These Are the 10 Smartest US States

Posted February 8th, 2016 at 11:56 am (UTC-4)
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Students celebrate after graduating from Harvard University on May 28, 2015, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo)

Students celebrate after graduating from Harvard University on May 28, 2015, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (AP Photo)

The brightest Americans live in Massachusetts while people in Mississippi are at the bottom of the ‘smart’ list, according to Zippia, a career resource site, which ranked all 50 states.

It appears America’s brightest can be found in the Northeast or in sunny California. Forty percent of adults in top-ranked Massachusetts have at least a bachelor’s agree and the state’s dropout rate is just 3 percent. In comparison, 20 percent of people in Mississippi — the lowest ranked state — went to college. The high school dropout rate there is 6.2 percent.

New Hampshire voters listen as Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a campaign stop at the Conway, New Hampshire public library, Jan. 15, 2016 (AP Photo)

New Hampshire voters listen as Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a campaign stop at the Conway, New Hampshire public library, Jan. 15, 2016 (AP Photo)

Other states in the top 10 include Vermont, Virginia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maryland, and Nebraska. The ‘least smart’ states include Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

American voters might be happy to hear that New Hampshire — which holds the first-in-the-nation primary that influences the rest of the U.S. presidential campaign season — ranks as the fourth smartest state in the nation. Thirty-four percent of adults there have a college degree and the high school dropout rate is 2.4 percent.

Zippia turned to data from the U.S. Census to determine its rankings, equating education levels with intelligence. The career resource website looked at the percentage of adults — over age 25 — with at least a college degree, and the percentage of high school dropouts — aged 16-19 — in each state.

To determine intelligence, Zippia did not look at tests such as the SAT — an exam American students take in high school which is used by colleges to help determine whether to accept the student for admission — or intelligence tests that might be biased against certain people or places.

Zippia says there are serious reasons for developing a ranking of the brightest states.

“One of the many qualities that people look for in a potential location or company is the intelligence of those around them. This factor can play a huge role in one’s experience at a particular company and can make or break an employee’s time there,” according to the report. “So finding a state with an intelligent population makes sense for both companies and employees.”

smartest-states-in-america

 

Why Some US Muslims Still Plan to Vote for Donald Trump

Posted February 3rd, 2016 at 8:46 am (UTC-4)
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blows a kiss to supporters after speaking at a rally on Feb. 1, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blows a kiss to supporters after speaking at a rally on Feb. 1, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo)

Almost three-fourths of American Muslims plan to vote in the presidential primaries and the hard-core Republicans among them say they will vote for Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee, according to a new survey from the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The six-state survey found that 73 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to go to the polls in upcoming primary elections and 67 percent of them expect to vote for Democrats.

Question-Two-Which-political-party-do-you-plan-to-support-in-your-upcoming-state-primary-electionMore than half of the people polled say they’ll support Hillary Clinton (51.6 percent), followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (22 percent) and Donald Trump (7.5 percent).

Muslim voting patterns have shifted over the past 15 years. Muslims supported George Bush in 2000, but the majority have voted for democrats in every presidential and midterm election since then.

“Muslim voters traditionally supported the GOP by a greater margin than the Democratic party,” Robert McCaw, government affairs manager for CAIR, said in an email. “Following the Republican party’s general turn against American Muslims through toxic political rhetoric, state and federal legislation targeting Islamic religious principles and practices (Sharia law), and imbalanced national security programs, American Muslims by majority have shifted in their support.”

Yet, despite making anti-Muslim comments on the campaign trail and calling for non-American Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, Trump placed third among candidates from both parties.

“I think because of his anti-establishment [views] and his business background gives hope for economic policies Republicans traditionally aligned with,” Saba Ahmed, founder of the Republican Muslim Coalition, told ThinkProgress. “He has worked with Muslims all his life, and he has properties all over the Middle East, despite [his] anti-Muslim rhetoric, and many business dealings with our constituency and knows we’re good people.”

Question-Four-What-is-the-most-important-issue-to-you-in-the-2016-presidential-election“Seven percent of Muslims supporting Donald Trump is not surprising given that 15 percent of Muslim voters identify as Republican,” McCaw said, “and Trump has the greatest name recognition among GOP candidates.”

