People in wealthy, middle income, and developing nations have had very different economic experiences since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. Many rich countries have faced their greatest economic challenge in decades, while some emerging and developing countries have enjoyed continued growth that has lifted millions out of poverty. However, across all of these income categories there is a growing consensus that inequality poses a major threat to the global economy.
A new study released today by the World Economic Forum highlights the extent to which global elites see inequality as a major challenge in the year ahead. Based on a survey of 1,592 leaders from academia, business, government, and the non-profit world, Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014 identifies the top ten trends facing the world in 2014. Number two on the list is widening income disparities (No. 1 is rising societal tensions in the Middle East and North Africa). Among respondents from Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, income disparity is the top issue. Read More →
Forget Romeo and Juliet or Cleopatra and Marc Antony. At least when it comes to politics, one of the great love affairs of all time may have been between Lyndon Johnson and… himself.
Johnson leads the list of 42 presidents on measures of “grandiose narcissism,” according to a new study by a team of psychologists published online by the journal Psychological Science.
Also near the top of presidents grandly infatuated with themselves were Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Bringing up the rear: Millard Fillmore, James Monroe, Grover Cleveland and Ulysses S. Grant.
Finishing squarely in the middle—not too humble, not too bigheaded, just about right—were some of America’s nice-guy presidents: Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George Washington. (Barack Obama was not rated.)
These researchers also found that, on average, presidents are more narcissistic than the average American. Moreover, the level of grandiose narcissism in presidents has increased in recent decades.
First, how do you measure narcissism? Grandiose narcissism is a distinctive type of narcissism characterized by exhibitionism, attention-seeking, inflated demands of entitlement and denial of weaknesses.
To compile their rankings of most and least grandiosely narcissistic presidents, these researchers assembled data from three major sources. The heart of their analysis is data collected as part of an earlier study of the personality characteristics of all U.S. presidents through Bill Clinton, which they supplemented with data on George W. Bush. Read More →
Topics: U.S. Political Figures
Each year, millions of Shia pilgrims visit the shrine of one of their most revered figures – Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson – to mourn the anniversary of Hussein’s death on the Day of Ashura, which falls today. While Ashura is sacred for all Muslims, it is especially important to Shias, illustrating some of the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Hussein was killed in a battle over the succession of the caliph, or leader of the Muslim community, the conflict at the heart of the schism between Sunnis and Shias, and Ashura has often been an occasion for sectarian tensions. In recent years, attacks on Shia processions and gatherings marking Ashura have been frequent – especially in Iraq, the modern-day location of Hussein’s death in the Battle of Karbala. This year is no exception.
A Pew Research Center survey finds that, while the world’s Sunnis and Shias share many similarities, there are significant divides between the groups on certain religious practices.
Number of 50 largest metro areas where median home values fell between 2007-09 and 2010-12.
Real estate, as any agent will tell you, is all about location. And so, it turns out, are real-estate busts.
Between 2007-09 and 2010-12, median home values fell in 39 of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a Census Bureau report released today. Six of the metro areas with the largest declines (in dollar terms) were in California, and two were in Florida. In percentage terms, four of the 10 biggest declines were in Florida and three were in California. Four of the 11 metro areas where median home values actually increased were in Texas.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the priciest metro areas tended to fare the worst. All but one (Raleigh, N.C.) of the 29 metro areas where 2007-09 median home values were above the national median ($191,900) experienced declines in value. Of the 21 metro areas where 2007-09 home values were below the national median, 11 experienced declines and 10 saw gains.
The Census data, drawn from the American Community Survey, come with a few caveats. The three-year study periods were chosen to enable analysis of places with small populations (down to 20,000 people); however, they only roughly coincide with the housing market’s boom and bust. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly index, U.S. home prices peaked in the spring of 2007 and bottomed out in early 2011; housing didn’t begin a sustained recovery until the start of 2012.
Also, the Census data’s home values were based on homeowners’ estimates of how much their property would sell for if it were put on the market, rather than based on actual transactions (as the FHFA and Case-Shiller indices are), and weren’t adjusted for inflation.
Note: An earlier version of this post said 11 metro areas had 2007-09 home values below the national median, not 21.
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Economic Recession
Four decades after President Nixon declared “war on cancer,” the public still is not ready to declare victory, but many believe progress is being made. But that is not the case with two other public health challenges — prescription drug use and mental illness — where Americans believe the country is losing ground.
To be sure, the public believes that cancer remains a major national problem—79% say it is extremely or very serious, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest national survey. But 54% of Americans say that the nation is making progress on cancer, while just 15% think it is losing ground and 31% say that things are staying about the same. (The American Cancer Society said in a 2013 report that the 5-year relative survival rate for all persons diagnosed with cancer of all types between 2002 and 2008 was 68%, up from 49% in 1975-77). Read More →
As military and humanitarian aid struggles to make its way to the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan, the Filipino American community is organizing relief supplies and efforts to contact loved ones back home.
