Study: 7.6% of Indiana’s Bridges Structurally Deficient

By Caelin Miltko • April 12th, 2017

The average age of a bridge in the United States is 43 years old and almost 4 in 10 are over 50 years old. Part of Barack Obama’s 2013 infrastructure plan dealt with the bridge problem in the United States.

The Department of Transportation tracks structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges annually.

A structurally deficient bridge requires significant maintenance, repair or rehabilitation. It is not necessarily unsafe but may become so over time. A functionally obsolete bridge may be too narrow, may not have adequate shoulders or other design flaws. Official definitions can be found here.

In the infographic below, the condition of Indiana’s bridges is explored in detail as compared to the national standards.

Data: Numbers Tell the Full Story of President Obama’s Legacy

By Lucas Masin-Moyer • April 7th, 2017

Much of President Donald Trump’s campaign for the nation’s highest office was based upon undoing the policies and programs that had been enacted by President Barack Obama. The domestic legacy left by President Obama can be divided into four major policy areas — economic, debt and deficit reduction, immigration and healthcare.

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-08, Obama was faced with a market hemorrhaging jobs, with the unemployment rate reaching double digits in mid 2009. By the beginning of Obama’s second term, economic growth had picked up and unemployment continued to fall, reaching 4.8% in the last month of his presidency. While some of the spending Obama used to try and stimulate the economy increased the deficit early on, by the end of his presidency, the deficit had shrunk dramatically.

With Congress’ recent failure to institute a new healthcare policy meaning that Obama’s  Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will stay the law of the land, perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Obama years will center around healthcare policy. Since Obama assumed office, as a result of the law, despite rising costs, the uninsured rate in the United States has dropped from 16.2 percent to 8.8 percent.

Where Obama and President may have overlapped most in policy is, in contrary to political rhetoric, immigration policy. While Trump’s claims to “build a wall” were far more dramatic than any Obama administration statements on immigration policy, the administration deported more immigrants than any other in American history.

Infographic: Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens Vary by Destination

By Emily McConville • April 6th, 2017

If you are an American citizen, travel is easy. Over 100 countries offer visa-free entry to Americans, while dozens of others issue visas on arrival.

All travel, however, is governed by bilateral agreements taking into account internal and international politics, supranational organizations, health and safety.

This infographic outlines some of the things Americans need to do to travel to each country.

Indiana Unemployment Rate Continues to Dive, Lowest Since 2001

By Joe DiSipio • March 3rd, 2017

An analysis of monthly reports of the Indiana unemployment rates during the Obama administration illustrates the lingering recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics captures the sharp increase of joblessness as the Great Recession hit hard in 2009. But it also shows that despite political rhetoric, Indiana may have reached a level of recovery under President Obama.

Much of the 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric centered on the economy, specifically on the creation of jobs in the industrial Midwest.

Jobs were an issue of particular interest to voters in Indiana. At the height of the Great Recession, unemployment levels reached a high of 10.9 percent in June 2009.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-1-06-06-pm

Compared to the BLS national averages, Indiana started at a lower level but once the effects of the crisis set in, it averaged an unemployment rate of almost a full percentage point higher than that of the country as a whole.

Voters didn’t forget that feeling of desperation between 2009 and 2014. The “America First” candidate Donald Trump was able to capitalize on that lingering feeling while the data shows that Indiana unemployment levels actually fell to below 2009 rates by the end of President Obama’s term.

 Trump based some of his candidacy on bringing back jobs. He followed through  with his controversial Carrier deal during the transition in November 2016.

Study: Indianapolis Among Top 10 Cities for School Choice

By Cassidy McDonald • March 2nd, 2017

School choice —a movement to provide alternatives to public school — is sure to be a top priority for President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, during his first joint address to Congress, Trump called for a bipartisan school choice bill which would aim to help disadvantaged children trapped in failing schools. Indianapolis is one of the top U.S. cities for giving parents a choice on where to attend schoo.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made headlines this week, however, when she called historically black colleges and universities — which were created in response to racial segregation — “pioneers” of school choice.

