More People Moving to This US City and State Than Anywhere Else

Posted March 28th, 2016 at 9:25 am (UTC-4)
Leave a comment

A view of the San Antonio River near the historic King William district. (Photo by Flickr user 1sock via Creative Commons license)

A view of the San Antonio River near the historic King William district. (Photo by Flickr user 1sock via Creative Commons license)

More people moved to Houston,Texas, between July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, than any other metropolitan area in the nation.

In addition, new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows five Texas metro areas — Midland, Odessa, Austin, College Station-Bryan and Houston — are among the 20 fastest-growing areas in the country. In all, the Lone Star gained almost a half-million new residents from July 2014 to July 2015, more than any other U.S. state.

 “If you look at every single decade since Texas became a state, it has grown more rapidly than the United States as a whole,” said Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau  and current director of the Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University, told News Radio 1200 WOAI. “Texas has been the leader in growth for the country, at least throughout the period since 2000.”

Atlanta, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles also drew large crowds. Los Angeles remains the most populous U.S. county with 10.2 million residents.

cb16-43_graphic

Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina have some of the fastest-growing metro areas.

Last year, North Carolina added more than 100,000 people, becoming the ninth state in the nation with 10 million or more residents. Most of that growth was concentrated in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas of the state.

The state’s metropolitan areas offer job diversity, major universities and large research associations.

“As a North Carolinian, I know we also talk about the quality of life. You have everything from the mountains to the coast,” Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Population Center, told us in December. Tippett, a transplant from Ohio, said milder weather was one of the factors that influenced her decision to relocate to North Carolina.

While Houston, Texas, had the greatest numeric change, it was The Villages, Florida, — west of the Orlando metro area — that was the fastest-growing metro area in the United States for the third year in a row, growing at a rate of 4.3 percent between 2014 and 2015. Five other metropolitan areas in Florida are among the top 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country.

“Young people generally move either for education or for a job, and Florida is one of the largest states in the country,” Stefan Rayer, a population specialist at the University of Florida, told us in December. “It’s very attractive. It has big metropolitan areas, it has good job opportunities, so that’s why people are moving to Florida.”

In all, metropolitan areas in the United States were home to 275 million people in 2015, an increase of about 2.5 million from 2014.

 

More About America
More Americans Move to This State Than Anywhere Else
This Southern State Just Hit the 10-million-people Mark
Which States Have Produced the Most US Presidents
US: No Longer One Nation Under God?
With Cars, Americans Dream in Color, But Drive in Neutral

 

Illegal US Immigrants Pay Billions in Taxes, But Is It Enough?

Posted March 25th, 2016 at 10:54 am (UTC-4)
43 comments

FILE -- A recently deported migrant from Seattle waits for a chance to cross to the U.S. near the US-Mexico border fence in Tijuana. (AP Photo)

FILE — A recently deported migrant from Seattle waits for a chance to cross to the U.S. near the US-Mexico border fence in Tijuana. (AP Photo)

Spurred by Republican Donald Trump’s controversial comments, immigration is a hot-button issue this presidential election season. The GOP front-runner repeatedly brings the issue up, saying that undocumented immigrants cost the United States “hundreds of billions in healthcare costs, housing costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc.”

A 2010 report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a conservative group that supports tighter immigration restrictions, estimates that illegal immigrants cost U.S. taxpayers $113 billion annually, with the bulk of those costs being absorbed by state and local governments.

FILE - In this Oct. 14 1991 file photo, a group of illegal Mexican immigrants jump from a border fence to enter the United States, near Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo)

FILE – In this Oct. 14 1991 file photo, a group of illegal Mexican immigrants jump from a border fence to enter the United States, near Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo)

However, people who are n the U.S. illegally do pay some taxes.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy — which bills itself as a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that works on tax policy issues — estimates undocumented immigrants pay about  $11.64 billion a year in state and local taxes.

However, the truth is that no one knows exactly how much undocumented immigrants cost the nation or how much they pay into it.

“Anytime you’re analyzing something for which the first adjective describing it is ‘undocumented’, that makes it a little harder to measure,” said Matt Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). “But yes, absolutely these data should be interpreted as a best guess.”

The point, Gardner says, is that illegal immigrants pay a significant amount into the system.

