Posts Tagged ‘United States’


Special mention

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In the United States, there are now somewhere between 270 million and 310 million guns, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s almost one gun for every person in the nation.

While we spend a lot of time discussing Second Amendment rights and gun-control measures, the fact is guns are big business in the United States.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. gun manufacturing has more than tripled since 2001 (from 2.9 million to 10.8 million total firearms produced).


Meantime, as Jim Tankersley explains, gun manufacturer profits have risen as well.

The stock market shows that story. If you’d bought shares of Sturm, Ruger & Co. in 2009, they’d be worth about 10 times as much today. That’s a slightly better return than if you’d bought Apple.


And while some U.S.-manufactured guns are exported (a bit less than 400 thousand in 2013), that was more than made up for by firearms imports into the United States (more than 5.5 million in 2013).

You want to understand the escalation of gun violence in the United States? Just follow the money. . .

Chart of the day

Posted: 2 October 2015 in Uncategorized
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mass shootings

Yesterday’s gun attack at a community college in Oregon, which killed at least nine people and wounded seven more, brought the total of U.S. mass shootings this year—incidents where 4 or more people are killed or injured by gunfire—to 294.

Charleston. Lafayette. Virginia. Now, Roseburg Oregon. But beneath the steady drumbeat of these high-profile cases lay the hundreds daily mass shootings that most of us never hear about. 11 wounded in a Georgia barroom.Six shot outside a Tulsa nightclub. A pregnant mom and grandmother killed, an infant wounded in Chicago.

We’ve gone no more than eight days without one of these incidents this year. On six days in September, there were 3 mass shootings or more. If the initial casualty figures in Oregon hold up, that would bring the total of deaths by mass shooting this year to 380 so far, with well over one thousand injured.

And of course, there’s the broader universe of nearly 10,000 people killed and 20,000 wounded in nearly 40,000 gun violence incidents so far this year.

These numbers only tell the smallest part of the story. And these very numbers will need to be updated again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that.

achievement gap


We all know the gap between the rich and poor in the United States has been growing for decades—and there’s been no let-up of that trend during the current economic recovery.

That’s bad enough. However, unless we confront that problem and change the existing institutions, it’s only going to get worse in the decades ahead. That’s because, as Michelle Chan [ht: ja] explains, the country is leaving way too many children behind.

Poverty limits access to basic resources like nutrition and decent childcare. But a geometrically expanding class divide looms over all income brackets, as wealthier parents zealously splurge on “enrichment expenditures”. . .

So poor parents struggling just to cover basic food and shelter face both massive income inequality in their day-to-day lives, plus a seven-fold gap in the amount they can “invest” to help their children thrive in the future. Given that social mobility is already suppressed at all income levels—with children’s future earnings highly correlated with the earnings of their parents—the Herculean amount of “catch up” poor parents must undertake just to get on the same footing as their higher-earning peers makes the great American wealth gap seem even more devastating, for both today’s working households and generations to come. . .

economic status is a growing factor in academic outcomes, as “the relationship between income and achievement has grown sharply” over the last 50 years. So wealth trumps intellect on many levels.

In other words, the income gap is a growing factor in academic outcomes—and the children at the bottom are falling further and further behind.

Why? The achievement gap stems in part from the difficulty poor parents have in educating their children at home, as well as the massive funding gaps in programs like subsidized childcare and Head Start. It’s also because poor children are segregated outside the home into poorly funded and overburdened schools. The exact opposite has been taking place at the top, where both private and public expenditures are moving the children of wealthy households further and further ahead.

All of which means that, just as the income gap has grown sharply since the mid-1970s, so has the relationship between income and academic achievement.

The growing class divide in the United States looms over all aspects of society, especially the fate of our children.



At least fourteen people were shot—six of them killed, the others wounded—during a single 15-hour period in Chicago.

The burst of violence follows two straight weekends when more than 50 people were shot in Chicago. That’s the first time that has happened on back-to-back weekends over the four years the Tribune has been tracking shootings. In August, more than 40 were shot on four consecutive weekends.

So far this year, at least 2,300 people have been shot in Chicago, about 400 more than during the same period last year, according to a Tribune analysis. Through Sunday, homicides have risen to 359, up 21 percent from 296 a year earlier, according to preliminary data from Chicago police.

Map of the day

Posted: 28 September 2015 in Uncategorized
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This map of the United States shows that, in sixteen states, many of which are in the South, there are more people in prisons and jails than in college housing.*

*To be clear, the map does not show there are fewer people in college than in jail and prison—just fewer people in college housing. The entire U.S. corrections population, which includes people in jail, prison, parole, and probation, totaled 6.9 million in 2013. In comparison, about 19.5 million people were enrolled for college that same year—but most students live off-campus.


Special mention

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