Charts of the Week: Population diversity, jobs, and political participation


In this edition of Charts of the Week, three items about populations: changing shares by race/ethnic group; counting employment; and a divide in the people getting involved in politics.

White population share declining in US

Fig1William Frey explains that the U.S. Census Bureau’s “new estimates show that nearly four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white.” From 200 to 2019, the white population share declined to 69.1% to 60.1%. The Latino or Hispanic and Asian American populations showed the most gains, growing to 18.5% and about 6%, respectively, over the same period. And, the Black population share has remained relatively constant. “Most noteworthy,” Frey writes, “is the increased diversity in the younger portion of the population.”

EMPLOYMENT status misclassified FOR SOME in monthly BLS JOBS report

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Hamilton Project researchers Lauren Bauer, Wendy Edelberg, Jimmy O’Donnell, and Jay Shambaugh look at misclassification of workers in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs reports. People who were temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus should have been counted among the unemployed rather than “absent from work due to other reasons.”  The authors analyze the underlying issues and BLS’s response to it, concluding that “We find no basis for ill-considered claims that BLS has improperly handled either the underlying data or the subsequently produced statistics,” adding that “in times of changing economic fortunes and under difficult circumstances for data collection, the federal statistical agencies, including BLS, continue to transparently and consistently produce vital statistics.”

Inexperienced candidates and primary challenges are making the GOP the protest party

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Raymond La Raja and Jonathan Rauch examine data that show how “the Republican Party is souring on experienced politicians” and increasingly (more than Democrats) nominating congressional candidates who have not previously held elective office. And, these amateurs have generally fared better against experienced candidates in Republican primaries more than in Democratic primaries. La Raja and Rauch conclude “that the Republican Party is growing more unruly and disruptive—harder to govern, and harder to govern with.”