“If you listened to the policy debates that are happening, whether it’s from candidates or from people who are already in office, you would think the answer is ‘zero’,”  he said. “It’s a lot bigger than zero; $11.6 billion a year is a meaningful amount of revenue for state and local governments.”

ITEP estimates undocumented immigrants would contribute an additional $2.1 billion annually if they were granted legal status as part of comprehensive immigration reform and allowed to work legally.

There are more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, about half of whom are Mexican. They make up about 3.5 percent of the nation’s population and are mostly concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. The question of how much of a drain immigrants are on the system remains an open one.

A 2007 report prepared by the Congressional Budget Office estimated, “tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants — both legal and unauthorized — exceed the cost of the [federal] services they use.” However, the same report also concluded that the tax revenues generated by unauthorized immigrants do not offset the total cost of services state and local governments provide to those immigrants.

Education is the largest single expenditure for state and local governments when it comes to illegal immigrants. Some view that expense as an investment in the nation’s future.

“What you gain in the long run is healthy, well-educated members of the workforce, the building blocks for the economy, for the factories, for the services, for everything we produce as a nation over the next 50 years,” Gardner said. “In the end, what we’re building is a workforce. That’s what every state needs, that’s what the U.S. needs to stay competitive in the future.”

 

More About America
Which States Have Produced the Most US Presidents 
US: No Longer One Nation Under God?
With Cars, Americans Dream in Color, But Drive in Neutral
Is US Losing Its Innovation Edge?
More Than One-Third of Top US Innovators Are Immigrants

 

Which US States Have Produced the Most Presidents?

Posted March 23rd, 2016 at 9:56 am (UTC-4)
Leave a comment

U.S. presidents and their places of birth: (Top row, from left) Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Abraham Lincoln (Kentucky), Ulysses S. Grant (Ohio), Barack Obama (Hawaii), (Bottom row from left) Grover Cleveland (New Jersey), Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York), George W. Bush (Connecticut), John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts)

U.S. presidents and their places of birth: (Top row, from left) Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Abraham Lincoln (Kentucky), Ulysses S. Grant (Ohio), Barack Obama (Hawaii), (Bottom row from left) Grover Cleveland (New Jersey), Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York), George W. Bush (Connecticut), John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts) (AP Photos)

Virginia and Ohio top the list when it comes to the number of U.S. presidents each state has produced.

Virginia has produced eight presidents, including some of the nation’s earliest leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. The seven presidents who hailed from Ohio include Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and James A. Garfield. It’s possible Ohio could tie Virginia — if Republican John Kasich succeeds in his bid for the presidency.

Four presidents have come from New York. The Big Apple could add another number to its tally by the end of this election cycle since both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders hail from New York City, although Sanders is now a senator from Vermont.

Presidential hopefuls Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with Republican Donald Trump all have ties to New York. (AP Photos)

Presidential hopefuls Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with Republican Donald Trump, all have ties to New York. (AP Photos)

As with presidential hopeful Sanders, many of the presidents’ places of birth are not necessarily the states with which they are primarily affiliated.

For example, George W. Bush was governor of Texas but he was born in Connecticut. And, although Abraham Lincoln was a Congressman from Illinois, his place of birth was Kentucky.

Virginia was the wealthiest and most populous state in country’s earliest days which helps explains why so many of the young nation’s first few leaders came from there.

However, the state’s influence has waned considerably; the last U.S. president from Virginia was Woodrow Wilson, who served from 1913 to 1921.

Ohio was considered a more central state back when it was a pipeline to the presidency. The politicians produced by the Buckeye state tended to be more moderate, making them more attractive candidates for national office. However, Ohio has not birthed a president since Warren Harding, who governed from 1921 until 1923 (before dying of an apparent heart attack).

By contrast, both New York and Massachusetts — which each produced four presidents — continue to have a lasting influence in modern-day national politics. George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) and John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) were both born in Massachusetts. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the last commander in chief from New York. Not only do Trump and Sanders have New York ties, but so does Hillary Clinton, who was born in Illinois, but served as a U.S. senator from New York.

