While graduation looks different this year, that doesn’t diminish the achievements the class of 2020 have made throughout their schooling.
In 2017, Vermont had the highest rate of students graduating in six years at 64.8 percent, followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts with 64.2 percent and 63.2 percent respectively. The state with the smallest percentage of students graduating in six years is Alaska with 32.5 percent.
Iowa and New Jersey are the only states with a high school graduation rate over 90 percent. Iowa has the highest high school graduation rate with 91 percent of students receiving a diploma. New Jersey is close behind with a 90.5 percent high school graduation rate. New Mexico has the smallest percentage of graduates with only 71.1 percent making it across the stage on graduation day. READ MORE
In the fiscal year 2019, Illinois’ financial position worsened by $2.1 billion. The state finances have been on a steady decline since 2009. Currently, Illinois is $226 billion in debt. Since 2009, Illinois’ financial position has worsened by 88 percent.
The state has been fiscally mismanaged for many years. Gov. Pritzker claims the budget is balanced, but he is not including unfunded pensions and retiree health care benefits. The largest portion of Illinois debt is the combined $200.3 billion the state owes in pensions and retiree health care benefits. Illinois pensions are only 38 percent funded while no money has been set aside to fund retiree health care benefits. READ MORE
There are a total of 8,565 state parks in the United States covering 18 million acres of land. State parks saw 807 million visitors in 2017. The total amount of money spent on state parks in fiscal year 2017 was $6.5 billion, but state parks and recreation spending averages only 0.156 percent of the state budgets.
New York spends the most on parks and recreation followed by California. New York’s spending is 448 percent higher than the 50-state average. As of 2017, New York has 215 state parks and historic sites encompassing 350,000 acres. The state spent $713 million in 2017, which equals out to more than $2,000 dollars an acre. READ MORE
In 2019, the United State’s financial situation worsened by $8 trillion. The true national debt is $100 trillion higher than the published national debt. The published national debt does not include unfunded Medicare and Social Security promises. Unfunded Medicare and Social Security promises both increased by eight percent in the fiscal year 2019. Medicare is currently $52.7 trillion underfunded and Social Security is $37.6 trillion underfunded.
Fifteen percent of Americans are enrolled in Medicare, which is about 44 million people. This number is expected to grow to 79 million in the next ten years. Will the United States be able to keep its promise and fund Medicare for these 79 million people?
The economy has been a hot topic these last few weeks. In just a few months we went from having the strongest economy the United States has ever had to seeing stocks fall farther than they did during the Great Depression.
In the last decade, the unemployment rate peaked in 2010 during the recession. In 2018, there were 6.3 million unemployed Americans. In the last week, 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in the United States, which is a 47.7 percent increase. It is estimated that up to 40 million Americans could lose their jobs in April. The unemployment rate in February was 3.5 percent, but studies show that it has jumped to 5.5 percent in the last week. READ MORE
Florida currently has over 195 confirmed COVID-19 patients and the number is growing every day. Coronavirus is more harmful to the elderly and immune-deficient populations. Out of the 50 states, Florida has the largest population over the age of 75. Nine percent of Floridians are over the age of 75 and another 24.7 percent are in the 55-74 range. People over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing worse symptoms relating to COVID-19.
About 40 million people visit Florida every year and the hospitality industry generates more than $40 billion annually, making it the state's biggest source of revenue. and While many have canceled their trips, there are still many young people traveling to Florida although many tourist attractions, including Disney World and Miami’s bar scene, have closed.
Health insurance has been on everyone’s mind in the last few weeks. With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing daily and a limited amount of tests, people are worried. There are 44 million Americans without health insurance and another 38 million with inadequate coverage. The COVID-19 test can cost anywhere from $900 to $3,000. This only covers the test, this does not include the cost of being treated if you test positive for the virus. Some states have started covering the cost of the test for uninsured patients with taxpayer dollars. Texas has the highest number of citizens without health insurance. Texas has over 5 million people without health insurance, which is 17.7 percent of Texans. Texas has 19,900 percent more uninsured people than Vermont, the state with the least amount of uninsured residents.
The United States’ published national debt does not include unfunded Medicare promises or unfunded Social Security benefits. In 2019, Medicare reached a new low at $34.9 trillion underfunded. Social Security is $48.7 trillion underfunded, declining almost $800 billion from the previous year. The published national debt is $23 trillion but when you included unfunded Medicare and Social Security the true national debt is $122 trillion.
There are currently 44 million Medicare beneficiaries, which is about 15 percent of the U.S. population. Enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030, trustees expect Medicare to run out of money in 2026. One in every six U.S. residents currently relies on Social Security, this is over 63 million people. For the past 35 years, there have been about 3.3 workers per beneficiary. After 2030, the ratio will be two workers per beneficiary. It is projected by trustees that by 2034 Social Security will be depleted. Our numbers show that Social Security and Medicare are already depleted as they are underfunded.
Mississippi has the largest percentage of children in poverty at 27.6 percent. This is 37 percent higher than the 50-state average. The Magnolia State has had the highest rate of children in poverty for five of the last ten years. Louisiana moved to third place behind both Mississippi and New Mexico in 2018. In the past ten years, Louisiana’s, New Mexico’s, and Mississippi’s children living in poverty rates have been above 21 percent.
In 2018, Mississippi had an overall poverty rate of 19.1 percent, again the highest in the country. Mississippi’s child poverty rate is higher than the state’s overall poverty rate by 30.8 percent. Some contributing factors could be that Mississippi has both second-lowest employment rate at 53 percent and the second-lowest number of people with a bachelor’s degree. West Virginia beats Mississippi in both of those categories. READ MORE
Illinois has 6,918 local government units. This is the largest amount of the 50 states even though Illinois is neither the largest state in population nor landmass. Illinois has the sixth-largest population and is the 25th largest in size. California, which has the largest population, has 2,474 fewer local governments than Illinois. Texas is the second-largest state both in size and population but has 1,575 fewer local governments than Illinois. New York, which is the fourth most populated state, has 3,450 local governments or 3,000 fewer than Illinois. Wisconsin, Illinois’ neighbor to the north, has fewer than half the number of local governments at 3,096.
Sixty-one percent of Illinois’ residents live under three layers of local government, while in 40 other states, residents are never under more than two layers. This means that Illinois’ taxpayers are responsible for multiple, redundant governments. This is one contributing factor to Illinois being a high-tax state. Illinois is currently $233.9 billion in debt.
See the full chart here. READ MORE