High levels of inequality have been linked to a greater likelihood of economic boom and bust cycles, deeper recessions, and a slowdown in overall economic growth. Evidence from the current economic slowdown suggests that the United States is approaching, and may already have reached, a tipping point where inequality is limiting social mobility, consumer spending, educational attainment, and the ability of the United States to compete in the global economy. Unemployment peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 and still exceeds prerecession levels. Many discouraged workers have left the labor force, and young adults—especially those without college degrees—have a hard time finding secure, full-time work. Today, about 45 percent of adults are dissatisfied with "Americans' opportunities to get ahead by working hard," compared with just 22 percent in 2001.Inequality is not just an abstract concept. It risks undermining what we think of as the core values of America.
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Demography of Inequality in the United States
Back in September, I provided a link to some very nice maps that the Population Reference Bureau posted of poverty in America--ahead of the report on the topic. That report by Mark Mather and Beth Jarosz is now completed and they held a webinar yesterday to discuss the results. Unfortunately, I had meetings all day and missed the webinar, but it is available here along with other materials from this important analysis. To get you going on this, here's part of the setup in their introduction: