United across the partisan divide

Since so much news is framed as a partisan battle, you might be asking yourself: “Do Republicans and Democrats agree on anything?” While the partisan divide among Americans may be as wide as ever, that split might best be described as existing in the top few layers of soil, under which lies a deeper bedrock of consensus; Republicans and Democrats still find agreement on a surprising range of topics.

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B Clary
The unequal counties of America

When it comes to describing how or what people are doing, county-level maps do an almost criminally poor job of revealing the status of most Americans. That’s because America is patchwork of 3,142 counties (or equivalents), but Americans are not equally fond of living in all of them. One in 10 Americans lives in just seven counties, and half of all Americans live in less than 5% of all counties. It’s no stretch to say that the manner in which county-level maps privilege spatial accuracy over demographic accuracy is undemocratic.

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Andi Egbert
Latinos get louder (at the ballot box)

The collective voice of Latino voters was louder in the 2018 midterm elections than any other nonpresidential voting year in history. New data shows the voter turnout rate among eligible Latinos jumped 13 percentage points between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections, to 40.4%. This enthusiastic leap in voting yielded an additional 4.9 Latino voters, or 11.7 million total. Explore what other features of Latino voting patterns in 2018 stood out.

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Andi Egbert
The color of expertise

While “just the facts” has long been a journalistic credo, research shows that true objectivity is not attainable. Journalists make myriad choices about which facts to privilege, who gets to help communicate them, and how. In our recent survey of nearly 250 Minnesota media professionals, we asked how often People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) people are used as subject matter experts for stories that are not explicitly about race and culture. Seventy-two percent of all professionals surveyed said either rarely or never. Among journalists who themselves identified as POCI, that percentage rose to 84 percent.

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Andi Egbert
April 1, 2020: Census Day is coming and it's no joke

The 2020 Census has been in the news more than usual. Here’s six answers to your questions about the upcoming 2020 Census. Get up to speed on the status of question revisions (impacting race, same-sex partners, and possibly citizenship), which states may gain or lose congressional seats, when electoral votes could shift, and more.

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Andi Egbert
What's driving your state's growth? Babies or suitcases?

At 2.1 percent, Nevada and Idaho led all states in population growth during 2017-2018. The other swiftly growing states were Utah (1.9%), Arizona (1.7%), and Florida and Washington (1.5% apiece). While these states grew the fastest, Texas (+379,100) and Florida (+322,500) added the most people. But why are many states adding population while some now have more elbow room? The story varies quite a bit by state. The mix of births, deaths, and net migration from other states and abroad results in a state’s growing or shrinking population.

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Andi Egbert
Happy, factful, new year!

In the last 20 years, has the proportion of the world population that is living in extreme poverty (a) almost doubled, (b) remained more or less the same, or (c) almost halved? This is one of the questions in a brief quiz that opens Factfulness, a best-selling book authored by perhaps the most enthusiastic and engaging apostle of data to ever grace a TED talk stage. I have long been a fan of Hans Rosling’s presentations, so I thought a review the book he left us prior to recently passing away would be a good way to start the year.

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Craig Helmstetter
Testing the waters: How Americans relate to water 

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the role of water in your life? This is one of the questions respondents answered in the qualitative study “How Americans Relate to Water” we recently completed with Wilder Research on behalf of the Water Main. The Water Main aims to “connect people to the value of water” as it “builds public will in support of clean, abundant, accessible water.”

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Andi Egbert
A caring crisis

As the demand for labor intensifies, workers can choose among jobs that help them capitalize on the economy’s gifts. For workers, this economy is a boon. But for those on the receiving end of some occupations, it is nothing short of painful. Many of society’s employed caregivers—assisting children, the disabled, and older adults—perform physically and emotionally demanding work for little pay. With roughly 1 in 10 of these caring jobs now vacant, community members needing care face the consequences.

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Andi Egbert
Women are running in more than half of all U.S. House races this November

U.S. House is currently governed by four-fifths men. The odds of reducing that fraction are bolstered by the unprecedented number of women appearing on the midterm ballot this fall. In sum, 284 women are vying to represent a congressional district in the 116th Congress. While these are exciting statistics for anyone who believes that more gender parity would serve our country better, the lopsidedness among Democratic and Republican women candidates is dramatic. Among Republicans, the tally is just 52 women, while Democrats have 185 women seeking to become U.S. Representatives this fall.

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Andi Egbert
The Whiter the congressional district, the more likely it is to be represented by a Republican

How might our nation’s continually changing demographics play into the 2018 midterms and beyond? Here are some insights from an analysis of the data: Democrats dominate among “majority minority” districts; Republicans dominate among congressional districts with White majorities. Republicans do well in older districts; Democrats do well in younger districts.

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Craig Helmstetter
The United States will soon be bigger, older, and more diverse

The United States population is projected to be bigger, older, and more diverse by 2060, according to the latest Census Bureau projections. How might this country’s composition change between now and then, its 284th birthday? The share of the population who is at least age 65 will increase from about 1 in 7 today to 1 in 4 by 2060. That same year, just over 1 in 3 children are projected be non-Hispanic White. Meanwhile the U.S. population is projected to grow to 404 million, nearly one-quarter larger than today’s 326 million residents.

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Josh Quinn
Millennials eclipse Boomers as potential voters, but not everywhere

In The Who’s classic song, “My Generation,” Roger Daltrey wails, “I hope I die before I get old.” Personally, I hope GenXers, Millennials, and even the emergent Generation Z will vote before they get old. This year is projected to be the first that there are more Millennials of voting-age than Baby Boomers in the U.S. electorate. However, youth is wasted on the young, and for many, so is the right to vote. Our new nonpartisan Representing US project reveals where each generation’s influence is greatest, assuming they vote.

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Andi Egbert
College: Who’s going, finishing and finding work afterwards

The manicured greens on the college quads have largely emptied out, as another batch of hopeful graduates has earned their degrees. Which makes it a good time to consider key trends impacting the college experience: Who’s going, who’s graduating, and what sort of labor market are grads entering after tossing their mortarboards in the air? In 10 states and Washington, D.C., recent college grads face lower unemployment rates than the overall U.S. rate. And newly minted English majors face the highest unemployment rates among the 20 most common majors.

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Andi Egbert
Polling season ahead: What you need to know

Now that we are several states into the primaries, with the mid-term elections nearly upon us, there couldn’t be a better time to review some fundamentals about political polling. Major media outlets and many survey research firms have a strong reputational incentive for investing in solid surveys. Still, some pollsters and media outlets have either partisan motivations, more interest in attention than credibility, or both. We should all beware of polling results that seem too good (or too bad) to be true—especially those that may circulate on social media with little information concerning who did them or how they were done.

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Craig Helmstetter