Business Insider put together this map and graphic of the birthplaces of all 43 U.S. presidents.

bi_graphics_presidents-by-state-of-birth

More About America
US No Longer One Nation Under God?
With Cars, Americans Dream in Color, But Drive in Neutral
Is US Losing Its Innovation Edge?
More Than One-Third of Top US Innovators Are Immigrants
Americans Work More Than Just About Anyone 

Americans No Longer One Nation Under God?

Posted March 21st, 2016 at 10:47 am (UTC-4)
3 comments

A country church in rural Iowa. (Photo by Flickr user TumblingRun via Creative Commons license)

A country church in rural Iowa. (Photo by Flickr user TumblingRun via Creative Commons license)

American students begin their day with a patriotic pledge vowing allegiance to “one nation, under God”, while U.S. presidents and politicians regularly end speeches with the words, “May God bless America”. Indeed, since our nation’s founding by pilgrims escaping religious persecution, and seeking the freedom to freely practice their religion, faith has played an integral role in American culture.

But this devotion could be waning, suggests new research from Duke University and University College London (UCL). The study, published in the American Journal of Sociology, finds there’s an ongoing decline in the number of Americans who claim religious affiliations, attend church on a regular basis, and believe in a higher being.

Religious affiliation by decade of birth, United States, 1974–2014. Data  from the General Social Survey, 1974–2014. Includes respondents age 20–84 born in the United States. (American Journal of Sociology)

Religious affiliation by decade of birth, United States, 1974–2014. Data from the General Social Survey, 1974–2014. Includes respondents age 20–84 born in the United States. (American Journal of Sociology)

“We haven’t noticed it until recently, I think, because it’s been so slow,” said Mark Chaves of Duke University. “We just didn’t have enough data over a long enough period of time to be able to conclude that it was declining, but it’s now pretty clear that it is.”

What Chaves and co-author David Voas found is that each succeeding U.S. generation is less religious than the previous one.

Consequently, 94 percent of Americans born before 1935 claim a religious affiliation. However, just 71 percent of the generation born after 1975 claims the same. Older Americans, people 65 and older, are also more likely to have no doubt God exists while 45 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 30 hold the same belief. When it comes to attending religious services, 41 percent of the over-70 crowd go to church at least once a month, compared to just 18 percent of people 60 and younger.

The researchers used 1974-2014 data from the General Social Survey, conducted by the University of Chicago, to reach their conclusions. The survey began collecting data in 1972, and includes Americans born as early as 1915, essentially providing a century’s worth of information about Americans and U.S. society.

The researchers looked solely at native-born Americans. They found the patterns were the same for blacks as for whites, and for males and females. However, they didn’t look at different religious groups.

FT_15.06.01_intermarriageThe primary demographic basis for mainstream religion in the United States is traditional families. The decline of the traditional American family is helping drive this lessening involvement in organized religion, according to Chaves.

“Fewer people are married than before, people are getting married later than before, having fewer kids, having kids later in life or not having kids at all,” he said. “All that over the long-term is related to this.”

Intermarriage is also fueling this diminishing devotion. In 2010, about 15 percent of all marriages in the United States were between spouses with a different race or ethnicity from each other, according to the Pew Research Center. The rates were even higher among Hispanics and Asians. Twenty-six percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asians “married out”.

Four-in-10 Americans, 39 percent, who’ve married since 2010 wed a spouse from a different religious group. Before 1960, only 19 percent of weddings involved religious intermarriage.

“When a couple is of different religious backgrounds, that makes it less likely that their kids will be religiously active in either of the parents’ religions,” Chaves said. “More religious intermarriage means [parents are] less likely to transmit that religiosity of any sort onto the next generation.”

This new research also negates the theory that Americans are the exception when it comes to the decline of modern religion. Across the board, people in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have become less religious over time.

“It starts to look like we might be on the same trajectory, just having started later and possibly moving more slowly,” Chaves said.

This doesn’t mean religion is dying out in America. Chaves believes the decline will even out over time. One contributing factor to this is that religious families tend to have more children than less religious families.

All of this suggests that, while some Americans are losing their religion, for others, faith has long been, and continues to be, a guiding force in their lives.

