Harper’s Index — From the July 2014 issue

Harper’s Index

Portion of Americans who live in areas with harmful levels of air pollution : 1/2

Number of the top five most polluted cities in the country that are in California : 5

Estimated number of California eighth graders given an essay assignment this year about whether the Holocaust happened : 2,000

Percentage of U.S. public-school students who are racial or ethnic minorities : 42

Percentage of U.S. public-school teachers who are : 18

Factor by which a black student is likelier than a white student to attend a school with a high number of new teachers : 4

Average amount of higher-education tax credits received by families making less than $25,000 a year : $930

By families making more than $100,000 a year : $2,490

Factor by which a wealthy American is more likely than a poor American to vote in a midterm election : 2

Portion of poor and affluent men, respectively, who favor raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour : 72, 35

Of poor and affluent women : 69, 67

Minimum amount stolen through wage theft by U.S. employers in 2012 : $280,000,000

Estimated amount stolen in street, bank, and convenience-store thefts that year : $139,000,000

Factor by which the average compensation for CEOs of fast-food companies has increased since 2000 : 7

Factor by which a woman working in the restaurant industry is likelier than the average female worker to be sexually harassed : 5

Portion of U.S. workers working for tips who are women : 3/4

Factor by which a tipped worker is likelier to be on food stamps than the average U.S. worker : 2

Percentage more per patient that Medicare pays the average male doctor than the average female doctor : 24

Portion of U.S. doctors who say they would discourage an aspirant from joining the profession : 9/10

Percentage of children in single-mother Scandinavian families who are living in poverty : 11

In single-mother U.S. families : 55

Percentage of U.S. teenagers who receive no formal sex education before having sex for the first time : 83

Percentage of heterosexual male British student athletes who say they have “cuddled” with another male : 92

Percentage of white Americans who support paying college athletes : 24

Of black Americans who do : 51

Percentage change since 2009 in the number of race-related complaints filed against U.S. colleges and universities : +55

Portion of requests from white male students for meetings with their business-school professors that receive responses : 4/5

Portion of requests from Indian male students that do : 1/3

Percentage increase in the past two decades in the portion of new U.S. marriages between people of different races : +67

Percentage of U.S. women prisoners who are mothers of young children : 61

Chance that a teenager in a New York City jail has a history of traumatic brain injury : 1 in 2

Percentage change in the past five years in the number of deportations ordered by U.S. immigration courts : –44

In the number of cases in the courts’ backlog : +57

Percentage change since 1980 in the number of private security guards employed in the United States : +100

Portion of people employed in computer occupations in the United States who are men : 2/3

Amount the United States has committed to spending on an alternative Internet network for dissidents in Cuba : $4,300,000

Chance that a citizen of Pakistan believes that Internet access free of government censorship is important : 1 in 5

Percentage of the world’s 25 largest news organizations that have been targeted by state-backed hackers : 84

Ratio of public relations specialists to journalists working in the United States : 4.6:1

Figures cited are the latest available as of May 2014.
“Harper’s Index” is a registered trademark.


July Index Sources

1,2 American Lung Association (Washington)
3 Educational Services Department, District Office (Rialto, Calif.)
4,5 National Education Association (Washington)
6 Center for American Progress (Washington)
7,8 The College Board (N.Y.C.)
9 Harper’s research
10,11 PayScale (Seattle)
12,13 Economic Policy Institute (Washington)
14 Demos (N.Y.C.)
15 Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (N.Y.C.)
16 U.S. Department of Labor
17 Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (N.Y.C.)
18 Nerdwallet Health (San Francisco) 19 The Doctors Company (Napa, Calif.)
20,21 Demos (N.Y.C.)
22 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta)
23 Eric Anderson, University of Winchester (England)
24,25 Langer Research Associates (N.Y.C.)
26 U.S. Department of Education
27,28 Katherine Milkman, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
29 Pew Research Center (Washington)
30 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
31 N.Y.C. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
32,33 U.S. Department of Justice
34 RTI International (Research Triangle Park, N.C.)
35 U.S. Census Bureau (Suitland, Md.)
36 U.S. Agency for International Development
37 Pew Research Center (Washington)
38 Morgan Marquis-Boire, University of Toronto
39 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Joe P

    The theft numbers, $280,000,000 and $139,000,000, do not seem credible: just $1 and $.50 per American. If they are accurate, things are not so bad.

    • BurtAllen

      If I steal $300 from you, it’s less than one cent per American. Not so bad.

    • Geoff

      Perhaps they should have counted instances of the crime instead of the aggregate dollar amount.

  • luvdacritters

    The financial aid section needs a bit more detail. For the family earning $25,000, they receive 3.72% assistance. The family making $100,000, 2.49% of income as assistance. Statistics can be made to say whatever you want.

    • J.J.

      You sound defensive. Most of these stats are pithy and missing context but often point to greater themes in society. In what world can a family making $25m000/year afford to send their child to college without significant aid? I am hypothesizing that you are closer to the $100,000 level of family earnings.

  • cloudy2

    ‘Percentage change in the past five years in the number of deportations ordered by U.S. immigration courts : –44′

    I expected it to be higher.
    My math may be confused.

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