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Chart Oct 20, 2014

Comparison of U.S. Patents Filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty for Clean Energy and Water Purification, 1999-2011

Solutions to the country’s growing water challenges lie, in part, with the development and adoption of new innovative technologies. Yet, in comparison to the clean energy sector, innovation in the water sector has remained low. Using the numbers of patents filed in clean energy and water purification as indicators, the clean energy sector has exhibited a much higher rate of innovation over the past decade.

Chart Dec 19, 2013

Breakdown of Family Characteristics, by Income Relative to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

Household composition of families in the struggling lower-middle class varies substantially from the household composition of families in poverty. The composition of the struggling lower-middle class—defined here as working-age families with children under age eighteen whose income places them between 100 and 250 percent of the FPL—is markedly different from families in poverty in terms of marriage and presence of earners.

Chart Dec 19, 2013

Highest Educational Attainment of Family Head, by Income Relative to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)

Nearly one out of two families in the struggling lower-middle class is headed by an adult who has attended college. Among household family heads with income between 100 and 250 percent of the FPL, 48 percent have attended some college, and 14 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In stark contrast to those living at or below 250 percent of the FPL, 77 percent of household family heads above 250 percent of the FPL attended at least some college, and about half have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Chart Jul 18, 2013

Comprehensive Costs, Net Costs, and Instructional Expenditures per Student

The most competitive colleges cost the least for low-income students while providing the most instructional expenditure per student. The most competitive colleges spend over $25,000 on instructional expenditure for each student yet the average low- income family pays less than $8,000 out of pocket for these schools. At the least selective four year colleges, low-income families pay over $15,000 out of pocket yet their students receive only around $5000 in instructional expenditure.

Chart Jul 18, 2013

Probability of Children’s Income Level, Given Parents’ Income Level

While social mobility and economic opportunity are important aspects of the American ethos, the data suggest they are more myth than reality. In fact, a child’s family income plays a dominant role in determining his or her future income, and those who start out poor are likely to remain poor. This figure shows the chances that a child’s future earnings will place him in the lowest the or the highest quintile depending on where his parents fell in the distribution (from left to right on the figure, the lowest, middle, and highest quintiles). 

Chart May 7, 2013

Ratio of Government Employment to Population

While the private sector has added jobs to the economy in every month since March 2010, a total increase of approximately 6.8 million jobs through April 2013, the public sector has contracted. This figure shows the ratio of government employment to the civilian non-institutional population going back to 1980. For the twenty years prior to the Great Recession, this ratio stayed relatively constant, but since then it has dropped precipitously (except for the temporary uptick in 2010 when government employment rose to accommodate demand for U.S. Census workers). 

Chart Apr 5, 2013

Median Earnings and Distribution of Students by Attainment in Community Colleges

Many workers can benefit substantially from worker training programs, which provide education and skill development that lead to increased economic opportunities and better jobs. Students who earn two-year degrees in a high-return field, four-year degrees after a two-year degree, or certain career-oriented certificates, earn median salaries of $34,000 or more per year. Students who earn two-year degrees in low-return fields or who do not complete their programs earn around 33 percent less. 

Chart Mar 14, 2013

Debt-to-GDP Ratio under Various Policy Assumptions, 2012-2023

Over the next ten years, approximately $4 trillion of deficit reduction are set to take place through the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) and the sequestration, which went into effect on March 1, 2013. This graph, from the introduction of The Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget shows how these policies are projected to affect the debt-to-GDP ratio over the next decade. 

Chart Jan 15, 2013

Number of Unemployed Per Job Opening

Millions of Americans lost their jobs during the recession, and even though the economy has been recovering for several years, it is still more difficult for unemployed individuals to find a job now than it was before the recession. One way to observe this is to measure how many unemployed Americans there are per job opening. As this graph shows, although we have come down from the height of the recession—when there were more than six unemployed people per job opening—we still have not reached pre-recession employment levels.

Chart Jan 15, 2013

Return on Investment to a Bachelor’s Degree

Despite widespread claims that a college degree is no longer worth the rising price of tuition, a bachelor’s degree still has about the same return on investment today as it did in the 80s. College still pays for itself, and then some; it will earn you, on average, a 16 percent return, which is a higher rate of return than on investments in the stock market (6.8 percent), corporate bonds (2.9 percent), gold (2.3 percent), long-term government bonds (2.2 percent), or housing (0.4 percent).

Chart May 3, 2012

Federal Spending vs. Tax Expenditures: Total tax expenditures are greater than many critical spending programs

One of the primary reasons America’s tax revenues remain low relative to other industrialized countries is our use of special tax preferences, or “tax expenditures,” that provide individuals and businesses with opportunities to reduce their tax bills by undertaking certain actions. The magnitude of tax expenditures is comparable to the largest government spending programs; in total, they are about 8 percent of GDP.

Chart May 3, 2012

Before-Tax Profits Required to Pay $1 to Investors Across Sectors: Industry-specific tax breaks incentivize investment in specific industries.

This chart shows how different effective corporate tax rates translate into pretax profitability. Companies in high-tax industries, such as steel, trucking, or utilities, must earn more than $1.40 in before-tax profits, on average, to return $1 to investors. On the other hand, companies in low-tax industries, such as biotechnology and Internet services and software, need to earn less than $1.20.