Archive News

Lumina Foundation: Strategy Labs to Increase Higher Education Attainment
The Lumina Foundation's "Goal 2025" is designed to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality college degrees, certificates, or other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The Foundation created Strategy Labs as a means of gathering leaders and influencers to move this goal forward. The Strategy Labs feature state by state educational attainment data, different options that states can pursue to raise attainment rates, and access to the most recent research in the field. You can visit the Strategy Labs here.
New Census Numbers Reveal Some Economic Improvements but Overall Stagnation

Census results for 2012 are out and they reveal that while there have been some economic improvements- two million jobs added, increased corporate profits, and economic growth- households are experiencing stagnation. Incomes have remained the same in every region except the west where incomes have increased; primarily due to improvements in five states. From 2011 to 2012 the poverty level stayed at 15 percent and the gender wage gap has not moved. To read more, click here.

After Supreme Court Decision, States Revisit their Sentencing Laws
Since the Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, which determined that mandatory life sentences for offenders under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional, many states are revisiting their sentencing laws. Stateline explains that states are taking different approaches but all have to contend with important concerns such as retroactively applying the decision to current offenders, the impact on victims and their families, and the differences in treatment of juveniles and adults. To read more, click here.
The State of U.S. Housing in 2013
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released their 2013 report on the State of the Nation's Housing. This report shows the marked improvements the housing market has experienced during the last few years. From 2011 to 2012 the market saw a sharp change with housing prices beginning to increase. However, the housing recovery remains modest due to issues such as lower family incomes, lack of access to credit, and less access to affordable housing. To view the webinar, click here. To read the full report, click here.
New Release from the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2013 Kids Count Data Book, revealing new statistics on family and community, education, economic well-being, and health issues faced by American youth. Out of 29 OECD members, the U.S. ranks 26th in overall child well-being. Child poverty continues to increase and economic well-being of children has decreased. However, there have been improvements in some areas with more children having health insurance and fewer teens abusing drugs and alcohol. To read the full data book, click here.
State of America's Economy: 2013 Update
A recent report from the Center for American Progress shows moderate gains as the U.S. continues on the road to recovery. Economic growth continues to increase and the labor market has seen limited gains. The housing market is also showing good signs of recovery but foreclosure still remains an issue for many homeowners. Income inequality is also in its worst state since the 1960s. Americans continue to lose wealth and household debt grows every day with the most vulnerable populations experiencing the most difficult situations. To read more of this report, click here.
Analyzing the Long-term Effect of Unemployment on Economic Security

Between 1999 and 2009, one third of American families experienced unemployment. A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts analyzes the substantial impact that unemployment has on families and their resources. In order to manage periods of unemployment, individuals often rely on personal savings, home equity, family and friends, institutional resources, and more risky options like payday loans. In many cases, these alternative income options deplete resources set aside for retirement and college payments and/or raise debt levels. To read the full report, click here.

Economic Security in a Changing Economy
"The Cornerstones of Economic Security for Resilient Workers: A Policy Framework for Shared Action", recently published by the National Governors Association, "explores the nature of ongoing economic changes, the meaning of economic security in today’s economy and the roles that government, business, the civic sector and individuals play to create a new approach better suited to current and future economic and social conditions." To read the report, click here.
Lower levels of wealth for Generations X and Y
“Today, people in their 20s and 30s (Generations X and Y) have accumulated less wealth than their parents when they were the same age about 25 years ago.” (Urban Institute) This decline in wealth is largely due to factors such as stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, lost home values, and large amounts of student loan debt. If this trend is not reversed, safety net programs could be stretched even further while exacerbating levels of wealth inequality in the U.S. To read more, click here.
Personal Finance for Low- and Middle- Income Families
The options available for higher income families to build economic security are very different than those options available to families in other income groups. Robert Lerman and Eugene Steuerle explain that human capital remains the most important asset for low- and middle- income families. To develop this asset, policy makers can consider ways to lower high school drop out rates and encourage diverse initiatives like apprenticeship programs. The most important nonhuman capital asset is Social Security benefits, from which employees can benefit most if they have a steady work record. More from the Urban Institute here.
New Report: Decreased Rates of Youth Incarceration Across the U.S.
A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that during the past 15 years in the U.S., the number of youth incarcerated on a single day has dropped from a high 107,637 to approximately 70,000. This decline was driven by efforts within states to create innovative reforms that improve outcomes for youth while also maintaining public safety and lowering costs. Despite these improvements, the majority of youth within the juvenile justice system are held for non-violent offenses and pose relatively low public safety risks. To read more, click here.
In Tennessee, Alternative Solutions Produce Results
Reports from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Justice Policy Institute show that between 1997 and 2010, the state of Tennessee experienced a significant 66 percent reduction in youth incarceration. During this period, Tennessee worked through its Department of Children Services to implement innovative youth crime prevention programs and reforms. Although the state has seen an increase in youth arrests, for non-violent crimes like truancy and violating probation, the state is pursuing alternative solutions. To read more, click here.
Payday Loans: Understanding Their Consequences and Individual Choices
In the U.S., 12 million Americans use payday loans annually. These loans present a quick, short-term solution to financial difficulties these individuals may face. However, the costs and duration of payday loans are unpredictable and often increase financial burdens in the long-term. Only 14 percent of payday loan borrowers can afford to repay their loan based on their monthly budgets. A recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts explores the reasons why individuals choose this financing option and the ultimate consequences associated with this choice. To read the report, click here.
Affordable Housing in Decline for Working Households
The Center for Housing Policy states that in 24 states, affordability of housing has steadily declined for working households. Those working households earning less than 80 percent of area median income (AMI) experienced more severe housing cost burdens in the past few years. Most of this increased burden was due to the large decline in incomes and the simultaneous increase in housing costs. In particular, costs are steadily rising for renters while generally decreasing for owners. To read more, click here.
Economic Insecurity and Minority Seniors
The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University finds that more than half of African-American and Latino seniors are economically insecure. A majority of this insecurity comes from housing sources with 62 percent of minority seniors spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing expenses. In the U.S., few households with minorities are financially prepared for retirement. Economic insecurity has become the norm for many seniors and will persist unless efforts are made to improve asset building earlier in life. To read more, click here.
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