Archive for the ‘psychology and sociology’ Category

2010 Census Shows Multiple-Race Population Grew Faster Than Single-Race Population

September 27, 2012 Comments off

2010 Census Shows Multiple-Race Population Grew Faster Than Single-Race Population

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The 2010 Census showed that people who reported multiple races grew by a larger percentage than those reporting a single race. According to the 2010 Census brief The Two or More Races Population: 2010, the population reporting multiple races (9.0 million) grew by 32.0 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared with those who reported a single race, which grew by 9.2 percent.

Overall, the total U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent since 2000, however, many multiple-race groups increased by 50 percent or more.

The first time in U.S. history that people were presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race came on the 2000 Census questionnaire. Therefore, the examination of data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses provides the first comparisons on multiple-race combinations in the United States. An effective way to compare the multiple-race data is to examine changes in specific combinations, such as white and black, white and Asian, or black and Asian.

New From the GAO

September 27, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Human Capital: DOD Needs Complete Assessments to Improve Future Civilian Strategic Workforce Plans. GAO-12-1014, September 27.
Highlights –

2. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Additional DHS Actions Needed on Foreign Worker Permit Program. GAO-12-975, September 27.
Highlights –

3. Civilian Service Contract Inventories: Opportunities Exist to Improve Agency Reporting and Review Efforts. GAO-12-1007, September 27.
Highlights –

4. Community Reinvestment Act: Challenges in Quantifying Its Effect on Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Investment. GAO-12-869R, August 28.

5. Managing for Results: Key Considerations for Implementing Interagency Collaborative Mechanisms. GAO-12-1022, September 27.
Highlights –

6. Medical Devices: FDA Should Expand Its Consideration of Information Security for Certain Types of Devices. GAO-12-816, August 31.
Highlights –

Populations Increasing in Many Downtowns, Census Bureau Reports

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Populations Increasing in Many Downtowns, Census Bureau Reports

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

A U.S. Census Bureau report released today shows that in many of the largest cities of the most-populous metro areas, downtown is becoming a place not only to work but also to live. Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, metro areas with 5 million or more people experienced double-digit population growth rates within their downtown areas (within a two-mile radius of their largest city’s city hall), more than double the rate of these areas overall.

Chicago experienced the largest numeric gain in its downtown area, with a net increase of 48,000 residents over 10 years. New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Washington also posted large population increases close to city hall. These downtown gains were not universal, however: New Orleans and Baltimore experienced the greatest population declines in their downtown areas (35,000 and slightly more than 10,000, respectively). Two smaller areas in Ohio — Dayton and Toledo — also saw downtown declines of more than 10,000.

These are just some of the findings in the new 2010 Census special report, Patterns of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change: 2000 to 2010. The report uses 2010 Census results to examine contemporary geographic patterns (as well as changes since the 2000 Census) of population density and distribution by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex for metro and micro areas collectively as well as individually. Metro areas contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 population or more, while micro areas contain at least one urban cluster of less than 50,000, but at least 10,000.

Census Bureau Releases Report on 2010 Census Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Census Bureau Releases Report on 2010 Census Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a 2010 Census special report, The Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population: 2010, providing information on people counted at emergency and transitional shelters (with sleeping facilities) for people experiencing homelessness.

In the 2010 Census, emergency and transitional shelters were defined as places where people experiencing homelessness stay overnight. Examples include missions; hotels and motels used to shelter people experiencing homelessness; shelters for children who are runaways, neglected or experiencing homelessness; and similar places known to shelter people experiencing homelessness.

The emergency and transitional shelter population is one of many types that make up the total group quarters population. People in emergency and transitional shelters were enumerated in the 2010 Census as part of the Service-Based Enumeration Operation, which also included enumeration at soup kitchens, regularly scheduled mobile food vans and targeted nonsheltered outdoor locations.

The Census Bureau stresses that this special report presents statistics for people enumerated at emergency and transitional shelters only, and should not be misconstrued as a count of the entire population experiencing homelessness. The Census Bureau does not produce or publish a total count of the homeless population. Further, it is important to recognize that there is no standard or agreed upon definition of what constitutes homelessness. Also, people experiencing homelessness can be counted and included in the census through various operations, but those operations do not separately identify, or even collect information to separately identify, people who might be experiencing homelessness.

