Posts Tagged ‘map’



According to a new report on inequality in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, compiled by Rede Nossa São Paulo (pdf, in Portuguese), the gap in the average age of death between the poorest and richest districts of the city is almost 24 years. Thus, for example, the average age of death in Jardim Paulista is 79.4 years while that of residents of Jardim Ângela is only 55.7 years.

This should come as no surprise since Brazil is one of the most unequal countries on the planet.


However, lest we forget, the United States is also characterized by levels of inequality that are comparable to those in Brazil: in 2014, the top 1 percent of Americans captured 20.2 percent of pre-tax income, while their Brazilian counterparts managed to take home 27.6 percent. Perhaps even more damning, the share of income of the bottom 50 percent of both countries—while rising in Brazil and continuing to fall in the United States—was only 12.5 percent in 2014.

As it turns out, the obscene levels of inequality in the United States have resulted in a life expectancy at birth that is lower than most other high-income countries—and the gains in future years are expected to lower than in most other countries.

According to a an article published earlier this year in the British health journal Lancet,

Notable among poor-performing countries is the USA, whose life expectancy at birth is already lower than most other high-income countries, and is projected to fall further behind such that its 2030 life expectancy at birth might be similar to the Czech Republic for men, and Croatia and Mexico for women. The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity. The USA is also the only country in the OECD without universal health coverage, and has the largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs. Not only does the USA have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups. Therefore, the poor recent and projected US performance is at least partly due to high and inequitable mortality from chronic diseases and violence, and insufficient and inequitable health care.

In the case of both Brazil and the United States, the poor will continue to die younger unless and until the fundamental causes of economic inequality are eliminated.



As regular readers know, I’m no fan of the current healthcare system in the United States, including the changes introduced by the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.

But the Republican plan to replace Obamacare will make things even worse.

As a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation makes clear,

Both the ACA and the American Health Care Act include tax credits in their approach. However, the law and the proposal calculate credit amounts differently: the ACA takes family income, local cost of insurance, and age into account, while the replacement proposal bases tax credits only on age, with a phase out for individuals with incomes above $75,000.

Thus, the biggest losers under the change would be older Americans with low incomes, especially those who live in high-cost areas. They are the people who benefited most from Obamacare. For some people, the new tax credit system will be more generous. The winners are likely to be younger, earn higher incomes and live in areas where the cost of health insurance is low.

And, of course, as the Wall Street Journal explains, top income earners would pay less tax under the replacement proposal.

As expected, the bill repeals a 3.8% tax on investment income and a 0.9% tax on wages. Both levies affect only the highest-earning households, those individuals making at least $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. . .Repealing the investment tax would boost after-tax income by 1.6% for the top 1% of households and give the top 0.1% an average tax cut of $165,000

There’s simply no hiding the unequalizing effects of the Republican healthcare plan.


Like economic inequality, murder inequality in America is stark and obscene.

According to a new study by the Guardian,

In 2015, Chicago had the highest total number of gun homicides of any city in America. . .

Just 13% of census tracts in Chicago saw multiple gun murders in 2015, and these tracts were responsible for 65% of the city’s gun homicides.


In that same year, there were more than 13,000 gun homicides throughout the United States. But half of those deaths were in just 127 cities, which contain almost a quarter of the population.

And it gets worse:

Even within those cities, violence is further concentrated in the tiny neighborhood areas that saw two or more gun homicide incidents in a single year.

Four and a half million Americans live in areas of these cities with the highest numbers of gun homicide, which are marked by intense poverty, low levels of education, and racial segregation. Geographically, these neighborhood areas are small: a total of about 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, which, laid side by side, would fit into an area just 42 miles wide by 42 miles long.

The problem they face is devastating. Though these neighborhood areas contain just 1.5% of the country’s population, they saw 26% of America’s total gun homicides.

Economic inequality means a small minority at the top captures the lion’s share of income and wealth. Murder inequality is equally grotesque—for a small minority at the bottom.


It is now (almost) possible to walk across the continental United States—East to West, from Maine to Oregon (or California or Washington)—and only step foot in counties that a Republican won in the presidential election (as in the green line in the map above). The only remaining gap is the solid-blue state of Vermont.

Of course, it has long been possible to take a similar walk from North to South—from the Canadian to the Mexican border (the black line on the map).

Just saying. . .

Map of the day

Posted: 6 September 2016 in Uncategorized
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Between 1964 and 1973, during its “secret war” in Laos, the United States [ht: ja] dropped more than two million tons of bombs—the heaviest aerial bombardment in history.

Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets — known locally as “bombies.”

To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them.

