Last October California began a dramatic overhaul of its severely overcrowded prison system. Assembly Bill 109 – known as realignment – had the objective of shedding more than 30,000 inmates from in-state prisons and significantly cutting the prison budget. At the time the law took effect, there were more than 143,000 inmates behind bars in California’s 33 prisons. That’s almost twice the system’s design capacity. Meanwhile, California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation received about $10 billion a year from the state’s thinning general fund – over 11 percent of last year’s entire spending plan, more than was spent on the University of California and California State University systems combined. Continue reading
California’s realignment process has resulted in many more new low-level offenders placed under county supervision rather than being put in the state prison system. Although the overall jail population has not changed significantly, many counties across the state have experienced a significant increase in their local sentenced inmate populations.
Click on each county below for average jail population rates of sentenced inmates between the third quarter of 2011 (before realignment began) and the first quarter of 2012.
The world is not an equal place, and some places are a lot more unequal than others.
A national political border can have incredible significance; an abstract line separating neighboring peoples, economies, even life expectancies. Using GDP per capita as an indicator (sourcing the most recent Central Intelligence Agency data), the wealth divide between these four pairs of countries is vast … even though they geographically sit side by side.
1.Kuwait and Iraq
Difference in GDP per capita: $38,300
2.United States and Mexico
Difference in GDP per capita: $34,200
3. Brunei and Malaysia
Difference in GDP per capita: $34,200 (tied with U.S.- Mexico)
4. North Korea and South Korea
Difference in GDP per capita: $30,000
Now that you can drop the concept of GDP per capita like the pros do, check out this interactive map that lists just about every country in the world (226) and their respective GDP per capita ranks in U.S. dollars. These figures are based on the most recent CIA data, with estimates derived from purchasing power parity (a complicated theory used to determine the relative value of currencies). It’s also worth noting that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank compile their own GDP per capita data with slightly differing results.
The highest GDP per capita goes to Liechtenstein. Never heard of it? It’s really, really tiny, has a population of less than 40,000 and a GDP per capita of more than $141,000. In short, Liechtensteinians are living large.
At the bottom of the list is the Democratic Republic of Congo in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 71 million people on an average of $400 a year.
Romney was absolutely correct when noting that Israel’s GDP per capita is significantly higher than that in the Palestinian territories. But he was actually way off on the specifics: in suggesting that Israelis produced roughly twice as much as do the Palestinians, he vastly understated the disparity. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimated Israel’s per capita GDP at about 10 times (or 1000% more) that of the Palestinians.
In 2011 Israel had a per capita GDP of roughly $31,000, while in 2008 — the last year the CIA listed data for the Palestinians — the per capita GDP. of the West Bank and Gaza combined was about $3,000.
That’s a 1000% difference! Continue reading
Click each county on the map below for stats on California’s eligible and registered voters, as well as a breakdown of political party affiliation (but keep in mind there’s a big difference between registered and “likely” voters). The darker the shade, the higher the percentage of registered voters.
(Source: California Secretary of State, May 2012 data)
President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act into law in 1965, called voting “the basic right, without which all others are meaningless.”
But in California – where nearly 24 million adults are eligible to vote – the number of people who actually take advantage of this right is surprisingly small.
Consider these California voting stats (approximated):
- 24 million: People who are eligible to vote
- 17 million: People registered to vote (about 72% of those who are eligible)
- 6 million: “Likely voters” (those who regularly vote)
- 5.3 million: The number of votes cast in the June 2012 primary election
A Public Policy Institute of California survey also found that California’s “likely voters” are not representative of the state’s racial and economic diversity. About 65 percent of them are white (even though whites make up only 44 percent of the state’s adult population) and only 17 percent Latino (who make up about one-third of the state’s population). Likely voters are also generally older, more educated, more affluent, and far more likely to own a home than the average Californian. And more than 80 percent were born in the U.S.
For more on how to register to vote and who is eligible, go here.
About two-thirds of Californians drink, bathe, brush their teeth, and flush their toilets with water that comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. That’s roughly 25 million people who get at least some portion of their hydration from one big triangular watering hole.
It’s pretty easy to take for granted that water magically pours out of the tap when you turn your faucet on. But chances are, that H20 has gone through a pretty serious journey to reach you – and it’s probably worth knowing where it comes from, and how safe the supply is. Continue reading
Click on each marker for undergraduate cost and debt information. California State University’s 23 undergraduate campuses are in blue. University of California’s nine campuses (excluding UCSF) are in red.
Sources: The California State University; University of California; Collegedata.com
The cost of knowledge at California’s public universities ain’t what it used to be.
(Click on each state for population estimates of the undocumented immigrant community; source: Pew Hispanic Center)
Although the vast majority of immigrants in California came here legally, the state still has by far the largest undocumented immigrant population in the country, many of whom are young. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 350,000 young undocumented immigrants living in California are eligible for deferred deportation and work authorization, as a result of the Obama administration’s recent policy shift, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Continue reading
Click on any state to see the number of current seats it’s represented by in Congress (based on the 2010 Census population figures) and the change – if any – since 2000. The darker the shade of green, the greater the number of seats.