Re: Undimmed By Human Tears

1

Matches are expensive.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:50 AM
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No, they give them away for free at The French Laundry.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:54 AM
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The Federal Poverty Level is kind of a joke. They couldn't be buggered to even do a simple cost-of-living adjustment to the poverty threshold?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:55 AM
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Another good one floating around What Happened to US Life Expectancy compared to OECD average, 1960-2010


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:27 AM
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I once overheard a Winnetka matron insist that girls from west Wilmette menstruate much earlier than the girls from other parts of the township.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:38 AM
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It is hard to think of anything on Lake Michigan as "beachfront."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:53 AM
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Yes, although that's still funny, because if you're living in west Wilmette, you're better off than at least 90% of the people in America. 85-year-old grandmas living without running water, hitchhiking thirty miles to see a doctor, being classified as "takers:" less funny!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:55 AM
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I still think counties are a pretty useless way to measure demographic information in the US. Aside from the fact that counties do different things in different states, and the vast differences in size and number of counties by state, most decent sized counties are going to have a fairly broad range of income levels. Hennepin Cty. is fairly light blue on the map, but it includes plenty of $3 million mansions on a lake as well as neighborhoods like mine where you've got a couple of derelict hulks waiting to be torn down on every block. So all you're really measuring here is some extremely vague relative measures of concentrations of different income brackets.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:11 AM
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The four shades of blue irritates me. They're too close.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:12 AM
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The Palo Alto/East Palo Alto divide is so incredibly sharp/dire. It gobsmacked me that it was merely opposite sides of a highway, which is silly since it's not like the distance from New Trier with its pool and tv station and Chicago schools without air conditioning and chalk is all that much.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:13 AM
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It's not by county, at least in Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:15 AM
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It starts by county and then switches to census tract as you zoom in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:17 AM
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Oddly, there is no part of East Palo Alto that is farther east in longitude than Palo Alto proper; it's in fact to the north. I wonder if it's just it's being defined in relation to 101, and because 101 is conceived of as north-south regardless of cardinal directions.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 11:38 AM
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It appears that college students count as "poor" which makes this data pretty useless in many of the places I've lived.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:03 PM
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My census tract has a 25.6% poverty rate, which seems about right. Maybe a few of those are college students but not many.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:06 PM
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With a pretty unusual range for the US -- I'd guess that just on my block there are people well below the poverty line and people in the top 2% or so of incomes, and with representation throughout the range.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:10 PM
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Unlike Halford, I'm not a monster. I think a poverty rate of 25.6% is too high.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:10 PM
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The tracts are weird- mine, which has not many houses because it's a lot of commercial and green space, has poverty numbers, but one right next to it which is all residential is labeled "low population." Maybe mine just has lots of flophouses.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:13 PM
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I'm in a low population tract in NYC -- I think the lines are drawn to put a couple of blocks of buildings in a tract with a big park.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:16 PM
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Some tracts in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills had surprisingly (to me) high poverty rates -- more than 25% and 11%, in areas where a one bedroom apartment goes for maybe $2000/mo if you're lucky. Maybe they're doing a very good job of counting homeless people or folks in shelters, maybe it's a college student thing, maybe it's a few pockets of mostly hidden low income housing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:24 PM
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I guess Beverly Hills might get to 5-10% just with live-in maids.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:25 PM
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I was just writing 21.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:29 PM
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21: That's actually a fair conclusion, Halford. Good work. What would you do to solve the live-in maid epidemic in Beverly Hills?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:33 PM
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Full communism.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:34 PM
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It's a start.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:38 PM
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14 It appears that college students count as "poor" which makes this data pretty useless in many of the places I've lived.

