April 14 of this year marked what is known as Equal Pay Day, the representing “how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.” The choice of date is based on research demonstrating that women earn approximately 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Whether it is 77, 84, or 93 cents on the dollar, there is reason to believe that women earn less than men in this country—but it takes a lot of careful work to meaningfully demonstrate it.Recently, I have been asked for data on men’s versus women’s wages in Virginia, overall, as well as within smaller regions, such as particular localities or zip codes. Each time, the asker—a journalist—has explained that his goal is to find quantitative data addressing the topic of gender wage equity in the workplace. I’m thrilled that journalists are not only interested in asking these questions, but also looking for high-quality data to use as they write about this complex topic. But while comparing wages might appear to be the most obvious way to get at the answer, careful consideration of the data reveals why this task is not as straightforward as it may appear. Read Full Article →
Everyday, medical professionals diagnose and treat cancer patients, clinical researchers look for ways to prevent and cure cancer, and policy makers allocate resources for advancement of cancer programs. With the Commonwealth’s population growing and aging, we, as demographers, attempted to see how many people may be diagnosed with cancer over the next few decades. Earlier this week, the Demographics Research Group released its report on “Projecting Cancer Incidence in Virginia” along with a detailed data set, background methodology, and a set of interactive maps, all of which are available here.
During most of the 20th century, the neighborhoods where people lived and worked in Richmond — even the boundaries of the city — were shaped by race. For decades after WWII, the city’s leaders fought a well-publicized battle to maintain this system and prevent the city’s population from becoming majority black. In recent years, Richmond has experienced its most significant demographic transformation since the post-war era, but this time the change has occurred much more quietly. Why?
For many of us, the morning commute is often not the best part of the day; however some may actually enjoy this time, managing to find peace and productivity during the trip into their workplace. Countless articles discuss the impact of commuting on the average person’s quality of life, with the costs – time lost in transit, stress from the daily commute, financial expenses – usually outweighing the benefits. People sometimes do not realize how much their commute is costing them, how their overall health and wellness is affected, or how it may be correlated with unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
“529,000 Americans ages 25 to 29 moved from cities out to the suburbs in 2014; only 426,000 moved in the other direction. Among younger millennials, those in their early 20s, the trend was even starker: 721,000 moved out of the city, compared with 554,000 who moved in.”
This is wrong, but it’s not Casselman’s fault. He’s reading the table correctly. The problem is with the way the CPS migration data is tabulated and presented. Other data journalists have made similar points about migration, relying on the same bad data. To demographers who work with population data every day, these articles make no sense. That’s just not how it works. There is always a steady churn of people into and out of central cities, with cities gaining young adults (and suburbs and rural areas losing them), followed by cities losing families as they have children (and suburbs gaining them). It’s the variations in this pattern which are newsworthy, not the pattern itself.The truth is harder to nail down, but based on population distributions from the same survey, it looks like over the past 5 years about 3 million more Americans age 20-29 moved from suburbs to principal cities than from cities to suburbs, with last year being the largest net gain for cities yet.That’s an error several orders of magnitude in the wrong direction and should be a little startling. Proving it is fairly easy. Explaining it is more difficult. Read Full Article →
When it comes to the social safety net, myths and half-truths, rather than reality, often shape our conception of who depends on the net and the value of these programs. It is easy to lose sight of what these programs do for families, especially if one lives in a household that has never qualified for a program. Mitt Romney, a smart and well-informed person, infamously stated that 47 percent of Americans “believe the government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” But the reality isn’t so simple. Advocates of the social safety net countered Romney’s argument by highlighting that many of those people were seniors who had paid into the system, or individuals who are currently working, but needed help to make ends meet.When our understanding of the social safety net relies on myths and incomplete truths, it distorts our public conversation about the place of these programs in our society, and our obligation—or lack of obligation—to those households using the programs.In an attempt to provide a better picture of the social safety net I graphed median annual benefits for 12 social safety programs against a household’s resources or wages. Read Full Article →
There has been quite a bit of hype around the idea that millennials are gravitating towards city centers. Canadian professor Markus Moos calls it “youthification” and has recently put together some maps and data to prove it. But finding more hard numbers can be difficult. Is this hype only the result of a few hot spots like Brooklyn and Portlandia or is it a nationwide phenomenon? And how different is the distribution of age groups today from what it was not long ago?Turns out that we also have a report coming out soon on demographic shifts in America’s metropolitan areas and a key part of that equation is young adults. Downtowns, it turns out, suddenly have a disproportionate share of them. They haven’t always been there. In 1990, young adults weren’t much more concentrated in the center than out in the suburbs.This trend holds true in nearly every city across the country. I looked at the generation generally classified as “millennials” – all those born after 1980, from the age of 22 (so as to filter out most undergrads at any colleges that might be located in these metropolitan areas) all the way up to 34. I then graphed them as a proportion of the population based on their distance from the center of the city. In these graphs, the left side represents the city center and neighborhoods are graphed based on their distance from that center. The consistency of the shift is startling. Use the drop down menu to see data from different cities: Read Full Article →
One trend that was very noticeable in the recent population estimates for Virginia in 2014 was how much growth has slowed since 2010. While fewer people moving into the state was one cause for the slowdown, the other cause was Virginia’s declining birth rate. It is hard for any population to grow when it does not have enough births to replace deaths, as is the case in much of Virginia.To illustrate how low birth rates are in much of Virginia, I thought it would useful to overlay a map of county and city birth rates in Virginia with the names of countries which have similar birth rates.
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