Why US Isn’t Losing As Many Jobs to China

Posted April 20th, 2016 at 4:23 pm (UTC-4)
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A worker walks between automatic sock knitting machines at Shankel's Hosiery manufacturing facility in Fort Payne, Alabama, Oct. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

A worker walks between automatic sock knitting machines at Shankel’s Hosiery manufacturing facility in Fort Payne, Alabama, Oct. 22, 2015. (Reuters)

Sending American jobs overseas is a hot topic this presidential election year, with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton promising to get tough on companies that offshore U.S. jobs and Republican lead candidate Donald Trump vowing to boycott Oreos after the cookie’s manufacturer moved some of its production to Mexico.

The truth is, however, for the second consecutive year, the number of jobs returning to the United States is about the same as, or slightly higher than, the number of jobs leaving American shores.

Reshoring Initiative graphic

Reshoring Initiative graphic

In 2015, the United States added 67,000 manufacturing jobs — including those that  previously had been moved to facilities overseas and then brought back to U.S. factories, and those created by foreign-owned companies and investment. Since 2010, more than 249,000 jobs have been reshored.

The U.S. trade gap, though, is still in the $500-billion range. For example, Americans workers produce only about 3 percent of the total apparel sold in this country.

The most labor-intensive positions are the ones that traditionally have gone to overseas workers, positions involved in the making of apparel, furniture and toys — products that require a fair amount of work but don’t command high prices.

Closing that gap could make a significant difference for America’s middle class.

“If we were to just be neutral, if we imported [only] as much as we exported, we would [add] approximately 4 million manufacturing jobs. Generally middle class to upper middle class jobs,” said Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, which he founded in 2010 to encourage manufacturers to bring jobs back to the United States. “You have a dramatic impact on the income inequality in the country because it’s the middle class hollowing out that’s been the major cause of the income inequality.”

Reshoring Initiative graphic

Reshoring Initiative graphic

The United States lost 3.2 million jobs to China between 2001 and 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Three-fourths of those jobs were in manufacturing. About 60 percent of the reshored jobs between 2000 and 2015 came from China.

Lower labor costs and fewer regulations are usually the reasons U.S. companies move production to foreign facilities. However, rising labor costs in China and other countries, along with high international shipping costs, have made offshoring less attractive to some companies.

Something that could slow the return of manufacturing jobs to the U.S., though, is the lack of skilled workers.

“We don’t have near enough of [them] and one reason is students choose not to go into manufacturing because they think all of the work is going offshore, so that’s not a good area to get trained in,” Moser said. “So, by showing them that’s it’s coming back, we’ll get the workforce we need to be competitive.”

The U.S. is roughly breaking even right now and it’s beginning to look like a trend. The question is: will it continue?

“It’s a long, hard slog to bring the jobs back,” said Moser. “It’s not easy. It took us 50 or 60 years to get to where we are offshoring and it’s going to take decades to bring it back.”

 

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America’s Fastest-Shrinking Cities Have This in Common

Posted April 18th, 2016 at 1:05 pm (UTC-4)
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This photo of Farmington, New Mexico, by Flickr user teofilo, is labeled "typical street in Farmington".

This photo of Farmington, New Mexico, by Flickr user teofilo, is labeled “typical street in Farmington”.

America’s population is growing, no more so than in the big metropolitan regions, which added 2.5 million people in 2015 alone, according to the US Census Bureau. Some cities are shrinking at a fast rate, however, with more residents moving away than are arriving.

Most of these affected areas have low incomes, high crime, and unemployment rates that are well above the national average.

The number of people in Farmington, New Mexico, decreased more than any other city in the United States from 2010 to 2015.

The population of Farmington, which is in San Juan County, contracted by 8.8 percent in the past five years. The median salary is $36,197, which is well below the $47,615 income of the average American. There are 118,737 people in Farmington, where the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent. By comparison, the national joblessness rate in January 2016 was 5 percent.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Photo by Fickr user Paul Sableman via Creative Commons license)

Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Photo by Fickr user Paul Sableman via Creative Commons license)

“One reason is that the area has been hit hard by dropping oil and natural gas prices,” wrote Matthew Reichbach for the NM Political Report. “San Juan County depended in large part on oil and gas jobs and has had an unemployment rate higher than the state at large for years.”