The Philippines was an American possession until 1946, and the two nations retain close economic, cultural and personal ties. Filipinos are the nation’s second-largest Asian-American group — more than 3.4 million (including 2.3 million adults) trace their ancestry there, according to the 2010 Census. Last year, Filipinos in the U.S. sent $10.6 billion back home; those payments accounted for 43% of all remittances received by the Philippines, according to World Bank data. (The Pew Research Center will be releasing a new report on Latin American remittances later this week and a new report on global remittances later this year.)
Here’s a data portrait of the Filipino-American community, drawn from the Pew Research Center’s 2012 report on Asian Americans:
- Filipino Americans are heavily concentrated in the West. Nearly a quarter of the entire Filipino-American population (24.1%, or more than 825,000 people) live in 10 Southern California counties. Almost 458,000, (13.4% of the total) live in the San Francisco Bay area, and 10% (about 342,000) live in Hawaii, where they make up a quarter of the state’s population. Other metro areas with significant numbers of Filipinos: Las Vegas, Chicago, Sacramento and Seattle. Read More →
Topics: Asian Americans
Americans overwhelmingly see obesity as a very serious public health problem, one with consequences not just for individuals but society as a whole, a new Pew Research Center report finds. But just who is obese? Research on obesity and socioeconomic status from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throws a few twists into the common wisdom that, in the U.S. at least, obesity is primarily a disease of the poor.
Public health researchers define obesity, and overweight more generally, in terms of body mass index (BMI). A person’s BMI is his or her weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in meters), rounded to one decimal place. A BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight; 30 or more is considered obese. Read More →
About two-thirds of Americans have a positive view of the Department of Homeland Security.
A Senate committee takes up President Obama’s nomination of Jeh Johnson today to succeed Janet Napolitano as secretary of Homeland Security. While GOP lawmakers have questioned Johnson’s lack of expertise in some areas as well as his past role as a fundraiser for Obama, there’s at least one thing most Republicans and Democrats have in common: majorities have a favorable opinion of the agency Johnson was named to lead.
Overall, 66% of Americans have a positive view of Homeland Security, which ranks it behind the Center for Disease Control, NASA, the Defense Department and the Veterans’ Administration, according to a survey last month. (The agency with the worst public image is the Internal Revenue Service which is seen unfavorably by 51%).
The favorable opinion of the agency created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks extends across partisan lines, although Republicans are about 14 percentage points less enthusiastic about it than Democrats. About six-in-ten (62%) of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 60% of independents see the department favorably.
Homeland had fared less well in a survey conducted March 2010. Just 43% said at the time it was doing a good or excellent job, while 53% rated its efforts only fair or poor.
A key responsibility of the department, which started as the White House Office of Homeland Security and was elevated to cabinet status in 2003, is to protect against terrorism on domestic soil.
Americans have mixed views about how much government can do to prevent attacks. A survey conducted in April after the bombings at the Boston marathon found that while 60% of the public believed steps taken by the government as a whole had made the country safer from terrorism, a smaller number (49%) said there was more the government could do to prevent such attacks while 46% said there was not much more it could do. The April survey did not ask specifically about Homeland Security.
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Federal Government
Number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities in the 2012-13 academic year.
The U.S. continues to run an educational trade surplus. Nearly 820,000 international students were enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities in the 2012-13 year, compared with 283,332 U.S. students studying abroad, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education, a New York-based nonprofit that manages dozens of study-abroad programs.
Both figures represent record highs, according to the institute’s 2013 “Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.” In the last academic year, 55,149 more international students were studying in the U.S. than in 2011-12, a 7.2% increase. Over that same period, the number of American students studying overseas grew 3.4%, or 9,336 students. There are now 40% more international students studying in the U.S. than a decade ago, the institute found. International students make up nearly 4% of total undergraduate- and graduate-level enrollment.
China was by far the leading source of foreign students in the U.S. — 235,597 students, or 28.7% of the total — followed by India (11.8%), South Korea (8.6%) and Saudi Arabia (5.4%). Most of the year-over-year growth was driven by China (up 21.4% from 2011-12) and Saudi Arabia (up 30.5%).
The United Kingdom was the most popular study-abroad destination for U.S. students, with 12.2% going there in the 2011-12 academic year, followed by Italy (10.5%), Spain (9.3%) and France (6.1%).
Category: Daily Number
American Jews have been debating the impact of intermarriage for decades. Does intermarriage lead to assimilation and weaken the Jewish community? Or is it a way for a religion that traditionally does not seek converts to bring new people into the fold and, thereby, strengthen as well as diversify the Jewish community? The new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Jews did not start this debate and certainly will not end it. However, the survey’s findings on intermarriage, child rearing and Jewish identity provide some support for both sides.
For example, the survey shows that the offspring of intermarriages – Jewish adults who have only one Jewish parent – are much more likely than the offspring of two Jewish parents to describe themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. In that sense, intermarriage may be seen as weakening the religious identity of Jews in America.
Yet the survey also suggests that a rising percentage of the children of intermarriages are Jewish in adulthood. Among Americans age 65 and older who say they had one Jewish parent, 25% are Jewish today. By contrast, among adults under 30 with one Jewish parent, 59% are Jewish today. In this sense, intermarriage may be transmitting Jewish identity to a growing number of Americans. Read More →