Mapping America’s attitudes toward marriage equality: Mapping opinion patterns reveals how our neighborhoods and communities vary in their acceptance, their laws, and their sentiments (expressed in social media) toward marriage equality

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Mapping America’s attitudes toward marriage equality: Mapping opinion patterns reveals how our neighborhoods and communities vary in their acceptance, their laws, and their sentiments (expressed in social media) toward marriage equality

Source: ESRI

Despite media attention, little data has been reported (especially with any local geographic detail) on how people view same-sex marriage across the nation.

While there has never been a comprehensive geographic survey on this subject, every community and neighborhood within the United States has been described using thousands of demographic variables. These variables can be combined and analyzed to determine spatial patterns and trends.

Recently voters passed California’s Proposition 8 and North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which forbid same-sex marriage. Using the voting results of these two pieces of legislation, Esri analyzed the demographic and consumer data of these voters to identify the geographic views of same-sex marriage. The results were then summarized using Esri’s Tapestry market segmentation system to extrapolate an acceptance index across the country.[1]

Colors on the resulting map show four relative levels of same-sex marriage acceptance by county and census tract. Size of the symbols indicate the total number of people in the county or tract. Within every community, there will be diverse levels of acceptance; for example, two neighbors may share opposite viewpoints. However, the map shows summary data on the relative acceptance of the overall community as they relate to other communities in the United States. Locations shown in dark green are more likely to be accepting as a general community than those communities shown in red.

You can explore how your acceptance of same-sex marriage correlates to the combined modeled results of your census tract, and you can explore how communities vary in their general acceptance across cities, counties, and the nation.

Mapping the overall acceptance index can help promote understanding by revealing the diversity of beliefs present in the United States. Review the next map (State Laws), to see how same-sex marriage laws compare with geographic acceptance patterns.

Cross-Category Adaptation: Objects Produce Gender Adaptation in the Perception of Faces

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Cross-Category Adaptation: Objects Produce Gender Adaptation in the Perception of Faces

Source: PLoS ONE

Adaptation aftereffects have been found for low-level visual features such as colour, motion and shape perception, as well as higher-level features such as gender, race and identity in domains such as faces and biological motion. It is not yet clear if adaptation effects in humans extend beyond this set of higher order features. The aim of this study was to investigate whether objects highly associated with one gender, e.g. high heels for females or electric shavers for males can modulate gender perception of a face. In two separate experiments, we adapted subjects to a series of objects highly associated with one gender and subsequently asked participants to judge the gender of an ambiguous face. Results showed that participants are more likely to perceive an ambiguous face as male after being exposed to objects highly associated to females and vice versa. A gender adaptation aftereffect was obtained despite the adaptor and test stimuli being from different global categories (objects and faces respectively). These findings show that our perception of gender from faces is highly affected by our environment and recent experience. This suggests two possible mechanisms: (a) that perception of the gender associated with an object shares at least some brain areas with those responsible for gender perception of faces and (b) adaptation to gender, which is a high-level concept, can modulate brain areas that are involved in facial gender perception through top-down processes.

Heterogeneity in Discrimination?: A Field Experiment

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Heterogeneity in Discrimination?: A Field Experiment
Source: Social Science Research Network

We provide evidence from the field that levels of discrimination are heterogeneous across contexts in which we might expect to observe bias. We explore how discrimination varies in its extent and source through an audit study including over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 258 institutions. Faculty in our field experiment received meeting requests from fictional prospective doctoral students who were randomly assigned identity-signaling names (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Chinese; male, female). Faculty response rates indicate that discrimination against women and minorities is both prevalent and unevenly distributed in academia. Discrimination varies meaningfully by discipline and is more extreme in higher paying disciplines and at private institutions. These findings raise important questions for future research about how and why pay and institutional characteristics may relate to the manifestation of bias. They also suggest that past audit studies may have underestimated the prevalence of discrimination in the United States. Finally, our documentation of heterogeneity in discrimination suggests where targeted efforts to reduce discrimination in academia are most needed and highlights that similar research may help identify areas in other industries where efforts to reduce bias should focus.

In U.S., Trust in State, Local Governments Up

September 27, 2012 Comments off

In U.S., Trust in State, Local Governments Up
Source: Gallup

Americans’ trust in their state and local governments has increased this year, with 74% expressing a great deal or fair amount of trust in local government and 65% in state government. Trust in state government has now essentially returned to levels seen before the financial crisis, after falling to as low as 51% in 2009.