Yeah, I was noticing that. The MIT campus: so poor!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:42 PM
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The BU campus: even poorer!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:43 PM
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26, 27 -- And he's now clearly a Harvard man.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:44 PM
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I'm right on the border between two tracts, but 18.6 and 12.3%, though the next ones out of the historic district range from 33% to 38%. Where the girls are from is 46, though that's because the bulk of the people in that tract live in the public housing complexes.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:45 PM
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30

How do you zoom in?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:50 PM
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The mouse wheel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:50 PM
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Different blocks of Harvard housing fall in tracts with very different levels (10% vs. 20-23%). I believe GWB called this the haves and the have-mores.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:51 PM
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I'm a little suspicious of the "low population tract" designation being accurate (at least for the ones that are light blue and not white). Showing up for a couple of places where I don't think it is correct. For instance, a suburb near my hometown with population of 7,000 is so designated while both halves of my 8,000 population township have data as do each of two nearby 3,000 person towns.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:54 PM
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You really see the student effect in the big uni/small town places. For instance, the relevant parts of State College, PA and Athens, OH look like poverty pockets and part of Oxford, OH is at ~80% although Miami U is the bro-iest place you could imagine.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:58 PM
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There's a tract in West LA with a 67% poverty rate that surprised me, until I realized that basically all of that tract is the VA Hospital.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:59 PM
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Anyhow, my guess from looking locally at areas I know reasonably well is that the local census takers did a very good job of counting homeless folks and hard-to-find people. Good work, census takers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:01 PM
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34: my neighborhood, for example, has a poverty rate of 31%.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:10 PM
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Maybe they're doing a very good job of counting homeless people or folks in shelters, maybe it's a college student thing

I assume this is the reason for downtown Portland's 44.5 percent, despite the proliferation of luxury housing in recent years. Though between PSU students and the homeless, I'm not sure which group exerts more statistical influence.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:13 PM
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14.2% but I couldn't figure how to get the map to move NSEW.

Encircled by areas from 5% to 25%


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:46 PM
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Maybe there is no poverty in the US, only college students.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:08 PM
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I'm in an 8% zone, and the next one out is 24%, but that zone contains one of the larger local housing projects/towers, which could account for most of the difference.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:23 PM
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40 sees like an excellent Slatepitch. (I think there was a Slate story recently that claimed popular mayonnaise was not only edible but a delight, but I didn't link to it because reading it made me gag on several occasions. Probably this aside belongs in the mushroom thread.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:24 PM
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Mayonnaise is the best sauce.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:32 PM
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12: Hmph. Well that's annoying.

In that case, my objection is that while low income and poverty correlate well, and very high income and wealth correlate, once you get into the middle range, there's a whole bunch of complicating factors. So there.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:42 PM
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Yeah, definitely something funny with the Low Population deal. Bryn Mawr, the Mpls. neighborhood, is supposedly "low population," I'm guessing because a chunk of the census tract is parkland, but the inhabited parts are fairly densely packed single-family homes and duplexes.

Also, there is not enough granularity in the coloring. Shannon Cty. SD is mostly the Pine Ridge reservation, and it's the same color as a lot of Mpls. neighborhoods that are relatively lower-middle class in their general character, where the poverty is way less grinding and desperate and inescapable.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:56 PM
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Yeah, definitely something funny with the Low Population deal. Bryn Mawr, the Mpls. neighborhood, is supposedly "low population," I'm guessing because a chunk of the census tract is parkland, but the inhabited parts are fairly densely packed single-family homes and duplexes.

Also, there is not enough granularity in the coloring. Shannon Cty. SD is mostly the Pine Ridge reservation, and it's the same color as a lot of Mpls. neighborhoods that are relatively lower-middle class in their general character, where the poverty is way less grinding and desperate and inescapable.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:15 PM
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East Palo Alto is no longer particularly poor or crime-ridden (per the map and the Wiki). It still remains one of the poorest places between SF and SJ, but that's not saying much.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:28 PM
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Downtown SF is unsurprisingly grim. A 50.6% tract (which is not being driven by college students) about four blocks from an 8.7%. Grumbles and I, meanwhile, are in a 27.3% zone.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:44 PM
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I'm surprised by how utterly dire Philadelphia looks.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:22 PM
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Nice Daily Kos roundup from earlier today on various pieces on the War on Poverty from around the 'webs. The CBPP piece is informative:

