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Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2018

Human Trafficking: Agencies Have Taken Steps to Strengthen International Anti-trafficking Projects

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Domestic Violence in Los Angeles

Institutional Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in American Prisons


National Center for Educational Statistics Releases First-Ever Response Process Dataset—A Rich New Resource for Researchers

Stereotypes in Financial Literacy: Evidence from PISA

Racial Disparities in Health among College Educated African-Americans: Can HBCU Attendance Reduce the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome in Midlife?

Department of Education’s College Scorecard Shows Where Student Loans Pay Off… And Where They Don’t


Local Public Finance Dynamics and Hurricane Shocks

Monthly State Retail Sales

Ensuring the Cradle Won't Fall: Opportunities for Research Related to Private Domestic Infant Adoption in the U.S.


The Global Economic Cost of COVID-19 Vaccine Nationalism

Trends in Birth Rates After Elimination of Cost Sharing for Contraception by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Who Married, (to) Whom, and Where? Trends in Marriage in the United States, 1850-1940

November 20, 2020


This report is based upon the results from a survey conducted of the administrators of the state criminal history record repositories in May–July 2019. The report surveyed 56 jurisdictions, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Guam submitted survey responses. This report presents a snapshot as of December 31, 2018. Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and Guam report the total number of persons in their criminal history files as 112,450,300, of which over 97% are automated records. An individual offender may have records in more than one state and that records of deceased persons may be included in the counts provided by states. This means the number of living persons in the United States with criminal history records is less than the total number of subjects in state criminal history files. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have fully automated criminal history files. Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and Guam processed 25,797,200 fingerprint records in 2018; of these, 10,500,600 were used for criminal justice purposes and 15,296,600 were used and submitted for noncriminal justice licensing, employment, and regulatory purposes. Forty states, the District of Columbia, and Guam retain all fingerprints processed for criminal justice purposes. Ten states and Guam do not retain any fingerprints processed as part of conducting noncriminal justice background checks.

Source: Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

Human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry, is a pervasive problem throughout the world. In addition to harming its victims, it imposes social and public health costs and undermines government authority. The Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Labor managed 182 international anti-trafficking in persons projects, totaling at least $316 million, during Fiscal Year 2018 and the first half of Fiscal Year 2019. These projects aim to support prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking, protect survivors, and prevent trafficking. The Department of State's Program to End Modern Slavery represents a large U.S. investment to combat international human trafficking. Under this program, prime award recipients have administered 22 sub-awards, worth $13.8 million, for international anti-trafficking projects and human trafficking research. For sub-awards reviewed, the authors found that the department, among other things, had reviewed and approved country selection, industry selection, and sub-award recipients. Agencies are taking steps to address challenges to evaluating international anti-trafficking projects and have completed final evaluations that examine project effectiveness. Despite longstanding challenges to evaluating anti-trafficking projects, given the sensitivities of human trafficking, agencies are taking steps to improve data, resources, and project design. In addition, State, USAID, and the Department of Labor completed a total of eight final evaluations of their anti-trafficking projects that were active from Fiscal Years 2016 through 2018 and provided information on the extent to which these projects achieved their objectives.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

Around the world, policymakers and news reports have warned that domestic violence could increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant restrictions on individual mobility and commercial activity. However, both anecdotal accounts and academic research have found inconsistent effects of the pandemic on domestic violence across measures and cities. The authors use high-frequency, real-time data from Los Angeles on 911 calls, crime incidents, arrests, and calls to a domestic violence hotline to study the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns on domestic violence. They find conflicting effects within that single city and even across measures from the same source. They also find varying effects between the initial shutdown period and the one following the initial re-opening. Domestic violence calls to police and to the hotline increased during the initial shutdown, but domestic violence crimes decreased, as did arrests for those crimes. The period following re-opening showed a continued decrease in domestic violence crimes and arrests, as well as decreases in calls to the police and to the hotline. Our results highlight the heterogeneous effects of the pandemic across domestic violence measures and caution against relying on a single data type or source.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

The COVID-19 pandemic infiltrated the United States in early 2020, with correctional facilities becoming hot spots for the novel coronavirus shortly thereafter. Using data gathered from Departments of Corrections’ official websites, the authors provide a summary of state and federal prison system responses to COVID-19 as of June 2020. They highlight strengths and deficiencies in system responses as well as pertinent variations across jurisdictions. Strengths include limiting visitations and making COVID-19 information accessible online. Deficiencies include inadequate testing of prisoners and staff and insufficient personal protective equipment. The authors conclude with a call for scholars and grant funders to prioritize incarceration-based data collection efforts on COVID-19 so the short and long-term consequences of the pandemic, and systemic responses to it, can be more fully assessed.

