Topic: Demographics
News
Sept. 26, 2017

Many are concerned about the state of the American job market, convinced that improving employment indicators mask pervasive hardship. In particular, some are concerned about the increase in the number of prime-age men who are neither working nor looking for work—men who are out of the labor force, or inactive. While this upward trend is routinely taken as a sign of the economy’s weakness, other interpretations are possible.

Scott Winship considers why inactivity in the labor force among prime-age men—those between the ages of 25 and 54—has grown so steadily for so long. The study examines trends in a number of labor market indicators to assess the extent to which rising inactivity rates reflect a worsening of the job market (lower demand) or reduced job-seeking (lower supply). It takes a detailed look at four different types of prime-age inactive men: the disabled, the retired, those who want a job, and those who do not.

Policymakers should focus on helping the unemployed and inactive men who want jobs and on reforming disability programs to promote independence. The unemployment rate provides a reliable indicator of changes in the labor market’s strength, even if it understates the level of involuntary joblessness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics should consider adopting a new “U5b” rate that includes inactive people who want a job along with those counted by the existing unemployment rate, in order to institutionalize a broader measure of joblessness and increase faith in our jobless statistics.

News
Sept. 25, 2017

Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.

Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.

Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults are married, according to a research brief published today from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America. In 1970, about 82 percent of adults were married, and in 1990, about two-thirds were, with little difference based on class and education.

News
Sept. 25, 2017

Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.

Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.

Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults are married, according to a research brief published today from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America. In 1970, about 82 percent of adults were married, and in 1990, about two-thirds were, with little difference based on class and education.

News
Sept. 25, 2017

Brian Sabean, executive vice president of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, says California’s high taxes make it more difficult for his team to compete with teams in other states. During a discussion of the Giants’ lackluster season and the likelihood of shaking up the roster next year, Mr. Sabean told San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Bruce Jenkins: “Let’s face it, how many free agents are going to come here? They’re not. For two reasons: the ballpark and the California taxes. That’s just a fact.”

News
Sept. 18, 2017

The middle class is back — or so it seems.

That’s the message from the Census Bureau’s latest report on “Income and Poverty in the United States.” The news is mostly good. The income of the median household (the one exactly in the middle) rose to a record $59,039; the two-year increase was a strong 8.5 percent. Meanwhile, 2.5 million fewer Americans were living beneath the government’s poverty line ($24,563 for a family of four). The poverty rate fell from 13.5 percent of the population in 2015 to 12.7 percent in 2016.. . . Not all the evidence is upbeat. Here are three sobering takeaways.

First, men’s median wages for full-time, year-round work have stagnated.

. . . Second, the upper middle class is flourishing — but not the lower classes.

. . . Third, almost three-quarters of the rise of Americans living in poverty since 1990 reflects increases in Hispanic poverty — increases linked to immigration, whether legal or illegal.

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