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Monday, October 25, 2021

Lying About Race on College Applications

Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed:
Most colleges and universities are aggressively searching for minority applicants. They want diversity on their campuses. They want students who might have been excluded in the past to feel welcome.

All of which raises a question: Are students telling the truth about their race and ethnicity?

The website Intelligent recently asked white Americans whether they had been truthful about their race when applying to college. (Intelligent is a data-focused website that aims “to create content that helps you live better,” with a focus on students.) The survey was of 1,250 white adults who had applied to college.

The main finding: 34 percent of white Americans who applied to colleges or universities admit to lying about being a racial minority on their application. The most common lie (by 48 percent of those who lied) was to be a Native American.

From Intelligent:

Seventy-seven percent of people who claimed to be a racial minority on their applications were accepted by the colleges to which they lied.

While other factors may have played a role in their acceptance, the majority of applicants who lied and were accepted (85%) believe that falsifying their racial minority status helped them secure admission to college.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Democrats and Idelogy

Lydia Saad at Gallup:
Whereas Republicans nationwide are highly unified in their ideological outlook, with most (75%) identifying as conservative, Democrats are more fragmented. According to Gallup data collected thus far in 2021, the largest subgroup of Democrats are those who describe their political views as liberal, at 51%. The other half are mostly self-described moderates (37%), along with a small group of conservatives (12%).


The percentage of Democrats identifying as politically liberal increased fairly steadily from 30% in 2001 to 50% in 2017. It has remained there since then, including today's 51%. As their numbers have expanded, liberals have edged out both moderates and conservatives. But moderates have been holding steady near 38% since 2013, while conservatives have become even more scarce.


The liberal wing of the party has had considerable momentum during this century. But despite its gains, it now represents half of all Democrats, with the other half still identifying as moderate or conservative. And while the party is now solidly liberal on social issues, it remains politically fragmented on economic issues.

Although having such a diverse political makeup has its challenges, that diversity could be helping the Democratic Party maintain its edge over Republicans in party affiliation. Even as the two parties are closely split when it comes to firm party identifiers, Democrats have held the significant edge in leaned party for most of the past two decades, including by 48% versus 42% so far this year.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Polarized Attitudes on Family Formation

W Bradford Wilcox and colleagues at AEI have a report titled "The divided state of our unions
Where is the American family headed as COVID-19 finally seems o be abating? Focusing on family formation in the United States, this report considers three possibilities: (a) the “decadence-deepens scenario,” where marriage and fertility fall further in the wake of the pandemic; (b) the “renaissance scenario,” where men and women turn towards family formation in response to the existential questions and loneliness raised by the last year-and-a-half; and (c) the “family polarization scenario,” where economic, religious, and partisan divides in family formation deepen in post-COVID America.

Based on two new YouGov surveys by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) and the Wheatley Institution, this report finds the most consistent evidence for the “family polarization scenario.” The “desire to marry” since the onset of COVID-19 ticked slightly upwards, by 2 percentage points overall, whereas the desire “to have a child” among all Americans ages 18-55 moved downwards, with just 10% reporting an increased desire for children, compared to 17% indicating a decreased desire. However, beyond these global shifts in family formation attitudes, which do not tell a consistent story in favor of either of the first two scenarios, there is marked polarization in desires related to marriage and childbearing by income, religious attendance, and partisanship as COVID-19 abates.

That’s because in a pandemic-haunted world where both marriage and fertility seem especially daunting or optional, three ingredients have emerged as signally important for family formation in the United States: money, hope, and a deep dedication to family. And the rich, the religious, and Republicans are generally more likely to possess one or more of these ingredients, compared to their lower-income, secular, and Democrat/Independent-affiliated fellow citizens. The family polarization documented here is especially striking because it augments fissures in American family life that have been growing over the last half century.

Friday, October 22, 2021

School Enrollment Dropped in 2020

From the Census:
U.S. school enrollment dropped by 2.9 million from 2019 to 2020, with enrollment among the under-35 population dipping to its lowest level (52.4% of the total population) in over 20 years, according to data tables released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The tables examine school enrollment at all levels during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, based on statistics from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS).