Source: Victims & Offenders


The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) data file National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Response Process Data From the 2017 Grade 8 Mathematics Assessment introduces a new type of data—response process data—which was made possible by NAEP’s transition from paper to digitally based assessments in mathematics and reading in 2017. These new datasets allow researchers to go beyond analyzing students’ answers to questions as simply right or wrong; instead, researchers can examine the amount of time students spend on questions, the pathways they take through the assessment sections, and the tools they use while solving problems. With the release of the 2017 mathematics assessment results, NCES included a feature on The Nation’s Report Card website to show the different steps students took while responding to a question that assessed their multiplication skills. The short video provided shows that students used a total of 397 different sequences to group four digits into two factors that yield a given product, highlighting the most popular correct and incorrect answer paths.Response process data, such as those summarized in this example item, can open new avenues for understanding how students work through math problems and identifying more detailed elements of response processes that could lead to common math errors.

Source: National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

The authors examine gender differences in financial literacy among high school students in Italy using data from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Gender differences in financial literacy are large among the young in Italy. They are present in all regions and are particularly severe in the South and the Islands. Combining the rich PISA data with a variety of other indicators, the authors provide a thorough analysis of the potential determinants of the gender gap in financial literacy. They find that parental background, in particular the role of mothers, matters for the financial knowledge of girls. Moreover, the report shows that the social and cultural environment in which girls and boys live plays a crucial role in explaining gender differences. It also shows that history matters: Medieval commercial hubs and the nuclear family structure created conditions favorable to the transformation of the role of women in society, and shaped gender differences in financial literacy as well.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

The authors expand on existing understandings of health disparities among middle-class African-Americans by examining how the postsecondary educational context gives rise to the unequal distribution of health. They use panel data (1994-2009) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health to estimate if the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by midlife significantly differs for African-Americans who attended Historically Black College or Universities (HBCUs) vs. predominantly White institutions (PWIs). They find that HBCU enrollment is associated with a 35% reduction in the odds of metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, they demonstrate that HBCU attendees who grew up in more segregated environments experienced the greatest reductions in the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome. These results underscore the important role that HBCUs play in the lives of African-Americans and suggest their impacts go far beyond traditional benchmarks of socioeconomic achievement to include key health outcomes.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology

Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loans. Many struggle under the burden of those loans. But not all student loan borrowers struggle. Indeed, many thrive because of the education financed with their loans. One factor differentiating those who struggle with those who thrive is the program in which they studied. Updated data from the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, a unique source with data by institution and by field of study, reveal which programs Americans have borrowed to attend and how borrowers from those programs fare in the workforce after graduation. In short, it shows for whom student loans are a good investment and for whom they are not. This evidence is important as policymakers examine ways to reduce the burden of student debt on those who struggle. The data show, for instance, that if you have a student loan, you’re more likely to be a well-paid professional. However, the Scorecard data illustrate troubling patterns in certain fields. Large numbers of students borrow to attend programs where graduates rarely earn more than a typical high school graduate (about $26,500). Even with modest debts, borrowers with weak earnings have difficulty paying their loans. And some borrowers attend programs with solid earnings, but which are nonetheless unsustainable given astronomical levels of debt they owe. Overall, the data show that many students are successful after graduation, accrue debts that are modest relative to their earnings, and thrive because of their educational investments. But clearly not all succeed—some borrow to attend programs like cosmetology or associate’s degrees in liberal studies that don’t lead to high-paying jobs. Others borrow large amounts that far exceed typical earnings in their field (like master’s degrees in arts like music, drama, or film).

Source: Brookings Institute

Government Operations

Since 1980, over 2,000 local governments in U.S. Atlantic and Gulf states have been hit by a hurricane. Such natural disasters can exert severe budgetary pressure on local governments' ability to provide critical infrastructure, goods, and services. The authors study local government revenue, expenditure, and borrowing dynamics in the aftermath of hurricanes. These shocks impact, both, current local public resources through reducing tax revenues and expenditures, as well as future local public resources through increasing the cost of debt. Major hurricanes have much larger effects than minor hurricanes: major storms cause local revenues to fall by 6% to 7%. These losses persist at least ten years after a hurricane strike, leading to a 6% decline in expenditures on important public goods and services and a significant increase in the risk of default on municipal debt. These results reveal how hurricanes can create a vicious cycle for local governments by increasing the cost of debt at critical moments after a hurricane strike, when localities are in greatest need of funding sources. Cities deemed riskier by ratings agencies face higher borrowing costs and thereby face constraints to invest in climate change adaptation. Municipalities with a racial minority composition above their state median suffer expenditure losses 9% greater and debt default risk 8 times larger than white communities in the decade following a hurricane strike. These results suggest that climate change can exacerbate environmental justice challenges.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Justice