Today's safety net -- which includes important programs and improvements both from the Johnson era and thereafter -- cuts poverty nearly in half.In 2012, it kept 41 million people, including 9 million children, out of poverty, according to the Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). If government benefits are excluded, today's poverty rate would be 29 percent under the SPM; with those benefits, the rate is 16 percent. Most analysts view the SPM as a better poverty measure than the "official" measure because it's more comprehensive. The SPM counts not only cash income but, unlike the official measure, also non-cash and tax-based benefits, such as SNAP (food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and rental vouchers. Also unlike the official measure, it accounts for income and payroll taxes paid, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and child care expenses, and it adjusts the poverty line to reflect geographic differences in living costs.

I should by rights be linking to the original piece.

I did not know about the SPM.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:14 PM
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I wish the census would come up with some better way to deal with college students with well off parents. Its jarring to see the fancy areas north of campus in Berkeley and all of Stanford in dark blue.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:34 PM
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While the topic is here, have people seen the Jesse Myerson thing in Rolling Stone suggesting, among other things, guaranteed work for everybody? This has been parsed, at least on Chris Hayes' show recently, as a guaranteed basic income. And yet when the Chris Hayes panelists were discussing it, they were talking about eradicating, or seriously paring down, the social safety net: the guaranteed basic income would substitute for that.

It sounded troublingly libertarian. Josh Barro was there totes agreeing.

I'm not taking the time to spell all this out, providing links or explaining who the hell Josh Barro is. If you follow at all, what was a bit bewildering was that this guy Jesse Myerson is/was an Occupy activist.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:07 PM
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53

Students living in poverty are still in poverty.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:47 PM
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54

53: Most are not "living in poverty", it is just that their reported incomes are poverty level.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:35 AM
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54 --- um. I don't know if I agree.

After all, "reported incomes are poverty level" is what poverty means, as far as the statisticians can tell us. If we want to talk about other measures of deprivation, I think many students would score highly on some of them. Some wouldn't. And on other measures you might find many students scoring lowly, and few highly.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:51 AM
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Presumably the students are not paying market rates for their accommodation - they're living in university housing, which is a lot cheaper - so effectively their income includes a big subsidy for living costs. You wouldn't be able to live in that area on that income if you weren't a student.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:57 AM
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as far as the statisticians can tell us.

"Your bedroom?!" the man asked. "Then why are you searching for the ring out here near your doorway?"
"Because," Nasrudin explained, "there is much more light out here."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:58 AM
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I'm not sure how much of a difference 56 makes - the Census Bureau excludes people living on campus from their calculations for these figures (Source. I'm unsure exactly what "on campus" means, if it includes university subsidized housing that's not an explicit dorm or not.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:04 AM
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57 - I dunno. I don't actually think "lots of students are poor" is a false statement. (On the contrary, it's almost proverbial.) Now, you might say you don't care that students are poor, which is perhaps defensible: being a student is part of life that is temporary and perhaps has other compensations. But that's quite a different question from "what is the poverty rate amongst students". One is amenable to statistical efforts. The other is not, no?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:16 AM
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you might say you don't care that students are poor, which is perhaps defensible: being a student is part of life that is temporary and perhaps has other compensations.

I can think of a few good reasons not to care about poor students.

1) My main concern is long-term poverty in my town, and the policies that I as a local government can put in place to ameliorate this. The students don't count: they'll only be in my town for three or four years then they'll go off and get a job somewhere else, and they won't be my problem (or, probably, poor any more).
2) It might also be true that someone who spends three years in non-student poverty suffers all kinds of adverse consequences to things like long-term health, employability etc that don't apply to someone who spends three years as a poor student. You shouldn't count them as really poor from a welfare point of view, any more than you should count them as really unemployed from a labour-market point of view.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:35 AM
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There are good reasons why you might want to tackle student poverty, though.

i) if students are poor, poor people won't want to become students. The harder it is to be a student, the less likely people from low incomes or people who have no family safety net to fall back on are going to want to study.*

ii) basic human decency and a general commitment to a decent minimal standard of living for everyone. I also don't think we should discount the negative effects of a pool of skint temporary residents in lowest common denominator rental properties on a community/area.

