Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population
A Block is the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics. As of the 2010 census, the United States consists of 11,078,300 Census Blocks. Of them, 4,871,270 blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them. Despite having a population of more than 310 million people, 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.
Green shading indicates unoccupied Census Blocks. A single inhabitant is enough to omit a block from shading….
Some of the shaded areas are commercial and industrial sectors as well as parks, however I was still surprised by how much of the United States is uninhabited.
"Hungary’s far-right party has secured a parliamentary majority again, with the ultra-right picking up a bigger share of the vote as well. All across Europe, nationalism is gaining momentum.
Hungarian voters have given the right-wing Fidesz party and its leader Viktor Orban a parliamentary majority again. The ultra-right nationalist Jobbik party also made big gains, winning 20.7 percent of the vote, 4 percentage points higher than its share in 2010. The party is expectedto gain 23 seats in the country’s 199-member Parliament.”
And it is not just Hungary that is witnessing a revival of the far-right.
"All across Europe, far-right fringe groups are capitalizing on establishment parties’ ongoing failure to address their concerns."
"Following repeated controversies, the Republic of Chad announcement on April 3 that it intends to withdraw its 850 troops from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA).
Any hopes for a resolution to the crisis have been dashed due to Chad’s abandonment of the international mission because unlike France, Chad is the decisive player in the future of the Central African Republic. […]
The withdrawal is problematic because Chadian troops are some of the best trained in Africa and have been a critical ally of France, having played a pivotal role in the French intervention in northern Mali in 2011. In addition, Chadian troops bore the brunt of fighting with the Christian anti-balaka militia, taking on numerous casualties. Thus, the withdrawal of highly trained soldiers capable of acting as enforcers will surely be felt. Moreover, the European Union forces being deployed to the capital’s airport and other strategic areas will not make up the difference.”
"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of Ukraine, which was announced last week, will result in an already very low living standards in Ukraine crashing even lower. The Ukrainian government has already increased the price that the population pays for gas by 50 percent (and further increases may occur down the road). This raises the specter of thousands of people unable to pay for heating their apartments during the coming winter. These are likely to be the old folks whose only source of income is a state pension. Pensions will be cut drastically, perhaps halved, because the IMF requires the government to balance its books. Many state employees will be fired, and the salaries of the rest reduced."
-Peter Turchin, “Battle of the Ukrainian Oligarchs,” Social Evolution Forum.
This graph from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows a correlation between increasing minimum wages and an increase in employment. While it does not prove that raising the minimum wage will create jobs, however, it does challenge the argument that raising the minimum wage will lead to layoffs or prevent employers from hiring new workers.
Missouri and Kansas have been engaged in a sort of cross-border economic competition:
“Both states offer tax incentives to lure in companies from elsewhere. Because they share a large metropolitan region, Kansas City, many firms qualify for such breaks simply by shifting a mile or two over the border.”
Because Kansas City straddles the border between Missouri and Kansas its unique geography creates a peculiar problem: businesses can easily take advantage of differences in the tax credits and incentives offered by each state by moving a short distance.
This has created a situation where both Missouri and Kansas legislatures feel pressured to accommodate businesses’ demands for more generous tax incentives. Until recently both states have generally given in to the pressure and kept upping the ante.
Now however both states are finally realizing how stupid this competition is and leaders from Kansas and Missouri starting to talk it over.
“It is difficult to understand why either state would want to continue throwing money at a scheme that benefits only the companies that move. [Missouri Senator Ryan] Silvey [R] explains: “When people feel like they are locked in competition they just want to win, even when the competition is stupid.”
This story jives well with this post I wrote about how political boundaries don’t always make sense and can cause problems when they don’t match functional boundaries.