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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Income Inequality and Demographic Groups

From Pew:
Income inequality – the gap in incomes between the rich and poor – has increased steadilyin the United States since the 1970s. By one measure, the gap between Americans at the top and the bottom of the income ladder increased 27% from 1970 to 2016. However, the rise in inequality within America’s racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
In this analysis, which draws on data from the American Community Survey and U.S. decennial censuses, income inequality is measured using the 90/10 ratio – the income of those at the high end (90th percentile) of the income distribution relative to the income of those at the low end (10th percentile). “Income” refers to the resources available to a person based on the income of their household, whether the person had personal earnings or not. Thus, people’s incomes are represented by their household’s income adjusted for household size. (See the report methodology for details.)
...
The top-to-bottom income ratio among Asians increased 77% from 1970 to 2016, a far greater increase than among whites (24%), Hispanics (15%) or blacks (7%). As a result, Asians displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S. In 1970, income inequality among Asians was roughly on par with whites and Hispanics and significantly less pronounced than it was among blacks. The Asian experience with inequality reflects the fact that the incomes of Asians near the top increased about nine times faster than the incomes of Asians near the bottom from 1970 to 2016, 96% compared with 11%. These were the greatest and the smallest increases in incomes at the two rungs of the ladder among the racial and ethnic groups analyzed.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Homeownership Today

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has a report titled The State of the Nation's Housing 2018:
Homeownership rates among young adults today are even lower than in 1988, and the share of cost-burdened renters is significantly higher. Soaring housing costs are largely to blame, with the national median rent rising 20 percent faster than overall inflation in  1990–2016 and the median home price 41 percent faster. Although better housing quality accounts for some of this increase, sharply higher costs for building materials and labor, coupled with limited productivity gains in the homebuilding industry, have made housing
construction considerably more expensive. Land prices have also skyrocketed as population growth in metro areas has intensified demand for well-located sites. In addition, new regulatory barriers have also served to limit the supply of land available for homes and increased the time, complexity, and risks of housing development.
...

Although the changes in homeownership by race and ethnicity are mostly positive, black households are the one group that has made no appreciable progress (Figure 3). Compared with 1994, black homeownership rates have increased just 0.3 percentage point while white rates have risen 2.2 percentage points, widening the black-white gap to 29.2 percentage points. This disparity is even more troubling given that the gap was 23.5 percentage points in 1983, when the black homeownership rate was 2.6 percentage points higher than today. Although rates for both Hispanics and Asians have risen somewhat since 1994, the disparities with white rates are still substantial at 26.1 percentage points and 16.5 percentage points, respectively.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Class and College Opportunity

Ben Miller at the Center for American Progress:
High-achieving students from lesser means offer the most stark example of the pernicious effect of money and class on college opportunity. The new data show that the students in the lowest SES quintile with the highest scores on a math skills assessment developed for the survey enroll in college at a rate 18 percentage points lower than their peers in the highest SES quintile with similarly high scores.
But it is important to look beyond the high-achieving, low-SES students. Otherwise, it’s easy to ignore the extent to which the postsecondary education system closes off opportunities for students who come from less privileged backgrounds unless they have top-notch academic outcomes—even as wealthier students with so-so grades and test scores benefit from the opportunity to attend college.
Eighty-eight percent of the students in the highest SES quintile with a high school GPA from 2.0 to 2.99 enrolled in college, compared with just 61 percent of students in the lowest SES quintile with the same marks. Similarly, 73 percent of the students in the highest SES quintile with the lowest math test scores enrolled in college—nearly double the 41 percent of students in the lowest SES quintile.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Political Participation on Social Media

In the past year, 34% of Americans have taken part in a group on social media that shares an interest in an issue or cause, while a similar share (32%) says they have encouraged others to take action on an issue that is important to them. Smaller shares have used these platforms recently to find information about rallies or protests happening in their area, change their profile picture to show their support for a cause, or use hashtags related to a political or social issue. Taken together, 53% of U.S. adults have engaged in at least one of these activities on social media in the last year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Stare Decisis

Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will try to fight him by bringing up abortion Justice Alito's 2006 confirmation hearing offers a preview of how such exchanges will go.
Judge ALITO. Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973, so it has been on the books for a long time. It has been challenged on a number of occasions, and I discussed those yesterday, and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision, sometimes on the merits, sometimes in Casey based on stare decisis, and I think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed that strengthens its value as stare decisis for at least two reasons. First of all, the more often a decision is reaffirmed, the more people tend to rely on it, and second, I think stare decisis reflects the view that there is wisdom embedded in decisions that have been made by prior Justices who take the same oath and are scholars and are conscientious, and when they examine a question and they reach a conclusion, I think that’s entitled to considerable respect, and of course, the more times that happens, the more respect the decision is entitled to, and that’s my view of that. So it is a very important precedent that—
Senator DURBIN. Is it the settled law of the land?
Judge ALITO. It is a—if settled means that it can’t be re-examined, then that’s one thing. If settled means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect as stare decisis, and all of the factors that I’ve mentioned come into play, including the reaffirmation and all of that, then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis in that way. 
Senator DURBIN. How do you see it?
Judge ALITO. I have explained, Senator, as best I can how I see it. It is a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades. It has been challenged. It has been  eeaffirmed, but it is an issue that is involved in litigation now at all levels. There is an abortion case before the Supreme Court this term. There are abortion cases in the lower courts. I’ve sat on three of them on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. I’m sure there are others in other courts of appeals, or working their way toward the courts of appeals right now, so it’s an issue that is involved in a considerable amount of litigation that is going on.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

SCOTUS Long List

POTUS has a list of 25 potential candidates for the Supreme Court.  At R Street, Anthony Marcum writes:
A review of the “Trump 25” reveals a list of several nominees with records remarkably similar to those currently serving on the Supreme Court. For example, 23 of the 25 potential nominees currently serve as judges in lower courts. From this number, 15 are currently in the U.S. Court of Appeals. To compare, seven of the eight current justices (excluding Justice Kennedy) served in the Court of Appeals before their nominations, with Justice Elena Kagan as the only exception.
In addition to serving as judges, most of the Trump 25 served as law clerks early in their legal careers. Eighteen clerked in federal courts, including ten who clerked for Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices. (Notably, two potential nominees – Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge – clerked for retiring Justice Kennedy himself.) Likewise, six of the eight current justices clerked in the federal courts, and four (Roberts, Breyer, Kagan and Gorsuch) clerked in the Supreme Court.
But there are differences, including educational background.
The current justices have remarkably similar educational backgrounds: seven of the eight current justices received law degrees from either Harvard or Yale. (And Justice Ginsburg—the only current justice not to do so—attended Harvard before transferring to Columbia.) In contrast, most of the Trump 25 have non-Ivy League backgrounds and attended schools such as University of Oklahoma, University of Kansas, Marquette, Tulane, University of Miami and the University of Georgia.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Religion and Giving

From The Almanac of American Philanthropy:
Religious causes are, and always have been, Americans’ favorite charitable targets. Of course, “Religion” is a very broad category. Some of those funds are used to support houses of worship and clergy, to maintain the faith, and to proselytize future generations. Much religious charity, however, ultimately goes into sub-causes like relief for the poor, medical care, education, or aid sent to low-income countries or victims of disaster.

Keep in mind too that religious charities tend to have less access to supplemental funds than other nonprofits. Hospitals and colleges charge users fees to supplement their donated income; other nonprofits sell goods; many museums charge admission; some charities receive government grants. Churches and religious charities, however, operate mostly on their donated funds depicted in this graph.
 2r Almanac Stats