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Brookings Now

10 things we learned at Brookings in January

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Brookings scholars were busy last year, and there is no sign of their work slowing down in 2018. Here is a look back at 10 things we learned from experts’ research and commentary in January.

1. Millennials are the most diverse generation in American history

metro_2018 jan_Millennials generation William H Frey_EVENT

In a new report, Metropolitan Policy Program Senior Fellow William Frey analyzed the demographic makeup of the millennial generation, now America’s largest generation, which he believes will become a bridge to the country’s more diverse future. Racial and ethnic minorities comprise more than half of the millennial population in 10 states, and over 40 percent of millennials in an additional 10 states.

2. US-Pakistan relations are at a low point and are unlikely to improve soon

A State Department contractor adjust a Pakistan national flag before a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on the sidelines of the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - GM1EB2K0EFQ01

President Trump began the year by attacking Pakistan in a tweet and has since suspended military and security assistance to the country. Madiha Afzal, nonresident fellow in the Global Economy and Development program, explained the Trump administration’s policy toward Pakistan, how it compares to the Obama administration’s, and what could change in the countries’ strategic relationship moving forward.

3. 175 Americans die daily from opioid abuse

A Cataldo Ambulance medic escorts a 39-year-old woman to an ambulance after she was revived from an opioid overdose in a home in the Boston suburb of Salem, Massachusetts, U.S., August 15, 2017. The woman was revived with 4mg of naloxone. REUTERS/Brian Snyder SEARCH "SNYDER OPIOIDS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. - RC1F62534430

In November, the Trump administration released a new report on the opioid crisis and its recommendations for addressing it. Dayna Bowen Matthew, nonresident senior fellow in Economic Studies, looks at the report’s recommendations and draws parallels between today’s crisis and other historic drug epidemics and argues for a more equitable approach to America’s past and present drug crises.

4. There is little public support for military action against North Korea

A man walks past a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai - RC14E67BAE70

Shibley Telhami, an expert in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, analyzed data from a new University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll that found that only 8 percent of Japanese and 11 percent of Americans believe military action by the United States and its allies would be the most effective way to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. The data also reveal that when asked to name two national or world leaders that pose the greatest threat to global peace and security, more Japanese respondents named President Trump (50 percent) than North Korean President Kim Jong-un (44 percent).

5. An aging US population will continue to put pressure on the federal budget

A couple leaves the Remote Area Medical (RAM) health clinic at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Wise, Virginia July 24, 2009. The free clinic, which lasts 2 1/2 days, is the largest of its kind in the nation providing medical, dental and vision services from more than 1,400 medical volunteers. For many residents of this Appalachian area, the RAM clinic serves as the only medical care they may receive each year. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES HEALTH SOCIETY) - GM1E57P0OXR01

The share of America’s population that is over 65 is 15 percent, and it will climb to 21 percent in 20 years. As this aging trend increases, so too will the pressure on the federal government’s old-age entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Economic Studies Senior Fellow Louise Sheiner argues that “a reasonable policy is to begin to make small adjustments to spending and taxes and to start planning the kinds of changes we will want to make in the future.”

6. The United States is forecast to surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production in 2018

An oil pump at sunrise, owned by Parsley Energy Inc. near Midland, Texas, U.S., May 3, 2017. Picture taken May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder - RC1509840B40

The United States is forecast to produce more than 10 million barrels of oil per day in 2018, more than any country other than Russia. However, according to Samantha Gross, an expert in the Foreign Policy program and cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, “the U.S. industry will never play a similar role to Saudi Arabia’s in the oil market, no matter how much U.S. oil production grows.”

7. If Amazon is seriously considering diversity and inclusion, it should narrow its HQ2 list to these five cities

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a news conference during the launch of Amazon's new tablets in New York, September 28, 2011. Amazon.com Inc unveiled its long-awaited tablet computer on Wednesday with a $199 price tag, potentially cheap enough to give Apple Inc's iPad some serious competition for the first time. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - GM1E79S1U5O01

According to Andre Perry and Martha Ross, experts from the Metropolitan Policy Program, if Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos want to indicate a “serious focus on advancing inclusion,” they should further winnow their list of contenders for Amazon’s second headquarters—HQ2—to: Austin, TX; Raleigh, NC; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; and Denver, CO. Perry and Ross based their analysis on numerical diversity and how well these cities maximize their diversity based on a measure of inclusion.

8. Africa’s economic growth and prosperity strategies for 2018

The German and African Union flags flutter at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt - RC1D7AF99E10

Earlier this month, the Global Economy and Development program released its annual report on Africa’s top priorities for the new year. Scholars from the Africa Growth Initiative and other experts analyzed a number of the challenges and opportunities facing the continent—including Africa’s global partnerships, institutions, structural transformation, and digital potential—and highlighted areas in which African countries and their citizens are taking the lead in achieving inclusive growth.

9. The top 20 US firms account for a fifth of US GDP

An AT&T Logo is pictured as a U.S. flag flutters in the foreground in Pasadena

In November, the Justice Department blocked a planned merger between AT&T and Time-Warner; and in December mergers between CVS Health Corp. and Aetna, and between Disney and 21st Century Fox, were underway. In a new paper, Senior Fellow William Galston and Clara Hendrickson examined the state of antitrust issues in recent years, and recommended reforms to antitrust enforcement.

10. The gender bias in the digital workforce is complex, and sometimes surprising

2018.01.18_Metro_Women coding

In their study of occupational data and digitalization in the American workforce, experts from the Metropolitan Policy Program find a “mixed and sometimes surprising view” of male and female workers’ skills and employment. Data show that women are now slightly ahead of men as a whole when it comes to developing the digital skills increasingly essential for employment, but remain grossly underrepresented in some of the most common tech jobs such as computer programming and information systems management.

Authors

Chris McKenna

Communications Coordinator - Office of Communications

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