The results are based on Gallup’s annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 6-9. Americans’ trust in the federal government’s ability to handle international and domestic issues and their trust in the three branches of the federal government are all up at least marginally this year.

Americans typically trust local government more than state government, but a majority have expressed trust in each every time Gallup has measured trust. The public’s trust in local government has been more stable over time, and thus appears to be affected less by state or national political and economic factors than trust in state government is.

State government trust dipped to 53% in 2003 amid the California recall of Gov. Gray Davis, largely due to the influence of Californians’ trust on the national numbers. Trust quickly rebounded to 67% in 2004, then held steady at that level through 2008. Then the 2008-2009 financial crisis caused state governments to face financial hardships of their own, with many struggling to pay their obligations, and trust sank to 51% in 2009.

But with the economy improving somewhat and states apparently on better financial footing after making cutbacks in recent years, trust in state government has improved, a total of 14 percentage points since 2009.

Refugees and Asylees in the United States

September 26, 2012 Comments off

Refugees and Asylees in the United States

Source: Migration Policy Institute

For many people in repressive, autocratic, or conflict-embroiled nations, migration is a means of survival. Refugees and asylees seek protection in another country — whether neighboring or distant, familiar or foreign — in order to escape persecution based on their beliefs, personal attributes, or membership in a certain group.

The United States grants humanitarian protection on a limited basis to refugees and asylees from diverse countries throughout the world (see Definitions box) This Spotlight examines the data on persons admitted to the United States as refugees and those granted asylum in 2011. It also provides the number of refugees and asylees who received lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in 2011.

The data come from the 2011 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the 2011 Annual Flow Report on Refugees and Asylees, and the 2011 Annual Flow Report on US Legal Permanent Residents, published by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS).

Hearing — Taking Consumers for a Ride: Business Practices in the Household Goods Moving Industry

September 26, 2012 Comments off

Taking Consumers for a Ride: Business Practices in the Household Goods Moving Industry

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing and release a staff report on how online moving companies have successfully taken advantage of many consumers. The hearing will explore complaints that some “moving” companies quote a low dollar rate to move goods but then charge a sharp markup in order to physically deliver and unload the goods.

“Far too many consumers are duped by abusive moving companies in tactics that should be, and in some cases are, against the law,” said Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV. “Companies that take advantage of Americans during moves, whether they are across the country or across town, must be held accountable. That’s the purpose of this hearing.”

Archived hearing webcast available.


National survey shows reduction in non-medical prescription drug use among young adults

September 26, 2012 Comments off

National survey shows reduction in non-medical prescription drug use among young adults

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The number of people aged 18 to 25 who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined 14 percent — from 2.0 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011 — the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today, during the 23rd annual national observance of National Recovery Month. Non-medical use of prescription drugs among children aged 12 to 17 and adults aged 26 or older remained unchanged.

In addition, the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a survey conducted annually by SAMHSA, showed that the rates of past month drinking, binge drinking and heavy drinking among underage people continued a decline from 2002. Past month alcohol use among 12 to 20 year olds declined from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 25.1 percent in 2011, while binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks on a single occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) declined from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 15.8 percent in 2011, and heavy drinking declined from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 4.4 percent in 2011.

Overall, the use of illicit drugs among Americans aged 12 and older remained stable since the last survey in 2010. The NSDUH shows that 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users — (8.7 percent of the population 12 and older in 2011 versus 8.9 percent in 2010).

Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug. In 2011, 7.0 percent of Americans were current users of marijuana — up from 5.8 percent in 2007. Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current marijuana use remained about the same from 2009 (7.4 percent) to 2011 (7.9 percent). Increases in the rate of current marijuana use occurred from 2007 to 2011 among adolescents (ages 12-17), young adults (ages 18 to 25), and adults (ages 26 or older). Additionally, the number of people aged 12 and older who used heroin in the past year rose from 373,000 in 2007 to 621,000 in 2010 and 620,000 in 2011.

Freedom on the Net 2012

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Freedom on the Net 2012

Source: Freedom House

This report is the third in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 47 countries that occurred between January 2011 and May 2012. Over 50 researchers, nearly all based in the countries they analyzed, contributed to the project by researching laws and practices relevant to the internet, testing the accessibility of select websites, and interviewing a wide range of sources.