Pre-School Enrollment
  • The percentage of kids ages 3 and 4 enrolled in school fell from 54% in 2019 to 40% in 2020, the first time since 1996 that fewer than half of the children in this age group were enrolled.
  • Enrollment in nursery schools fell by 25% (from 4.7 million to 3.5 million), and in kindergarten by 9% (4.1 million to 3.7 million).
  • The number of 3–4-year-old children of working mothers enrolled in nursery school declined by 35% from 2019 to 2020, compared with a 10% decrease of other enrolled 3-4 year-olds (the overall decrease was 26%).
Elementary and Secondary Enrollment
  • The estimated distribution of kindergarten through 12th grade enrollment by race and Hispanic origin was statistically unchanged from 2019 to 2020: 50% non-Hispanic White; 25% Hispanic; 15% Black; and 5% Asian.
  • Additional data available here.
College Enrollment

College enrollment fell to the lowest level since 2007. Most of the decline took place in two-year colleges, which had their lowest enrollment levels in 20 years.
  1. Enrollment in graduate school held steady. Graduate school enrollment in 2020 was 3.8 million, not statistically different from 2019.
  2. Among college students in 2020, 53% were non-Hispanic White, 20% were Hispanic, 15% were Black, and 10% were Asian.
Detailed tabulations, related information and historic data are available on the Census Bureau’s School Enrollment webpage at <>.

The Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the primary source of labor force statistics for the U.S. population.

Data collection challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected some of the results reported here. Overall response to the October CPS declined from 84% in 2019 to 81% in 2020. During the pandemic, students may have continued their enrollment (i.e., to study) but in less traditional ways such as remote learning or by completing virtual or paper assignments. The various learning options increased the potential for misclassification of enrollment status, potentially artificially decreasing some enrollment estimates.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

MIT Rejects Free Speech

 Michael Powell at NYT:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology invited the geophysicist Dorian Abbot to give a prestigious public lecture this autumn. He seemed a natural choice, a scientific star who studies climate change and whether planets in distant solar systems might harbor atmospheres conducive to life.

 Then a swell of angry resistance arose. Some faculty members and graduate students argued that Dr. Abbot, a professor at the University of Chicago, had created harm by speaking out against aspects of affirmative action and diversity programs. In videos and opinion pieces, Dr. Abbot, who is white, has asserted that such programs treat “people as members of a group rather than as individuals, repeating the mistake that made possible the atrocities of the 20th century.” He said that he favored a diverse pool of applicants selected on merit.

 He said that his planned lecture at M.I.T. would have made no mention of his views on affirmative action. But his opponents in the sciences argued he represented an “infuriating,” “inappropriate” and oppressive choice.

 On Sept. 30, M.I.T. reversed course. The head of its earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences department called off Dr. Abbot’s lecture, to be delivered to professors, graduate students and the public, including some top Black and Latino high school students.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

International Approval of US Goes Up

Julie Ray at Gallup:
Six months into Joe Biden's presidency, approval ratings of U.S. leadership around the world had largely rebounded from the record-low ratings observed during the Trump administration.

A new Gallup report shows that as of early August 2021, across 46 countries and territories, median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 49%. This rating is up from the 30% median approval at the end of Donald Trump's presidency and matches the rating during former President Barack Obama's first year in office in 2009.

However, while the 49% median approval rating for U.S. leadership so far under Biden compares favorably with ratings during the Obama administration, the 36% disapproval rating is also higher than any of those under Obama. Still, disapproval under Biden is seven percentage points lower than the final disapproval rating under Trump -- a record-high 44%.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Concentrated Ownership of Stock

The wealthiest 10% of Americans now own 89% of all U.S. stocks held by households, a record high that highlights the stock market’s role in increasing wealth inequality.

The top 1% gained more than $6.5 trillion in corporate equities and mutual fund wealth during the Covid-19 pandemic, while the bottom 90% added $1.2 trillion, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve. The share of corporate equities and mutual funds owned by the top 10% reached the record high in the second quarter, while the bottom 90% of Americans held about 11% of individually held stocks, down from 12% before the pandemic.

The stock market, which has nearly doubled since the March 2020 drop and is up nearly 40% since January 2020, was the main source of wealth creation in America during the pandemic — as well as the main driver of inequality. The total wealth of the top 1% now tops 32%, a record, according to the Fed data. Nearly 70% of their wealth gains over the past year and a half — one of the fastest wealth booms in recent history — came from stocks.