April 09, 2010

Toward Reduced Poverty Across Generations

Toward Reduced Poverty Across Generations: Early Findings from New York City’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program
By: James Riccio, Nadine Dechausay, David Greenberg, Cynthia Miller, Zawadi Rucks, and Nandita Verma
Source: MDRC

From Overview:

In 2007, New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity launched Opportunity NYC–Family Rewards, an experimental, privately funded, conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to help families break the cycle of poverty. CCT programs offer cash assistance to reduce immediate hardship, but condition these transfers on families’ efforts to build up their “human capital,” often by developing the education and skills that may reduce their poverty over the longer term. Family Rewards is the first comprehensive CCT program in a developed country.

Aimed at low-income families in six of New York City’s highest-poverty communities, Family Rewards ties cash rewards to pre-specified activities and outcomes in children’s education, families’ preventive health care, and parents’ employment. The three-year program is being operated by Seedco — a private, nonprofit intermediary organization — in partnership with six community-based organizations. It is being evaluated by MDRC through a randomized control trial involving approximately 4,800 families and 11,000 children, half of whom can receive the cash incentives if they meet the required conditions, and half who have been assigned to a control group that cannot receive the incentives. This report presents initial findings during the program’s early operating period.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000

U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000
By: Linda A. Jacobsen and Mark Mather
Source: Population Reference Bureau

From the press release:

Since the beginning of the current recession, homeownership and mobility rates have dropped; poverty has increased; and commuting patterns have shifted toward greener, more cost-effective options, according to a new report by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

PRB's Population Bulletin, "U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000," by Linda A. Jacobsen and Mark Mather, is a wide-ranging analysis of how the U.S. population has changed since 2000. With the 2010 Census just around the corner, it is an appropriate time to compare the United States today with its demographic makeup at the last census in 2000.

Full text (PDF)
PRB Discuss Online: Linda Jacobsen and Mark Mather

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April 06, 2010

Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers 2009

Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers 2009
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

From news release:

The share of the U.S. labor force composed of the foreign born was little changed in 2009, and their unemployment rate rose from 5.8 to 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate of the native born increased from 5.8 percent in 2008 to 9.2 percent in 2009.

This news release compares the labor force characteristics of the foreign born with those of their native-born counterparts. The data on nativity are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. The foreign born are persons who reside in the United States but who were born outside the country or one of its outlying areas to parents who were not U.S. citizens. The foreign born include legally-admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants. The survey data, however, do not separately identify the numbers of persons in these categories. For further information about the survey, see the Technical Note.

* Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers Technical Note
* Table 1. Employment status of the foreign-born and native-born populations by selected characteristics, 2008-09 annual averages
* Table 2. Employment status of the foreign-born and native-born populations 16 years and over by presence and age of youngest child and sex, 2008-09 annual averages
* Table 3. Employment status of the foreign-born and native-born populations 25 years and over by educational attainment, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, 2008-09 annual averages
* Table 4. Employed foreign-born and native-born persons 16 years and over by occupation and sex, 2009 annual averages
* Table 5. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers for the foreign born and native born by selected characteristics, 2008-09 annual averages
* Table 6. Employment status of the foreign-born and native-born populations 16 years and over by census regions and divisions, 2008-09 annual averages
* HTML version of the entire news release
* PDF version of the entire news release

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March 23, 2010

Two New Juvenile Justice Publications

Just the Facts: A Snapshot of Incarcerated Youth
By: José D. Saavedra
Source: National Council of La Raza

From Press Release:

Among the overall youth population of the United States, Latinos make up 19% of all 10- to 17-year-olds, yet they represent 25% of youth who are incarcerated. A new fact sheet released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., examines the racial and ethnic backgrounds of young people in the juvenile justice system.

Just the Facts: A Snapshot of Incarcerated Youth finds that Whites represent 59% of the U.S. population ages 10–17 and 30% of those who are incarcerated, while Latinos and Blacks make up 25% and 45%, respectively, of the incarcerated youth population.

Fact Sheet (PDF)

Youth Radio: Racial and Ethnic Disparities Juvenile Justice Data Map
Source: Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity

From Press Release:

A new interactive map of juvenile justice disparities across the country has become available to the public. The tool also provides state-by-state statistics, like California's drug arrests between 2003 and 2006, which show that the number of African American youth arrested increased by six over that period, while the number of Latino youth arrested for similar offenses decreased by 21.

Some notable data from a quick scan of the map's California statistics:

-In 2006, there were 3,024 Latino youth arrested for various offenses—making them the racial group with the highest number of arrests.

-The number of black and Latino youth incarcerated continues to increase.

-In 2007, there were 21,201 secure detentions of Latino youth, almost double the number of cases involving black youth.

State Map

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Prison Count 2010

Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years
Source: Pew Center on the States

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the number of state prisoners in the United States has declined, according to Prison Count 2010, a new survey by the Pew Center on the States. As of January 2010, there were 1,403,091 persons under the jurisdiction of state prison authorities, 5,739 fewer than on December 31, 2008. This marks the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s state prison population since 1972. While the study showed an overall decline, it revealed great variation among jurisdictions. The prison population declined in 27 states, while increasing in 23 states and in the federal system.

Full text (PDF)

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March 16, 2010

Asset Poverty and Debt Among Families with Children

Asset Poverty and Debt Among Families with Children
Yumiko Aratani and Michelle Chau
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

From Introduction:

Increasingly the significance of asset ownership among low-income families is being recognized. Assets such as savings and homeownership are vital components of a family’s economic security, along with income and human and social capital. In this report, we use the term “assets” to refer to financial and economic resources, not including human capital. Unlike labor market earnings, income generated from assets provides a cushion for families in case of job loss, illness, death of a parent, or even natural disaster. This cushion may be especially important for the working poor, whose economic lives can be severely impacted by even short periods of unemployment. Asset ownership can also have long-term consequences for children. Research shows parental financial assets such as savings are positively associated with the cognitive development of school-age children. Homeownership is also known to have a positive effect on high school graduation. There are two major ways in which assets positively benefit children. First, housing assets can be seen as a proxy for the quality of residence. Homeownership provides residential stability, and the market value of homes often indicates the quality of school that children attend. Secondly, financial assets are potential resources for a family to invest in children. They can be used for sending children to preparatory schools or financing a college education. Thus, family assets can positively promote children’s well-being and educational achievements.

