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2023 KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being

June 14, 2023

The 34th edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT® Data Book describes how the country's lack of affordable and accessible child care negatively affects children, families and U.S. businesses.This year's publication continues to present national and state data across four domains — economic well-being, education, health and family and community — and ranks states in overall child well-being. The report includes pre-pandemic figures as well as more recent statistics, and shares the latest information of its kind available.

What Are the Implications of Rising Debt for Older Americans?

September 26, 2023

The share of older Americans with debt has been on the rise over the last several decades. Having debt, however, does not always signal financial fragility because debt can be used for various purposes. For example, households that take out a low-interest mortgage to buy a home, which typically appreciates in value, are likely making a savvy choice. In contrast, households that carry unpaid credit card balances could see their debt snowball, leading to financial distress. Identifying these distinctions in household debt situations is crucial to understanding the implications of the rise in debt holding among seniors.  This brief, based on a new paper, addresses three key questions: 1) As more older households carry debt in retirement, what share are at "high-risk" and "low-risk" of financial hardship? 2) Is the growth in debt holding driven by the high- or low-risk households? and 3) What are the different types of high-risk households?The answers will help policymakers determine which types of borrowers are most vulnerable and develop tailored solutions for assisting them.   The discussion proceeds as follows. The first section provides background on trends in debt holding among older Americans. The second section sorts households into high-risk and low-risk based on their debt and asset profiles, and it shows that high-risk borrowers are driving the growth in debt. The third section identifies four groups of high-risk borrowers with very different characteristics. Given the diverse situations of high-risk borrowers, the fourth section suggests some potential ways to address each group's specific needs. The final section concludes that the debt burdens of high-risk borrowers are cause for concern, but a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist, so targeted interventions would be most effective.  Click "Download" to access this resource.

Guns and Voting: How to Protect Elections after Bruen

September 18, 2023

With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk. In Bruen, the Supreme Court recognized that prohibitions on guns in "sensitive places" — and specifically in "polling places" — were "presumptively lawful." Yet today only 12 states and Washington, DC, prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms at poll sites. Ironically, the states with the strongest gun regulations — which had restricted the ability to carry guns in public generally, rather than prohibiting guns in particular locations — were made most vulnerable in the wake of Bruen. In fact, only one of the six states that had their laws struck down by the decision specifically prohibited guns in polling places at the time of the decision.Now these states that once had strong general gun laws must scramble to enact new protections for elections. Although some states have banned guns at polling placessince Bruen, there is far more work to do.This report evaluates the new risks that gun violence poses for U.S. elections and proposes policy solutions to limit those risks. Solutions include prohibitions on firearms wherever voting or election administration occurs — at or near polling places, ballot drop boxes, election offices, and ballot counting facilities. In addition, states need stronger laws preventing intimidation of voters, election officials, election workers, and anyone else facilitating voting, with express recognition of the role that guns play in intimidation.Brennan Center for Justice: Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: 

Poverty, Income, & Health Insurance Update: Illinois and Chicago Region (2022)

September 15, 2023

Poverty among children more than doubled from 2021 to 2022 (from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022), according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)1 released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This the largest year-over-year poverty rate increase on record among individuals aged 17 years and younger. Children were hardest hit due, in large part, to the lapse of the Child Tax Credit; however, across all ages gains made from COVID-related assistance in 2021 were lost in 2022. In Illinois, there are over 4 million Illinoisans experiencing poverty, with over 760,000 Illinoisans living in extreme poverty. In 2022 census results, poverty rates for children and communities of color - similar to national trends - remain dramatically higerh than the overall rate. 

Research-Practice Partnerships Writing Guide

September 15, 2023

Research-Practice Partnerships are long-term, intentionally organized, and mutually beneficial collaborations that seek to improve education across the lifespan, broadly defined. This writing guide includes information on the features of the program, details about what reviewers look for in proposals, and tips for common missteps to avoid.

Designing Governance Tools for Agricultural and Environmental Data

September 14, 2023

Open Environmental Data Project (OEDP)'s Environmental Dataset Re-Mix Workshops work on existing environmental datasets and data governance tools, articulating redesigns that make them usable to lay audiences, reusable to public needs, and inclusive of cultural knowledge within participants' communities.On April 4, 2023, OEDP co-hosted a Dataset Re-Mix Workshop with OpenTEAM, where we examined the development of data governance tools for both agricultural and environmental data. We mainly focused on drawing comparisons and contrasts between OpenTEAM's Ag Data Wallet and OEDP's Community Data Hubs model. This synthesis documents the key learnings from the Dataset Re-Mix Workshop.

Reimagining Civil Society Resourcing in Tanzania

September 14, 2023

This study represents one step in a more extensive and longer-term process aimedat stimulating and contributing to broader discussions at a sectoral level, shining a light on existing innovative practices, and identifying ways to strengthen practice and experimentation in local resource mobilization. 

Environmental Dataset Re-Mix Recommendations for the California State Water Resources Control Board

September 13, 2023

On March 23, 2023, the Open Environmental Data Project and the California State Water Resources Control Board co-hosted a Dataset Re-Mix Workshop. We explored and discussed potential improvements to the state's water quality datasets, and their uses in understanding and achieving Human Right to Water and Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program goals. This report contains recommendations synthesized from these conversations.

