Tag Archives: Weekend Long Reads

Weekend Long Reads: Asset Income

by Kevin Schofield


This week’s “long read” is a research report from the Economic Innovation Group looking at Americans’ different sources of income and in particular focusing on the one most closely tied to wealth: income from assets.

The report categorizes income into three types: “transfers” such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and food stamps; wages and earnings; and income from assets. An asset can be a financial investment such as stocks and bonds, but it can also be the housing that a landlord rents out, an apple orchard generating produce, or a manufacturing plant used to create goods.

Over the past fifty years, there has been a steady shift in the sources of personal income from Americans. In 1969, 77% of income was from wages and earnings; as of 2019, it was only 63%. Income from assets, however, has grown from 15% to 20%. 

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: Asset Income

Weekend Long Reads: The Evolution of Our Health Care System

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” focuses on two medical research papers exploring how the U.S. health care system has changed over the past two decades: the money going into the system and the outcomes for individuals. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Let’s start with a paper from a group of researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation here in Seattle, looking at health care spending from 2002 through 2016 and broken out by race and ethnicity. Total spending has grown dramatically, from about $1.5 trillion annually in 2002 to over $2.4 trillion in 2016. The amount spent per person increases as they age, from a low of about $3,000 per year for children in 2016 to more than $15,000 per year for those over the age of 65. There are some significant differences in spending across racial and ethnic lines, with Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics seeing some of the lowest levels of spending across all age groups and white and multiracial individuals seeing the highest spending.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Evolution of Our Health Care System

Weekend Long Reads: The Kids Are Eating a Lot More Pizza

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a report from a 20-year study on the food consumption habits of American youth. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NAHANES) has been collecting data since 1999, in two-year intervals, on what foods kids are eating, broken out across four categories: unprocessed and minimally processed; processed culinary ingredients such as oils; processed foods like cheeses; and “ultraprocessed” foods such as fast food, sweetened beverages, and store-bought ready-to-heat dishes.

In their most recent cohort, 2017–2018, they found that over two-thirds of the calories consumed by youth are from ultraprocessed food, up from 61.4% in 1999. The ready-to-heat/eat category jumped from 2.2% all the way up to 11.1%; that includes store-bought pizza, hamburgers, and sandwiches, and pizza alone is now over 5% of kids’ total calorie consumption.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Kids Are Eating a Lot More Pizza

Weekend Long Reads: The Climate Change Report

by Kevin Schofield


This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its new Sixth Assessment Report on the current scientific consensus on where things stand with regard to our changing global climate. It’s an update on its last report (the Fifth Assessment) from 2013, with hundreds of scientists from all over the world collaborating to provide both assessments of the current climate and also updated models of what is most likely to happen from here.

The new report is 3,949 pages. That is a “long read” even outside of my tolerance, so I’m not going to suggest that you read it.  Instead, I’m going to point you to three much shorter documents to read:

  • IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers;
  • IPCC’s Regional Fact Sheet for Central and North America, which focuses on the present and future impacts of climate change here in our own backyard; and
  • An excellent summary by the news site Quartz on the key findings from the full report.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Climate Change Report

Weekend Long Reads: Long COVID

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s main “long read” deals with a scary topic: “long COVID.” This is how the medical community has come to refer to incidents where a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 initially seems to recover but continues to suffer ongoing symptoms for weeks or even months. Doctors have established two categories of long COVID: “ongoing symptomatic COVID” (OSC), in which symptoms continue on for four to 12 weeks after the initial illness; and “post-COVID syndrome” for symptoms that persist after 12 weeks.

Long COVID is still an emerging phenomenon since COVID-19 has barely been around long enough to start to complete longitudinal studies, but by existing estimates, 10% or more of the general population who contract COVID-19 will have some form of long COVID to follow, and the percentage is much higher in some high-risk populations (including those hospitalized with COVID-19). But little is still known about exactly what the risk factors are for long COVID, and how they compare to COVID-19 itself.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: Long COVID

Weekend Long Reads: Philadelphia’s Basic Systems Repair Program

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a study on Philadelphia’s Basic Systems Repair Program — and the surprising impact that it had.

The Basic Systems Repair Program is a grant program run by the City that makes awards of up to $20,000 to low-income homeowners for structural repairs of electrical, plumbing, heating, and roof damage to their homes. To enroll in the program, homeowners must apply, meet the income qualifications (the same as for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 vouchers), and then be placed on a waiting list — currently for up to three years.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: Philadelphia’s Basic Systems Repair Program

Weekend Long Reads: The Cost of ‘Compassion’

by Kevin Schofield


Two “long read” documents came through my inbox in the past week that, upon reflection, are likely to set the tone for a good chunk of our political conversation over the next few months as we head into the primary and general elections here in Seattle.

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Cost of ‘Compassion’

The Demographics Behind Biden’s Victory

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a deep dive into the demographics of the voters in last November’s presidential election. It would be wonderful if we knew more immediately after the election about who chose to vote (or stay home), but our secret balloting process means that demographic data must be reconstructed after the fact. And that process often takes months.

Continue reading The Demographics Behind Biden’s Victory

Weekend Long Reads: Are the Kids AlL right?

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is the 2021 Kids Count Data Book, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Kids Count project tracks indicators of children’s well-being over time and looks at which are trending better or worse.

The 2021 Data Book includes information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and other agencies through 2019 and compares it with 2010 figures (get used to seeing a lot of 2019 data for a while — 2020 wasn’t a good year for collecting data). 

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: Are the Kids AlL right?

Weekend Long Read: Economic Progress Report

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s report from last week on how the economic recovery is going, both nationally and locally.  In short: “It’s complicated.”

There is no one metric that gives us a perfect read on the economy; it is very much a multifaceted creature. Economists often start by looking at industrial production, employment, and consumer confidence, and the report definitely includes those, but it provides interesting, insightful charts on several other measures as well, including personal income, home prices, oil prices, and inflation.

Continue reading Weekend Long Read: Economic Progress Report