Full text
Download PDF

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February 25, 2010

Foreclosures Shown to Erode Stability of Latino Children and Families

The Foreclosure Generation: The Long-Term Impact of the Housing Crisis on Latino Children and Families
By: Janis Bowdler, Roberto Quercia, David Andrew Smith
Source: National Council of La Raza

From news release:

The Foreclosure Generation documents the experiences of families who are forced to leave their homes due to a foreclosure. Families interviewed generally had exhausted all available resources in an effort to keep their homes, were unable to secure assistance from their mortgage servicer, and often relied on relatives and friends for shelter and assistance. Marital discord, anxiety, depression, children’s poor performance in school, financial loss, and strained relationships between parents and children were among the consequences reported.

Full text (PDF)

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January 28, 2010

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

From Overview:

Overall labor market conditions deteriorated markedly in 2008 following the onset of the recession in December 2007. Although individuals in all race and ethnicity groups experienced labor market difficulties, labor market problems for blacks or African Americans and Hispanics or Latinos were especially acute in 2008. For example, in 2008, the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent for blacks and 7.6 percent for Hispanics. These figures were considerably higher than the unemployment rates for whites and Asians, at 5.2 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

The labor market difficulties of blacks and Hispanics are associated with many factors, not all of which are measurable. Some of these factors are their lower average levels of schooling; their tendency to be employed in occupations with high levels of unemployment; their greater concentration in the central cities of urban areas, where job opportunities may be relatively limited; and the likelihood that they experience discrimination in the workplace. These and other factors may make it especially difficult for some black and Hispanic workers to find or keep jobs as the overall demand for labor contracts during economic downturns.

Full report (PDF)
Statistical Tables

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Rates of Participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Vary by State

Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2007
By: Karen E. Cunnyngham and Laura A. Castner
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

From Press Release (12/9/09):

A new policy brief from Mathematica Policy Research detailing participation rates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program, shows that, overall, 66 percent of all eligible people and 56 percent of the eligible working poor participated in SNAP in 2007. The participation rate—the percentage of the eligible population that participates in the program—is a widely used standard for assessing how well the program reaches its target population.

Mathematica’s study shows that state rates vary widely. Some states, like Maine, Missouri, and Tennessee, have consistently high participation rates, while others, like California, Colorado, and Wyoming, have consistently low participation rates. Regionally, the Western Region’s participation rate of 56 percent was significantly lower than the rates for all other regions. The Midwest Region had the highest participation rate in 2007—77 percent—significantly higher than the rates for all other regions.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2010

Economic Mobility Rates Differ for Canadians and Americans

Chasing the Same Dream, Climbing Different Ladders: Economic Mobility in the United States and Canada
By: Miles Corak
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Economic Mobility Project

Canadians and Americans do not have the same likelihood of climbing the income ladder and experiencing economic mobility, but not because of different underlying values or societal goals, according to new data released today by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. The report, Chasing the Same Dream, Climbing Different Ladders: Economic Mobility in the United States and Canada, examines the differences in mobility over a generation and analyzes the results in conjunction with public opinion polls commissioned in both nations by the Project. It looks at differences in public attitudes and cultural values to understand to what degree they can explain the disparity in economic mobility.

Posted by ljridley at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2009

Pew Analysis Finds That Nearly Three Quarters of Children of Low-Income Parents With High Savings Move Up From the Bottom

Source: Pew Economic Mobility Project

Children born to low-income parents with savings above the median level are more likely to move up the income ladder as adults (71 percent do) than those whose parents are low-income and low-saving (only 50 percent move up from the bottom rung), according to a new report released today by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. A Penny Saved is Mobility Earned: Advancing Economic Mobility through Savings similarly shows that within an individual’s lifetime, savings increases one’s chances of being upwardly mobile – 34 percent of the adults who had low-savings and were in the bottom income quartile from 1984-1989 had moved up from the bottom by 2003-2005, whereas 55 percent of those who had high-savings moved up by the same time period.

Full Press Release
A Penny Saved is Mobility Earned (PDF)
Renewing the American Dream: A Road Map to Enhancing Economic Mobility in America Summary (PDF); Full Report (PDF)

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November 04, 2009

School Enrollment in the United States: 2008

School Enrollment in the United States: 2008
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports

Could a recent trend toward two-year colleges be leading to an all-time high in enrollment? These tables examine a host of details about school enrollment for the population 3 years and older by social and economic characteristics, including age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, type of school, labor force status of mothers with school-age children, type of family, employment status of those enrolled in vocational courses, income levels, children of foreign-born and more.

Detailed Data

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October 27, 2009

U.S. Food Stamp Enrollment Rises

U.S. Food Stamp Enrollment Rises
By: Nadwa Mossaad
Source: Population Reference Bureau

Timely economic data provide the means to assess the severity of the current economic hardship on the U.S. population. Official poverty estimates released on Sept. 10, 2009, by the U.S. Census Bureau show that in 2008, the poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, and child poverty increased from 18 percent in 2007 to 19 percent, the highest level since 1997. Another measure of economic hardship, the monthly unemployment rate, rose to 9.7 percent in August 2009, a 26-year high.

Poverty and unemployment rates help to track the long-term economic health of families and individuals, but both are indirect measures of economic hardship. A more direct measure of family economic need is the number of individuals and families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the federal Food Stamp Program. The amount of assistance depends on household size, income, and expenses. SNAP participation rates have increased dramatically in recent months and could increase even further as income levels drop and more families become eligible.

Full text

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Alternative Income and Poverty Estimates: 2008

Alternative Income and Poverty Estimates: 2008
Source: U.S. Census

Press Release:
The Census Bureau will release alternative income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2008. The data were collected from the 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The first set of alternative measures include poverty estimates only and are based on recommendations from a 1995 National Academy of Sciences panel on measuring poverty. These estimates use a broadened definition of income and a set of poverty thresholds that are conceptually consistent with this income measure. The second set of alternative measures includes both income and poverty estimates and shows the impact of cash and noncash benefits and taxes on the distribution of income and prevalence of poverty. The poverty estimates in this series are based on the official poverty thresholds. Both of these alternative measures are similar to estimates released in January 2009 covering calendar year 2007 from the 2008 CPS ASEC.

Income; Poverty
A Congressional Research Service Report based on the poverty numbers may be found here (PDF).

