Housing Affordability and the Standard of Living: The 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

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For the eighth year in a row, the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey shows Hong Kong to be the least affordable housing market (metropolitan area) in nine nations. Hong Kong's Median Multiple is 19.4, up from 18.1 last year. The Median Multiple is price to income ratio used in the Survey, calculated by dividing the median house price by the median household income. The Demographia middle-income housing affordability ratings, as well as the summarized results, are shown in Figure 1. The Survey includes 293 markets in nine nations.  read more »

Can the Trump Economy Trump Trump?

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President Trump’s critics find it hard to give him credit for anything, especially given his extraordinary boastfulness. Yet Trump’s economic policies seem to be working. New job numbers are robust, GDP and wages continue to rise, stocks are soaring, unemployment continues to decline, and overall growth is at its highest in 13 years. And this salutary picture is not exclusive to big business; the index of small business optimism, as measured by the National Federation of Independent Business, has reached its highest level in the 45-year history of the survey.  read more »

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Chicagoans Are Getting Older And Smarter

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Chicagoans are getting older, as is the rest of the United States. The median age of Chicagoans has increased from 31.5 in 2000 to 34.4 in 2016. What is particularly noteworthy is that Chicago is losing school-age children while it is gaining young college graduates and seniors.  read more »

Metropolitan New York and San Jose: Highest Property Tax Burdens

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This article examines median residential property tax levels and rates among the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population). The data is from the 2016 American Community Survey and is self reported by consumer respondents (not from governments or public records).  read more »

A Tale of Two Socals: Poverty in Southern California

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For many, Southern California is heaven on Earth. For urbanites, it’s a world-renowned capital of art, culture, and entertainment, and technology, rivaled by few locales across the globe. But even for those outside of the cities, the region boasts plenty of natural beauty: From the San Bernardino mountains, to the Joshua Tree desert, to the San Diego beaches, there’s an almost unmatched diversity of nature to experience.  read more »

The Cities Where African-Americans Are Doing The Best Economically 2018

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The 2007 housing crisis was particularly tough on African-Americans, as well as Hispanics, extinguishing much of their already miniscule wealth. Industrial layoffs, particularly in the Midwest, made things worse.

However the rising economic tide of the past few years has started to lift more boats.  read more »

A New Vision For Southern California

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Since the start of the last century, Southern California has been a pioneer in building ways of living, and an economy, that broke with normal convention. Our region created a new paradigm, one both defining suburbanism and friendly to middle class aspirations, that attracted millions here.  read more »

Immigration and Trust

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Do we only really trust people who are like us? And if so, is that a mistake?

Distrust of the unfamiliar and the foreign is a natural survival mechanism for most species, including the human species. But, if empirical evidence is worth anything, a reflexive distrust of the foreigner cannot be said to be equally benign. Distrust sows fear. And fear plays in the hands of demagogues and can turn into a contagious pathology with numerous undesirable consequences.  read more »

Tech's New Hotbeds: Cities With Fastest Growth In STEM Jobs Are Far From Silicon Valley

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The conventional wisdom sees tech concentrating in a handful of places, many dense urban cores that offer the best jobs and draw talented young people. These places are seen as so powerful that, as The New York Times recently put it, they have little need to relate to other, less fashionable cities.  read more »

Should the Midwest Play a Game It Can’t Win?

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Noah Smith at Bloomberg wrote a recent column on how to revive the Midwest that channels the ideas of Michigan based Brookings scholar John Austin. This strategy has two main planks: lure more immigrants and invest more in higher education (presumably research universities).  read more »

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