 

More About America
Mixed Marriages Spurring Asians, Hispanics to Integrate Faster
More Americans Think Science, Religion Conflict
American Like Military, Unsure About Religion
What It Takes to be a ‘Real’ American
Americans Believe God Made Us Great 

With Cars, Americans Dream in Color But Drive in Neutral

Posted March 18th, 2016 at 10:52 am (UTC-4)
Leave a comment

A white Toyota RAV4 gleams at the Washington Car Show on Jan. 28, 2016. White is the most popular auto color in the United States and abroad. (C. Guensburg/VOA)

A white Toyota RAV4 gleams at the Washington Car Show on Jan. 28, 2016. White is the most popular auto color in the United States and abroad. (C. Guensburg/VOA)

With its arresting orange exterior, the Chevrolet Trax lured Kyra Taylor and Phillip Akinola like moths to a flame.

“It’s pretty. It would be easy to spot the car in a parking lot,” said Taylor, as she and her fiancé examined the small SUV at a recent auto show in Washington. But the Maryland couple, scouting for a vehicle suited to transporting baby daughter Aria, sounded uncertain about the bold hue.

“My colors are black and silver,” said Akinola, who owns a silver Ford Escape SUV.

When it comes to car colors, Americans may dream in Technicolor but most drive in neutral. Despite the fiery reds, brilliant blues and lively greens recently found in exhibition halls and dealer showrooms, almost 75 percent of new cars sold in the United States in the most recent model year came in conservative hues: white, black, silver and gray.

A vibrant orange Chevrolet Trax SUV attracts Phillip Akinola and his fiancee, Kyra Taylor, sitting in the driver's seat with their baby daughter at the Washington Auto Show, Jan. 28, 2016. The family, from Largo, Md., generally steers toward more conservative car colors. (C. Guensburg/VOA)

A vibrant orange Chevrolet Trax SUV attracts Phillip Akinola and his fiancee, Kyra Taylor, sitting in the driver’s seat with their baby daughter at the Washington Auto Show, Jan. 28, 2016. The family, from Largo, Md., generally steers toward more conservative car colors. (C. Guensburg/VOA)

Staid selections reflect a certain pragmatism.

“People have gotten practical. An off-white or silver or light brown doesn’t show dirt as much” and requires less washing, said Les Jackson, a Washington-based automotive journalist who was at the auto show. He noted costly car washes or water restrictions in drought areas as other considerations.

Also, “white vehicles tend to hold their resale value,” observed Dan Benton, color marketing manager for Axalta, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings used by international automakers.

A car already ranks as a major consumer expense. The average U.S. transaction price for a new family vehicle reached $34,023 last fall, up $458 or 1.4 percent from the previous year, Kelley Blue Book analysts found.

Internationally, the neutral picture isn’t all that different from the United States scene.

“White really jumped” in 2015, accounting for more than one-third of vehicles sold and dominating in North and South America as well as Europe and Asia, said Jane Harrington, PPG Industries’ manager of color styling and automotive products. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company makes paints and coatings used in car manufacturing globally.

Harrington said the results were skewed by China, where, she was told, consumers say white makes a small car look bigger. Also, “for a lot of the young people, it’s considered fresh or futuristic looking. It’s fashionable.”

car colorWhites and pastels “reflect more UV radiation from the sun in comparison to darker, more saturated colors. So it stands to reason that warmer climates with more intense sunlight would prefer lighter colors that absorb less energy,” Axalta’s Benton wrote in an email.

Another variable could be at play in color selection, Benton said. He cited research by Australia’s Monash University that suggests there’s a lower crash risk during daylight hours for white cars compared with darker ones.

“So white might be the color of choice for more conservative drivers,” he said.

Both PPG and Axalta report the lesser, but growing, popularity of supersaturated hues, achieved through multiple layers and clear coatings enhanced with mica, glass flake or other ingredients.

“I love looking at the concept vehicles, because that’s a great indicator of what may be coming in our future,” Harrington said.

She cited the Buick Avista, introduced in a chromatic blue that glows like a sapphire from one angle and deepens to black from another. It won the EyesOn Award for best concept car, but Buick has no plans to produce the car, a spokesman told VOA in an email.