The analysis by 24/7 Wall St. found that metropolitan areas with poor economic conditions are losing residents while urban areas with plenty of resources and job opportunities are flourishing.

The population of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in the southern part of the nation, also took a big hit, declining 6.38 percent. There are currently 93,696 residents in Pine Bluff, but 7,062 more people left the area than arrived since 2010.

Pine Bluff has one of the highest crime rates of all U.S. urban areas, and was once dubbed “the most dangerous little town in America”. Residents in Pine Bluff have an average income of $30,986 and there’s a 6.4 percent unemployment rate in the city.

Half of the 20 fastest-shrinking cities are in the so-called Rust Belt of the United States.

A photo of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, taken in 2007. (Photo by Flickr user David Wilson via Creative Commons license)

A photo of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, taken in 2007. (Photo by Flickr user David Wilson via Creative Commons license)

The Rust Belt encompasses parts of the northeastern and midwestern United States where industry has declined, factories are aging, and the population is falling.

Johnston, Pennsylvania — the third fastest shrinking town in the United States — is one of those places. Once heavily reliant on factories and manufacturing, the area has lost almost 5 percent of its population since 2010 and its unemployment rate is 6.7 percent.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says many regional steel industry jobs have moved to other areas of the country and the world, having a negative impact on the state’s economy.

“Every part of Pennsylvania is subject to fluctuations, those changes in the macro economy,” he said during a recent visit to the area. “Pennsylvania – the government – I think can do what it needs to do to nudge the market so that it can maybe restore the jobs that were lost.”

The impacted cities tend to have older populations, people who are done having children. Consequently, deaths outpaced births in most of these areas. Migrants, who are generally younger, tend to seek out bigger urban areas where job opportunities are more plentiful.

Here are America’s Fastest-Shrinking Cities:

1. Farmington, New Mexico
Population growth (2010-2015): -8.76%
Total population: 118,737
Per capita income: $36,197
Unemployment rate: 7.8%

2. Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Population growth (2010-2015): -6.38%
Total population: 93,696
Per capita income: $30,986
Unemployment rate: 6.4%

3. Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Population growth (2010-2015): -4.92%
Total population: 136,411
Per capita income: $37,536
Unemployment rate: 6.7%

4. Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona
Population growth (2010-2015): -4.08%
Total population: 126,427
Per capita income: $36,720
Unemployment rate: 6.6%

5. Flint, MI
Population growth (2010-2015): -3.34%
Total population: 410,849
Per capita income: $34,878
Unemployment rate: 5.5%

You can see the rest of the list here.

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Are Kids Really to Blame for Women Earning Less?

Posted April 15th, 2016 at 1:22 pm (UTC-4)
1 comment

(Photo by Flickr user Theodore Scott via Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Flickr user Theodore Scott via Creative Commons license)

A woman who works full-time earns almost $11,000 less each year than her male counterparts, a difference that adds up to nearly a half-million dollars over the course of a career, and nowhere is the gender gap more apparent than in rural areas of the United States, according to a Congressional report released this month.

Women working the same jobs as men earn much less in the rural states of Louisiana (35 percent), West Virginia (23 percent), Utah (21 percent) and Wyoming (21 percent). The gender gap is smallest in urban areas like Washington, D.C., (10 percent) and New York (13 percent).

Graphic from "Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy

Graphic from “Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy”

Education does not appear to be a factor. Women earn less at every educational level and it’s not unusual for women to be out-earned by men who are less educated than they are. For example, on average, a woman with a graduate degree earns $5,000 less than men who hold a bachelor’s degree.

The gap is even worse for women of color. While women in general earn only 79 cents for each dollar earned by men, for African American women, that number shrinks to about 60 cents for every dollar earned. Hispanic women fare even worse, earning only 55 cents on the dollar.

Several factors appear to contribute to this difference. For example, women who take a break from the workforce to raise their children are more likely to miss out on scheduled or merit pay increases, and women often still choose lower-paying, female-dominated jobs.

Graphic from “Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy"

Graphic from “Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy”

Experience and chosen field are not evidence of employer discrimination against women, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Economists believe various forms of bias — from hiring discrimination to setting lower pay levels for certain jobs — account for 40 percent of the gender pay gap.

