After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers

After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers. Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends. D’Vera Cohn et al. April 8, 2014.

The share of mothers who do not work outside the home rose to 29% in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23% in 1999, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. This rise over the past dozen years represents the reversal of a long-term decline in “stay-at-home” mothers that had persisted for the last three decades of the 20th century. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 37 pages, 566.22 KB].

Educational Attainment and Earnings Inequality among US-Born Men: A Lifetime Perspective

Educational Attainment and Earnings Inequality among US-Born Men: A Lifetime Perspective. Urban Institute. Josh Mitchell. April 8, 2014.

The report tracks the lifetime earnings of men born in the U.S. between 1940 and 1974, focusing on how earnings differences by educational attainment, age, and year of birth have evolved. Both annual and lifetime earnings inequality increased dramatically for men born in the mid-1950s onward. That increase reflects both absolute earnings gains to highly educated workers, especially those with more than a four-year college degree, and absolute earnings losses to less educated workers. Earnings inequality also increases substantially among those with the same level of educational attainment, complicating standard assumptions about the lifetime value of a college degree. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages, 297.56 KB].

Debt Use by U.S. Farm Businesses, 1992-2011

Debt Use by U.S. Farm Businesses, 1992-2011. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jennifer Ifft et al. April 2014.

The report presents data on debt-use patterns by farm businesses and explores key trends over 20 years. Average leverage has declined across most farm categories over the past 20 years, as have the share of farms that are highly leveraged and their share of total farm business value of production. While older operators and crop farms are more likely to have benefited from increasing farmland values, livestock farms were also less leveraged in 2011, on average, than they were in 1992. Younger operators, large-scale family farms, and dairy and poultry farm businesses currently have the highest average debt-to-asset ratios. It is these farms that are at highest risk of debt repayment problems if farm income declines or interest rates increase. Nonetheless, most farm businesses appear to be well positioned to withstand such shocks.

[HTML format with links to summary and full text PDF files].

Older Adults and Technology Use

Older Adults and Technology Use. Pew Research Internet Project. Aaron Smith. April 3, 2014.

America’s seniors have historically been late adopters to the world of technology compared to their younger compatriots, but their movement into digital life continues to deepen, according to the report. Two different groups of older Americans are observed. The first group, which leans toward younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors, has relatively substantial technology assets, and also has a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms. The other, which tends to be older and less affluent, often with significant challenges with health or disability, is largely disconnected from the world of digital tools and services, both physically and psychologically. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 27 pages, 512.94 KB].

America’s New Drug Policy Landscape

America’s New Drug Policy Landscape. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. April 2, 2014.

The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs. A national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs. Support for a treatment-based approach to illegal drug use spans nearly all demographic groups. And while Republicans are less supportive of the treatment option than are Democrats or independents, about half of Republicans (51%) say the government should focus more on treatment than prosecution in dealing with illegal drug users. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 513.12 KB].

Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education

Envisioning a Digital Age Architecture for Early Education. New America Foundation. Lisa Guernsy. March 26, 2014.

The young children of today will soon grow into the middle-schoolers of the next decade, the high school graduates of the late 2020s, and the citizens and workforce of the future. By paying attention to the way today’s young children use technologies and media, and by tailoring policies to ensure that educators are prepared to help them, policymakers can promote environments that give learners every chance to succeed, says the author. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 14 pages, 4.05 MB].

World Population Trends Signal Dangers Ahead

World Population Trends Signal Dangers Ahead. YaleGlobal. Berry Mirkin. April 3, 2014.

Demographers are often called upon to predict the future by extrapolating from population statistics and trends. The United Nations has revised population projections upward, and demographer Barry Mirkin suggests the warning signs are clear: The globe can anticipate a billion more people in a decade and another 2 billion by the end of the century for a total of 10.9 billion. People live longer, and fertility rates are in decline in most developed nations, resulting in an older population. But fertility rates remain high in the most impoverished places, and this adds to new pressures on immigration, urbanization, climate change, public health and security. Other challenges include job shortages, environmental degradation, food and water shortages, failing states, and inevitable disasters. The world has been warned. Mirkin urges governments to plan ahead with pro-active policies based on the demographic trends. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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