The Buick Avista in a chromatic blue that glows  from one angle and deepens to black from another. (Photo ©General Motors)

The Buick Avista in a chromatic blue that glows from one angle and deepens to black from another. (Photo ©General Motors)

Blue, in various shades, has been coming on strong in the United States and globally. It accounted for 8 percent of North American auto sales, Axalta said in its most recent color popularity report.

But, among bold car colors, red is the most popular in North America, accounting for 11 percent of the market, Axalta found. Only South America comes close to that level of enthusiasm, with red representing 10 percent of its sales.

Elsewhere on the spectrum, green’s popularity has declined.

“In the mid-1990s, green was the most popular color in North America,” Benton said. “Today, green is hard to find.”

Almost three out of five consumers say color affects car-buying decisions. They want the option of bold color even if they don’t exercise it, Harrington said, citing PPG research.

“Do people really buy their car color because it’s a reflection of who they are or who they would like to be? The answer is yes to both of those,” added Leatrice Eiseman, executive director for the Pantone Color Institute.

In The Color Answer Book (2003), she decoded what a car’s color says about its owner:

Vibrant red: Sexy, speedy, high-energy and dynamic
Deep blue-red: Some of the same qualities, but far less obvious
Orange: Fun-loving, talkative, fickle and trendy
Sunshine yellow: Sunny disposition, joyful and young-at-heart
Yellow-gold: Intelligent, warm, loves comfort and will pay for it
Dark green: Traditional, trustworthy, well balanced
Dark blue: Credible, confident, dependable
Light to mid blue: Cool, calm, faithful, quiet
White: Fastidious
Black: Empowered, loves elegance
Silver: Elegant, loves futuristic looks, cool
Taupe: Timeless, basic and simple tastes
Deep brown: Down-to-earth, no-nonsense

Car buyers eventually might not even need to choose a particular color.

“We have seen so many exciting developments because of technology,” Eiseman said. “One day, humans will have the ability to be chameleons.”

That could be the case with cars, too.

 

More About America
Is US Losing Its Innovation Edge?
More Than One-Third of Top US Innovators Are Immigrants
Americans Work More Than Just About Anyone 
This Map Shows Where US Job Market Is Booming
Most US Wealth Concentrated in These 10 Areas

Carol Guensburg
Carol Guensburg is a Washington-based VOA writer and editor. Contact her at cguensburg@voanews.com.

Innovation Leader US Could Soon Lose Its Edge

Posted March 16th, 2016 at 4:12 pm (UTC-4)
2 comments

U.S. inventor Thomas Edison speaks into an Edison Dictating Machine, circa 1907. (US Department of the Interior)

U.S. inventor Thomas Edison speaks into an Edison Dictating Machine, circa 1907. (US Department of the Interior)

The United States leads the world in innovation but could soon lose its competitive edge.

A Washington, D.C.-based think tank ranked the U.S. 10th when it comes to government policies in support of global innovation, behind countries like Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

“We’ve kind of enjoyed this huge lead since basically the end of World War II or slightly before, so much so that in the 70s or 80s we couldn’t imagine the U.S. being outperformed in the top industries,” said Adams Nager, an economic policy analyst at Information Tecnology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). “All of these other countries are fighting for advantages…and the U.S. is, in this race for innovation supremacy, pretty complacent right now.”

ITIF looked at factors such as investments in research and development, education, and tax incentives for innovation to determine country rankings.

South Korea spends 4.3 percent of its overall gross domestic product (GDP) on research and development, the most of any country, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which works on economic development with governments.

The United States ranked fourth at 2.7 percent of GDP, behind Israel and Japan. China is spending more than ever on R&D, in 2014 reaching a milestone of 2 percent of GDP.

Graphic: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

Graphic: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

The U.S. still spends far more on R&D — about $450 billion in 2013 — than any other country, but percentage-wise, U.S federal R&D spending is at its lowest point since 1956. Meanwhile, China doubled its R&D spending between 2008 and 2012.

So what happens if the U.S. loses its innovation edge?

“The loss in terms of economic value is immense,” said Nager. “If we lose out on that, suddenly there’s not as many scientists and engineers who want to come here. They all want to go elsewhere. You have more imports and fewer exports because we’re importing these new technologies.”