* when I was an undergraduate, I was pretty much functioning at the bottom end of what I think would have been tolerable for someone with no family safety net behind them. Things are worse now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:45 AM
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ii) is a very good point. Is i), though? Is having to live for three years on a poverty-level income more of a disincentive for poor people to become students than it would be for rich people? What's making it hard for poor people to attend university, surely, isn't the thought of having to live like poor people while they're doing it; it's the cost of doing it. Free tuition and a meagre but adequate grant would be a great thing to have, even if it means you're going to spend three years on near-poverty income.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:52 AM
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I can think of a few good reasons not to care about poor students.

Because they don't bag their garbage and have made the area around my office a mess of sodden litter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:57 AM
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re: 62

It's a damn sight harder to do well on a near-poverty income if you are forced to work lots of hours just to make ends meet.

Sure, if there was a grant that was just barely adequate for food, rent, and basic living expenses that might not be a disincentive. But that isn't the situation for poor students in the UK at the moment, is it? They are living on tiny incomes, while working huge numbers of hours.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:06 AM
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64.2 is true, of course. That's another reason, not to not care about poor students, but to count them separately from poor non-students - they're economically weird because they spend a lot of time working at negative-income jobs (you have to pay to study!)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:11 AM
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I think the problem with using statistics like this to think about student poverty, is that students (at least in the US) are unlikely to in any meaningful sense be living off what shows up as their income. They're very often either living off loans, or are dependent on their families, or are spending down savings. Student poverty can be a problem, but income statistics aren't going to illuminate it much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:15 AM
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LB, I don't think that's true. Some students are living off of loans and parents, but quite a lot (e.g., everyone I teach, practically) are living off of what shows up as their income while attending school part-time. Income statistics for that population will be noisy, but there are a lot of people who are working jobs and supporting families who have a really expensive hobby -- going to college.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:44 AM
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re: 65

Sure, I think there's a good reason to statistically treat them differently. That's a separate question from what constitutes a fair and equitable method of funding students, or the question of at what level that funding should be set.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:49 AM
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I was wondering whether the map doesn't distinguish students who are dependents from those who aren't. I bet those who aren't (who are either older or have no financial backing) look very different than those who are, even if they have the same "income."

My nearest census tract is 5.3%. This area is stupidly affluent.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 7:09 AM
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68: Comity!

67: wiki says "As of 2010, the US had 20.3 million students in higher education, roughly 5.7% of the total population. About 14.6 million of these students were enrolled full-time." I've no idea where to look for sources of funding/income...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 7:46 AM
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ajay, you'd probably want FAFSA (Free Applications for Federal Student Aid) data. It's the standardized form many students complete to determine whether they're eligible for federal aid. It will include parents' income for students who are dependent (and all entering freshman who haven't lived independently for one year). I don't have time to hunt for it, but that would likely tell you better what % of students are really low-income or poor vs getting money from their parents to sufficiently cover living expenses and tuition.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 7:59 AM
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My nearest census tract is 5.3%. This area is stupidly affluent.

It's sad that it takes the latter observation to imply the former.

I was also surprised about the direness of Philadelphia, but that probably reflects the wealth being further out in the burbs than in some other older cities.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:31 AM
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Of course Cala's literally right, most students are non-traditional students. But for the problem I was pointing out (totally misleading numbers in college towns) the problem consists of traditional students living in a few census tracts right next to big schools.

