Charts of the week: School secession, Iraqi life satisfaction, location and earnings

Men walk past a shop selling "turba", a piece of stone or molded clay made of local soil, in Najaf, Iraq April 3, 2018. Picture taken April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani - RC1B8D2255F0

This week we learned about a wide variety of policy developments here at Brookings. From the relationship between school secession and racial segregation, to life satisfaction in Iraq, and the impact of location on earnings, this research helps us make sense of the moving pieces. Click on any of the links to access the full research.

School “secessions” could impact racial segregation

Brookings Economic Studies Senior Fellow Richard Reeves recently published a report about the connection between school secession (when a school separates from a larger district) and racial segregation. Reeves finds that seceded schools are racially imbalanced from their larger communities, but were so even before their secession. The motivation to isolate financial resources of wealthier, whiter communities may drive the separation, Reeves speculates. Ultimately, he writes that “new district boundaries created by school secession may not increase segregation in the short run, but may entrench and calcify existing patterns of racial exclusion.”

Life satisfaction is surprisingly high in Iraq, but varies

In a report on life satisfaction and income assistance in Iraq, Brookings Senior Fellow Carol Graham and Talajeh Livani of the World Bank note that while the perception of life quality is startlingly high for a nation plagued by ongoing violent conflict, satisfaction with economic aspects of life in Iraq such as work and income are lower than life in general. This in itself is not a shock, given the poor economic conditions. Graham and Livani find that regions within Iraq vary in this regard, and that “receiving any type of assistance (public or private) is, on average, associated negatively with life satisfaction.”

Where you live matters – Income varies greatly by location

In a Hamilton Project report on median annual earnings in the United States, a team of scholars analyze the impact that a variety of factors have on There is a relationship between location and earnings, the authors argue, pointing to the fact that “workers in the top 30 locations earn an average of 20 percent more than the median worker in the United States and 37 percent more than workers in the bottom 30 locations.” However, location only accounts for a small portion of income variation. Educational attainment, age, race, and sex all factor in as well.

Median Earnings for All Occupations, by Location

Communications Intern Lea Kayali contributed to this post.