By the Numbers: Income and Poverty, 2015

Key numbers from today’s new Census reports, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015. All dollar values are adjusted for inflation (2015 dollars).


Poverty declined in 2015 by all measures; government programs, once again, kept millions above the poverty line:

“The official poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, as annual earnings and household incomes rose significantly for the first time since 2007. Since 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau has also released an alternative to its official poverty measure known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). As shown in Figure A, the SPM has consistently indicated that poverty in America is more extensive than the official poverty measure reports. The good news is that the SPM data do show a similar decline in poverty last year to that reported in the official poverty measure. This year’s SPM release reported that in 2015, 45.7 million people were in poverty—roughly 14.3 percent of Americans. Under the “official” poverty measure, 43.5 million people were in poverty, or 13.7 percent of all Americans.”

What the world thinks about climate change in 7 charts

On April 22, leaders and representatives from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations to sign the global climate change agreement reached in Paris in December. Pew Research Center’s spring 2015 survey found that people around the world are concerned about climate change and want their governments to take action.

Estimating Student Workload for Your Courses

“…Among the challenging decisions that instructors face in creating syllabi is the question of how much reading, writing, and other work to assign each week.

“The federal definition of course credit hours assumes a minimum of “two hours of out-of-class student work per week for a semester hour.” According to this metric, a student should assume at least six hours of out-of-class work per week for each 3-credit course.”

Note: “at least


Flashpoints in Polling (Pew Research)

Can polls be trusted? This question is on the minds of seemingly everyone who follows the 2016 campaign, though it is hardly unique to this election cycle. The answer is complicated, thanks to myriad challenges facing polling and the fact that pollsters have reacted to these challenges in disparate ways.

Some polls are conducted literally overnight with convenience samples and undergo little or no adjustment. Others are painstakingly fielded for days or even weeks with robust designs and may be adjusted using cutting-edge techniques. These dramatic differences, which have been shown to affect accuracy, are often opaque to news consumers. What follows is a big-picture review of the state of polling, organized around a number of key flashpoints with links to references and research for those who want to better understand the field.

How important are high school courses to college performance? Less than you might think – Brookings

“First, policymakers need to explicitly link high school and college performance. National assessments need to follow students through college graduation to understand what works–and what does not–over the long term. To date, many standardized tests (including international assessments) simply assume that performance in high school necessarily predicts later success, without revealing how students use such knowledge and skills in college classes or to finish their degree.”

America’s Shrinking Middle Class: A Close Look at Changes Within Metropolitan Areas | Pew Research Center

The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.