She later backpedaled on this statement, but continued to draw parallels between school choice and historically black colleges and universities.


Take a look at the top 10 cities that currently allow some form of school choice, as graded by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an ideologically conservative research organization.

These cities have seen mixed results in their alternative education programs, but offer the policies, public support and programming most conducive to school choice:

(City rankings from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute)

Map: Buttigieg’s Campaign Trail for Democratic National Committee Chairman

By Lucas Masin-Moyer • February 26th, 2017

In a surprise move, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race for Chair of the Democratic Committee (DNC) Chairman on Feb. 25, and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, was elected.

Despite Perez’s election it was Buttigieg, heralded as the future of the Democratic Party, who perhaps made the most noise.


Buttigieg, the first openly gay executive in the state of Indiana, former Rhodes Scholar and veteran of the War in Afghanistan, campaigned across the country in his unsuccessful bid to run the Democratic Party.

Over the course of his campaign, Buttigieg received endorsements from former DNC Chairmen Howard Dean and Ed Rendell. Track Buttigieg’s campaign trips in this interactive map:

Map: Which major cities have the most foreign-born residents?

By Cassidy McDonald • February 21st, 2017

People are on the move — now, more than ever.

In 2015, the total number of international migrants passed 240 million (the highest number yet). These migrants tend to congregate in cities.

What does that mean for 10 major cities with increasingly foreign-born populations? Explore the map to find out.


Where Do Our Immigrants Really Come From?

As the country grapples with immigration raids and travel ban battles, the time is right to dive into data about migration to the United States.

These are the top countries of origin for foreigners granted legal permanent residence status in the U.S. in 2013:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Crucial in Turning State Red for Trump, Pence

By Lucas Masin-Moyer • February 20th, 2017

For the first time since 1988, Pennsylvania donned Republican red in the 2016 election.

The state had long considered a Democratic stronghold based on its large cities and substantial working-class population. In 2016, Pennsylvania was one of the crucial states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, in electing Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

While most regions voted more heavily Republican, the region which saw the greatest swing away from the Democratic Party toward Trump was the Northeastern region. In Lackawanna County, home to Scranton, Trump won 11 percent more of the vote than Mitt Romney did in 2012 and in Schuylkill County, just south of Lackawanna, Trump brought home 14 percent more of the vote.

View graphic in full browser

Northeastern Pennsylvania had long been home to the coal mining and steel industries. When these industries left, with increasing globalization, it created a large class of unemployed, and largely white, working class voters 一 the demographic that was key to Trump’s election.

These voters had long voted Democratic 一  based on strong union ties 一 but Trump’s economic populist message, based on the idea that “horrible” trade deals, such as NAFTA, were taking away industrial jobs, swayed many of these voters to switch their party allegiance.

Trump’s success in Pennsylvania spilled over into other elections, most notably the senate race where Pat Toomey was narrowly reelected over Katie McGinty, a former environmental advisor to President Bill Clinton and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency.

View graphic in full browser

Data: Indiana Food Insecurity Rates Higher Than National Average

By Caelin Miltko • February 20th, 2017

Indiana’s food insecurity rates from 2013 to 2015 were higher than the national average, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture Data.

The USDA rated 14.8 percent of Indiana households as having low or very low food security, in comparison to 13.7 percent nationally.

6.1 percent of Indiana households were classified as having very low food security, in comparison to 5.4 percent nationally.

The USDA defines low food security as “reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.” Very low food security is defined as “reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

Since 2014, when Indianapolis was rated worst in the nation for food deserts, various efforts have begun to decrease food insecurity in the state. A 2016 state bill was proposed to counteract food deserts specifically.

Food insecurity rates vary widely across the country. North Dakota has the lowest food insecurity rate at 8.5 percent, while Missouri has the highest at 20.8 percent (with 7.9 percent ranked as very low food security).


View chart in full screen