Muslim voters ranked Islamophobia as the most important issue this campaign season, followed by the economy, heath care and civil liberties. A 2014 CAIR survey found Islamophobia to be the third most important issue for American Muslim voters.

CAIR surveyed almost 2,000 registered Muslim voters in six states with the highest Muslim populations: California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas and Virginia.

Overall, Muslims make up a small fraction of the electorate. There are about 2 million Muslim American adults in the country. The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of American Muslim organizations, recently announced its goal to register one million voters prior to the 2016 presidential election.

This Entity Literally Owns Half of the American West

Posted February 1st, 2016 at 10:51 am (UTC-4)
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The federal government owns 48 percent of the land in the U.S. state of Wyoming. (Bureau of Land Management via Flickr)

The federal government owns 48 percent of the land in the U.S. state of Wyoming. (Bureau of Land Management via Flickr)

The United States government owns a mammoth amount of land —  640 million acres — which accounts for about 28 percent of all the land mass in the country.

By far, most land owned by the federal government is in the American West. The feds own almost 47 percent of the 11 coterminous Western states, which include California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. The U.S. government owns a whopping 85 percent of land in the state of Nevada.

Compare that to the rest of the country, where the federal government owns just 4 percent of the land. For the vast majority of Americans, federally-owned land isn’t much of an issue.

Slide12However, for people in the West, it can be central to their lives. In Oregon, authorities are in the midst of a standoff with some ranchers who want the government to relinquish control over federal cattle grazing lands. Conflict over use and preservation has long been an issue of contention when it comes to federal land.

Historically, acquisition and control of land was critical to creating a strong federal government. However, by the mid 1800s, the government was pushing for the settlement of the West by disposing of federal lands.

Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon, Oregon, a supporter of a small, armed group that occupied a remote refuge in Oregon to protest federal land policies, walks his horse near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo)

Cowboy Dwane Ehmer, of Irrigon, Oregon, a supporter of a small, armed group that occupied a remote refuge in Oregon to protest federal land policies, walks his horse near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo)

About 1.29 billion acres of public land was transferred out of federal ownership between 1781 and 2013, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Today, most federally owned property in the west is in remote, unpopulated areas. This protected land contains national forests, wildlife refuges and parks aimed at conserving plants and animals, and recreation areas. Much of the land is also used for fishing, grazing, hunting, logging and other purposes.

And, while the federal government continues to acquire land, the total federal land ownership has dropped by 23.5 million acres, or more than 3 percent, since 1990.

Some western lawmakers want more. They’ve sponsored numerous bills and resolutions aimed at taking control of the federal lands inside their state lines. But fishermen and hunters who use those same lands worry the property will be sold to private owners, putting a valuable public resource forever off-limits to them.

When it comes to the future of federal land, one thing is certain. The land will continue to be a source of controversy among people with competing interests who think they know what’s best for the land currently owned by Uncle Sam.

What Wacky Job Each US State Googled More Than Any Other

Posted January 29th, 2016 at 12:14 pm (UTC-4)
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Lion tamer Alexander Lacey of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky. Sept. 8, 2013. (Photo by Flickr user Arthur T. LaBar via Creative Commons license)

Lion tamer Alexander Lacey of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky, Sept. 8, 2013. (Photo by Flickr user Arthur T. LaBar via Creative Commons license)

If you’re looking for a job as a lion tamer then you probably live in California, while pirate job seekers can be found in North Carolina, and professional cuddlers might be searching for work in New York.

Those are just some of the more unique jobs searched for in one state more than in any of the others, according to a new map put out by Zippia.

Many Americans might start a job search by turning to Google. Zippia, a career resource website, used Google Trends to develop its data. Google Trends allows users to put type in certain search terms and see how popular that term is relative to other places.

Some of the identified jobs tell you a little about the state. For example, in Idaho, “bike repair” jobs are highly googled. Road cycling and mountain biking are popular in the Western mountain state. “Oil jobs” are most googled in North Dakota, where the oil industry boomed after the discovery of the Parshall Oil Field in 2006.

The unscientific study says the most googled job in the southern state of Georgia is that of “stripper”. A recent study found Atlanta ranked fifth when it comes to U.S. cities with the highest number of strip clubs per capita. Portland, Oregon ranked first, but people in Oregon search for the job of “urban farmer” more than any other state.

