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Who Are We?

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Sep 29, 2011    •    569 Views

Environmental concerns? You might want to look at what the The American Community Survey for 2010 says about who drives alone to work (105 million) and how many of us take public transportation (7 million). If education is your focus, one table in the Survey says that 17.7% of everyone 25 and over has a bachelor’s degree. Maybe childcare? For 54% of all married couple families, the husband and wife are in the labor force .

And this is just a tiny bit of the wealth of data in the The American Community Survey for 2010. I suggest looking at it.

News articles that discuss some of the tables are here (commuting time), here (smarter cities), and here (assorted conclusions).

The Economic Lesson

The margin is an imaginary line that separates the current amount you are doing from the extras you might be contemplating. Whether looking at education or driving or any other section of the American Community Survey, you are currently at the margin. Let’s assume that you want something extra at the margin like more college graduates. Then, as economists, you should consider the cost and the benefit before making a decision.

An Economic Question: If any of the 2010 American Community Survey’s statistics concern you, how might our regulators and the US Congress create incentives that change our behavior?

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