The newly released 2010-2014 ACS 5-year estimate data includes information on how people get to work. Like most other Americans, Virginians across all age and income groups are overwhelmingly likely to get to work by driving a motor vehicle alone. Workers living below poverty level are slightly more likely to take other modes of transportation, as are younger workers.Read Full Article →
When people begin house hunting, one of the most common criteria they consider is the quality of the local school district, not just for the sake of their children but also because schools often influence home values. The District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis recently mapped the standardized test results of each DC elementary school and found a strong correlation between test scores and home values. In Virginia, divisions with high Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores, such as Falls Church and Arlington, have attracted a disproportionate amount of their metro area’s population growth in recent years.Since the Virginia Department of Education provides the SOL test results by school, it was relatively easy to map out the average SOL test pass rates by school in the interactive map below.
Virginia 2014-2015 SOL Pass Rates by School
To see results for individual schools or to explore the map, open a full page version of the interactive map using the link above.
One of the most popular television shows in recent years has been ABC’s “Modern Family.” The show is popular not only because of its good script and characters, but also because it includes subjects such as divorce, step-children and same sex marriage, which are familiar to many families today. Yet Census data shows that the families in the sitcom – each household made up of two married parents with children—is actually more like those in the 1950s than how most Americans live today.
*Data is from the U.S. Decennial Census and was tabulated using IPUMS, University of MinnesotaIn 1950, over half of all households consisted of two married parents with children. By 2014 that portion had declined to less than a quarter of U.S. households. The actual number of households with two spouses and children was smaller in 2014 than in 1980, despite the total U.S. population growing by over 40 percent during the period. Given the scale of the change, the decline in family households is arguably one of the most significant demographic trends over the past few decades. Read Full Article →
“As though the New Jersey suburbs were grafted onto South Carolina” is how Robert Lang of Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute described Northern Virginia. Of course that’s a bit of a hyperbole. Even at the time of the Civil War, Virginia was one of the least “Southern” members of the Confederacy. Today, the entire state bears the marks of a massive post-1960’s influx of migrants from other parts of the country, while other regions have also developed their own character. But Northern Virginia continues to be one of the most unique (and economically important) areas of the Commonwealth.Mapping a region is difficult and controversial. Recently Aaron Renn posted about 12 ways to map the Midwest. FiveThirtyEight took a look at which states are in the South. Working in the same vein, I’d like to look at several ways to map “Northern Virginia.”1. Lord Fairfax’s land grantNorthern Virginia as a distinct region actually predates the founding of Washington, DC. In 1649, Charles II (then in exile) gave all the land between the Rappahannock and the Potomac to seven Englishmen who had supported him faithfully during the English Civil War.
Lord Culpeper eventually gained 5/6th of the shares of the grant, which he passed to his daughter, who married Lord Fairfax in 1690. Lord Fairfax bought out the final share from Baron Arlington (lots of familiar names here) and the grant was consolidated under his name. Throughout the colonial era, the grant caused problems between Lord Fairfax and the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg. The ability to grant property and collect fees was a significant source of revenue and authority at the time. Lord Fairfax successfully preserved his claim over the grant against the claims of the House of Burgesses. Land ownership records for northern Virginia were maintained in a separate land office up until the Civil War, when they were finally consolidated in Richmond. Fairfax’s control meant that a very different group of settlers were able to get pieces of Northern Virginia than those who went through the colony government further south.Read Full Article →
More career women means more two-career couplesOne of the biggest economic stories of the last half-century has been the growing participation of women in the workforce. And it’s not just the number of women working that’s important; it’s the type of work they are doing. We’ve moved rapidly from a time when a working woman’s options were: “teacher, nurse, or secretary” to a time when more women are getting advanced degrees in a full spectrum of specialized fields.At the same time – and not unrelatedly – people are increasingly likely to marry someone with a comparable level of education. Consider how common it is for physicians to pair off with other physicians, engineers to marry lawyers, computer programmers to join romantic forces with data analysts, and for academics to [wedding] band together. The end result is that educated couples tend to have two expert, specialized skill sets to bring to the labor force.Research suggests that couples are more likely to privilege a male partner’s job when choosing a place to live, a phenomenon that many have chalked up to traditional social norms, expectations about child-rearing, or sexism. However, a recent study by demographer Alan Benson found that it was simply a result of men’s concentration in more specialized (and geographically clustered) careers, compared with women’s historical participation in less specialized “support” jobs or geographically flexible fields like teaching and healthcare. In fact, when controlling for occupation, couples are just as likely to move for the woman’s job. Given Americans’ notorious willingness to move across the country for work (Alexis de Tocqueville noted this all the way back in the 1830’s), many highly-educated couples face tough choices about geography as they try to juggle two specialized careers that are – very literally – going in different directions. Read Full Article →
The Most Popular College Football Teams on Facebook
According to the New York Times’ analysis of the number of “likes” it receives on Facebook, Virginia Tech has easily the most popular football team in Virginia, but among undergraduate applicants, Virginia Tech is not nearly as popular a choice. Data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia reveals the most popular college to attend for each of Virginia’s counties.
