|Issue of the Day Archive for the ‘Minorities’ Category|
Enrollment Surge Creates Pressures on Community Colleges
Published Monday, August 3rd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Contrary to a system that is based on open admission to higher education all, community colleges now have to contemplate turning away students. The reasons for such a reversal of principle are fueled by the current recession, an enrollment surge greater than the past 2 decades, and tight state budgets. Normally, an economic downturn would boost community college enrollment. Yet, the current recession poses a three sided crush of students who are out of work and looking for a career boost, limited to lower tuition choices by a tighter credit market, and threat of home foreclosure requiring extra income. The tuition for a four year university and a two year community college is drastically different in that private 4-year is $25,143 and public 4-year is $6,585. Community college is less than $2000 on average.
The Obama Administration has planned to add $12 billion to the community college budget over the next decade, yet there is no immediate relief in sight. The most up-to-date information on college enrollment suggests that the growing enrollment is coming from the Hispanic college age population, which increased nearly 4 percentage points to 57.9% between 2005 and 2006. The enrollment by the white population decreased by 4.7 percentage points to 68.5%, and blacks had a -0.2 point change during the same time period to 55.5%.
Progress Halting on Sexual Health and Reproduction of Teens and Young Adults
Published Thursday, July 30th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the period of improvement in sexual and reproductive health of U.S. teens and young adults has flattened and may be worsening. The data is reported in the “Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons Aged 10-24 Years – United States, 2002-2007” and comes from various sources in order to get a clear picture of the trends. Some of the findings include the majority of the new diagnoses of HIV infection among adolescents and young adults occurred among those aged 20-24 years and among males. Furthermore, about 1 million adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 years were reported to have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis in 2006.
This report also details that the progress seen in later years has halted, such as teen birth rates increasing in 2006 and 2007 following large declines from 1991-2005. Also, syphilis cases among teens and young adults aged 15-19 and 20-24 years have increased in both males and females in recent years. Rates of AIDS cases among males aged 15-24 years increased during 1997-2006 (AIDS data reflects people with HIV who have already progressed to AIDS.) Additionally, rates of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses among young adults were highest among non-Hispanic black youth across all age groups.
Many Adults Lack Vaccinations That Could Save Their Lives
Published Monday, July 27th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
A survey of adult vaccinations completed by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases reported that diseases which are easily preventable by adult vaccines kill more Americans, over 50,000 adults, each year than car wrecks, breast cancer, or AIDS. The surveys show that generally Americans are unaware or misinformed about the dangers and vaccines available for diseases like the flu, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal disease, Meningitis, Shingles, Human Papillomavirus, Tetanus, Pertussis (whooping cough). One of the major problems is that Universal Coverage of vaccines stops at age 19. Plus, many adults think that vaccines are just for children, or they are concerned with vaccine safety. The CDC states that vaccines are among the safest medical products available. The result is that of the vaccines for adults are used no greater than 32% by high risk Americans baring the flu shot and tetanus shots.
Over the years of successful campaigns, the CDC has reported that over 95% of children have been vaccinated for various diseases. The CDC states that lack of awareness, resources and knowledge about adult vaccines, infrastructure, and access to health care are causes for low vaccination percentages among adults. The average annual health care expenditures per American has nearly tripled since 1990 to approximately $3,000 per annum. To compound the problem, nearly 15.3% of the population does not have health care insurance, which makes preventative care “unimportant” to some who believe they cannot afford non-emergency medicine.
Real Median Income Gained as Poverty Held Steady in 2007
Published Friday, July 24th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The new report on the US official poverty rate released by the US Census Bureau called “Income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2007” has stated that real median household income in the United States climbed 1.3% between 2006 and 2007, reaching $50,233. The US official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5% (37.3 million), which is steady from 2006 (36.5 million). This and other influences has lead the number of people without health insurance coverage to decline from 47 million (15.8%) in 2006 to 45.7 million (15.3%) in 2007.
Broken down, minorities also gained in real median income adjusted for inflation, which rose between 2006 and 2007 for black ($33,916 in 2007) and non-Hispanic white households ($54,920 in 2007), the first such increase since 1999. However, for Asians ($66,103 in 2007) and Hispanics ($38,679 in 2007) real income did not change. The family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 9.8% and 7.6 million, unchanged from 2006. As for Female-householders/No-Husband-Present the rate was 28.3% (a decrease of 2.8 percentage points) and 13.6% for those with male householder and no-wife-present. The US Office of management and budget has updated the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2007 as $21,203, for a family of 3 at $16,530, 2 at $13,540, and 1 at $10,590.
Professor of Race Relations Arrested over Misunderstanding
Published Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The distinguished Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. — director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — was arrested after police investigated claims that he was trying to break into a house, his own as it turns out. The Professor, who is African-American, has written many books and hosted a public TV series on race relations. Supporters of the professor say this is an incident of racial profiling. Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, said he hopes Cambridge Police will drop charges against Gates and use the incident to review training and screening procedures it has in place.
A study conducted by the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics between 2002 and 2005 tracked the rates of routine traffic stops in an effort to map Racial Profiling in the US. The data suggested that there was an even chance—between 8.1 – 9.2% of drivers—among White, Black and Hispanic drivers that they would be stopped by police during 2002 and 2005. Yet, of the white drivers stopped, only 3.5 – 3.6% of them were searched in 2002 and 2005; Black and Hispanic drivers who were stopped were searched 10.2-11.4% and 9.5 – 8.8% between 2002 and 2005 respectively.