One bright spot is that the private sector is spending more on research and development. R&D spending by American companies rose 6.7 percent in 2014,  the biggest increase since 1996, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

More About America
More Than One-Third of Top US Innovators Are Immigrants
Americans Work More Than Just About Anyone 
This Map Shows Where US Job Market Is Booming
Most US Wealth Concentrated in These 10 Areas
The Big Freeze Is Coming to These US Jobs

Americans Work More Than Just About Anyone

Posted March 14th, 2016 at 12:24 pm (UTC-4)
3 comments

People walk the World Trade Center West Concourse, Brookfield Place, World Trade Center, New York City, Dec. 4, 2014.(Photo by Flickr user John St John via Creative Commons license)

People walk the World Trade Center West Concourse, Brookfield Place, World Trade Center, New York City, Dec. 4, 2014.(Photo by Flickr user John St John via Creative Commons license)

No matter who you ask, it’s pretty clear that Americans work more than just about anyone else in moderately rich countries. Americans are also 400 percent more productive today than in 1950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The percentage of full-time workers has dwindled in the United States since 2007, but the number of hours worked each week has held steady at about 47, according to Gallup.

The percentage of full-time workers has dwindled in the United States since 2007, but the number of hours worked each week has held steady at about 47, according to Gallup.

U.S. residents worked about 1,789 hours in 2014, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That’s about 100 hours more than many of our European counterparts like England, France and Germany.

In 2014, full-time U.S. workers reported logging an average of 47 hours per week. The traditional American work week is eight hours a day, five days a week for a total of 40 hours. Just 8 percent of full-time workers say they work less than 40 hours weekly.

Only 1-in-5 Americans actually takes a lunch break; most opt to eat at their desks. And 28 percent say they don’t take any kind of break at all. All of which means Americans are working longer, taking fewer vacations and retiring later.

Having a strong work ethic is a proud American tradition. American parents often try to instill it in their children by discussing the value of money and hard work. Many U.S. youngsters will show this early willingness to work by setting up lemonade stands in front of their houses or on the neighborhood street corner.

Enterprising young men with their lemonade stand. (Photo by Flickr users Max and Miles Hanley via Creative Commons license)

Enterprising young men with their lemonade stand. (Photo by Flickr users Max and Miles Hanley via Creative Commons license)

All of this work also leaves less time for play.

A recent report from two Stanford University researchers observed, “Leisure was higher in France…the average person in France works less than two-thirds as much as the average person in the U.S.”

WalletHub decided to break down the data in the 116 largest U.S. cities in order to identify where the hardest-working Americans live. The personal finance site found the hardest-working major American city is Anchorage, Alaska, where people work an average of 40.1 hours per week and workforce participation is almost 79 percent.

The other hard-working cities in the top five include Virginia Beach, Virginia (average hours worked: 40.1, workforce participation: 77.8%), Plano, Texas (average hours worked: 40.5, workforce participation: 78.1%), Sioux Falls, South Dakota (average hours worked: 38.9, workforce participation: 83.8%), and Irving, Texas (average hours worked: 40.1, workforce participation: 78.65%).

The lowest-ranked cities include Burlington, Vermont (average hours worked: 33.1, workforce participation: 70.67%), Detroit, Michigan (average hours worked: 36, workforce participation: 61.36%), Providence, Rhode Island (average hours worked: 35.6, workforce participation: 70.12%), San Bernardino, California (average hours worked: 36.4, workforce participation: 62.35%), and Buffalo, New York (average hours worked: 36.3, workforce participation: 67.45%).

 

 The Hardest Working Cities in the U.S.

Source: WalletHub

(Click on dots above to see individual ranks)

More About America
More Than One-Third of Top US Innovators Are Immigrants
This Map Shows Where US Job Market Is Booming
Most US Wealth Concentrated in These 10 Areas
The Big Freeze Is Coming to These US Jobs

More than One-Third of US Innovators Are Immigrants

Posted March 11th, 2016 at 11:48 am (UTC-4)
7 comments

(FILE) Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla was born in India.

(FILE) Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla was born in India. (AP Photo)

More than one-third of U.S. innovators are foreign born which suggests highly educated immigrants just might be one of America’s most valuable resources.