Anyway 69 gets it right. Most traditional undergraduates are still dependents even if they're living separately. Whether they're poor or rich depends on their parents' income level, not their own income level.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 9:42 AM
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62: There is a huge difference between trying to live on genteel student-level poverty as a single person, and trying to do so when you have dependents of your own. I remember reading an account years ago of a single mom at Berkeley, and the hoops she had to jump through to be able to attend college full time. (Hope there's an opening in the subsidized married student housing, because that's the only hope for a rent you can afford that takes kids. Go on welfare, because student aid only covers your own expenses, not food for your kids. Scramble like hell to find supportive neighbors in that married student housing when you need a sitter outside of daycare hours, because you surely can't afford market rates for that.)


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 10:45 AM
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Obviously there are better ways of measuring deprivation among students than reported income levels --- but that is also true for retirees, no? Lots of retirees are really dependents (even if not living with family), lots of retirees are really living off savings etc, lots of retirees have few dependents etc.

Now broadly speaking we can then come up with other measures for deprivation: have you foregone medical care because of concerns around cost? Have you missed a meal because you can't afford food? Etc.

But if you start from the assumption students aren't meaningfully poor that seems to close down a lot of important questions.

(Another arguable reason not to worry about poor students, if you are a college town: the college should be exercising pastoral care for those students. Another reason: students don't vote.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 1:35 PM
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IME ajay is much, much closer to being right than Keir. The Census data on income is just a lousy way to understand the population of full-time, living-on-or-near-campus, 18-24-year-old undergraduate and graduate students who -- even IF they have limited income -- are much closer to "temporarily broke" than "poor."

These students are the minority of American college students, but they definitely skew the numbers in some places, as Unfoggetarian notes.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:47 PM
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Oh, and on Philadelphia:

1. We haven't annexed suburbs the way some other cities (cough Phoenix cough) have done -- or rather, we did it almost 200 years ago -- so many of our wealthy bedroom communities are literally 20-25 minutes from Center City. Twenty minutes! New Yorkers would kill for that.

2. We're a really poor city. And a lot of people are living in generational poverty thanks to a lousy K-12 education system, mass incarceration, etc etc.

3. We're a really old city.* Elderly single women in general are more likely to be poor. Not as poor as they would be without Social Security, but still poorer.

*Although we're younger than the state. Statewide in PA, the *median age* for white people is 42 (!). The median for everyone is right around 30.

4. Finally, although this is not a huge factor, there is the student issue. Students at Penn, Drexel, Temple, and a host of smaller schools live in the city proper (as opposed to, say, students at St. Joe's, who often live technically just over the city line).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:51 PM
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Oops, major typo in #3 above. I meant the median age for everyone *else* -- black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. -- is right around 30.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 4:56 PM
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Well, so what was annoying me about the student issue is that it's not so easy to work out the actual poverty levels in the town. I'm pretty sure there are two adjacent census tracts with high poverty levels (85% and 55%) where the first of them is mostly rich students and the second is mostly poor townies. But I'm not totally confident about that. Maybe there's actually some big student apartment complexes in the second tract and the actual poverty rate there is lower than 55%.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:13 PM
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But isn't a claim like: "oh students are just temporarily broke" importing a bunch of social judgments about who is deserving of claiming the status of "poverty"? I mean, I agree that students are likely to feel the effects of poverty differently from, say, a young working mother. But that's true of a whole bunch of people who are "in poverty" from the census' point of view, right?

(Also the census excludes students living on campus from the "poverty universe", which is worth remembering.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:17 PM
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(To clarify, I'm not saying all our students are rich (they're certainly not), but I think that census tract in particular should be the richer students.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:18 PM
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(Also the census excludes students living on campus from the "poverty universe", which is worth remembering.)

