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A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.

April 28, 2022

This report illustrates the enormous toll gun violence has in the U.S. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the 2020 CDC firearm fatality data, which was made public in December 2021; a look at demographic and state-level geographic differences; and a comparison of other injury fatalities. The report also highlights evidence-based policy recommendations states can implement to help curb gun violence in all its forms.

Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools

June 29, 2022

Most researchers and policymakers rely on the share of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals when describing student socioeconomic background in schools. But shares of students receiving free and reduced-price meals, and other measures related to the distribution of school meals, vary by state and across time because of changes in school meal eligibility criteria.In this report, we describe the development of a new measure: Model Estimates of Poverty in Schools (MEPS). This measure estimates the school-level share of students from households with incomes at or below the federal poverty level between fall 2013 and fall 2018. The MEPS measure aims to be comparable across states and over time and to broadly align with the school's enrolled population (as opposed to a neighborhood measure).We find that MEPS broadly aligns with aggregate state measures of student poverty and are strongly correlated with geographic district poverty as measured by the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program. We also find that MEPS can under- or overestimate poverty shares for certain districts. In particular, we find that our model underestimates school-level poverty for districts enrolling high shares of Black students. To correct for this, we produce modified MEPS, a second measure that mechanically adjusts our estimate to align with geographic district poverty rates. Because of wider margins of error for districts with small populations in the SAIPE data, we recommend using modified MEPS only for analysis of geographic districts with more than 65,000 residents.These statistical estimates should be used primarily by researchers. MEPS could be useful for those conducting research across states or years or for policymakers who want to understand how a school's socioeconomic characteristics may have changed over time. But these estimates are not appropriate for allocating resources within a state or district or for other uses when having a true count, rather than a model estimate, is required.

Children's Uninsurance Fell between 2019 and 2021, but Progress Could Stall When Pandemic Protections Expire

June 29, 2022

The pandemic and associated job losses threatened to reduce employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and increase uninsurance among American families. Though such risks were higher for adults because of the long-standing generosity of public coverage policies for children, the severity and novelty of the pandemic also had the potential to exacerbate children's coverage losses that had occurred between 2016 and 2019 and to jeopardize decades of progress in reducing their uninsurance rate. In this brief, we explore changes in coverage status and type among children from birth to age 17 from 2019 to 2021. To do so, we use data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement and administrative data on children's enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Marketplace coverage through early 2022. We examine (1) changes between early 2019 and early 2021 to reflect the first year of the pandemic and the first round of pandemic recovery legislation passed in March 2020 and (2) changes from early 2021 through late 2021 and early 2022 to reflect continuing trends and initial responses to the second major federal recovery effort in March 2021.

Meeting the Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents through Home Visiting

June 29, 2022

Pregnant and parenting adolescents* face the dual challenge of raising a child while navigating their own path to adulthood. Many encounter barriers related to child care, housing, and health care that can limit their job and educational opportunities. Some experience judgment and bias at home and in the community. Despite these setbacks, some adolescents view parenthood as a positive life event that bolsters their sense of responsibility and stability.** Many home visiting models support first-time parents or parents with complex needs. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program identifies women under 21 as a priority service group. More can be done, however, to offer age-appropriate, engaging, and respectful home visiting services for adolescents.This Innovation Roundup Brief highlights home visiting models, affiliates, and initiatives serving young parents' needs:Teen Parent Connection: A Healthy Families America AffiliateFamily SpiritNurse-Family PartnershipShow Me Strong Families (SMSF): A Parents as Teachers InitiativeIt concludes with key service delivery features for consideration by other programs.