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October 12, 2009

The Harried Life of the Working Mother

The Harried Life of the Working Mother
By: Kim Parker, Pew Research Center

Women now make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, up from 38% in 1970. This nearly forty-year trend has been fueled by a broad public consensus about the changing role of women in society. A solid majority of Americans (75%) reject the idea that women should return to their traditional roles in society, and most believe that both husband and wife should contribute to the family income.

Full text (HTML)

Posted by ljridley at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2009

Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2009)

Women in the Labor Force: A Databook
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

This report presents historical and current labor force and earnings data for women and men from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a national monthly survey of approximately 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unless otherwise noted, data are annual averages from the CPS. Users should note that the comparisons of earnings in this report are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences.

Introduction and highlights (PDF)
Full Report (PDF)
Technical Note (PDF)
Statistical tables

Posted by ljridley at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2009

The Macroeconomic Implications of HIV and AIDS on Women's Time-tax Burdens

From Unpaid to Paid Care Work: The Macroeconomic Implications of HIV and AIDS on Women's Time-tax Burdens
By: Rania Antonopoulos and Taun N. Toay
Source: Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, Working Papers

This paper considers public employment guarantee programs in the context of South Africa as a means to address the nexus of poverty, unemployment, and unpaid work burdens—all factors exacerbated by HIV/AIDS. It further discusses the need for gender informed public job creation in areas that mitigate the “time-tax” burdens of women, and examines a South African initiative to address social sector service delivery deficits within the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme. The authors highlight the need for well-designed employment guarantee programs—specifically, programs centered on community and home-based care—as a potential way to help offset the destabilizing effects of HIV/AIDS and endemic poverty. The paper concludes with results from macroeconomic simulations of such a program, using a social accounting matrix framework, and sets out implications for both participants and policymakers.

Full text (PDF)

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August 04, 2009

Unequal unemployment—Racial disparities in unemployment vary widely by state

Unequal unemployment—Racial disparities in unemployment vary widely by state
By: Algernon Austin
Source: Economic Policy Institute

The labor market crisis is breaking national records each month, with no end in sight. The heaviest burden is falling on blacks and Hispanics, who are contending with much higher unemployment rates than whites nationally—about one-and-a-half times as high for Hispanics and twice as high for blacks. According to an updated analysis through the second quarter of 2009 and new projections through 2010, the trend has worsened and is likely to continue to do so.

Full text (PDF)

This supplement, State Unemployment Trends by Race, Ethnicity and Gender, includes a national overview and takes a closer look at three hard-hit states: New York, Alabama, and Illinois and takes a closer look at three hard-hit states: New York, Alabama, and Illinois

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July 24, 2009

Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress

Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress
By: Michele Ver Ploeg, Vince Breneman, Tracey Farrigan, Karen Hamrick, David Hopkins, Phil Kaufman, Biing-Hwan Lin, Mark Nord, Travis Smith, Ryan Williams, Kelly Kinnison, Carol Olander, Anita Singh, and Elizabeth Tuckermanty
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

This report fills a request for a study of food deserts—areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food—from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts. Overall, findings show that a small percentage of consumers are constrained in their ability to access affordable nutritious food because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.

Table of contents
Full report (PDF)

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July 14, 2009

Intergenerational social mobility in European OECD countries

Intergenerational social mobility in European OECD countries
By: Orsetta Causa, Sophie Dantan and Åsa Johansson
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economics Department

This paper breaks new ground by providing comparable estimates of intergenerational wage and education persistence across 14 European OECD countries based on a new micro data from Eurostat. A further novelty is that it examines the potential role of public policies and labour and product market institutions in explaining observed differences in intergenerational wage mobility across countries. The empirical estimates show that intergenerational wage persistence is relatively high in southern European countries, as well as in the United Kingdom. Likewise, intergenerational persistence in education is relatively high both in southern European countries and in Luxembourg and Ireland. By contrast, both persistence in wages and education tends to be lower in Nordic countries. In addition, empirical results show that education is one important driver of intergenerational wage persistence across European countries. There is a positive crosscountry correlation between intergenerational wage mobility and redistributive policies, as well as a positive correlation between wage-setting institutions that compress the wage distribution and mobility.

Full text (PDF)

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Truth in Giving: Experimental Evidence on the Welfare Effects of Informed Giving to the Poor

Truth in Giving: Experimental Evidence on the Welfare Effects of Informed Giving to the Poor
By: Christina Fong and Felix Oberholzer-Gee
Source: Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers


It is often difficult for donors to predict the value of charitable giving because they know little about the persons who receive their help. This concern is particularly acute when making contributions to organizations that serve heterogeneous populations. While we have considerable evidence that donors are more generous if they know their assistance benefits a preferred group, we know little about the demand for such information. To start closing this gap, we study transfers of income to real-world poor people in the context of dictator games. Our dictators can purchase signals about why the recipients are poor. We find that a third of the dictators are willing to pay a dollar to learn more about their recipient. Dictators who devote resources to acquiring information are individuals whose giving is particularly responsive to recipient type. They use the information mainly to withhold resources from "undeserving" types, leading to a drastic decline in aggregate transfers. With endogenous information about recipients, we find that all types of poor subjects are worse off. Our results suggest that the effects of truth-in-giving policies are highly responsive to recipient heterogeneity and biased against more generous giving.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2009

American Time Use Survey — 2008 Results

American Time Use Survey — 2008 Results
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor released 2008 results from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). This annual release of ATUS data focuses on the average amount of time per day in 2008 that individuals worked, did household activities, cared for household children, participated in educational activities, and engaged in leisure and sports activities. It also includes measures of the average time per day spent providing childcare–both as a primary (or main) activity and while doing other things–for the combined years 2004-08. Except for childcare, activities done simultaneously with primary activities were not collected. For a further description of ATUS data and methodology, see the Technical Note.

BLS also released ten 2008 ATUS microdata files for users who wish to do their own tabulations and analyses. In accordance with BLS and Census Bureau policies that protect survey respondents' privacy, identifying information was removed from the microdata files and some responses have been edited. The 2008 microdata files are available on the BLS Web site at http://www.bls.gov/tus/data.htm.

Full news release
Table of Contents

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June 24, 2009

Downward Mobility and Recovery Rates Remain Virtually Unchanged Since the Late 1960s

Ups and Downs: Does the American Economy Still Promote Upward Mobility?
By: Stephen J. Rose and Scott Winship
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Economic Mobility Project

As Americans face rising unemployment rates and greater uncertainty about the future in this current economic downturn, this report investigates the extent to which the American economy promotes upward economic mobility (in the form of income growth) and prevents downward economic mobility (in the form of income declines), and whether it does so to the same degree as in the past. There is widespread consensus that the current recession is likely to affect more families than any since the Great Depression. But more fundamental than the impact of any one recession is whether the United States has entered an era in which families must permanently lower their expectations for income growth and brace themselves for more and bigger income losses.