“Statistical studies have shown that predominantly female jobs pay less to both the men and women in them, than comparably skilled, but somewhat different, predominantly male jobs,” said Paula England, professor of sociology at New York University. “So it seems like who’s in the jobs affects what pay level they’ll set for the whole job. Research has also shown that if the same occupation starts getting higher percent female in it, that occupation starts to pay less.”

Instead of narrowing with age, the gender pay gap appears to widen as women get older. Women between the ages of 18 and 24 earn 88 percent of what the men make, however, women older than 35 earn only 76 percent. This has serious implications for women in retirement, who face an income gap of 44 percent once they retire, leaving them more at risk of experiencing poverty in old age.

Graphic from "Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy

Graphic from “Gender Pay Inequality Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy”

The report suggests the gender pay discrepancy could be narrowed if the United States adopted more family-friendly workplace policies, including universal child care and flexible workplace arrangements, which would make it easier for parents to balance the demands of work and home. Such changes could also ensure that women are not penalized for becoming mothers and taking care of their families.

Although the Equal Pay Act requiring that women receive equal pay as men for “substantially equal” work, was signed into law in June 1963, the report estimates the gender pay gap won’t actually close until the year 2059, almost a century after the notion of equal pay for equal work was made the law of the land.

The continuing gender pay gap, and the time it will take to close it, suggest something about what U.S. employers hold in high regard.

“The sense that the value of the job gets lowered if the job is being done mostly by women sort-of says we value things more when they’re being done by men, including jobs,” said England. “So, in that sense, I think it shows a sort-of sexism in our values.”

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Interactive: See gender pay gap in each state 

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Does Bias Impact Price of US Ethnic Food?”

Posted April 13th, 2016 at 1:54 pm (UTC-4)
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A French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, serves up Grand Marnier soufflé with Crème Anglaise. (Photo by Flickr user Edsel Little via Creative Commons license)

A French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, serves up Grand Marnier soufflé with Crème Anglaise. (Photo by Flickr user Edsel Little via Creative Commons license)

Does how we feel about a certain ethnic group determine how much people are willing to pay for that group’s cuisine? If you ask Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University, the answer is yes.

10 MOST EXPENSIVE
ETHNIC CUISINES (2014)

French
Japanese
American
Continental
Italian
Spanish
Greek
Korean
Indian
Mexican

“Basically, I see this inverse relationship between migration of poor people from any region in the world and our respect for their culture and cuisine,” he said. “If you take price as a surrogate for prestige…there are some cuisines we are willing to pay for and some we are not willing to pay for, and that is related partly, I think, to how we evaluate those national cultures and their people.”

Ray points out that, while Chinese and Mexican are quite popular, it’s difficult for the restaurants that serve those foods to charge more than $20 for them. The same is true of Vietnamese and Indian offerings.

But that’s not true for certain other ethnic foods. Over the last half a century, the most expensive American restaurants served French, then New American and Continental, and now Japanese food, the price of which climbed sharply in the late 1980s and 1990s.

However, that wasn’t always the case, especially not back in the early 1900s.

“We were full of disdain for Japanese food, so much so that school teachers were putting pressure on Japanese children to improve their diet and eat American,” Ray said. “These Japanese parents were full of regret about how bad their food practices were and how they needed to Americanize them. Flip that 100 years later, and we think Japanese food is terrific and all of us ought to be eating Japanese food.”

Chinese food could be the next cuisine to go upscale. (Photo by Flickr user Meg Stewart via Creative Commons license)

Chinese food could be the next cuisine to go upscale. (Photo by Flickr user Meg Stewart via Creative Commons license)

Ray believes the slowing of Japanese immigration to the United States, as well as Japan’s evolution into an economic powerhouse, helped feed this upward re-evaluation of Japanese culture and cuisine.

Italian food received similar treatment when Italians immigrated in the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to Ray. Their food practices were initially met with disdain, but are now a beloved part of the American diet.

“We have seen this before. When poor immigrants come in from a particular region, we are basically unwilling to accord that prestige and pay for it, unlike Italian [food] today when basically all immigration [from Italy] has stopped,” Ray said.

These days, Indian food is still on the inexpensive side, but that could change soon, since not all immigrants from India are poor; half are college educated and enter directly into the professional class when they arrive in the United States.

And, now that China’s economy is booming, Americans might start seeing a few more upscale Chinese restaurants sprinkled in among the 40,000 eateries where many of us regularly pop in for a quick, cheap meal.