Fourth of July in America: American Identity Research Project May - June 2022

June 29, 2022

Although the United States has always had competing narratives about its national identity, today the competition has transformed into a dangerous fight. A critical piece of moving America towards a healthier, more inclusive democracy will be lifting up narratives of national identity that can reach and resonate across lines of difference.Since 2020, More in Common has been studying beliefs and attitudes towards American identity and how they vary across groups in the United States. Beginning in February 2022, More in Common began organizing monthly meetings of a table of non-profits and civil society partners who are similarly invested in the subject of American history and identity, and who want to act from an evidence base to draw Americans together. These partners serve as collaborators and informal advisers on this project.In May and June 2022, More in Common partnered with YouGov to field a national survey to a representative sample of 2,500 adult U.S. citizens. This survey is the first of three that will be fielded in 2022 to explore associations with American identity, figures and events in American history, connections to national holidays, aspirations for our shared future, and more.The attitudes captured in the data show significant concerns around Americas future and its ability to live up to its ideals. The findings also reveal a wide spectrum of strength of attachment to American identity. Between the points of polarization, we see meaningful commonality in seeing the United States with nuance and humility, indicating the potential for American identity to help transcend conflict between groups and bridge lines of political division. Many Americans share the same family narratives, aspirations for the country, and support for various historic figures, events and holidays.

Recent Trends in Mental Health and Substance Use Concerns Among Adolescents

June 28, 2022

Concerns about adolescent mental health and substance use have increased recently, particularly in light of gun violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, many adolescents have experienced worsened emotional health, increased stress, and a lack of peer connection. Other mental health and substance use concerns are on the rise – including drug overdose deaths, self-harm, and eating disorders. Simultaneously, adolescents are spending more time on screens and many report adverse experiences such as parental abuse, hunger, and job loss – all of which can be linked to poor mental health outcomes.This brief explores the state of adolescent mental health and substance use in recent years, highlighting differences observed by sex, racial and ethnic groups, and sexual orientation. Throughout this analysis, we define adolescents as individuals ages 12 to 17. Although data on adolescent mental health is limited, where possible, we draw upon data from the 2020 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which asks parents or guardians questions on behalf of their children and adolescents. We also include data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other surveys conducted during the pandemic.

2019-2020 Tracking Report: LGBTQ Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations

June 28, 2022

The 2019-2020 Resource Tracking Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations (2022) explores the scope and character of U.S. foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues in calendar years 2019-2020. This 18th edition of the tracking report represents the next iteration of work from Funders for LGBTQ Issues in our ongoing effort to document the scale of philanthropic support for LGBTQ communities and issues.The report finds that foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues has fallen since its record high in 2018, totaling $193 million in 2019 and $201 million in 2020. This is concerning, as it comes at a time when, according to Giving USA, overall foundation support has soared. For every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations in 2020, only 23 cents specifically supported LGBTQ communities and issues.

Interactive Map: US Abortion Policies and Access After Roe

June 28, 2022

The abortion landscape is fragmented and increasingly polarized. Many states have abortion restrictions or bans in place that make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to get care. Other states have taken steps to protect abortion rights and access. To help people understand this complex landscape, our interactive map groups states into one of seven categories based on abortion policies they currently have in effect. Users can select any state to see details about abortion policies in place, characteristics of state residents and key abortion statistics, including driving distance to the nearest abortion clinic.

Both Supply and Demand for COVID-Related Academic and Social Interventions Are Insufficient to Address the Negative Effects of the Pandemic

June 28, 2022

Throughout the 2021–22 school year, parents of color and parents with low incomes have expressed worries about their children's mental health, socialization, and academic skills. Many schools and districts have developed targeted interventions. But as schools and districts develop these programs to address students' academic and social needs, the data show those programs do not always reach the students and families most affected by the pandemic.

Weak Gun Laws Are Hurting Police Officers

June 27, 2022

Gun violence against police officers is a major problem in the United States, but elected officials are still adopting counterproductive measures opposed by law enforcement agencies.Policing is a perilous profession, and officers often encounter dangerous situations in the course of their duties. These risks are even higher in states with weak gun laws. Yet in many states, the same politicians that claim to support police agencies also push to weaken gun laws--despite law enforcement agencies' opposition--and further endanger officers' lives. If elected officials are serious about protecting police officers, they must stop passing dangerous gun laws and increasing police officers' risk of experiencing gun violence.This fact sheet both provides data that point to the prominent role of firearms in police officer fatalities and argues for stronger, commonsense gun laws.