The top job searches in Pennsylvania are “merchandiser jobs” and “dance mom”. There’s a popular reality television show called “Dance Moms”, which focuses on a dance studio in western Pennsylvania. So it’s possible those people are interested in the show and are not looking for a career as a “dance mom”.

Here’s the full map:

 

google-job-searches-by-state

Some of the other job search results include:

Alabama
Chaplain Jobs

Arizona
Bee Keeper
Life Coach

Florida
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Body Painter
Cave Divers

Hawaii
Navy Seal
You Tube Star
Astronomer

Iowa
Wrestling Jobs
Carny

Kentucky
Tree Hugger

Michigan
Lighthouse Keeper

Minnesota
Lumberjack

Missouri
Tornado Chaser

Oklahoma
Dog Groomer
Petroleum Engineer

Texas
Referee Jobs
Peace Keeper
Stormchaser

Wyoming
Mechanic Jobs
Cowboy

Hawaii Sails to Top While West Virginia Struggles

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 8:37 am (UTC-4)
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Kauai, Hawaii (Photo by Flickr amehdiza via Creative Commons license)

Kauai, Hawaii (Photo by Flickr amehdiza via Creative Commons license)

In the United States, people in South Carolina and Connecticut are the most satisfied when it comes to having supportive relationships and love in their lives, while those living in Delaware and Texas have the greatest sense of purpose in that they like what they do and are motivated to achieve their goals.

image001Those are among the findings of the latest annual Gallup and Healthways Well-being Index, which also found that, collectively, folks in Alaska and North Dakota feel better about their finances than the rest of Americans.

And it’s not a huge surprise that people who live in the scenic western state of Montana (first place), or in balmy Hawaii (second place), rank highest in well-being when asked if they like where they live, feel safe there, and have pride in their community.

Hawaii also tops the list when it comes to physical well-being — feeling healthy and having the energy to get things done.

In fact, this year Hawaii residents claimed the top spot for overall well-being, beating out all of the other states in the nation. It’s the fifth time in seven years the Aloha State has topped the list. Gallup and Healthways began tracking U.S. well-being in 2008.

“The rankings provide built-in best practices and so you can look at those elite well-being states, the states that are way up there year after year, and look and see what they’re doing,” said Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. “Look at the culture there, look at what the leadership is doing there and use that as an example to emulate.”

Alaska, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming round out the top five. In fact, a number of Western mountain states ranked highly in overall well-being. People in those states report a high degree of satisfaction with where they live, feeling safe and having pride in their community. Well-being, Witters said, is regional.

“Community well-being sets the Western states apart,” he said. “And the other one that I would call out is financial well-being, and that’s not sheer income, so much as living within your means, managing your wealth effectively in order to build financial security.”

The news is much more distressing in West Virginia, which ranked lowest overall when it comes to physical health, social relationships, having a sense of purpose, being happy with where you live and having pride in your community. The Appalachian state also ranked low in financial well-being. It’s the seventh year in a row West Virginia has found itself at the bottom of the index.

Huntington, West Virginia (Photo by Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart via Creative Commons license)

Huntington, West Virginia (Photo by Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart via Creative Commons license)

“West Virginia doesn’t have the kind of significant, robust, well-being initiative or support from government officials that we might find in other states,” Witters said. “They don’t take very good care of themselves…obesity is very high, smoking rates are the second-highest in the nation…exercise rates are the second lowest in the nation.”

Other states with low well-being overall include Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio and Indiana.

The report finds some improvement nationwide on a number of issues and behaviors related to well-being, including a decline in smoking and in the uninsured rate, as well as an increase in reported exercise. Food insecurity, not having enough money to buy food at least once in the past year, dropped to a seven-year low.

Another bright spot is the state of Alabama, which usually finds itself in the bottom 10, but this year jumped to 28. Self-reported attachment to, and pride in, their community, as well as their social relationships, showed improvement in Alabama.

“They had real, authentic improvement,” Witters said. “Now the question is, ‘Is this something that’s kind of a 1-year blip or is this something that’s going to be sustained over time?’ and that’s not something we’ll be able to answer until a year or two down the road and see if they can kind-of hold these gains.”

On the downside, the report found obesity in the U.S. reached a new high mark last year. The survey cast doubt on the likelihood of seeing improvement in that area soon, since half of all overweight adults report they are not seriously trying to lose weight.