This year’s findings indicate that restrictions on internet freedom in many countries have continued to grow, though the methods of control are slowly evolving, becoming more sophisticated and less visible. Brutal attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are among the diverse threats to internet freedom emerging over the past two years. Nevertheless, several notable victories have also occurred as a result of greater activism by civil society, technology companies, and independent courts, illustrating that efforts to advance internet freedom can yield results.

Population Aging Will Have Long-Term Implications for Economy; Major Policy Changes Needed

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Population Aging Will Have Long-Term Implications for Economy; Major Policy Changes Needed

Source: National Research Council

The aging of the U.S. population will have broad economic consequences for the country, particularly for federal programs that support the elderly, and its long-term effects on all generations will be mediated by how — and how quickly — the nation responds, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. The unprecedented demographic shift in which people over age 65 make up an increasingly large percentage of the population is not a temporary phenomenon associated with the aging of the baby boom generation, but a pervasive trend that is here to stay.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are on unsustainable paths, and the failure to remedy the situation raises a number of economic risks, the report says. Together, the cost of the three programs currently amounts to roughly 40 percent of all federal spending and 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Because of overall longer life expectancy and lower birth rates, these programs will have more beneficiaries with relatively fewer workers contributing to support them in the coming decades. Combined with soaring health care costs, population aging will drive up public health care expenditures and demand an ever-larger fraction of national resources.

Population aging is also occurring in other industrialized nations, so any consequences for the U.S. must be considered in the broader context of a global economy. Adapting to this new economic landscape entails costs and policy options with different implications for which generations will bear the costs or receive the benefits. Recent policy actions have attempted to address health care costs, but their effects are as yet unclear. According to the report, the ultimate national response will likely be some combination of major structural changes to public support programs, more savings during people’s working years, and longer working lives.

Is dignity therapy feasible to enhance the end of life experience for people with motor neurone disease and their family carers?

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Is dignity therapy feasible to enhance the end of life experience for people with motor neurone disease and their family carers? (PDF)

Source: BMC Palliative Care


Development of interventions that address psychosocial and existential distress in people with motor neurone disease (MND) or that alleviate caregiver burden in MND family carers have often been suggested in the research literature. Dignity therapy, which was developed to reduce psychosocial and existential distress at the end of life, has been shown to benefit people dying of cancer and their families. These results cannot be applied to people with MND. The objectives of this study are to assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of dignity therapy to enhance the end of life experience for people with motor neurone disease and their family carers.


This is a cross-sectional study utilizing a single treatment group and a pre/post test design. The study population will comprise fifty people diagnosed with MND and their nominated family carers. Primarily quantitative outcomes will be gathered through measures assessed at baseline and at approximately one week after the intervention. Outcomes for participants include hopefulness, spirituality and dignity. Outcomes for family carers include perceived caregiver burden, hopefulness and anxiety/depression. Feedback and satisfaction with the intervention will be gathered through a questionnaire.


This detailed research will explore if dignity therapy has the potential to enhance the end of life experience for people with MND and their family carers, and fill a gap for professionals who are called on to address the spiritual, existential and psychosocial needs of their MND patients and families.

Near-Roadway Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Implications for Developing “Win-Win” Compact Urban Development and Clean Vehicle Strategies

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Near-Roadway Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Implications for Developing “Win-Win” Compact Urban Development and Clean Vehicle Strategies

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

Background: The emerging consensus that exposure to near-roadway traffic-related pollution causes asthma has implications for compact urban development policies designed to reduce driving and greenhouse gases.

Objectives: We estimated the current burden of childhood asthma-related disease attributable to near-roadway and regional air pollution in Los Angeles County (LAC) and the potential health impact of regional pollution reduction associated with changes in population along major traffic corridors.

Methods: The burden of asthma attributable to the dual effects of near-roadway and regional air pollution was estimated, using nitrogen dioxide and ozone as markers of urban combustion-related and secondary oxidant pollution, respectively. We also estimated the impact of alternative scenarios that assumed a 20% reduction in regional pollution in combination with a 3.6% reduction or 3.6% increase in the proportion of the total population living near major roads, a proxy for near-roadway exposure.

Results: We estimated that 27,100 cases of childhood asthma (8% of total) in LAC were at

least partly attributable to pollution associated with residential location within 75m of a major

road. As a result, a substantial proportion of asthma-related morbidity is a consequence of nearroadway

pollution, even if symptoms are triggered by other factors. Benefits resulting from a

20% regional pollution reduction varied markedly depending on the associated change in nearroadway


Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are large and previously unappreciated public health consequences of air pollution in LAC and probably in other metropolitan areas with dense traffic corridors. To maximize health benefits, compact urban development strategies should be coupled with policies to reduce near-roadway pollution exposure.