That's what confuses me about some of the maps: some of the census tracts look like they precisely coincide with university campuses. I guess there may be some apartment buildings that are essentially on the campus, but I wouldn't have thought the non-dorm-living population in those census tracts could be large at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:20 PM
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It's necessary to account for student low-incomeness being often temporary and a different type of thing from poverty as commonly conceived, without going so far as to make "poor" and "middle-class" into castes, like this weird WaPo article in which an unemployed woman "bristled when she learned that she would be joining a program she had always thought of as being only for the poor".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:23 PM
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Some of the tracts do have very few people. The tract here that appears to be entirely on campus only has 200 people left. Also there are grad students who live on campus, right? Are they counted?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:31 PM
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Keir, it sounds like you're making a philosophical argument. I'm making a practical one. In my city, there is an enormous, enormous difference between temporarily broke students and poor city residents. They don't have the same life prospects, assets, barriers, demographics, political support, you name it. They might just as well live on different planets in some respects.

(Of course, a relative handful of the students ALSO fall into the latter category, but most of them are commuters -- so they are not congregated around a particular university geographically.)

Unfoggetarian, one way to make a very rough cut at it is to see if you can get an age slice of the data. The newest ACS 5-year data was just released by the Census bureau, and can't remember if it gets down to the tract level in breaking things down by age. If so, you can see how many 18-24 year-olds are there and that in itself is decent rough proxy.

(Trivia fact: The tiny town of Bryn Mawr, pop. ~4000, has a skewed sex ratio due to female undergrads at BMC. Not sure if they have since adjusted for this.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:32 PM
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Also, lots of students aren't temporarily poor! They're rich!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:34 PM
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Right -- there's the real poor and then there's the people-who-are-poor-but-aren't-really-poor. Which I think is a spectacularly philosophical argument! If you are twenty three and can't afford to heat your residence, you are poor even if you will be able to do so in ten years time.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:36 PM
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Sorry, I meant "temporarily income-poor as calculated by the Census." There is a sizable population of students whose parents pay $1,500/month rent for an off-campus apartment (or $300,000 for a condo!!) PLUS give them hundreds of dollars per month in spending money. I've been on apartment tours with these kids -- it's truly breathtaking.

The apartment buildings have a PRIVATE BUS to take them ~8 blocks to campus. Heaven forbid they take public transit!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:38 PM
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Keir, I think we're talking at cross purposes. I'm thinking of people who are income-poor but not suffering in their daily lives (food, clothing, housing) because of it. They may be comfortable in daily life, or they may be affluent. But either way, they're not poor in any way except by the census/income definition.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:39 PM
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87: There's 23-and-can't-afford-to-heat-your-residence and then there's 23-and-can't-afford-to-visit-your-dying-mother-in-another-state. Sure, those castes share some pretty basic socio-economic interests, but that doesn't mean they're identical.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:41 PM
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85: Interesting. My census-data-fu is weak. A little poking around I haven't figured out how to do that. But there's lots of interesting stuff, I should learn to use the site better.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:41 PM
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Keir, I think the confusion comes from the fact that conventionally-aged college students in the US tend to live in university-owned dormitories. (Which I know is much less common in Europe, and I think may be less common in New Zealand as well?) So, yes, the students have a low income during their college years, but the board fees that are being paid by their parents or student loans more than cover adequate heat and three meals a day. At least in the census tracts that essear is talking about, their small incomes go entirely to beer and iPhones.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:45 PM
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This is why we should use consumption rather than income to measure poverty. It's what we care about. If you have a way to consume a lot (whether through family resources, built up wealth, or whatever other means), you're not in poverty. Some students consume very little and are genuinely in poverty. Other students consume lots and are not in poverty. There is a similar issue with seniors. (Although they don't throw things off in quite as much in these maps both because they aren't as concentrated as students as also because many seniors living off of accumulated wealth actually end up earning decent incomes as dividends and capital gains. But not all of them!)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:45 PM
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90: I didn't intend to ever refer to either group. I had in mind what I think is the situation of the majority of our students: they have plenty of money for basic needs but that money isn't coming from "income."


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:48 PM
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89: Which is fine! But you can't use the "temporarily broke" line on those people: there's nothing temporary about their condition --- they just aren't broke, and are being misleading about their income.

And I agree that the census poverty definition is not super robust (which is why I suggested other measures of deprivation) but it is also not super robust for many other population groups, and yet we tend not to try and classify them as "not really poor".

