How Much Value Do Economists Assign to Having Married Parents Who Aren’t on Drugs?


Yesterday I posted my new column from the September issue of Governing magazine in which I write:

"There are a number of people in the national media who make the argument that things aren’t so bad, that if you look at the numbers this idea that things are horrible in much of America just isn’t true. It’s easy for me to believe this is actually the case in a quantitative sense. But man does not live by bread alone. When you have an iPhone but your community is disintegrating socially, it’s not hard to see why people think things have taken a turn for the worse."

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Africa: 800 Million Jobs Needed


African economies are in a race to get ahead of the demographic boom.

While some people in the United States are sweating the presence, against the backdrop of a demographically stagnant white population, of the 11 million undocumented immigrants or of the 30+ million other foreign-born residents, there are far bigger numbers brewing in other parts of the world, indeed numbers that are so large that they could affect decades from now the life of an American citizen far more than the rare determined Mexican or Guatemalan who manages henceforth to scale President Trump’s purportedly impenetrable border wall.  read more »

Trouble in Trump County, USA


By rights, Scott County, a rural Indiana community of 24,000, should be flourishing. It’s in a pro-business state. It’s part of the large, successful 1.2 million-person Louisville, Kentucky, metro area that’s been growing total jobs (75,300, or 12.9 percent) and manufacturing positions (19,600, or 31.6 percent) in the last five years. Scott County is an easy half-hour commute from downtown Louisville.  read more »

The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism


When Donald Trump was elected president, much of American Jewish leadership reacted with something close to hysteria. To some, Trump’s presidency reflected the traditional face of the anti-Semitic right — xenophobic, nationalist and culturally conservative.  read more »

Update on Median Household Incomes: 2016

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Just released Survey of Current Population (CPS) indicates that median household income in the United States was $59,039 in 2016 (Note). This is four percent above the 2002 level, when the ethnic surveying system was adopted. This article provides data for each of the metropolitan areas (more than 1,000,000 population), including the overall median, and figures for the largest ethnicities (White Non-Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Hispanic. The ethnicity of households is determined by "householder," (formerly called "head of household").  read more »

Back Office Decentralization


In my “superstar effect” series I’ve been presenting examples of where superstars (whether individuals or cities) are generating a disproportionate share of the rewards these days.

I mentioned that I had some counter-examples and wanted to share one today. Namely that backoffice decentralization, or the move of less-than-superstar functions out of superstar cities, has benefitted a certain class of places like Denver and Salt Lake City.  read more »

Neighborfest: Building a Stronger, More Connected World from the Block Up


As we write this piece, the whole world is watching in disbelief as rain and flooding wreak devastation again along the Gulf Coast and Florida. Upwards of 50 inches of rain fell in parts of Southern Texas, thousands have been displaced from their homes in Miami and Houston, and some residents may never fully recover their livelihoods and homes. The Mayor of Houston called upon neighbors to help each other while first responders did their best to respond to the thousands of calls for help.  read more »

How To Deal With An Age of Disasters


When Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, followed by a strong hurricane in Florida, much of the media response indicated that the severe weather was a sign of catastrophic climate change, payback for mass suburbanization — and even a backlash by Mother Nature against the election of President Donald Trump.  read more »

Toward a Science of Cities: "The Atlas of Urban Expansion"


New York University Professor Shlomo Angel and his colleagues (Alejandro M. Blei, Jason Parent, Patrick Lamson-Hall, and Nicolás Galarza Sánchez, with Daniel L. Civco, Rachel Qian Lei, and Kevin Thom) have produced the Atlas of Urban Expansion: 2016 edition, which represents the most detailed available spatial analysis of world urbanization, relying on a sample of 200 urban areas. It was published jointly United Nations Habitat, New York University, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and released in conjunction with the Habitat III conference in Quito. The Atlas follows the publication of Angel's Planet of Cities, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy which was reviewed in New Geography in A Planet of People: Angel's Planet of Cities.  read more »

Millennials Yesterday and Today


Every generation seems to be lionized by the press with the observation that the values of the new group are not that of their parents, thank goodness. They don’t have the serious hunger for possessions, the terrible acquisitiveness for material things that define their parents’ generation. Rather, as seen by the reporter, they have loftier views of society, generally the views of the reporter or the views that the reporter wishes to have us believe they hold. One recalls how the baby boomers were “not like us”.  read more »