Posts Tagged ‘US State Comparisons’

Americans on the move (and not)

May 16, 2022

  Hat tip to Lambert Strether.

This is an interesting illustration of the diversity of American state histories and American origins.  In many states, the number of foreign-born was greater in the past than it is today.  But in most states, the majority of citizens were born in the state.  I don’t claim this proves anything in particular.

Coronavirus: a tale of two states

March 26, 2020

Click to enlarge

Added 4/24/2020.  The Guardian reported that, as of Wednesday, Kentucky had 185 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and Tennessee had only 161.  We don’t know the full story yet.

Stephanie Jolly of Lexington, Kentucky, created this chart and posted it on her Facebook page, where it quickly became viral.

It shows that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) acted more quickly on the coronavirus emergency than did Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) and that the disease has not spread as fast in Kentucky as it has in Tennessee.

Added 3/27/2020:  But even though Kentuckians are better off than Tennesseans, thanks to Gov. Beshear’s prompt action, the number of new cases in Kentucky is still doubling every four days or so.


Social Distancing to Fight Coronavirus: A Strategy That Is Working and Must Continue by Maura Caslyn, Emily Gee, Thomas Waldrop and Nicole Rapfogel for the Center for American Progress.

Graph comparing Ky. and Tenn. virus responses goes viral by David Mattingly for WAVE3 News in Lexington, Kentucky.

Two states, one Democrat, one Republican – two very different outcomes by Josh Wood for The Guardian.  [Added 4/24/2020]  The writer praises Kentucky, but also says that the higher number of confirmed cases in Tennessee may reflect that state’s larger population and also more testing—presumably in April, since the Jolly graph shows less testing in March.

States that depend the most on federal aid

January 19, 2016


I am not surprised that Mississippi and Louisiana are the states that depend on the federal government the most to support their state budges.

I am somewhat surprised that Hawaii and North Dakota at the states that depend on the federal government the least.

The 50 United States sized by population

August 31, 2015

States-by-Area---Adjusted---FinalSource: Vox

I hadn’t realized how big New Jersey is in population.  Or Maryland.

Or how much of a disparity there is between Arizona and New Mexico.  And between Vermont and New Hampshire.

Where the living is expensive (and not)

August 11, 2015


This Tax Foundation chart indicates that the cost of living is higher in New York state, where I live, than anywhere else in the USA except the District of Columbia and Hawaii.   The lowest cost of living is in Mississippi.

It’s measured by the relative value of goods that $100 can buy in each state.  The lower the figure, the higher the cost of living, and vice versa.

What I infer from the chart is that cost of living is influenced by high taxes, which makes everything more expensive, and by prosperity and by concentrations of rich people, which bid up prices.

I think these things is true of the District of Columbia and of New York City and its suburbs.   The cost of living might not be that high here in Rochester, N.Y., where I live.

What I also infer from this chart is that a low cost of living is correlated with a bad economy.  So I wouldn’t want to live in a place where the cost of living was extremely high or extremely low.

I suppose the reason the cost of living is so high in Hawaii is that everything must be shipped in from the mainland.  But why isn’t the cost of living proportionately high in Alaska?  I suppose the reason is low taxes.  Alaskans tax the oil industry and not each other.

Massachusetts schools: Why not be like the best?

July 9, 2013

If a factory manager was trying to improve performance, he might try to adopt the best practices of successful manufacturers.   He certainly would not adopt the practices of failing manufacturers.

But this is not what school reformers in the United States do.  They advocate unproven policies (teacher-bashing, union-busting, charter schools) that are typical of the worst systems rather than the best.

A blogger who uses the handle Mike the Mad Biologist pointed out that the Massachusetts school system is by far a leading system not just by United States standards, but by world standards.  So why not, he reasonably asked, simply copy the Massachusetts system.

Here is one of the charts he published on his web log.


Click on Instead of Racing to the Tops or No Children Left Behind, Why Not Just Clone What Massachusetts Has Done? for more of Mad Mike’s data and his full comment.

Click on TIMMS, Alabama and Massachusetts: States Matter for Mad Mike’s detailed report on the educational gap between Massachusetts and Alabama.

The Massachusetts-Alabama gap is not explained by differences in race or economic class.   The average test scores of white students in Alabama are roughly equal to scores of black students in Massachusetts.  No matter how you break things down, Massachusetts is ahead.

So if you really want to improve American schools, the first step would be to look at what Massachusetts, Minnesota and other high-performing states are doing and see if there is a lesson to be learned for states such as Alabama.

But just what is it that Massachusetts is doing right?  It isn’t what Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee recommend, but what is it?  Is it financial support?  Curriculum?  Let me know what you think.