Despite only making up 13.5 percent of all U.S. residents, 35 percent of those responsible for some of the most important innovations in America are foreign-born people who usually have a PhD in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum was born outside of Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo)

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum was born outside of Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo)

“U.S. innovation really depends on individuals born outside of the U.S.,” said Adams Nager, an economic policy analyst at ITIF. “These are scientists, engineers, people with really, really high education, who’ve made the choice to immigrate to the United States, often seeking the kind of research opportunities, the kind of entrepreneurial opportunities that are offered in the United States that might not have been available in their home country…they bring new ideas and new ways of thinking about things that we desperately need.”

Immigration has been a hot-button issue on the presidential campaign trail, but the candidates rarely distinguish between low-skilled or illegal immigrants, and these high-skilled imports.

The report doesn’t assess the contributions of the former group of immigrants but “it does speak volumes on the value of bringing in the best and brightest engineers from around the world and the benefits that they bring to the U.S. economy,” Nager said. “These immigrants have really profound impacts on the economy and the more of them we can get, the better.”

Source: ITIF

Source: ITIF

The other two-thirds of American innovators are predominately white men, but they’re not necessarily brilliant young college dropouts like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or the late Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple. It’s practically the opposite. ITIF found the average age of these innovators is 47, and the vast majority of them have at least one advanced degree.

To reach its conclusions, ITIF spoke with almost 1,000 people who’ve won national awards for their inventions, or who have filed for international patents for their innovative ideas in information technology, life sciences or materials sciences, as well as innovators who filed patents for large advanced-technology companies.

It’s a topic of interest for The White House, which has honored immigrant innovators. President Barack Obama talked about reigniting the spirit of innovation during his final State of the Union address in January and planned to participate in this weekend’s South by Southwest conference (SXSW), which features emerging technologies.

The report researchers expected to find low overall involvement by women and U.S.-born minorities, but they were surprised by the extent of that lack of participation. Women make up only 12 percent of U.S. innovators. U.S.-born minorities — including Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and other ethnicities — make up just 8 percent, even though they comprise 32 percent of the total U.S.-born population.

“We have this vast untapped labor pool in African Americans, in Hispanics and in women, who make up 70 percent of the population, who really aren’t tapped at all for creating these types of innovative, marketable products,” Nager said. “There’s nothing about white males, certainly, that would make them inherently any better at innovating than any other group, so if we’re looking to grow the pool of innovators in the future, definitely, greater inclusion among women and minorities is the way to get there.”

More About America
This Map Shows Where US Job Market Is Booming
Most US Wealth Concentrated in These 10 Areas
Mixed Marriage Causing US Hispanics, Asians to Integrate Faster 
Once Scorned, Many Americans Now Happily Claim This Ancestry
The Big Freeze Is Coming to These US Jobs

This Map Shows Where US Job Market Is Booming

Posted March 9th, 2016 at 11:48 am (UTC-4)
36 comments

A worker at a construction site in Los Angeles, California, Jan. 29, 2016. (REUTERS)

A worker at a construction site in Los Angeles, California, Jan. 29, 2016. (REUTERS)

U.S. businesses added more jobs in the past two years than at any other time since the 1990s, according to The White House.

The unemployment rate currently stands at 4.9 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. Over the past six years, American businesses created 14 million new jobs. More than 2.4 million of these jobs were added between 2014 and 2015.

People use computers at a job fair in Detroit, Michigan, March 1, 2014. (REUTERS)

People use computers at a job fair in Detroit, Michigan, March 1, 2014. (REUTERS)

Most of this job creation is occurring on the East and West Coasts.

The most jobs — 464,200 — were created in California, while New York city boasts  the highest increase in jobs (156,400) for a metropolitan area. The Los Angeles metro area was second with 135,100 jobs and the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas was third with 98,900 jobs.

North Dakota was the state that lost the most jobs — 19,000 — from 2014 to 2015, while the metropolitan areas that experienced some of the steepest declines included Lafayette, Louisiana (-5,500), Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Illinois (-4,500), Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana (-3,000) and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania (-2,800).

Three metropolitan areas in the state of Louisiana were in the top 5 when it comes to largest job declines.

Nationwide, unemployment rates dropped in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2015, while increasing in two states, and remaining unchanged in one state, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also showed job growth in 280 of the 386 metropolitan areas.