Posted by ljridley at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2009

Housing Inequality in the United States

Housing Inequality in the United States: A Decomposition Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership
By: Sanjaya DeSilva
Source: Source: Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

In recent years, as the homeownership rate in the United States reached its highest level in history, homeownership itself remained unevenly distributed, particularly along racial and ethnic lines. By using data from the 2000 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) to study the trajectory into homeownership of black, Asian, white, and Latino households, this paper explores the various socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, as well as the distinct immigration experiences and spatial patterns that shape racial and ethnic inequality in homeownership. The unique (merged) dataset enables the authors to distinguish assimilation (length of residence) from immigration cohort effects, and to control for various spatial characteristics at the PUMA (Public Use Microdata Area) level. The paper employs a decomposition technique that delineates the distinct effects that composition differentials have on the visible white-minority disparity in homeownership. The findings reveal substantial differences along racial-ethnic lines, highlight the importance of immigration and spatial context in determining Asian and Mexican homeownership rates, and emphasize the unique role that family structure and unobserved factors (e.g. prejudice and discrimination) continue to play in shaping the black-white homeownership gap.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2009

New Study Reveals Scope of Drug and Crime Connection

New Study Reveals Scope of Drug and Crime Connection; As Many as 87 Percent of People Arrested for Any Crime Test Positive for Drug Use
Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released data from the 2008 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM II), the only Federal drug survey which tests for drugs in addition to relying on interview data. The report, which surveys drug use among booked male arrestees in 10 major metropolitan areas across the country, shows the majority of arrestees in each city test positive for illicit drug use, with as many as 87 percent of arrestees testing positive for an illegal drug.

2008 ADAM II Report (PDF)
2008 ADAM II Report Fact Sheet (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2009

Prevalence, Causes and Response to Food Stamp Program Use

On Intra-Annual Poverty in the U.S.: Prevalence, Causes and Response to Food Stamp Program Use
By: Elton Mykerezi and Bradford Mills
Source: University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics, Staff Papers

Poverty measurement with data whose reference period is one year masks family exposure to poverty that only lasts for part of the year. We use quarterly expenditure data and decomposable severity of poverty indexes to quantify consumption-based intra-annual poverty, determine its causes and its response to federal food assistance. Results show that twice as many households are poor for at least one quarter then would be classified as poor with annual consumption data. Severity indexes indicate that intra-annual poverty accounts for over one third of the total annual severity of poverty. The common determinants of intra-annual and annual poverty include low human capital, unemployment and minority status. Changes in family size during the year affect intra-annual but not annual poverty. We also find evidence that food stamp program use reduces intra-annual poverty.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2009

Occupational Employment and Wages 2008

Occupational Employment and Wages 2008

In 2008, the U.S. median wage was $15.57 per hour or $32,390 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor. These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, which provides employment and wage estimates for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 801 detailed occupations. OES produces data by occupation for the nation, states, metropolitan areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas, and by occupation and industry for the nation. National cross-industry employment and wage infor- mation for all occupations is shown in table 1. Complete data are available from the OES homepage at http://www.bls.gov/oes/.

Posted by ljridley at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2009

Two New Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

A Profile of the Working Poor, 2007

In 2007, according to the Census Bureau, 37.3 million people, or 12.5 percent of the population, lived at or below the offi cial poverty level. Although the Nation’s poor were primarily children and adults who had not participated in the labor force during the year, 7.5 million were among the “working poor.” This level is slightly higher than the level reported in 2006. The working poor are individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose incomes still fell below the offi cial poverty level. In 2007, the working poor rate–the ratio of the working poor to all individuals in the labor force for at least 27 weeks–was 5.1 percent, unchanged from the rate reported in 2006.

Full report (PDF)

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2008

According to Current Population Survey estimates for 2008, 75.3 million American workers age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.2 percent of all wage and salary workers. On July 24, 2008, the Federal minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour from $5.85 per hour. Data in this report reflect the average number of workers earning the prevailing Federal minimum wage or less for the year (those who earned $5.85 or less from January 2008 through July 2008 and those who earned $6.55 or less from August 2008 through the end of the year). Among those paid by the hour, 286,000 earned exactly the prevailing Federal minimum wage in 2008. About 1.9 million had wages below the minimum. Together, these 2.2 million workers with wages at or below the minimum made up 3.0 percent of all hourly-paid workers. Tables 1-10 present data on a wide array of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics for hourly-paid workers earning at or below the Federal minimum wage.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2009

Mini-Digest of Education Statistics, 2008

Mini-Digest of Education Statistics, 2008
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This publication is a pocket-sized compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from kindergarten through graduate school. The statistical highlights are excerpts from the Digest of Education of Statistics, 2008.

Full document (PDF)

Edited to add:
The full Digest of Education Statistics, 2008 is now available. Download chapters or Full Document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

One in 31 U.S. Adults are Behind Bars, on Parole or Probation

One in 31 U.S. Adults are Behind Bars, on Parole or Probation
Contacts: Jessica Riordan and Andrew McDonald
Source: Pew Center on the States

From the press release:
Explosive growth in the number of people on probation or parole has propelled the population of the American corrections system to more than 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 U.S. adults, according to a report released today by the Pew Center on the States. The vast majority of these offenders live in the community, yet new data in the report finds that nearly 90 percent of state corrections dollars are spent on prisons. One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections examines the scale and cost of prison, jail, probation and parole in each of the 50 states, and provides a blueprint for states to cut both crime and spending by reallocating prison expenses to fund stronger supervision of the large number of offenders in the community.

Final report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2009

Welfare-to-Work Program Benefits and Costs: A Synthesis of Research

Welfare-to-Work Program Benefits and Costs: A Synthesis of Research
David Greenberg, Victoria Deitch, and Gayle Hamilton
Source: MDRC

Over the past two decades, federal and state policymakers have dramatically reshaped the nation’s system of cash welfare assistance for low-income families. During this period, there has been considerable variation from state to state in approaches to welfare reform, which are often collectively referred to as “welfare-to-work programs.” To help states assess various program approaches in an informed way, this report draws on an extraordinary body of evidence: results from 28 benefit-cost studies of welfare-to-work programs based on random assignment evaluation designs.

