Charts of the Week: Summertime

The sun rises as revellers welcome in the Summer Solstice at the Stonehenge stone circle, in Amesbury, Britain June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay - RC192649D5E0

Today marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and first day of astronomical summer in the northern hemisphere. To commemorate, this week’s Charts of the Week brings you data related to the season.

Food insecurity increases during the summer months

Research from the Hamilton Project at Brookings demonstrates that while food insecurity rates have improved since 2014, those statistics mask seasonal fluctuations. “When schools let out for summer, children from food insecure households no longer have access to school meals, and their access to food becomes more variable,” the report finds. Although, when low-income families were provided with $60 per summer month, food insecurity rates decreased by 15 percent and very low food security decreased by one third.


The benefits of summer youth employment programs

Alicia Sasser Modestino’s study on summer job programs identifies positive outcomes correlated with summer employment. Participants reported additional job readiness skills, higher academic aspirations, and more positive attitudes toward their communities. “While these initial results are encouraging,” she writes, “it’s unclear whether these short-term improvements achieved over one summer will result in increased employment, greater post-secondary education and training, and reduced criminal activity down the road.”

Changes in Selected Job Readiness Skills for Boston SYEP Participants

Unpaid internships reduce social mobility

During the summer months, many young professionals flock to New York, Los Angeles, and DC for internships. Joanna Venator and Richard Reeves note that previous internship experience is the most important factor for employers when hiring a recent college graduate. However, this places low- and middle-income students at a disadvantage, as many prestigious internships are unpaid and cannot support the cost of living in these “intern capitals.”

Chart: Relative importance of attributes in evaluating graduates for hire


Betsy Broaddus made significant contributions to this post.