In this edition of Charts of the Week: increase in for-profit college enrollment; effective forms of birth control; and women’s earnings boost middle-class incomes.
ENROLLMENT IN FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES RISES DURING PANDEMIC
Stephanie Riegg Cellini analyzes how the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in campus closures across the country with an increase in for-profit institution enrollments. The chart indicates a rise in enrollment at for-profit institutions by 13 percent among first-time students aged 21-24, while enrollment in public institutions dropped by over 20 percent. Cellini warns, “In light of extensive evidence that for-profit institutions yield both lower earnings gains and higher debt for students than other institutions, policymakers, students, taxpayers, and voters should be very concerned about this trend.”
ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL CAN PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE
The debate regarding the right to an abortion has been heightened since Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court, Isabel Sawhill says, and explains that access to high-quality, affordable family planning can serve as an effective way to prevent unintended pregnancies while preserving a woman’s right to choose. These options include the highly effective IUD. The chart shows that IUD-use reduced the unintended pregnancy rate to near-zero, whereas the birth-control pill reduced it to 38 percent, and the condom to 63 percent. “Empowering women to only have children if, when, and with whom they want,” Sawhill observes, “will not only improve women’s lives, but also the long-term prospects of their children and the stability of the American family.”
WOMEN’S EARNINGS RESPONSIBLE FOR GROWTH IN MIDDLE-CLASS INCOMES
In A New Contract with the Middle Class, Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill provide analysis of the growth of the middle class and the role of women in growing the economy. They observe that the average middle-class couple works 600 hours more than in 1975 due to the increase in women’s employment. The chart shows that “if women’s employment and especially wage levels had not increased, middle-class households would have experienced virtually no income growth at all.” Women still hold half of all payroll jobs in the economy and 70 percent of couples are now dual earners, Reeves and Sawhill explain.