Executive Summary (PDF)
Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2008

American Time Use Survey — 2007 Results

American Time Use Survey — 2007 Results
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today that in 2007:

* Twenty percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home on days that they worked, and 87 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace.
* On an average day (which includes all 7 days of the week), 83 percent of women and 66 percent of men spent some time doing household activities, such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
* Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for both men and women.

This annual release of American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data focuses on the average amount of time per day in 2007 that Americans worked, did house- hold activities, cared for household children, participated in educational activities, and engaged in leisure and sports activities. It also includes measures of the average time per day spent providing childcare–both as a primary (or main) activity and while doing other things–for the combined years 2003-07. Except for childcare, activities done simultaneously with primary activities were not collected.

Posted by ljridley at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2008

Household Food Security in the United States, 2007

Household Food Security in the United States, 2007
By: Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2007, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year. About one-third of food insecure households (4.1 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security—meaning that the food intake of one or more adults was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from those in 2005 and 2006.

Chapters; Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2008

Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short

Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short
Source: The Working Poor Families Project

This report by the Working Poor Families Project provides new analysis of U.S. Census data and clearly highlights the major challenges facing America. Inside the report you'll find:

* State-by-state rankings on low-income working families;
* Myths and facts about low-income working families;
* A look at specific states and how they’re faring, and
*A call for stronger policies at the state and federal level.

The economic turmoil of 2008 is making it even more difficult for working families to achieve economic success. Federal and state governments must do a better job of supporting families seeking to work their way into the middle class and restore the promise of the American Dream.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2008

Simulated Effects of Changes to State and Federal Asset Eligibility Policies for the Food Stamp Program

Simulated Effects of Changes to State and Federal Asset Eligibility Policies for the Food Stamp Program
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
By: Karen Cunnyngham and James Ohls

This study uses a microsimulation model to assess the effect of changes to State-level Food Stamp Program (FSP) asset rules on household eligibility and on the benefits that eligible households would receive. The findings show that 7 percent of households eligible in 2006 were eligible only through expanded categorical eligibility rules that exempted the households from the standard Federal FSP asset rules and that 1 percent of eligible households were eligible because of State rules that counted fewer vehicle assets toward the asset limits. The number of eligible households would increase by about 3 percent if asset limits were raised by $2,000, by 22 percent if the asset test were eliminated, by 2 percent if retirement accounts were excluded, and by less than half of 1 percent if all vehicles were excluded. Eligibility across States varied widely, with 32 percent of households eligible in at least one State but not eligible in all States. The Food Stamp Program was renamed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in October 2008.

Entire Report

Technical Appendix

Posted by ljridley at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

World of Work Report 2008

Global income inequality gap is vast and growing
Source: International Labour Organization

Despite strong economic growth that produced millions of new jobs since the early 1990s, income inequality grew dramatically in most regions of the world and is expected to increase due to the current global financial crisis, according to a new study published today by the research arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The new report, entitled World of Work Report 2008: Income inequalities in the age of financial globalization, produced by the ILO’s International Institute for Labour Studies also notes that a major share of the cost of the financial and economic crisis will be borne by hundreds of millions of people who haven’t shared in the benefits of recent growth.

Executive Summary; Full Report (PDF's)

Posted by ljridley at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

Congressional Hearing on Family Poverty

Leave No Family Behind: How Can We Reduce the Rising Number of American Families Living in Poverty?
Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee
Date: September 25, 2008

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairman and Vice Chair respectively of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), held a hearing on poverty in the United States on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 10:00 am in Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The JEC hearing entitled, “Leave No Family Behind: How Can We Reduce the Rising Number of American Families Living in Poverty??, featured Mayor David N. Cicilline and poverty experts who examined whether the outdated federal poverty measurements are preventing resources from reaching families and elderly Americans and what legislation may be appropriate to drastically reduce the number of U.S. families living in poverty. Since 2000, the number of Americans living in poverty jumped by 5.7 million to 37.3 million; and the poverty rate rose to 12.5 percent in 2007.

PDFs of Testimonies and Archived Videos

Posted by ljridley at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2008

Brookings Report: Reversal of Fortune

Citation: Kneebone, E. & Berube, A. (2008). Reversal of Fortune: A New Look at Concentrated Poverty in the 2000s. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

An analysis of the changing geographic distribution of low-income workers and their families, measured by receipt of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in tax years 1999 and 2005, nationwide and in 58 major metropolitan areas across the country.

Posted by yanfu at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2008

Changes to the Food Stamp Program

Implementing New Changes to the Food Stamp Program: A Provision Analysis of the 2008 Farm Bill
Stacy Dean, Colleen Pawling, and Dottie Rosenbaum
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements to the Food Stamp Program that will help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices.[1] Over the 2009-2017 period, the Farm Bill will add $7.8 billion in new resources for the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The major food stamp provisions will:

* End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps by raising and indexing for inflation the program’s standard deduction and minimum benefit. These changes will help about 11 million low-income people, including families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. With these changes, food stamp rules will fully account for annual inflation for the first time since the program’s creation over 40 years ago, and food stamp households will stop losing food purchasing power each year.

* Support working-poor families by eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction, reducing the chances that families will have to forgo food to pay for decent and safe child care.

* Promote saving by improving the program’s resource limits and excluding tax-preferred retirement accounts and education accounts from those limits.

* Simplify food stamp administration for participants and states by building on successful initiatives from the last (2002) Farm Bill.

* Rename and update the program, which will be called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program? (SNAP); food stamp coupons will be eliminated.

* Strengthen program operations, integrity, and oversight and modernize benefit delivery, for example by creating a state option for telephonic applications and by improving oversight of state modernization efforts.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality

Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality
Jeffrey Grogger
Source: Harris School of Public Policy Working Papers, University of Chicago

Speech patterns differ substantially between whites and African Americans. I collect and analyze data on speech patterns to understand the role they may play in explaining racial wage differences. Among blacks, speech patterns are highly correlated with measures of skill such as schooling and ASVAB scores. They are also highly correlated with the wages of young workers. Black speakers whose voices were distinctly identified as black by anonymous listeners earn about 10 percent less than whites with similar observable skills. Indistinctly identified blacks earn about 2 percent less than comparable whites. I discuss a number of models that may be consistent with these results and describe the data that one would need to distinguish among them.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

World Economic and Social Survey 2008

Overcoming Economic Insecurity
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

According to the 2008 World Economic and Social Survey, economic insecurity arises from the exposure of individuals, communities and countries to adverse events, and from their inability to cope with and recover from the downside losses. The risk and threats vary from community to community; in advanced countries, they have been associated with a significant rise in inequality, a hollowing out of middle-class lifestyles and reduced welfare protection. Elsewhere, economic shocks and premature deindustrialization have raised fears of an insufficiency of the formal sector jobs needed to accommodate an expanding urban population. In still other places, food insecurity has given rise to political discontent and increased levels of personal insecurity.