 

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Why Asian Americans Are the Most Educated Group in America

Posted April 11th, 2016 at 12:02 pm (UTC-4)
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(File photo by Flickr user Nate McBean via Creative Commons license)

(File photo by Flickr user Nate McBean via Creative Commons license)

Asian-Americans are the highest-earning and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.

They’re also the best educated, as new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau demonstrate. More than half of Asians in the United States, 54 percent, have at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s up from 38 percent in 1995. It’s an impressive number, especially when compared to the 33 percent college-graduation rate for the total U.S. population.

The Census Bureau also found that higher-education rates for native-born Asian-Americans are the same as their foreign-born counterparts.

Experts say this impressive rate of educational achievement has a lot to do with a U.S. immigration policy that favors the applications of highly-educated immigrants from Asian countries.

cb16-56_graphic“Since 1965, some Asian-American immigrants have come to the U.S. under certain immigration preference categories that favor professional skills and training,” Eliza Noh, an associate professor at California State University, Fullerton, said in an email. “Those groups tend to already have educational training and economic resources, which they invest in their children’s education. Their access to social and economic capital is what fuels academic achievement.”

Asian-Americans — immigrants and their descendants who come from the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent — account for about 6 percent of the U.S. population. Six groups make up the majority of this population, including people of Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese origin.

These highly-educated immigrants build so-called “ethnic capital“, which results in programs such as tutoring and college-prep courses that build their children’s academic achievement.

“Besides being able to spend more money on their children’s curricular and extra-curricular activities, such as tutoring and academic clubs,” Noh said, “middle-class parents can pass on their knowledge of how to be successful in academia, such as study skills, professional networking, and navigating educational institutions.”

And if Asian-Americans push their children to excel, there are practical reasons behind it, according to Noh.

“If Asian-American parents emphasize education, it has more to do with their perception that education can help them overcome existing barriers in the labor market,” she said. “They know they cannot rely on just their hard work and experience and ‘who they know’ in order to move up the ladder.”

These kinds of statistics have resulted in Asian-Americans being dubbed the “model minority”. Lumping all Asian-Americans into one group contributes to the stereotype that all Asian-Americans are highly educated.

A 2010 report focusing on Asians in California — a state with the highest U.S. Asian population outside of Hawaii —  found that expectation to be false. In California, for example, 45 percent of Hmong, 40 percent of Cambodians and Laotians, and one-fifth of Fijians had less than a high school education. The report also found that 20 percent of Pacific Islanders in the state eventually drop out of high school.

The model minority myth — the stereotypical expectation that Asian-American students will excel at school and on the job — is taking its toll.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death — behind unintentional injuries such as car accidents — among Asian-American women between the ages of 15 and 24. The highest female suicide rates, across all ethnic groups, occur among Asian-American women between the ages of 15 and 25 and those over 65. So-called “model minority” expectations and family pressure are often cited as factors contributing to the suicides.

 

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Why American Teenagers Are Driving Less Than Ever

Posted April 8th, 2016 at 1:14 pm (UTC-4)
2 comments

(Photo courtesy State Farm via Flickr/Creative Commons License)

(Photo courtesy State Farm via Flickr/Creative Commons License)

U.S. teenagers aren’t racing out the door to get their driver’s license anymore.

The number of teenaged drivers has hit a record low, according to the Federal Highway Administration, which reports America now has the fewest 16-year-old drivers than at any other time since the 1960s.

Of the 8.5 million people — aged 19 and younger — who had a driver’s license in 2014, just over one million were aged 16 and younger.

That’s quite a switch from the time when getting a driver’s license was a significant milestone in the life of an American teenager, usually acquired as soon as possible after one’s 16th birthday. Obtaining a driver’s license was a milestone moment, a rite of passage that foreshadowed impending adulthood and represented a new freedom brought on by being able to transport yourself — and your friends — rather than relying on Mom or Dad.

Graphic: Federal Highway Administration

Graphic: Federal Highway Administration

Overall, driving has declined nationally in the United States, after steadily increasing since World War II. To the generations of Americans directly after the war, cars — along with home ownership — were a symbol of prosperity. By 2011, though, Americans were driving 6 percent fewer miles per year, on average, than in 2004, according to a 2012 report.