Making local economies prosperous and resilient: The case for a modern Economic Development Administration

June 27, 2022

Congress has recently shown serious interest in reauthorizing the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a Department of Commerce agency last authorized in 2004. Congressional appropriators will also have their turn in adequately resourcing the agency, following the extraordinary demands of the pandemic and other impacts to local economies over the past two years. The urgency and importance of congressional attention cannot be overstated. America's global economic standing is under threat as digital disruption, the race for talent, and widening inequality both within and across regions challenge the nation's competitiveness. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy regularly confronts recessions, extreme weather events, supply chain breakdowns, and other shocks that disproportionately impact some local economies and further test the nation's collective ability to adapt and maintain economic resilience over the long run. In response, the country needs to marshal the economic assets that cluster in specialized ways across the regions that make up the U.S. economy--be they leading industries, research universities, entrepreneurs, or workers. These assets are critical if the nation hopes to, for instance, reduce its reliance on imports and boost supply chain resilience with greater homegrown capabilities in computer chip, renewable energy, and medical equipment design and production. Furthermore, regions with strong innovation, economic diversification, and civic capacities are more able to adapt and bounce back from economic disruptions. For these reasons, the federal government has a vested interest in spurring place-based regional economic development. To do that, it has the EDA--the one federal agency whose sole charge is to promote economic revitalization in communities of any scale, rural or urban, across the country. In short, the EDA's role is essential if the U.S. is to compete globally and prosper locally. The concern is that the EDA is not properly resourced or equipped to meet its vital mission and nationwide mandate. The agency is tasked to do too much with too little—its chronically small annual budget, combined with unpredictable special appropriations, positions the agency as marginal when, in fact, the opposite is true. The EDA is the nation's indispensable agency for supporting economic growth and resilience for communities large and small, as their leaders respond regularly to new opportunities and threats. But the policy and budget process does not yet treat it accordingly.  Congress can do its part. It can use reauthorization, now decades overdue, to elevate and modernize the EDA. It can give the agency the tools and resources to match its mandate, so it can successfully help communities and the nation adapt and rise to the immense challenges of the 21st century economy, including the range of economic disruptions today and those to come. EDA reauthorization deserves bipartisan attention and action. To inform this process, this brief provides a rationale and framework for EDA reauthorization. It is organized in three sections. First, it expands on the case for a federal role in regional economic development. It then shows why only the legislative process can better equip the EDA to improve America's capacity to innovate, compete, and expand economic opportunity for more people in more places. The brief closes with how: We recommend that the EDA become a $4 billion agency with a sharper purpose and set of roles and capabilities that match that mission. We believe this framework for EDA reauthorization and future appropriations would set the agency and its community partners up for success in today's--and tomorrow's--economy.  The authors of this brief have worked for decades with local, state, tribal, and national leaders on economic development planning, strategies, and execution. We are attuned to the demands placed on economic development actors across urban and rural communities, small and large regions, tribal nations, and downtowns and Main Streets. We are familiar with the complexity of implementation in areas such as innovation, talent development, finance, community economic development, placemaking, infrastructure, and regional and environmental planning. We came together to test a simple proposition: That despite our diverse backgrounds and experiences in economic development, we could agree on the importance of making the EDA a high-performing federal partner in spurring innovation and economic renewal for every region of the country and a policy framework for how to make that happen. 

Industrial Electrification

June 26, 2022

Tioday, the Canadian industrial sector uses electricity to power more than 25% of its energy needs. It must ramp this up to 41% by 2050 while simultaneously reducing its total energy consumption. Three focus sectors--manufacturing, mining, and construction--can benefit from off-the-shelf or modified existing technologies to get a head start.In corporate boardrooms and the corridors of political power in Canada and worldwide, business and political leaders are stepping up to act on climate change. While multiple technologies and approaches will be necessary, clean electrification--substituting fossil fuels with renewables and other forms of clean electricity--has consistently been the most affordable, reliable, and efficient path forward to net-zero by 2050.