Even peaceful Switzerland is reeling from mass murders, and voters are demanding change. Public-health research on firearm deaths is notoriously inconclusive, but it’s safe to say that more guns make for more bodies: High firearm-death rates (totaling suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths) correlate with high levels of gun ownership, at least among countries belonging to the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The link between gun ownership and gun murderis fuzzier: Gun-loving Finland has more than twice as many firearms as Portugal, but the Finns have only half as many gun murders per capita. Income, development, and culture appear to drive gun-crime rates more than simple gun availability.
Explore the data at Bloomberg Businessweek
In 1984, the average U.S. household spent 16.8 percent of its annual post-tax income on food. By 2011, Americans spent only 11.2 percent. The U.S. devotes less of its income to food than any other country—half as mu ch as households in France and one-fourth of those in India.
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Job prospects for young four-year college grads did dim a bit after 2007, but not terribly. Their overall employment rate dropped just a few percentage points and in response, slightly more young adults returned to school than might otherwise have decided to. There’s no sign that many more bachelor’s holders ended up working dead end jobs just to pay the bills.
Read more. [Image: Pew Charitable Trust’s Economic Mobility Project]
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Every four years we bemoan record campaign spending and every four years we are wrong. For all the fistfuls of dollars super PACs have thrown into this post-Citizens United election, the reality is the 2012 campaign isn’t even in the same vicinity of the most expensive ever.That would be the campaign of 1896, by almost a factor of five. The chart below, courtesy of Dave Gilson of Mother Jones and Seth Masket, puts our campaign finance system in historical perspective. It looks at presidential spending as a share of GDP, rather than in nominal dollars, over the past century and a half. There was remarkably more campaign spending in 1896 than in the next four priciest elections combined.
[Images: Sunlight Foundation, Wesleyan Media Project, Ward Room]
[Image: Gwen Sharp, Data: U.S. Census Bureau]
This is the general theory of wages and voting preferences in a sentence: The more income you make, the more likely you are to vote Republican … or to vote, at all.
It’s a long-held political axiom, and it’s upheld in a recent study by PayScale, the nation’s largest private salary survey company. In research shared with The Atlantic, they showed that Americans who make less than $70,000 (about 70% of the country) are considerably more likely to vote Democratic. Those making more than $70,000 are more likely to vote Republican.
But the relationship between wages and voting isn’t as simple as two lines making an X.
Read more. [Image: PayScale]
When it comes to book publishing, not all countries are created equal, as this distorted map of the world by the International Publishers Association shows. […]
As you can see, places like the U.S., Europe, and parts of Asia are engorged in illustration of their strong publishing industries. Meanwhile, Africa and the Middle East are tiny slivers, meaning that the number of books published in those places is extremely low compared to the rest of the world.
[Image: International Publishers Association]