And it’s young people who are driving this trend. Between 2001 to 2009, the average number of miles driven by people between the ages of 16 and 34 dropped 23 percent.

Technology could be helping to steer this new course for young Americans. After all, why bother leaving the house to see your friends when you can socialize online?

“Communications technology, which provides young people with new social networking and recreational possibilities, has become a substitute for some car trips,” wrote the authors of the 2012 report, Transportation and the New Generation.

Today’s younger people are also drawn to living in walk-able communities with public transportation options that are close by. Technology-driven online transportation networks, like Uber and Lyft, also make it easier to get around.

American transportation policies are based on the assumption that the number of drivers on U.S. roads will continue to climb, as it had in the 60 years after World War II. However, with more young people hitching a ride on the information highway, a detour in American transportation policy might be in the offing.

 

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Here’s a List of America’s Richest & Poorest Presidents

Posted April 6th, 2016 at 8:46 am (UTC-4)
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American Presidents Composite

Some of the richest and poorest U.S. presidents (top row from left): James Madison, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson (AP Photo), Zachary Taylor. (Bottom row, from left) Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Harry Truman and George Washington.

No one knows for sure how much Donald Trump is worth, but if the New York businessman ends up winning the 2016 president election, we do know he’d be the country’s richest president ever.

Trump is believed to have inherited $40 million when his father died in 1974. Bloomberg News estimates the GOP candidate is now worth $2.9 billion. Trump claims he’s much richer than that, however, because he believes his name alone is worth $3 billion.

Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, isn’t a billionaire, but she is a wealthy woman. In 2014, the former secretary of state’s book advance was estimated to be in the $14 million range. Along with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, her net worth is estimated by 24/7 Wall St. to be between $11 million and $53 million.

Looking back at all of America’s leaders, the nation’s first president, George Washington, was also the richest. He’d be worth $525 million in today’s dollars, according to a recent estimate. President Barack Obama wasn’t born rich, but he’s worth about $5 million, most of that income coming from book royalties.

But not all U.S. leaders are wealthy men. President Harry S. Truman may have been the poorest of all U.S. presidents. He was worth less $1 million in today’s dollars.

5 Richest U.S. Presidents

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

George Washington (1789-1797)
1st president
Net worth: $525 million

 

AP Photo

AP Photo

Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
3rd president
Net worth: $212 million

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Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
26th President

Net worth: $125 million

 

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
7th President
Net worth: $119 million

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Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

James Madison (1809-1817)
4th President
 Net worth: $101 million

 

 

  Among the Poorest U.S. Presidents

Harry_S._Truman

Public Domain Image

Harry S. Truman (1945-1963)
33rd President
Net worth: less than $1 million

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1024px-William_McKinley-head&shoulders

Public Domain Image

 William McKinley (1897-1901)
25th President
Net worth: $1 million

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AP Photo

AP Photo

Ulysses Simpson Grant (1869-1877)
18th President
Net worth: Less than $1 million

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Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
16th President
Net worth: Less than $1 million

Fortunes could be fickle, though, even for the rich and powerful. Some of the wealthiest presidents faced financial hardship, and they also appear on the lists of poorest commanders in chief. For example, Thomas Jefferson, who lived an extravagant lifestyle, was deeply in debt toward the end of his life and, after his death, his daughter was forced to live on charity. The same is true of James Madison. He had a stepson who gambled, and Madison’s agricultural enterprises ultimately lost him money.

The varied net worths of America’s presidents suggest that even the poorest of candidates — such as Democrat Bernie Sanders who is worth an estimated $194,026 to $741,030 — have a shot at the highest office in the land.

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Newspaper Ads Show Freed Slaves’ Desperate Search for Lost Relatives

Posted April 4th, 2016 at 11:14 am (UTC-4)
6 comments

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

After emancipation, some African American families that were torn apart by slavery turned to newspaper ads in hopes of finding lost loved ones.

These “information wanted” advertisements primarily appeared in black-oriented newspapers, which sprang up after the end of the U.S. Civil War.

A series of “Lost Friends” ads that appeared in a New Orleans newspaper in the late 1800s into the early 1900s illustrate how desperate friends and relatives searched for loved ones who had been lost to slavery.

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

The Southwestern Christian Advocate was distributed to about 500 preachers, 800 post offices and 4,000 subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The newspaper started running its “Lost Friends” columns in 1877 and continued doing so “well into the first decade of the twentieth century.”