These local concerns have been compounded by new global threats. Unregulated financial markets and international capital flows are currently threatening economic livelihoods across the world economy. Climate change imposes the threat of greater local environmental damage and increasingly destructive natural disasters.

The attention brought to the presence of these heightened economic risks and compounded threats has often been met with the response that the forces behind them are autonomous and irresistible, and beyond our collective political control. The Survey offers a different perspective. What is needed is a strong "social contract" to help secure the spaces within which individuals, households and communities could pursue their day-to-day activities with a reasonable degree of predictability and stability, and with due regard for the aims and interests of others. This will require a more integrated and pragmatic approach to economic and social policy, one tailored to local threats and challenges, as well as more space for implementing counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies and greater international support for broader social protection schemes. It will also require a better link between approaches to local disaster management and development strategies, aimed particularly at the establishment of more diversified production structures for sustaining livelihoods in vulnerable countries. Dealing with economic insecurity in post-conflict situations requires radically different approaches to the provisioning of official development assistance and to the conduct of macroeconomic and social policies.

Full report (PDF)
; Download individual chapters

Posted by ljridley at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Wealth Without Health

What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect of Health on the Marginal Utility of Consumption
Amy Finkelstein, Erzo F.P. Luttmer and Matthew J. Notowidigdo
Source: Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Working Paper

We estimate how the marginal utility of consumption varies with health. To do so, we develop a simple model in which the impact of health on the marginal utility of consumption can be estimated from data on permanent income, health, and utility proxies. We estimate the model using the Health and Retirement Study’s panel data on the elderly and near-elderly, and proxy for utility with measures of subjective well-being. We find robust evidence that the marginal utility of consumption declines as health deteriorates. Our central estimate is that a one-standard¬deviation increase in the number of chronic diseases is associated with an 11 percent decline in the marginal utility of consumption relative to this marginal utility when the individual has no chronic diseases. The 95 percent confidence interval allows us to reject declines in marginal utility of less than 2 percent or more than 17 percent. Point estimates from a wide range of alternative specifications tend to lie within this confidence interval. We present some simple, illustrative calibration results that suggest that state dependence of the magnitude we estimate can have a substantial effect on important economic problems such as the optimal level of health insurance benefits and the optimal level of life-cycle savings.

Download PDF

Posted by ljridley at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

Number of Jobs, Labor Market Activity and Earnings

Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results From a Longitudinal Survey
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics New Release

The average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.8 jobs from age 18 to age 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 27.

These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey of 9,964 men and women who were ages 14 to 22 when first interviewed in 1979 and ages 41 to 50 when interviewed most recently in 2006-07. These respondents were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the later years of the “baby boom? that occurred in the United States from 1946 to 1964. The survey spans more than a quar- ter century and provides information on work and nonwork experiences, training, schooling, income and assets, health conditions, and other characteristics. The information provided by respondents, who were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994 and biennially since 1994, can be considered representative of all men and women born in the late 1950s and early 1960s and living in the United States when the survey began in 1979.

Full News Release (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Kids' Share 2008

Kids' Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget
Authors: Adam Carasso, C. Eugene Steuerle, Gillian Reynolds, Tracy Vericker, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber
Source: The Urban Institute

Kids' Share 2008, a second annual report, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade.

Excerpt; Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

States Take Action to Alleviate Child and Family Poverty

A National Governors Association Issue Brief Examines State Approaches to Reduce Poverty
Source: NGA Center for Best Practices

As families across the nation face financial hardships and economic insecurity, states continue to lead the way in developing solutions to help families ensure their economic well-being. These efforts are highlighted in a new Issue Brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) titled State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty.

The brief examines the long-term social and economic costs of poverty for children and families, communities and states. In addition, State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty explores several policy and program options helping to reduce the negative consequences of poverty for children and increase opportunities for families to achieve economic success.

Press Release
; Full Document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2008

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007
News release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 30, 2008)

In 2007, the share of families with an unemployed member was 6.3 per-
cent, little changed from the prior year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The proportion of families with an unemployed member remained lower than the recent peak of 8.1 percent in 2003. Of the nation’s 77.9 million families, the proportion that had at least one employed member was little changed in 2007 at 82.6 percent.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. Families include married-couple families, as well as families maintained by a man or woman with no spouse present.

PDF of News Release

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

Economy's Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans

The Economic Slowdown's Impact on Middle-Aged and Older Americans
Jeffrey Love and Gerard Rainville
Research Report from the AARP

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey to determine how people age 45 and older are responding to the current economic slowdown. The survey asked respondents for their assessments of the economy’s condition, whether they have taken actions in response to the changing economy, and if they felt enough was being done to address economic problems. This executive summary of the study reveals that a majority of those 45 or older believe the economy is in bad shape and that many have adapted their behaviors in response to the floundering economy.

Survey findings include:

* Eighty-one percent say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad condition. A similar percentage (75%) feel the economy is getting worse.
* Over one-fourth of respondents said they are having trouble paying their mortgage or rent and one-third have stopped putting money into their retirement accounts. More than one-fourth (27%) of all workers 45+ have postponed plans to retire.
* As the economy slows and prices rise, most middle-aged and older respondents report that they are having difficulty paying for food, gas, utilities, and medicine, and are responding to the situation by cutting luxuries and postponing major purchases and travel.
* Respondents age 65 and over were less likely than those ages 45-64 to report having taken steps to cope with a slowing economy or increasing prices as a result of the recent economic slowdown. This does not indicate that the older population is better off financially. Rather, the data suggest that the 65 and over group had, even prior to the economic downturn, been forced to adjust their spending habits because of their work status, fixed income, and rising costs.


Posted by ljridley at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2008

Food Stamps Buy Less

Food Stamps Buy Less, and Families Are Hit Hard
The prices of staples have risen sharply, but an increase in food stamp allocations will not take effect until October.

