Homeownership rates in historical perspective

Here is a Wall Street Journal headline from April 28: “The U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls Again, Nearing a 48-Year Low.”  “The homeownership rate fell slightly in the first quarter of 2016, dashing hopes that it had finally hit a bottom,” read the lead paragraph. This sounds pretty ominous. Let’s take a closer look; first, here are the data to which the article refers: Now, let's pull … [Read more...]

Why Is Infant Mortality Higher in the United States than in Europe?

(By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada - Hah!, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24336411) This is the question three economists recently asked in a recently published paper from the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.  The answers they found disturbed me, and should bother anyone who pays attention to how badly well-being is distributed in the United … [Read more...]

Growing at a snail’s pace: a first look at 2016’s GDP numbers

The first estimates of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) for 2016 arrived this morning.  The headline number: real GDP grew about 0.5% from January through March.  That’s pretty slow, especially compared to the 2015 annual rate of 2.4 percent. The picture above shows real GDP relative to its potential.  Potential GDP measures the amount of final goods and services the US economy could produce … [Read more...]