The advertisements cost 50 cents each, about one day’s wages, and pastors would read them aloud in church to help spread the word.

“At first, all I could see was grief…but then I started to see hope embedded in it,” said Heather Andrea Williams, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote a book about the “information wanted” ads. “There’s a lot packed into these very short messages of love and grief and resilience and an ability…to continue to care.”

An online database shows more than 900 of these advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and March 1884.  The digital images are courtesy of the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library.

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

The ads provide insight into the dark nature of slavery, with African-American families facing the ever-present possibility of being sold away from loved ones into unknown circumstances, having names changed by new “owners” and perhaps forever losing track of family members.

“I think these ads really take us into the structure of slavery, the power of owners and into the emotional lives of enslaved people,” said Williams. “You could be married and yet your owner could sell you…not everybody experienced separation but everybody could have experienced separation and they knew this. That this is looming.”

In her book, Help Me Find My People,  Williams writes that one-third of enslaved children were separated from their parents by either being sold away or having their parents sold away. Reunions of these broken families were rare. However, when they did occur, reunited families faced difficult decisions and periods of readjustment.

There were situations where children didn’t remember their parents and had grown attached to another adult caretaker, or incidents where the spouse who’d been left behind remarried.

“A husband returns to a plantation after many years away because he had been sold away and his wife is now with somebody else,” Williams said, “and now she had to make a decision and sometimes the woman said, ‘The husband I’m with today knows that the reason we got together was because my real husband has gone away and I’m going back to my real husband.’”

 Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

 

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

There is no way to know how many formerly enslaved people found their loved ones, however the yearning to be reunited with lost family members lingered for decades. The “information wanted” newspaper ads continued to appear into the 1900s, more than 35 years after the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of all slaves in the United States.

 

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What Most Prestigious US Jobs Have in Common…and It’s Not Money

Posted April 1st, 2016 at 2:19 pm (UTC-4)
2 comments

Nine in 10 Americans believe being a doctor is an occupation with "very great" prestige. (Photo by Flickr user Kenny Holston via Creative Commons license)

Nine in 10 Americans believe being a doctor is an occupation with “very great” prestige. (Photo by Flickr user Kenny Holston via Creative Commons license)

The vast majority of American parents — 9-in-10 — would happily encourage their children to become a doctor, an occupation 90 percent of Americans see as prestigious.

A new survey finds that doctors top the list of Most Prestigious occupations. Other professions that are held in high esteem include scientists, firefighters and military officers.

The types of professions Americans hold in high esteem provide insight into what qualities we value as a society.

“The occupations that rise to the top are typically those that are important to civilization [and] society in general,” The Harris Poll’s Kathy Steinberg said in an email. “Medical professionals, scientists, engineers, architects, military, firefighters – these are not your typical 9-to-5 jobs. In some cases, these are people that you literally trust with your life, who accomplish heroic or ‘impossible’ deeds, or leave a lasting legacy, [as] in the case of scientists, architects [or] engineers and we hear about these accomplishments often.”

FILE -- Graduating cadets line up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. Seventy-eight percent of people surveyed felt being a military officer is a high-prestige profession. (Photo by Mike Strasser, West Point Public Affairs via Flickr)

FILE — Graduating cadets line up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. Seventy-eight percent of people surveyed felt being a military officer is a high-prestige profession. (Photo by Mike Strasser, West Point Public Affairs via Flickr)

Engineers, nurses and architects are also viewed favorably, as are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), veterinarians and police officers.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest prestige ratings go to public relations consultants, real estate agents, video game developers and stockbrokers. Politicians also fared poorly, with only 40 percent of people seeing that particular occupation as having a high reputation. But this public disdain could be fueled by a lack of familiarity, more than anything else.

“The occupations towards the bottom of the list are less visible to the general public on a regular basis,” Steinberg said. “Most people may never personally interact with some of these occupations — public relations, politician, stockbroker — and what we hear about them in the media may not always be positive. Some of these occupations are also ‘newer’ jobs that older adults, a rather large segment of the general adult population, may be less likely to understand or respect, [such as a] video game designer.”