This infographic shows the monthly state retail sales figures for the fifty states and the District of Columbia. Total monthly retail sales in Florida increased from 2.1% in July 2019 to 2.4% in July 2020. The national average of monthly total retail sales for July 2020 was 3.7%. This infographic also allows users to examine sectors of retail sales including gasoline stations, clothing and clothing accessories, furniture and home furnishings, and food and beverage stores.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Each year, expectant parents in the United States make the difficult decision to relinquish their newborn infants to an adoptive family of their choosing, a process known as private domestic infant adoption. Although this decision has lifelong impacts on the birth parents, infant, and adoptive family, the regulation of the private domestic adoption of infants rests squarely with the states and has little federal oversight. Unfortunately, there is limited data or evidence to inform state policymaking; states lack even basic information about the exact number of private adoptions taking place each year. Consequently, there is wide variation in state laws. Expectant parents and birth parents are offered different counseling services and protections from coercion depending on where they live. This report presents an overview of what is known about private domestic infant adoption in the United States and identifies priorities for data collection and further research.

Source: Mathematica

Health and Human Services

Millions of people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19 and so far, more than a million have lost their lives because of the pandemic. A huge global research effort is taking place to bring a fast-tracked vaccine to the market. Currently there are more than 165 vaccines being developed, with some already in human trials. While the COVID-19 outbreak is foremost a public health crisis, it has also caused substantial damage to the global economy. National governments are spending trillions of dollars to fight the negative economic impact, but until there is a vaccine or other treatment widely available, the financial cost will continue to be felt around the world. Physical distancing, the use of masks and test, track and trace programs are currently the only effective measures against the spread of the disease, and economic sectors that rely on close physical proximity between people, such as recreation and retail, will continue to be the most affected. Even when a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine or treatment is eventually developed, further challenges will emerge with regard to the manufacturing and distribution process. There is a threat that ‘vaccine nationalism’ could have negative consequences on how well the global pandemic is managed and contained. Vaccine nationalism could cost the global economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP. As long as there is no vaccine against the disease, the global cost associated with COVID-19 and its economic impact could be $3.4 trillion a year. If the poorest countries cannot access vaccines, the world could still lose between $60 and $340 billion a year in GDP. For every $1 spent on supplying poorer countries with vaccines, high-income countries would get back about $4.80.

Source: RAND Corporation

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the elimination of cost sharing for contraception under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was associated with a change in birth rates among women in different income groups. To evaluate changes in birth rates by income level among commercially insured women before (2008-2013) and after (2014-2018) the elimination of cost sharing for contraception under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This cross-sectional study used data from Clinformatics Data Mart database from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2018, for women aged 15 to 45 years who were enrolled in an employer-based health plan and had pregnancy benefits for at least 1 year. Women without household income information and women with evidence of having undergone a hysterectomy were excluded. The authors found that the estimated probability of birth decreased most precipitously among women in the lowest income group from 8.0% in 2014 to 6.2% in 2018. The probability of a birth also decreased significantly among women in higher income groups, but this decrease was smaller in magnitude. These findings suggest that contraception insurance coverage without consumer cost sharing may be associated with decreased income-related disparities in unintended birth rates.

Source: JAMA Network Open

The authors present new findings about the relationship between marriage and socioeconomic background in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Imputing socioeconomic status of family of origin from first names, they document a socioeconomic gradient for women in the probability of marriage and the socioeconomic status of husbands. Women born to families in the bottom quartile of the occupational earnings distribution were more likely to marry than those in the top quartile. This socioeconomic gradient becomes steeper over time. The authors investigate the degree to which it can be explained by occupational income divergence (i.e., the median income of all persons assigned to an occupation) across geographic regions. Regional divergence explains about one half of the socioeconomic divergence in the probability of marriage, and almost all of the increase in marital sorting. Differences in urbanization rates and the share of foreign-born across states drive most of these differences, while other factors (the scholarization rate, the sex ratio and the share in manufacturing) play a smaller role.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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