Retirees, again, are a pretty good case of this. A 70 year old who owns a house, has relatives living near by but is living off SS checks isn't poor in the same way a 23 year old working mother of two is, or a fifty year old unemployed man. But we don't tend to see people argue for excluding the elderly from poverty statistics.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:52 PM
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Your wealth should be measured by your consumption plus your wealth, minus consumption.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:52 PM
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These maps are from the ACS survey and do seem to include dormitories. In January 2006, the American Community Survey (ACS) was expanded to include the population living in GQ facilities. GQ is Group Quarters and college residence halls are included. And they are specifically mentioned in a note which warns about undersampling (but they are in): Most notably, the coverage rate for college dormitories was artificially low because data were collected throughout the entire year, including the summer months when many dormitories were vacant. This, in turn, lowers the coverage for the GQ population as a whole.

And the income questions do not seem to cover whether a person was a dewpendent or not, but rather just their income for the year from various sources.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:53 PM
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Well, I'm looking at this through the lens of my own experience in my early 20s -- living in crappy housing, not a lot of money for anything fancy, probably late on bills occasionally, but regularly employed (at just above minimum wage) and having a reasonable amount of fun. And if something really bad had happened, I could easily have moved back in with my folx, even though they didn't, as a general rule, want me to live with them. That's a lot different than someone from a lower working-class background who's just as likely to have their parents hit them up for $50 til payday as the reverse.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:54 PM
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97: I was a dewpendent for awhile, but then I switched to Mello Yello.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:56 PM
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And as an example, the Ohio U (generally middle class population) part of Athens, Ohio shows up as much more impoverished than the surrounding fairly impoverished Appalachian foothills. It ain't even close to being so other than via a raw measure of income.

But yes, there are students and then there are students.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:58 PM
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99: Kobe hates typos.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:59 PM
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To make things concrete. 60% of Berkeley students come from families making over 80K. 75% of Berkeley students live off-campus. Census tract 422800 is mostly students and is listed as 48% living in poverty. This is much poorer than the actually poor 423400 which is only listed as 26% poor.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:59 PM
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And can't count.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 5:59 PM
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Anyone know what the deal is with tract 017902 in Alameda? As far as I can tell, there's no buildings there but 3000 people live there...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:10 PM
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Ah, nevermind. No one lives in the Alameda portion, but that census tract also includes treasure island. There must be some weird history behind that little spot being in San Francisco County instead of Alameda County (and hence part of a weird census tract).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:13 PM
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102: Oh wow, that's really incredible. If I have the right table, Tract 4228 in Alameda County, CA has roughly 7,000 residents, of whom 84% are between 18-24 years old. The median age for the ENTIRE TRACT is 20 years old.

See the table.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:19 PM
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And tract 4234 has roughly 4,000 residents, 18% of whom are between 18-24 years old. The median age in this tract is 36.2 years. It's also much more gender-balanced.

See the table.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:23 PM
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106: It's nice to see the Census actually bear out my impression of that area, which is that basically no one other than students lives there. The state of the housing is incredibly depressing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:28 PM
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Treasure Island is nothing but weird history, but why is it particularly weird that it's in SF County?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:44 PM
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Oh, I see, there's a part of Alameda that's in SF County. Now I get it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:45 PM
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Is it the bridge terminus?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:45 PM
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Oh cool, now I understand how to search for what you're saying. I wasn't able to find a table for age and income. In my current town the tract that's 85% below the poverty line has 88% people between the ages of 15-24. But the adjacent tracts which I thought had way fewer students actually still have a lot of students. The 55% poverty tract has just over 40% in the same age group. So most of that 55% is students, but that still leaves a lot of actual poor people. A rough estimate is that a little over 20% of the non-student population in that tract is below the poverty line


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:46 PM
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111: No, it's a former dump. This blog post suggests that it was just a weird bit of surveying where the line they drew ended up cutting off a bit of Alameda Island.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 6:49 PM
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