In this May 6, 2015 photo, a realtor (top) shows a potential buyer a home for sale in Pacifica, California. Just 32 percent of people surveyed viewed the real estate profession as prestigious. (AP Photo)

In this May 6, 2015 photo, a realtor (top) shows a potential buyer a home for sale in Pacifica, California. Just 32 percent of people surveyed viewed the real estate profession as prestigious. (AP Photo)

The poll was conducted among 2,223 adults aged 18 and over. The ratings were consistent across all age groups, although millennials (people ages 18-35) were a little less impressed with the top professions than everyone over the age of 36, with people over the age of 70 being the most enthusiastic about doctors, scientists and firefighters.

Millennials were also a little more positive in their views of politicians, stockbrokers and real estate professional than older Americans.

TOP 10 MOST & LEAST PRESTIGIOUS OCCUPATIONS (Source: Harris Poll)

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American Majority Disagrees With Trump on Immigrants

Posted March 30th, 2016 at 1:06 pm (UTC-4)
17 comments

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a reporter during a campaign event at the Old Post Office Pavilion, March 21, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to a reporter during a campaign event at the Old Post Office Pavilion, in Washington, March 21, 2016. (AP Photo)

Uncontrolled immigration will put more girls in the United States at risk of female genital mutilation, according to the latest anti-immigrant comments from the camp of presidential candidate Donald Trump. The comments were made by senior aide Stephen Miller.

On the campaign trail, the Republican candidate himself has said Mexican immigrants could be rapists or drug dealers, and he has proposed banning almost all Muslim immigrants.

The businessman’s enthusiastic supporters seem to have embraced Trump’s staunch anti-immigrant stance, but more Americans (50 percent) think immigrants strengthen society than those who believe foreign-born newcomers are a threat to U.S. customs and values (34 percent).

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) finds that, while attitudes about immigrants have fluctuated, all surveys from the past year show no more than 4-in-10 Americans agree that immigrants are a threat to American culture.

The most striking differences of opinion appear to be generational.

More than two-thirds — 68 percent — of people between the ages of 18 and 29 say immigrants strengthen the country, while 19 percent believe immigrants threaten traditional American customs and values.

But older folks feel differently.

Only 36 percent of seniors — age 65 and older — say newcomers strengthen American society, while 44 percent believe immigrants are a threat to our way of life. Twelve percent of seniors offered no opinion on the matter when surveyed.

Opinions also vary based on race and ethnic background.

For example, two-thirds of Asian-Pacific Islanders (70 percent) and Hispanics (67 percent) say immigrants benefit American society. Black Americans also have a more affirming view, with 56 percent saying newcomers have a positive influence on American life.

However, whites are more closely divided, with 45 percent viewing immigrants in a positive light while 40 percent — 4-in-10 — believe newcomers threaten traditional American values.

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

Education also appears to help shape views on immigrants, with college-educated Americans being more likely to view immigrants in a positive way than whites with a high school degree of less.

While almost half (48 percent) of white people with a high school degree or less believe immigrants threaten America’s way of life, only about one-third (31 percent) of whites with a 4-year college degree and only one-quarter (25 percent) of those with a post-graduate education agree with that sentiment.

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

Graphic: Public Religion Research Institute

The majority of college-educated whites (55 percent) and those with a post-graduate degree (62 percent) believe immigrants strengthen American society.

The Americans who hold the most affirmative views on foreign-born newcomers are people who consider themselves to be religiously unaffiliated as well as those who belong to non-Christian religious traditions. Non-white Christians are also among those who hold the most approving views of immigrants.

At least 7-in-10 Unitarian Universalists (81 percent), Hindus (73 percent), Muslims (72 percent), and Hispanic Catholics (70 percent) feel newcomers are good for the country.

About two-thirds (65 percent) of Buddhists and about 6-in-10 religiously unaffiliated Americans (61 percent) and Hispanic Protestants (60 percent) also view immigrants as making a positive contribution to American society.

By contrast, white Americans show a little more hesitance on the issue. Fewer than half of Mormons (45 percent), white Catholics (44 percent), and white mainline Protestants (41 percent) see immigrants as a boon to the country.

Meanwhile, 53 percent of white evangelical Protestants say immigrants threaten traditional American customs and values.

More Americans — 62 percent — say illegal immigrants currently living in the United States should b given a path to citizenship, if they meet certain requirements. Fifteen percent say these unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to stay legally, but not become citizens while about 1-in-5 Americans say illegal immigrants should be identified and deported.

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