Source: New York Times, June 22, 2008

Posted by ljridley at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2008

Costs of Child Poverty

State-by-State Costs of Child Poverty in the U.S.
Kelvin Pollard
Source: Population Reference Bureau

(May 2008) Research has shown that growing up in poverty leads to negative health, social, and economic consequences for children that often continue in adulthood. Compared with other children, children living below the poverty line are less healthy, have lower educational achievement, and are more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system. As adults, they are less likely to attend college or hold a steady job.

In 2006, an estimated 13.3 million U.S. children were living in poverty, and at risk for such lifelong problems. But the individual hardships brought by poverty also exact a staggering financial toll on broader society. One recent estimate has suggested that growing up in poverty costs the United States $500 billion annually in lost potential earnings, involvement with the criminal justice system, and the costs associated with poor health outcomes.1

Taking its cue from that cost estimate, as well as campaigns in some states designed to reduce poverty, the KIDS COUNT project in Washington state (affiliated with the University of Washington's Human Services Poverty Center) has produced state-level estimates of the costs of child poverty. By taking the national estimate of child poverty costs and applying it to the estimated the number of poor children in each state in the 2006 American Community Survey, the study estimates the amount that each state would save annually if child poverty were eliminated.

In 14 states, child poverty yielded an annual cost of more than $10 billion, according to the fact sheet issued by Washington KIDS COUNT. Not surprisingly, the most populous states tended to have the highest annual costs (see map)—mainly because they tend to have the largest numbers of children in poverty. California, with an estimated 1.7 million poor children in 2006, had the highest cost of $63.9 billion, followed by Texas at $57.5 billion and New York at $33.4 billion. Even in the smallest state, Wyoming, growing up poor yields an annual cost of about $500 million.

Posted by ljridley at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2008

Mothers and Government Assistance

Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004
By: Jane Lawler Dye
Source: U.S. Census, Household Economic Studies

Although participation in government assistance programs has risen somewhat in recent years among mothers with a birth in the last year, it is much lower than when welfare reform was enacted in 1996, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report, Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004 [PDF], analyzes the socioeconomic characteristics of mothers participating in six different public assistance programs. These include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); food stamps; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Medicaid; housing assistance; and other assistance. It shows that in 1996, 42 percent of mothers with a birth in the previous year were participants in at least one of these programs. The rate dipped to 29 percent in 2001 before climbing to 34 percent in 2004. The corresponding number, 1.6 million in 1996, dipped to 1.2 million in 2001 before rising to 1.4 million in 2004 .

Overall, 7.5 million mothers of childbearing age (15 to 44), or 22 percent, participated in one or more of these programs in 2004. Those with infants were more likely participants than those with older children (34 percent compared with 20 percent).

Mothers were also more likely to receive public assistance if they were younger than 25, living with either no other adult or with an unmarried partner, a minority, did not work in the past month, never attended college, or did not receive child support.


Posted by ljridley at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Economics and Early Childhood Policy

What Does Economics Tell Us About Early Childhood Policy?
By: M. Rebecca Kilburn, Lynn A. Karoly
RAND Research Brief

This research brief describes how insights from the field of economics — human capital theory and monetary payoffs — provide science-based guidance for early childhood policy.


Posted by ljridley at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2008

Life After Lockup

Life After Lockup: Improving Reentry from Jail to the Community
Amy L. Solomon, Jenny W.L. Osborne, Stefan F. LoBuglio, Jeff Mellow, and Debbie A. Mukamal
Source: Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance/Urban Institute/John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Since 1998, criminal justice policymakers, practitioners, and researchers have focused substantial attention on the issue of prisoner reentry, people released from state and federal prisons. For a variety of reasons, until recently the policy discussion largely ignored the reentry issues of the millions released from local jails. Through the efforts of many in the field, that is no longer the case, and interest and activity in jail reentry has grown remarkably in the past several years. Though jail reentry can build on many of the ideas and approaches of prisoner reentry, the distinct differences in the nature of the operations and the status of the jail population require a new set of strategies.

In an effort to build knowledge on the topic, in 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance invested in the Jail Reentry Roundtable Initiative, a joint project of the Urban Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. Over the past two years, we have commissioned seven papers, convened a Jail Reentry Roundtable and two national advisory meetings, conducted a “scan of practice,? and interviewed dozens of practitioners around the country. This report aims to synthesize what we have learned through these efforts.


Posted by ljridley at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Older Americans and Poverty

More Older Americans are Poor than the Official Measure Suggests
Sheila R. Zedlewski, Barbara Butrica
Source: The Urban Institute


The number of poor adults age 65 and older has declined dramatically since the official poverty rate was designed back in the 1960s. Today the federal government considers fewer than 1 in 10 older adults to be poor, compared with about 1 in 3 in the 1960s. These estimates show the share of people with insufficient income to meet basic living expenses, such as food and housing. However, substantial research shows that the official poverty measure no longer reflects the true resources or needs of older adults.

The lack of an accurate poverty measure for older adults hampers efforts to reform Medicare and Social Security, which face significant revenue shortfalls. Reform proposals often aim to reduce costs by combining benefit cuts with increased cost sharing for older adults. To target any cuts or increased costs to older adults with the greatest ability to pay, an accurate measure of economic well-being is critical.


Posted by ljridley at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

Inequalities in U.S. Death Rates

Widening of Socioeconomic Inequalities in U.S. Death Rates, 1993–2001
Ahmedin Jemal1, Elizabeth Ward, Robert N. Anderson, Taylor Murray, Michael J. Thun
Source: PLoS ONE

Socioeconomic inequalities in death rates from all causes combined widened from 1960 until 1990 in the U.S., largely because cardiovascular death rates decreased more slowly in lower than in higher socioeconomic groups. However, no studies have examined trends in inequalities using recent US national data.


Posted by ljridley at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2008

Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure

Engines of Inequality: Class, Race, and Family Structure (PDF)
Amy L. Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School


The past 30 years have witnessed a dramatic divergence in family structure by social class, income, education, and race. This article reviews the data on these trends, explores their significance, and assesses social scientists’ recent attempts to explain them. The article concludes that society-wide changes in economic conditions or social expectations cannot account for these patterns. Rather, for reasons that are poorly understood, cultural disparities have emerged by class and race in attitudes and behaviors surrounding family, sexuality, and reproduction. These disparities will likely fuel social and economic inequality and contribute to disparities in children’s life prospects for decades to come.