The White House refers to this growth as evidence that “the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”

But critics point out that, while employers are hiring, many of the jobs are in the retail and service sectors. Those jobs are not as secure as many manufacturing and white collar jobs, nor do they pay as much. In fact, while the latest U.S. unemployment report said the economy added 242,000 jobs, average hourly wages declined.

This map uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show the number of new jobs by metropolitan area. (Graphic by HowMuch.net)

This map uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show the number of new jobs by metropolitan area. (Graphic by HowMuch.net)

More About America
Most US Wealth Concentrated in These 10 Areas
Here’s Who’s Losing Out on the American Dream
The End Is Near for These US Jobs
Dramatic Drop in Teen Workers Is Bad News for US Labor Force
9 of 10 Largest US Occupations Pay Miserly Wages

Mixed Marriages Causing US Hispanics, Asians to Integrate Faster

Posted March 7th, 2016 at 10:03 am (UTC-4)
84 comments

(Photo by Flickr user C Foulger via Creative Commons license)

(Photo by Flickr user C Foulger via Creative Commons license)

U.S. immigrants appear to be integrating faster than expected, according to a new report, which finds that the grandchildren of Hispanics and Asians are less likely to identify themselves by these ethnicities on government surveys than their parents and grandparents are.

This is especially true of children of mixed marriages.

sdt-2012-rise-of-intermarriage-04

Pew Research Center

“Most of this ethnic attrition, or most of this kind of missing identification, is from inter-marriage,” said economist Stephen Trejo of the University of Texas at Austin. “So, if both of my parents have Hispanic ancestry, then it’s almost for sure that I’m labeled as Hispanic. But, if I only have Hispanic ancestry on one side of my family…and not the other, then there’s a much lower rate of identification.”

In 2010, about 15 percent of all marriages in the United States were between spouses with a different race or ethnicity from each other. The percentages are even higher for Hispanics and Asians. Twenty-six percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asians married out, according to the Pew Research Center.

Marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity is much more common among the native-born population than among immigrants. Hispanics born in the United States are almost three times more to marry a non-Hispanic than foreign-born Hispanics.

Among Asians, 38 percent of the native-born and 24 percent of the foreign-born married a non-Asian.

sdt-2012-rise-of-intermarriage-07

Pew Research Center

Consequently, this third generation — the grandchildren of foreign-born Americans — is missing when experts like Trejo and fellow economist Brian Duncan from the University of Colorado, attempt to accurately measure the progress of those later generation groups.

“It’s the less educated Asians that are more likely to intermarry and it’s their kids that we’re missing,” Trejo said, “and so, for the Asians, we’re missing some of the lower educated individuals and so we’re overstating their progress at least a bit.”

However, for Hispanics, the opposite appears to be true.

“For Hispanics, the people who intermarry tend to be higher educated and higher earning,” Trejo said. “What that means is that the people we are missing, children of mixed marriages, could be doing better but we don’t see that in the data because they’re missing.”

It’s possible that in time, Asians and Hispanics will proudly reclaim their lost heritage as the Irish have done. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Irish newcomers faced virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment. However, by 1980, when possessing Irish ancestry had become decidedly mainstream, the U.S. Census found that far more Americans claimed Irish ancestry than could be explained by immigration and birth patterns.

The same occurred with the Native American population.

“A lot more people in 1980 than in 1970 where choosing to report their race as Native American rather than white,” Trejo said. “And part of that was, I think, the awareness of Native Americans. There’d been a lot more publicity about Native Americans. Thing like that can happen and change these subjective identifications.”

It’s also possible that this so-called ethnic attrition is a natural result of the American melting pot, when people from many different countries, races and religions come to the United States in search of a better life and intermarry and assimilate, eventually becoming one homogeneous population.

“In some ways, it is an example of the melting pot,” Trejo said. “Inter-marriage and identifying with the mainstream is, in some ways, a really strong indicator of assimilation and so, in that sense, it’s a good thing.”

More About America
Once Scorned, Many Americans Now Happily Claim This Ancestry
How Diversity Has Changed America
Why Largest US Ethnic Group Vanished from American Culture 
People of German Ancestry Dominate American Melting Pot
This US Ethnic Group Makes the Most Money