“We were all but forgotten here,” says the Laos-born founder of Legacies of War, Channapha Khamvongsa.

But the people of Laos can’t forget, as the “secret war” is still claiming victims.

More than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year.

Around 40% of those are children.

“(The bombies) are tennis ball sized weapons,” Khamvongsa says. “The children often mistake the bombs for toys, and pick them up and throw them around. This is often the cause of an explosion.”

Farmers are also among the worst affected, as the poorest are forced to toil the mine-laden fields to feed their families.

“Eighty percent of people rely on their land to grow food in Laos,” Khamvongsa says. “So they still use their land even at the risk of their own lives.”<

As Santi Suthiinithet (pdf) explains, the total of U.S. bombs dropped on Laos

is the equivalent to a planeload of bombs being unloaded every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years—nearly seven bombs for every man, woman and child living in Laos.

It is more than all the bombs dropped on Europe throughout World War II, leaving Laos, a country approximately the size of Utah, with the unfortunate distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in history.


According to a new study, The Geography of the Global Super-Rich, by Richard Florida, Charlotta Mellander, and Isabel Ritchie, the United States is home to the world’s largest number of billionaires, with 541, 30 percent of the total. China is second with 223 or 12 percent. Next in line are India and Russia, with 82 billionaires (4.5 percent) each. Germany is fifth with 78 billionaires (4.3 percent). The United Kingdom is sixth with 71 (3.9 percent). Switzerland has 58 (4.3 percent), Brazil 50 (2.7 percent), France 39 (2.1 percent), and Italy 35 (1.9 percent).

Just to put things in perspective, the world’s 1,826 billionaires make up just 0.00003 percent of the global population.

Map of the day

Posted: 2 June 2016 in Uncategorized
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According to a report titled “Out of Reach,” issued last week from the National Low Income Housing Coalition,

In no state, metropolitan area or county in the United States can a full-time worker earning the prevailing minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at fair-market rent, a full-time worker in America today must earn $20.30 per hour—a figure that is almost $5 more than the average hourly wage of renters in the United States. A full-time worker needs to earn $16.35 per hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

In Illinois (where the minimum wage is $8.25 an hour or $429 a month, and the average renter wage is $15.25 an hour or $793 a month), the fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment, at $1,039 a month, is out of the reach of both minimum-wage workers and workers earning the average wage for renters.

Finally, consider this: a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 2.8 full-time jobs, or approximately 112 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent.

If this worker slept eight hours a night, they would have no remaining time during the week for anything other than working and sleeping.


The gap between the richest and poorest American communities has widened during the current recovery.

From 2010 to 2013, for example, employment in the most prosperous neighborhoods in the United States jumped by more than a fifth, according to the group’s analysis of Census Bureau data. But in bottom-ranked neighborhoods, the number of jobs fell sharply: One in 10 businesses closed down.

“It’s almost like you are looking at two different countries,” said Steve Glickman, executive director of the Economic Innovation Group, which created a new tool called the Distressed Communities Index.


And while Chicago doesn’t figure among the ten most distressed cities, large areas of the city (colored in dark red in the map above) figure high on the economic distress index—with large percentages of adults without a high-school degree, high poverty rates, large percentages of adults not working, high housing vacancy rates, low median income compared to the state’s average, negative changes in employment, and a loss of businesses.

In other words, while some communities have indeed experience some kind of recovery, many other areas remain mired in a Second Great Depression.


state unemployment

According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute [ht: ja], in the final quarter of 2015, the lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans, 6.7 percent in Virginia, was equal to the highest white unemployment rate, 6.7 percent in West Virginia.

And while the jobless rate for blacks was highest in Illinois, at 13.1 percent, that state did not have the largest gap between the white and black unemployment rates. That distinction was held by the District of Columbia and Michigan, where the black unemployment rate was 5.4 and 3.4 times the white rate, respectively.

Nationally, African-Americans had the highest unemployment rate, at 8.3 percent, followed by Latinos (6.3 percent), whites (4.5 percent), and Asians (4.0 percent).


Deaths from drug overdoses have surged in nearly every county across the United States—”from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters,” in rural as well as urban areas—driven by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.

The death rate from drug overdoses is climbing at a much faster rate than other causes of death, jumping to an average of 15 per 100,000 people in 2014 from nine per 100,000 in 2003.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose (poisoning) deaths.” In 2014, 47,055 people died from drug overdoses—1.5 times greater than the number killed in car crashes. Opioids are involved in 61% of all drug overdose deaths.

This land may belong to you and me. But the increasing numbers of us dying from drug overdoses will never be able to enjoy it.