Posted by ljridley at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

The Growing Divide: Income Inequality and Its Effects on Florida’s Families

The Growing Divide: Income Inequality and Its Effects on Florida’s Families (PDF)
Emily Eisenhauer, Marcos Feldman, Bruce Nissen, and Yue Zhang
Source: Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, Florida International University

The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest families in Florida is widening, impacting housing and health care coverage. Over the last fifteen years the average income of the top 5% of families have increased by more than 55%. Upper income families are over two and a half times as likely as low-income families to own their own homes, and 22% more likely to have every household member covered by health insurance.

Posted by ljridley at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2008

State Programs Add Safety Net for Low Income Workers

State Programs Add Safety Net for the Poorest
May 12, 2008

At least a dozen states are giving monthly payments to low-income workers, hoping to keep them off welfare rolls.

Posted by ljridley at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2008

"Squeezed: How Costs for Insuring Families are Outpacing Income A State-By-State Analysis

This article reveals how the cost of family health insurance nationwide is increasing dramatically for employees without anywhere near an equivalent increase in family income. If this trend continues, more workers are likely to become uninsured because of the expense.


Posted by sbriske at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2008

How does GDP and income affect subjective well-being?

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers re-examine the 'Easterlin Paradox,' which suggests there is no link between economic development of a society and the happiness of its members.

Posted by nebarr at 07:52 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2008

Social exclusion and the gender gap in education

Source: World Bank Policy Research Working Papers
By: Maureen Lewis and Marlaine Lockheed

Despite a sharp increase in the share of girls who enroll in, attend, and complete various levels of schooling, an educational gender gap remains in some countries. This paper argues that one explanation for this gender gap is the degree of social exclusion within these countries, as indicated by ethno-linguistic heterogeneity, which triggers both economic and psycho-social mechanisms to limit girls' schooling. Ethno-linguistic heterogeneity initially was applied to explaining lagging economic growth, but has emerged in the literature more recently to explain both civil conflict and public goods. This paper is a first application of the concept to explain gender gaps in education. The paper discusses the importance of female education for economic and social development, reviews the evidence regarding gender and ethnic differences in schooling, reviews the theoretical perspectives of various social science disciplines that seek to explain such differences, and tests the relevance of ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity in explaining cross-country differences in school attainment and learning. The study indicates that within-country ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity partly explains both national female primary school completion rates and gender differences in these rates, but only explains average national learning outcomes when national income measures are excluded.
Full Text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?

Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?
By Michele Ver Ploeg and Katherine Ralston
Economic Information Bulletin

Results from reviewed studies indicate that for most participants in the Food Stamp Program—children, nonelderly men, and the elderly—use of food stamp benefits does not result in an increase in either Body Mass Index (BMI) or the likelihood of being overweight or obese. However, for nonelderly women, who account for 28 percent of the food stamp caseload, some evidence suggests that participation in the Food Stamp Program may increase BMI and the probability of obesity. Different results for age and sex subgroups remain unexplained. Further, because food stamp benefits are issued to households, not individuals, mixed results across age and sex subgroups make it difficult to target policy alternatives to address potential weight gain among some participants while not affecting others in the household.
Summary Report (PDF) Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

Poverty, Programs, and Prices

Poverty, Programs, and Prices: How Adjusting for Costs of Living Would Affect Federal Benefit Eligibility
Source: Brookings Institution
Authors: Leah Beth Curran, Kimberly Furdell, Edward W. Hill, Hal Wolman

Regional cost of living affects the quality of life that individuals and families experience in different places. The national median household income for a family of four ($46,242 in 2005), for instance, purchases a much higher standard of living in Wichita, KS than in New York City, NY.2 Yet, policymakers rarely consider the impact of cost of living differences on quality of life or factor these differences into decisions about the allocation of federal resources for working families.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2008

Food Stamp Use Nears Record

As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record
Erik Eckholm
March 31, 2008

Driven by a painful mix of layoffs and rising food and fuel prices, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s.

For more information see:
USDA Food Stamp Program Data & Statistics

Posted by ljridley at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2008

Behavioral Economics [Housing]

Be it Ever so Illogical: Homeowners who won't cut the price
David Leonhardt | NY TIMES
March 26, 2008
For both economic and psychological reasons, there is no asset more conducive to hopeful overvaluation than real estate.

Posted by lisan at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2008

Population Reference Bureau webcast

"How Older Women Can Shield Themselves From Poverty."

Posted by nebarr at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2008

Dropout Data: How is it Measured?

States' Data Obscure How Few Finish High School

by Sam Dillon
March 20, 2008
NY Times

Federal figures gathered under the No Child Left Behind law hide a severe dropout epidemic, researchers say.

Posted by lisan at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

Measuring Innovation

Read the report from the Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Advisory Committee.


Posted by lisan at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

Home Equity data

The following are links to data and reports with information on home

Residential Finance Survey, 2001

Home Equity Lines of Credit: Who Uses this source of credit? [Census 2000 Brief]
based on the 2001 Residential Finance Survey


Posted by lisan at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2008

Employer Costs for Employee Compensation

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employer costs for employee compensation for civilian workers averaged $28.11 per hour worked in December 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Posted by yanfu at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2008

Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers 1961-2003

The Feburary report uses SIPP data to examine employment patterns of mothers who gave birth to a first child between 1961 and 2003. The report is part of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Reports Household Economic Studies series.

Posted by yanfu at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2008

Real time data vs data from surveys

The Buck Has Stopped
Gretchen Morgenson
March 2, 2008

The NY Times reports on TrimTabs Investment Research. This company produces a Consumer Spendables Indicator based on real time data as opposed to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Presumably, the contemporaneous data give more insight into what is happening in the economy as we experience it.

The TrimTabs website has links to articles that describe why their methodology is superior to the BLS Employment Survey.

Posted by lisan at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2008

One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

A new report by Pew's Public Safety Performance Project details how, for the first time in history, more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2008

From Work to Retirement: Tracking Changes in Women’s Poverty Status

Source: AARP Policy & Research

Women are nearly twice as likely to be poor as men as they reach pre-retirement and retirement ages, according to a new report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

Posted by yanfu at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

Health and Prisoner Reentry

from Urban Institute
Author(s): Kamala Mallik-Kane, Christy Visher

More than 8 in 10 returning prisoners have chronic physical, mental, or substance abuse conditions. This research report demonstrates how each of these health conditions is associated with distinct reentry challenges and service needs.

Full Paper

Posted by yanfu at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)