This Troubling Epidemic Is Killing People in Appalachia

Posted January 25th, 2016 at 5:38 pm (UTC-4)
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FILE -- Larry Gibson, whose family has owned land in the area for 235 years, stands atop Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. (AP Photo)

FILE — Larry Gibson, whose family has owned land in the area for 235 years, stands atop Kayford Mountain in West Virginia. (AP Photo)

There’s a disturbing trend in Appalachian country, a distinctive region in the eastern United States, perhaps best known for its mountain people and struggling coal mining industry. The seven Appalachian states account for more than a fifth of the of the country’s opiate-related deaths since 1999.

Opioids are prescription pain relievers — such as OxyContin, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine — and heroin.

The Appalachian states include Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. While these states have thriving urban and suburban communities, an Appalachian culture associated with people living close to the land, often associated with coal-mining communities, continues to persist along the Appalachian mountains.

asset_4_deaths_per_yearDrug overdose deaths are a nationwide problem. The death rate from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent since 2000. In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses in the United States than any other year on record, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Drug overdoses killed 47,055 people in 2014, and 61 percent of those deaths were opiate-related. The Appalachian region was especially hard hit. The seven states accounted for 22 percent of all opiate-related deaths.

The authors of a new report on the rising epidemic in Appalachia say poverty and a lack of higher education could be a factor.

According to the report, “the hardest-hit counties, where death rates have soared…have about half the national median household income while twice as many people live below the poverty level. College educations are dramatically lower than the national average in the most affected counties, and in a room full of 100 people about 40 won’t possess even a high school level education.”

“It’s pretty obvious that when you have a higher education level throughout a lot of these areas, that there’s more access to resources like places to go if you need help, drug resistance education, and things along those lines,” said Tristan Harris, project manager for the report from Heroin.net. “Whereas, in an area where a much lower percentage of people are graduating from high school, much less from college, they [might not] have access to those kinds of programs or those resources.”

States’ attempts to crack down on prescription drug abuse over the past few years seem to be driving the move from prescription drugs to heroin.

“That’s the trend that’s been happening for the last few years,” Harris said. “It could be an issue with legislation coming across to help stem the over-prescribing of opioids, and it could be that people that have become addicted to those are turning to heroin when that supply is no longer available.”

North Carolina has managed to stem the tide. The state initiated a plan to combat opiated-related deaths in one of its hardest hit counties in 2008. By changing the way clinical professionals and residents were educated about and treated for opioid addiction, North Carolina was eventually able to reduce overall drug overdose deaths statewide.

Death Graph: Here’s What’s Killing Americans at Every Age

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 10:12 am (UTC-4)
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An ambulance drives near  University Hospital of Newark in Newark, New Jersey. (AP Photo)

FILE — An ambulance drives near University Hospital of Newark in Newark, New Jersey. (AP Photo)

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One-third of Americans die from respiratory diseases, like the flu, while older Americans are much more likely to die from cancer.

There are many ways that people die and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks those ways down into 113 causes, and then groups them into 20 categories of diseases and external causes. This CDC data has been charted in an interactive graphic by Nathan Yau at Flowing Data.
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Causes of death for women (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

Causes of death for women (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

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The height of any color wave in the chart represents the percentage of people who died of a particular cause at a specific age. For example, of the women who died at age 60, 40 percent of them died of cancer.

For young people in their teens and twenties, external causes of death, like car accidents or drug overdoses, are far more likely. For women, these external causes account for about 5 percent of deaths. However, the number is much higher for young men, who are twice more likely to die from external causes than women.
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Causes of death for men (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

Causes of death for men (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

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The charts show that the very old and the very young are more likely to die from disease. For example, more than 20 percent of boys and girls who die at age 10 succumb to cancer.

Yau also charted deaths by race and found that African Americans are more likely to die from disease at a younger age than whites are. The same is true of  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
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Causes of death for Black/African Americans (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

Causes of death for Black/African Americans (Nathan Yau/Flowing Data)

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You can view the complete interactive chart here.

Yau also used CDC data to determine how and when Americans will die, given their sex, race, and age. You can see that interactive chart here.