The Devastating Toll of Gun Violence on American Women and Girls

September 13, 2023

In many ways, men have historically been the focus of conversations about guns and gun violence in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of gun owners are male. Eighty-six percent of gun deaths in the US involve men, and men are six times more likely to die from gun violence than women.However, gun violence also takes a grueling and devastating toll on women, with women of color experiencing a particularly disproportionate impact. Each year, more than 6,000 women die from gun violence. More than half of these deaths are gun suicides, and women are also heavily impacted by the deadly intersection of guns and domestic violence, which claims hundreds of lives each year. Thousands more women are left in the wake of gun violence's trauma, forced to grieve and recover from the loss of the many sons, husbands, brothers, and fathers who die as a result of gun violence. The toll of gun violence on women in the US is particularly stark when compared to peer nations: compared to women in other high-income countries, US women are 21 times more likely to die from gun violence.It is clear that gun violence is an issue with deep, multi-faceted impacts on women's safety, health, and well-being. Understanding this burden is essential to creating and implementing responsive solutions that will protect women, their families, and their communities.

The Why, the What, the How: Disney, the Population Council, and the Pre-Production of "Family Planning"

September 6, 2023

Family Planning, a short, animated film made by Walt Disney Productions in 1968, is a touchstone for historians of global population. Since Matthew Connelly's Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population (2008) re-energized the field, the film has become a fixture in histories of population control; an irresistible opportunity to namecheck Donald Duck and inject some levity into otherwise sober accounts. Analysis has concentrated on salient features of the film: its construction of an ethnically generic "everyman," its consumerist message, and its coyness about contraception. It typically figures as one of the most significant products of a sustained effort to mobilize mass media in the service of international family planning.Our research mobilizes previously neglected lines of evidence, especially unpublished documents held by the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), to shed new light on hidden negotiations and contestations. In drawing from the materials at the RAC — and beyond — we aim to contribute to an increasingly concerted effort to embed questions about media and communication more centrally in histories of reproductive politics.

Designing a "good life" for livestock: Could gene editing improve farm animal welfare in low- and middle- income countries?

September 6, 2023

Gene editing's successful application to benefit farm animals' welfare is unlikely in the short to medium term, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), given the high costs and low rates of success to date in research settings.Reasons: 1. Gene editing is biased toward outcomes that can be easily measured and assessed. More complex traits associated with animal welfare such as behavior or condition are less likely to be targeted using gene editing.  2. Gene editing has been designed for use in vertically integrated production systems as livestock breeding is centralized and breeds themselves are highly standardised in these systems. Many LMICs lack vertically integrated production systems, have higher numbers of smallholder farmers, lack investment by companies and NGOs to promote these technologies, lack gene editing researchers, and have limited local support for biotechnology research and training.Potential downsides of gene editing: 1. Where the intensification of livestock production is growing, gene editing is likely to further accelerate intensification and disadvantage farmers relying on less intensive production systems. 2. Genetic diversity across traditional breeds is valuable and should be maintained. It is not clear how gene editing could affect this diversity.There may be specific applications that could lead to improvements in animal welfare in certain LMICs, for example: 1. Using gene editing to bias sex ratios could be particularly valuable in India, given the country's extensive dairy industry. 2. Sex selection in layer hens in Egypt, given hens there are raised in an increasingly vertically integrated production system. 3. Producing polled cattle and eliminating the need for mechanical dehorning as currently occurs in many locales.Many farm animal welfare issues in LMICs are less likely to be addressed through applications of gene editing as opposed to lower technological measures such as better access to veterinary services, better management practices, improved biosecurity, and poverty reduction.

Effective Behaviour Change Strategies to Promote Meat Reduction in Brazil

September 6, 2023

Brazil's dietary landscape has a great deal of regional diversity, with meat playing a crucial role across many dishes and set against the backdrop of a complex social structure. Patterns of meat consumption vary significantly across the country, influenced by regional traditions, social disparities, and economic factors. Any strategies to promote meat consumption reduction in Brazil will need to be region-specific and tailored to the specific audience. Behavioral science research, primarily from wealthier Western nations, has found that there are many barriers for individuals in reducing their meat eating, such as the lack of dietary knowledge, strong cultural and social norms supporting meat consumption, misperceptions about the health benefits of meat, and resistance to trying new foods. The research also points to several promising strategies to promote a more plant-based diet.This report describes the COM-B model that brings together many theories of behavior change. It proposes that for change to occur, one needs: 1) Capability to carry out the action - physical (being able to do it) and psychological (having the right knowledge and knowing how to do it). 2) Opportunity to perform it - physical (having the right chance to do it ) and social (affected by what our peers think and say). 3) Motivation to do it - automatic (feeling like doing it) and reflective (deciding to do it).The report adapts the COM-B to provide practical advice on how to promote eating less meat for Brazil, giving examples applicable specifically to Brazil.Key lesson for frontline workers: One must define the precise behavior and specific audience to be influenced. Before taking any action, one should identify who (i.e., the specific population on whom one is going to focus), when one wants the reduction to occur (e.g., at home, away from home, only at dinner), how much of a reduction one wants to see. Do not go for "everyone in society".