the questions asked and the methodology.

Where is the center of the U.S population?

Before we get to where the center of the U.S. population is maybe we should say what it is. From the U.S. Census Bureau’s article The “Hart” of the Nation’s population: Hartville, Missouri (pop. 594) (11/165/2021):

Every decade since the first census in 1790, the Census Bureau has used data from each decennial census to calculate the center of population — the point where the country would balance perfectly on a flat map if everyone had the same weight of one.

In addition to a national center of population, the Census Bureau also calculates centers of population for each state, county, census tract and census block group. Coordinates for each of these locations can be found on the Centers of Population webpage.

The map here shows the center and how it has moved since 1790. This is near the bottom of the article and it is interactive in that users can choose individual states. The link in the quote will take users to a page with lat and lon for the mean and median centers of each state.

What is NASA’s Eyes on the Earth?

From the Vital Sings of the Planet Article NASA’s Eyes on the Earth Puts the World at Your Fingertips (11/16/201):

NASA’s real-time 3D visualization tool Eyes on the Earth got a recent upgrade to include more datasets, putting the world at your fingertips. Using the tool, you can track the planet’s vital signs – everything from carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to sea level and soil moisture levels – as well as follow the fleet of Earth satellites providing those measurements.

Take the time, click on the Eyes on the Earth link and play. I’m not sure how I could use this in a math class, yet, but it is real cool. The image here doesn’t do the visualization tool justice.

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines?

The Our World in Data article How do death rates from COVID-19 differ between people who are vaccinated and those who are not? by Edouard Mathieu and Max Roser  (11/23/2021) provide the answer. For example, their graph here is the death rate by vaccination status. The weakly death rate for Oct 2 for the unvaccinated group is about 15 times more than the vaccinated group. Even this is a little misleading. One of the options for these interactive graphs is to select the age group. The 80+ age group has weakly death rates of 6.51% and 38.28% for vaccinated and unvaccinated. There are also charts for England and Chile. For each chart the data is available. This would be good data for comparing groups in stats.

One other plus is the article starts of with an explanation, with graphics, about why it is misleading to report the percent of vaccination status of those that died. Good quantitative literacy and stats reading.

Has much has poverty decreased?

The Our World in Data article Extreme poverty: how far have we come, how far do we still have to go by Max Roser (11/22/2021) provides numerous graphs that quantify changes in poverty. The most general graph is copied here. This one is for the world but users can select specific countries instead of the world to produce a related graph.

The overall conclusion is summed up well by their summary:

Two centuries ago the majority of the world population was extremely poor. Back then it was widely believed that widespread poverty was inevitable. But this turned out to be wrong. Economic growth is possible and poverty can decline. The world has made immense progress against extreme poverty.

But even after two centuries of progress, extreme poverty is still the reality for every tenth person in the world. This is what the ‘international poverty line’ highlights – this metric plays an important (and successful) role in focusing the world’s attention on these very poorest people in the world.

The poorest people today live in countries which have achieved no growth. This stagnation of the world’s poorest economies is one of the largest problems of our time. Unless this changes millions of people will continue to live in extreme poverty.


There are some distribution type graphs that could be useful for statistics classes and most of the graph have an option to download the data.

Who is going to use more electricity in the home?

The eia article Use of electricity in houses to grow more quickly in developing economies by Courtney Sourmehi (11/5/2021) is a good example of the difference between totals and per capita.

Reference case, we project that residential buildings outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will consume more electricity than all residential and commercial buildings combined in OECD countries by 2050. However, people in non-OECD countries will, on average, still consume less than half as much residential electricity as in OECD countries.

What is driving the increase use of electricity?

Population and household income are key drivers of residential electricity consumption. Over the next 30 years, we expect the populations in non-OECD countries to grow three times faster than the populations in OECD countries. As standards of living rise in non-OECD countries, as reflected in increases in household income, we also project increased demand for electricity to power new household electronic devices and appliances, such as air conditioners and electric cooking ranges. In OECD countries, electricity consumption will grow more slowly because of less population growth, gains in energy efficiency, and slower increases in household income.

There are links to sources in the article.

How hot was Oct 2021?

From NOAA’s Global Climate Report – October 2021:

The global surface temperature for October 2021 was 0.89°C (1.60°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.2°F) — the fourth highest October temperature in the 142-year record. Only Octobers of 2015, 2018, and 2019 had a warmer October.

For the Northern Hemisphere:

The unusually warm temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere land resulted in the warmest October on record for the Northern Hemisphere land, surpassing the previous record set in 2019 by 0.11°C (0.20°F).

And for North America:

According to NCEI’s Regional Analysis, North America had its second warmest October on record with a temperature departure of +2.14°C (+3.85°F). This was only 0.03°C (0.05°F) shy of tying the record set in October 1963. According to Meteorological Service of Canada, Ontario (located in eastern Canada) had October temperatures that were 3.0–6.0°C (5.4°–10.8°F) above average. During October 7–15, several locations across Ontario had maximum temperatures above 20°C (68.0°F).

The time series data is at the top of the page.

Why are more women completing college than men?

The Pew article What’s behind the growing gap between men and women in college completion? by Kim Parker (11/8/2021) notes:

Men are more likely than women to point to factors that have more to do with personal choice. Roughly a third (34%) of men without a bachelor’s degree say a major reason they didn’t complete college is that they just didn’t want to. Only one-in-four women say the same. Non-college-educated men are also more likely than their female counterparts to say a major reason they don’t have a four-year degree is that they didn’t need more education for the job or career they wanted (26% of men say this vs. 20% of women).

Women (44%) are more likely than men (39%) to say not being able to afford college is a major reason they don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Men and women are about equally likely to say needing to work to help support their family was a major impediment.

Also worth noting:

The reasons people give for not completing college also differ across racial and ethnic groups. Among those without a bachelor’s degree, Hispanic adults (52%) are more likely than those who are White (39%) or Black (41%) to say a major reason they didn’t graduate from a four-year college is that they couldn’t afford it.

There is information about the questions and methodology.

Do you need a simple climate model app for the classroom?

UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) has The Very Simple Climate Model page with a climate model where you set the emissions and then run the model until 2100. You get graphs of carbon emissions, CO2 concentration, and temperature. For example, the output in the graph here set emissions at about half the current level. Even then temperature goes up a degree F by 2100. The model can be run 1 year at a time with different emissions each year. There is a link to an activities page as well as some scenarios to explore.