The Big Freeze Is Coming to These US Jobs

Posted January 20th, 2016 at 12:50 pm (UTC-4)
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Postal worker Buddy Collins of Eliot, Maine, scrapes ice and snow from his windshield, Dec. 29, 2015, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (AP Photo)

Postal worker Buddy Collins of Eliot, Maine, scrapes ice and snow from his windshield, Dec. 29, 2015, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (AP Photo)

The U.S. Postal Service employs more than a half-million workers who deliver more mail to more people in a larger geographical area than any other postal service in the world.

Their unofficial motto is, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” However, the future might succeed where bad weather couldn’t; the employment outlook is bleak for U.S. postal workers, named one of the fastest declining occupations by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

baby boomersBetween now and 2024, jobs for postal service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators are expected to drop more than 33 percent. The popularity of email and of paying bills electronically have helped drive USPS profits down.

Switchboard operators and photographic process workers also face grim future job prospects, but the job that is expected to decline the most between now and 2024 is that of locomotive firer, also known as an assistant engineer, who assists in operating a passenger or freight train.

Other diminishing occupations include: electronic equipment installers and repairers, shoe machine operators and tenders, textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders and watch repairers.

People interested in job security should look to the health care field.

Occupational therapy ($56,950 per year) and physical therapy ($54,410 per year) assistants are among the fastest growing occupations, respectively increasing 43 percent and 41 percent over the next eight years.

More than half of the top 20 fastest growing occupations are in the health care field, thanks in large part to the aging Baby Boomer population.

In the 1990s, this group of Americans — born between 1946 and 1964 and ranging in age from 51 to 70 in 2016 — were at their most economically productive. The first Baby Boomers, though, started turning 65 in 2011. Between 1990 and 2020, the population of Americans aged 65 to 74 is expected to grow 74 percent, straining services and programs required by an elderly population.

People who provide those services can expect to have an easier time finding a job.

Renewable energy is going to fuel the most work. The people with the brightest job outlook, between now and 2024, are those who install and maintain wind turbines.

Wind turbine service technicians, who currently earn a median annual income of about $48,000, are in the fasting growing occupation in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of job growth in the field is expected to be 108 percent.

 

The 20 fastest growing occupations in the United States (followed by the percentage of expected growth):

Wind turbine service technicians 108%
Occupational therapy assistants  43%
Physical therapist assistants  41%
Physical therapist aides  39%
Home health aides  38%
Commercial Divers  37%
Nurse practitioners  35%
Physical therapists  34%
Statisticians  34%
Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians  33%
Occupational therapy aides  31%
Physician assistants  30%
Operations research analysts  30%
Personal financial advisors  30%
Cartographers and photogrammetrists  29%
Genetic counselors  29%
Interpreters and translators  29%
Audiologists  29%
Hearing aid specialists  27%
Optometrists  27%

 

The 20 fastest declining occupations in the United States:
Locomotive firers
Electronic equipment installers and repairers, motor vehicles
Telephone operators
Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators
Switchboard operators, including answering service
Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
Shoe machine operators and tenders
Manufactured building and mobile home installers
Foundry mold and coremakers
Sewing machine operators
Pourers and casters, metal
Postal service clerks
Postal service mail carriers
Postmasters and mail superintendents
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders
Fabric and apparel patternmakers
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders
Watch repairers
Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Prepress technicians and workers

Should Iowa & New Hampshire Have So Much Sway in Presidential Elections?

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 1:09 pm (UTC-4)
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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, left, speaks with potential voters at a restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, left, speaks with potential voters at a restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo)

New Hampshire is one of the smallest U.S. states, with a population to match, yet every four years this tiny state plays a key role in the presidential election.

Campaigns start with the Iowa caucuses on Monday, Feb. 1, followed by New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday, Feb. 9. With caucuses, candidates meet in-person with party members at the grassroots level. In a primary, people vote by secret ballot to choose their political party’s candidate for elected office.

These early contests set the stage for the presidential nomination campaigns. A big loss has the potential to end a campaign, while candidates who win, or do better than expected, garner positive momentum that can translate into more press coverage and a better ability to raise funds, extending the life of a campaign for at least for a few more months.

Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, which was the first sign he might be a viable candidate for president.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, bottom right, greets attendees after speaking at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, bottom right, greets attendees after speaking at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo)

“If Iowa was just another state in the nomination process, stuck there somewhere in the middle of the sequence of state primaries and caucuses, I don’t think anybody would put much importance on it at all,” said Mark Rozell, acting dean of the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University. “They would dismiss it as not very representative…but given its ‘first in the nation’ position in the contest, Iowa becomes very important.”