The Most Popular College to Attend for each of Virginia’s Counties
During the decades since the second World War, Virginia’s population has been one of the fastest growing among states on the east coast. Much of Virginia’s growth was fueled by an influx of migrants coming down the BosWash corridor from the Northeast into Virginia as well as from the Mid-West. In 1940, only 5 percent of Virginia’s population was born north of the Mason-Dixon line, but by 1990 the portion had grown to 18 percent of all Virginians. Migration into Virginia was so consistent that during the entire 20+ year period that the I.R.S. has migration data available, Virginia always had more people moving in than out.
However, last month the I.R.S. released migration data for 2012 and 2013 showing that this trend may have come to an end. After having slightly more households move into the state than out in 2012, Virginia had over 3,000 more households leave the state in 2013 than moved in. I.R.S. data is particularly useful for examining these year to year migration changes since it’s based on administrative income tax data (which tracks the filers’ addresses) rather than surveys which can have high margins of error. Read Full Article →
The Census Bureau recently released new migration data based on the 2009-2013 5-year American Community Survey estimates. This data estimates how many people move between each of the country’s metropolitan areas over the course of a year.There are plenty of interesting things that can be teased out of this data, but flow data is always a little bulky to play with. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog put up a great chart showing migration between the country’s largest metro areas: Read Full Article →
As I mentioned in my last post, there are a whole host of considerations to take into account when looking at men’s and women’s wages to investigate any gender-based differences. Sheer earnings numbers are meaningful—after all, a difference in earnings, no matter why it exists, means a difference in what men and women are able to afford to buy. However, when stated without context, these numbers invite debate. In order to gain a more thorough understanding of the difference between men’s and women’s earnings, one reasonable starting point is to control for those things that are widely understood to determine salaries, such as education level, industry of employment, or years of experience.Studies that carefully examine job-related skill-based differences in earnings are not uncommon and are usually called human capital-based studies. Over the last several months, I’ve come across two of particular interest to me: a study conducted for the benefit of university administration at the University of Virginia, and a research letter regarding registered nurse salaries published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. These studies share the goal of describing men’s and women’s earnings while controlling for very specific wage determinants. Each shows a significant difference between men’s and women’s earnings, even after important characteristics have been held constant. Neither definitively states the precise cause of the difference, yet each advances our understanding about the wage gap.
Read Full Article →
The financial crisis and its aftereffects had a significant impact on American’s incomes. But the slow income growth that continued after the recession ended has also increased public awareness that income stagnation is a national problem that pre-dates the financial crisis and extends back into the late 1970s. Between 1950 and 1975, the U.S. median household income rose by over 50 percent. Since then income growth has been nearly flat. In Virginia, which had a comparatively healthy economy over the past few decades, the median household income rose less than 2 percent over the entire period between 1990 and 2013. But on the local level in Virginia, changes in income have been considerably more varied since 1990.
Change in Household IncomeLarge swaths of Southside, the Valley, and the Richmond metro area have experienced declines in their median household incomes during the period between 1990 and 2013. Martinsville’s median household income was halved during the past two decades and by 2013 the city had the lowest median household income in the state. Many of the localities whose residents’ incomes rose during this period were in the outer suburbs of Virginia’s Urban Crescent, which stretches from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads, and grew wealthier as more workers moved out to them during the housing boom. Read Full Article →
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