10 things we learned at Brookings in June

The number 10 seen on football jersey worn by Pele

The dog days of summer are upon us, but Brookings scholars haven’t slowed down their research. Catch up on 10 interesting things we learned in June.

1. Massive voter fraud is a myth, but voter suppression is not

A voter fills out her ballot to vote in the Super Tuesday election at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia

The Trump administration is moving ahead with efforts to curb improper voter registration and fraud, but Nicol Turner-Lee argues that the focus should be shifted to the “acts of suppression that continue to historically and systematically disenfranchise African-Americans and other vulnerable groups.” In Florida, one in four African-American residents were unable to vote in 2016 due to voter suppression. Turner-Lee calls for a bipartisan commission, like the one President Trump established to combat voter fraud, to restore voting rights to disenfranchised Americans.

2. Trump’s education budget would reduce  federal work-study funding to the lowest level in its history

President Donald Trump's overview of the budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2018 are displayed at the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

In a video and blog post, Elizabeth Mann unpacks the president’s proposed budget cuts to education. “In total, Trump’s education funding proposal could strain state budgets and make college affordability much more difficult for a number of students.”

3. 1,429 of the 1,974 non-metropolitan counties in the US are at least 70 percent white


Assessing recent U.S. census data, demographer Bill Frey finds that one part of the country continues to stand out for its slow embrace of diversity: America’s non-metropolitan areas. “Not only has the non-metropolitan population remained much whiter than the rest of the nation, it is also getting older faster and shrinking in size.” Frey suggests that though much attention was given to rural America following the 2016 presidential election, the long-term political influence of this population may be in decline.

4. 9 percent of america’s out-of-work population is highly educated, young, and actively looking for work


Martha Ross and Natalie Holmes explore seven categories of jobless Americans in an interactive report. They find that “both job availability and demographics vary markedly around the country, yielding diverse local populations wanting and/or needing work.”

5. 5 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa

A worker looks on at a construction site in Sandton, north of Johannesburg

Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly explains why it’s premature to say that the “Africa Rising” narrative is dead. “‘Africa rising’ need not mean ‘all’ African countries rising. Increasingly, African economies are differentiating themselves, and we ought to evaluate them on country-specific fundamentals and the merits of their respective economic policies,” he writes.

6. a gas-powered car has 2,000 moving parts, an electric one only 20


Timmons Roberts shares a firsthand account of driving an electric car and offers 10 lessons to consider before buying or leasing one. “With the summer driving season now rolling, what could be more apt than sharing a story about an energy-efficient American car driven by ecologically-minded Americans?”

7. only ABOUT 30 vaquita PORPOISES are left in the gulf of california

A California Gulf porpoise, also known as a vaquita, monument (R) is seen in San Felipe in Mexico's state of Baja California March 7, 2008, The vaquita, a tiny stubby-nosed porpoise found only in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, is on the brink of extinction as more die each year in fishing nets than are being born, biologists say. Picture taken March 7, 2008. REUTERS/Henry Romero(MEXICO) - RTR1YHEB

Vanda Felbab-Brown explains how poaching and trafficking threaten to eliminate the world’s smallest porpoise, the vaquita, and the challenges to saving them from extinction. “Implementing effective solutions to all these issues has proven enormously difficult, and time looms critically over the fate of the vaquita. Its extinction would represent the first extinction of a marine mammal since the 1970s.”

8. 65.6 million people are forcibly displaced today—the highest number since World War II

People who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, stand in line to receive food at a refugee camp, Iraq,December 18, 2016.REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RTX2VJJIElizabeth Ferris argues that the growing number of refugees isn’t the only cause for concern rather, “The crisis is that our international refugee system was set up to respond to short-term emergencies, not to refugee situations that drag on for years and decades.”

9.the US spends far less on services that address social determinants of health than other advanced economies

Hospital sign in San Diego

Stuart Butler argues that hospitals in the U.S. act more like “repair shops,” and makes the case for investing in social services that address things like poor nutrition, stress in low-income households, and unsafe living conditions that cause poor health in the first place. “Countries with more balanced social service and medical spending generally have better health outcomes, and we see a similar pattern among U.S. states.”

10. 71 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats favor paid parental leave

Michael Grabinski, two weeks old held by his mother Calee.

One issue both parties seem to agree on: paid parental leave. With that in mind, a working group of experts from Brookings and AEI came together to propose a bipartisan national paid parental leave program. “While the experts had their disagreements about the specific design of a paid leave program,” they write, “all of us believe that paid parental leave is an issue whose time has come. The U.S. is the only advanced country that provides no public support to new parents.”