Not very representative because both Iowa and New Hampshire are among the whitest states in the nation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Iowa’s population was 92 percent white in 2014, while New Hampshire’s was 94 percent white. The United States overall, however, is a much more diverse nation. In 2010, non-Hispanic whites accounted for 63.7 percent of the U.S. population.

Historically, New Hampshire has been a better predictor of who will win the election, for both Democrats and Republicans, than the Iowa caucus.

Defenders of the current process argue that the Iowa and New Hampshire contests play an important role in keeping candidates connected to the voters, forcing aspiring presidents to go to local public forums in people’s living rooms and meet with voters on street corners or in coffee shops.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to a cheering crowd in Claremont, New Hampshire, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to a cheering crowd in Claremont, New Hampshire, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo)

“Candidates spend a lot of time meeting people where they are and that really means something in this era of mass mediated politics where many feel political leaders become disengaged from the public,” Rozell said. “To be forced into this process, whereby candidates have to meet people where they are, makes it a lot more real, in a sense, and there is significant value to that.“

While Iowa gets a lot of attention, Rozell believes New Hampshire, South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states ultimately have more influence on the process.

Super Tuesday, which will be held on Tuesday, March 1, is when the greatest number of states hold primaries or caucuses. Super Tuesday states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.

Super Tuesday was put into place by Democrats seeking to reduce the influence of New Hampshire and Iowa, give the South more weight in the presidential contest, and to give more centrist candidates a better chance of making their mark.

Interested observers have long debated changing the nomination process, arguing that national primaries, or a different sequence in the primaries and caucuses, would temper Iowa and New Hampshire’s outsize influence in determining who the next president will be.

“But these proposals seem to go nowhere,” Rozell said, “so that Iowa and New Hampshire have become, it seems, almost the permanent first and second positions in the presidential nomination campaigns, so anybody running for the presidency had better know a lot about corn.”

This is America’s Least Diverse City…and It’s Not Black or White

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 9:05 am (UTC-4)
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The population of Laredo, Texas, is 95.2 percent Hispanic. (Photo by Flickr user Barbara Brannon via Creative Commons license)

The population of Laredo, Texas, is 95.2 percent Hispanic. (Photo by Flickr user Barbara Brannon via Creative Commons license)

The most diverse city in the United States is Gaithersburg, Maryland, while the least ethno-racially diverse place is Laredo, Texas.

In fact, four Maryland cities — including Gaithersburg, Germantown, Silver Spring and Rockville, all in Montgomery County, right outside of Washington, D.C. —  are in the top five when it comes to diversity in small U.S. cities.

Children at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland. August 12, 2012. (Photo by Flickr user Ryan Crierie via Creative Commons license.)

Children at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the most diverse city in the nation, according to WalletHub, August 12, 2012. (Photo by Flickr user Ryan Crierie via Creative Commons license.)

Laredo, Texas, has the highest concentration of Hispanics in the country, at 95.2 percent.

The whitest city is Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, at 90.6 percent, while Detroit, Michigan, has the highest concentration of blacks at 79.1 percent. Honolulu, Hawaii, is the city with the highest clustering of Asians, at 52.1 percent.

The personal finance website WalletHub analyzed 313 of the most populated cities in the nation, using three main markers: racial and ethnic diversity, language diversity, and U.S. region of birth diversity.

The highest concentration of English speakers is in Springfield, Missouri (96.4 percent) and the highest concentration of Spanish speakers is in Miami, Florida (69.3 percent).

It’s no secret America is becoming a more colorful place.

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 U.S. counties, with many of those demographic shifts occurring in California, the South, and along the East Coast, according an analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center.

U.S. Census Bureau data suggests minorities will become the majority in the United States within a generation. More than half of the children under five in the U.S. — 50.2 percent — are minorities. At the same time, deaths among white people are outpacing their births, according to the data from July 2014.

The overall population of the United States includes 197.9 million non-Hispanic white people, 55.4 million Hispanic people, 45.7 million black people, 20.3 million Asian people, 6.5 million American Indians and 1.5 million Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders.

Ethno-racial Diversity map over time 2015

Source: WalletHub