Anybody that knows me is aware of the importance I place on population metrics in the sphere of economics. We do not get demand without people. Supply does not just miraculously appear, people work and make goods and services. So it is not overstatement when I say there are fundamental ways that people matter for economic outcomes. Every so often though, we go into an odd place. I recently attended a presentation by a Chief Economist for a mutual fund company and he showed a graph qualitatively similar to the following,
The Census Bureau released a paper (citation below, link here) attempting a correction of sorts for the poverty level in counties and cities with a university. Specifically, the paper looks at the poverty rates with and without college students living without their families and off campus. What they find is a significant difference for some communities. That is, for some of the communities, when you exclude these students you get a significantly lower poverty rate. This is not too surprising really when you consider the rationale for many attending college is to increase their lifetime income. Continue reading College Students & Local Area Poverty Rates
The Weather Channel had a report on this week about circumstances on the eastern seaboard after SuperStorm Sandy. My students in Forecasting and Demography classes hear this information from me all the time. Look at any natural disaster, widespread blackout or other major event, and then take a look starting eight months later and you will notice an uptick in births. In fact, you can see this ahead of time if you pay attention to the OB-GYN visits. People are creatures of habit, and it sounds corny, but in times of crisis they look for comfort.