Street Safe is a project that hopes to build upon the once successful program called the Boston Miracle, which reduced youth violence in the late 1990’s. SafeStreet is made up of 13 men — half of which are previous offenders — with a five-year mission and $20 million initiative aiming to prove that ex-convicts know best how to work the streets and protect kids from what they call “the life” or gang life. Many of the 13-year-olds children (gangs routinely target boys as young as 12 to carry drugs and guns) who are now a part of the program would have had to choose between making the best of their athletic and academic potential or follow their friends, brothers, and fathers into “the life.” Boston Police are also on board with the program as they arrange games between youth and police in an effort to promote community policing and cut gang influence.
According to the Department of Justice, the overall percent of homicides in the US involving guns by victims’ age skyrockets from birth to 18 years. After the peak, the range of deaths slowly decreases till age 89 where there is a spike in gunshot victimhood. The number of offenders in their teens — 14-17 — has returned to a previous held range of 1500 offenders annually from a height in 1994 of 4000 homicide offenders.
According to Health and Human Services, the welfare rolls have been rising in most states over the last year. In the some of the hardest-hit areas, one would think the rolls would raise the most; yet, the numbers are decreasing. Utah is leading the trend as rolls have increased by 29% more cases than last year. Yet, Michigan, a state facing the highest unemployment, has experienced 4.8% reductions in welfare rolls. Authorities suggest that some may be leaving the state for better prospects or the ones who are staying are receiving unemployment benefits. The usual assistance provided by unemployment puts many beyond the eligibility of welfare. Some advocates believe the strict provision of the 1996 revamp of Welfare System has slowed down applicant’s entry into welfare. Nationally, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Alaska, Montana, New Jersey, and Nebraska all have falling rolls.
As of 2006, the most current data from the Current Population Reports, the Federal Poverty Threshold or poverty line for families of 4 rest at $20,614, an increase of nearly $5,000 from a decade ago. The most vulnerable, children, as of 1996 had experienced near 23% poverty rate; this had dropped to 15% by 2000 and increased after to 17% by 2006. Likewise, families experienced the same rate of decline and leveling to 10.8%; those with only female heads-of-households reached 30.7%.
Disadvantages Exist for Some Who are Never Married
Published Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
A new study derived from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, “Who Marries and When? Age at First Marriage in the United States: 2002,” suggests that only 17% of American women haven’t married by age 35, compared to 25% of men. Further evidence indicates that there is a 50% probability that women marry for the first time by age 25; men don’t hit 50% until 27 years of age. By 40 years of age, the probability rises to 86% for women and 81% for men. By race, there are differences even as early as age 18, in which there is a 10% probability of Hispanic women being married — doubling white women and triple that of black women. Between 25 and 44, 84% of non-Hispanic women have married vs. 56% of non-Hispanic black women. The report involved 12,571 people — 4,928 males and 7,643 females between 15 and 44 years old.
The data points to a large minority of black women still unmarried during nearly half their lifetime; while not necessary, it leaves single mothers disadvantaged in many ways. Though down after years of successful campaigns, teen birth rates among black teens is still second to Hispanic teens. The highest education level of both men and women of all races tends to be high school graduation and some college for those divorced or never married.
The news of unemployment may be all around us right now, but what is not really understood is the makeup of the unemployment percentage. The overall number is just that: a composite of different numbers, averaged together, and displayed as a percentage of the overall unemployed among the labor force. For example, “The Labor Force” is just a way of describing us all, blue collar and white collar. Yet, there are those who can withstand recession woes (who can save for a rainy day) and those who cannot (check to check living). What is missing from that single unemployment percentage number is that the recession does not hit everyone equally.
The pre-recession unemployment was at 5% of the overall labor force. Yet, now we are edging on 9.4% unemployment with 5.7 million jobs lost since the beginning of the recession, as May provided 345,000 new jobless claims. Making up a majority of those in the unemployment line are manufacturing and construction workers who tend to be less educated and/or recent immigrants. For minorities such as the black and Latino groups, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the rate of unemployment is edging on 20%, leading many to fall instantly into poverty and straining State budgets.
Obama Orders Benefit Extention to Federal Same-Sex Partners
Published Friday, June 19th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
In a move, “the first step” that partially confirmed a campaign promise, President Obama directed administrative agencies to extend family sick-leave policies such as visitation or dependent-care rights to same-sex partners, but not health benefits. The new policy now allows for federal employees to use sick leave to care for same-sex partners and their children, plus partners can be added to a government insurance program that pays for long-term care. The Administration has pledged to work for a law that would extend full health benefits to same-sex partners and children. The President explained that to act unilaterally will not cement lasting change in benefits. He hopes to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and replace it with a law enacted by Congress that would fulfill his promise and make it lasting.
The percentage of workers who have access to benefits never equals 100%; in fact the Unions are the only group to achieve 92% covered by any kind of medical plan. Unions also have high percentages for drug care coverage at 87% and vision coverage at 57%. Non-union workers fared worse, with 68% covered by medical, 61% with drug care, and 26% with visual. Between white collar and blue collar workers, there is only 1-3 percentage points difference in coverage.