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Despite efforts to recruit and retain more women, a stark gender disparity persists within academic science. Abundant research has demonstrated gender bias in many demographic groups, but has yet to experimentally investigate whether science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity in academic science. In a randomized double-blind study (n = 127), science faculty from research-intensive universities rated the application materials of a student—who was randomly assigned either a male or female name—for a laboratory manager position. Faculty participants rated the male applicant as significantly more competent and hireable than the (identical) female applicant. These participants also selected a higher starting salary and offered more career mentoring to the male applicant. The gender of the faculty participants did not affect responses, such that female and male faculty were equally likely to exhibit bias against the female student. Mediation analyses indicated that the female student was less likely to be hired because she was viewed as less competent. We also assessed faculty participants’ preexisting subtle bias against women using a standard instrument and found that preexisting subtle bias against women played a moderating role, such that subtle bias against women was associated with less support for the female student, but was unrelated to reactions to the male student. These results suggest that interventions addressing faculty gender bias might advance the goal of increasing the participation of women in science.

Parents’ Pasts and Families’ Futures: Using Family Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Parents’ Pasts and Families’ Futures: Using Family Assessments to Inform Perspectives on Reasonable Efforts and Reunification (PDF)

Source: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

In this study, assessments conducted as part of the Illinois integrated assessment program allow us to look at a subset of parents for whom reunification might seem unlikely given their own personal histories and extensive exposure to trauma. Using a sample of narrative assessment reports drawn from the IAs, we explore the nature and prevalence of traumatic experiences among biological parents whose children were placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The relationship between parents’ childhood experiences and their current functioning is explored, as are data on reunification outcomes.

The findings that a subset of parents involved with the child welfare system have extensive childhood trauma experiences and present with multiple problems or service needs have implications for caseworker engagement as well as interventions. We examine what caseworkers and clinicians see as the initial prognosis for these families as well as the reunification and reentry outcomes after the children entered foster care. We hope to encourage dialogue about what policies and practices might need to be developed and implemented in order to improve long-term child and family well-being outcomes for this particular group of families. The study raises fundamental questions about our obligation to and approach to protecting children and to promoting their well-being.

Social Media for Child Welfare Resource Guide

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Social Media for Child Welfare Resource Guide (PDF)

Source: National Resource Center for Child Data & Technology (Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Social media can help child welfare programs conduct activities ranging from advertising to staff recruitment, collaboration, networking, fundraising, and finding and supporting foster parents. Social media can help reach potential or current foster/adoptive parents, at‐risk parents, past or current foster youth, mandated reporters (such as teachers and doctors), a specific neighborhood, or staff of partner or champion organizations. Social media can potentially boost the effectiveness of a wide range of programs, such as adoption, child protective services, foster care, and youth development.

The New American Family: The MetLife Study of Family Structure and Financial Well-Being

September 25, 2012 Comments off

The New American Family: The MetLife Study of Family Structure and Financial Well-Being
Source: MetLife

Key Findings

  • Retirement security remains a major concern for a large percentage of Americans across all family types, particularly concerns about being able to maintain a “reasonable” standard of living for the rest of their lives.
  • The presence of children is both a financial burden (half of those with adult children have provided them some financial assistance) and a potential source of support (one-fourth of respondents expect children to help retired parents in need).
  • More couples than non-couples have taken action to lower their debt, have met with a financial advisor, and have invested for their retirement.
  • More single women believe it’s harder for them to save for retirement than respondents who are married or have a blended family.

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2011 and Student Financial Aid, Academic Year 2010–11 – First Lo ok (Provisional Data)

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2011 and Student Financial Aid, Academic Year 2010–11 – First Look (Provisional Data)

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This provisional First Look is a revised version of the preliminary report released August 7, 2012. it presents fully edited and imputed data findings on the number of staff employed in Title IV postsecondary institutions in fall 2011 by occupational category, length of contract/teaching period, employment status, faculty and tenure status, academic rank, race/ethnicity, and gender. The report also contains data on student financial aid, including the number of undergraduate students receiving aid and the amount of aid received by those students for the 2010-11 academic year.


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