Notes on the US Social Crisis

Drug crisis pushes up mortality rate for Americans in their prime

By Shelley Connor, 10 June 2017

Amid a continuing economic downturn, mortality rates have risen for Americans between the ages of 25 and 45, with a surging opioid crisis claiming lives daily.

Five dead in Detroit fire, hundreds of thousands without power after strong winds

By Kathleen Martin, 9 March 2017

High wind in Detroit caused power outages for a large portion of southeastern Michigan and tragically resulted in death for others.

The right-wing campaign over the Stanford University sexual assault case

By Tom Carter, 11 June 2016

The media and political campaign that is unfolding in America around the sentencing of Stanford University freshman Brock Allen Turner is fundamentally reactionary.

US economy adds fewest jobs in five years

By Evan Blake, 4 June 2016

The US economy added only 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest since 2010, in another indication of the persistent slump gripping the US economy.

Portrait of the social crisis in America: Rockford, Illinois

By George Gallanis and George Marlowe, 4 June 2016

After decades of robust industry and manufacturing, the city now faces rising unemployment, poverty and social misery.

Young people in America: A lost generation stuck at home

By Niles Niemuth—SEP candidate for vice president, 26 May 2016

A Pew report released on the share of young people living with their parents sheds new light on the difficulties facing millions who are barely scraping by.

Life expectancy declines for white Americans

By Patrick Martin, 21 April 2016

New figures released by the Centers for Disease Control on declining life expectancy reflect the profound social crisis that is fueling the political convulsions in the US elections.

More than 1 million in US face food stamps cutoff

By Kate Randall, 2 February 2016

The SNAP cutoffs loom as hunger and food insecurity continue to rise and more than a quarter of the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months.

Need for food assistance rising in US despite claims of recovery

By Shannon Jones, 20 August 2015

Food banks and food pantries report that millions of families are still making difficult choices between eating and paying for other necessities

US homeownership rate hits lowest level since 1967

By Tom Hall, 31 July 2015

Despite six years of economic “recovery,” many indicators show that American households are worse off than they were during the depths of the 2008 economic crisis.

Kids Count report: 22 percent of US children live in poverty

By Tom Hall, 22 July 2015

Three million more American children were in poverty in 2013 than at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Rising inequality, poverty in Ann Arbor, Michigan

By Naomi Spencer, 3 April 2015

Washtenaw County, Michigan is held up as a “knowledge economy” model for recovery in the state, but a new study finds 37 percent of residents cannot make ends meet.

Inmates riot against miserable conditions at south Texas prison

By Evan Blake, 23 February 2015

Willacy County Correctional Center is one of fifteen federal for-profit prisons that house mostly undocumented immigrants under deplorable conditions.

Hazel Park, Michigan retiree dies of hypothermia after gas shutoff

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2015

The 69-year-old Vietnam veteran was found huddled under blankets next to a space heater.

Albuquerque moves to escalate evictions of homeless campers

By D. Lencho, 9 February 2015

Removal of the homeless has begun at a “tent city” near downtown, while new encampments have sprung up in other parts of the city.

“A permanent Third World in America”

Child homelessness at all-time high in US

By Niles Williamson, 18 November 2014

A record 2.5 million American children were homeless last year amidst what the Obama administration has insisted is an economic recovery.

The human toll of slump and part-time employment

New Jersey woman dies while napping between jobs

By Fred Mazelis, 2 September 2014

Maria Fernandes worked part-time at three separate Dunkin’ Donuts.

Report: US targets poor and working class with mass imprisonment

By Eric London, 26 May 2014

A report from the National Research Council details the devastating social impact of mass incarceration.

Inmate deaths reveal brutal conditions in New York City’s Rikers Island prison

By Philip Guelpa, 26 May 2014

An Associated Press investigation revealed that two inmates recently died from horrific squalor and neglect at the prison.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 23 November 2013

Mass job line-ups across the country, rising infant mortality rates in Alabama, fatal accidents due to fatigue among truckers, and other recent indices of the social crisis.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 19 December 2012

A California family commits suicide, police use pepper spray on housing assistance seekers in Ohio, and a West Virginia newspaper features a “neediest cases” contest.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 5 December 2012

Jobless parents jailed for manner of transporting their children, Michigan mother harassed for deceased son’s student loans, more homeless risk hypothermia, study released on homeless students and an Ohio state road falls into sinkhole.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 20 November 2012

The DC housing voucher wait list is more than two decades long, Colorado child welfare workers are “at the breaking point,” and people in poverty are twice as likely to suffer depression.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 25 October 2012

A Massachusetts woman committed robbery to pay her landlord, apartment building collapses highlight shoddy construction practices and more Americans say they won’t be able to afford retirement.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 11 October 2012

This week: the psychological impact of solitary confinement on young prisoners, the swelling homeless population in New York, the epidemic of suicides among American Indian youth

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 29 August 2012

This week we report a police killing in the nation’s capital, the untenable cost of child care, Florida’s effort to purge unemployment insurance rolls of hundreds of thousands, the doubling of the Georgia high school dropout rate, and the crisis in home energy assistance funding.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 19 June 2012

This week, Utah ties welfare aid to drug testing, San Antonio sees an epidemic of child abuse and neglect, researchers find a spike in American stress levels, and another Rhode Island city slides toward bankruptcy.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 11 June 2012

A Connecticut man cites “desperate times” for a robbery, a Missouri resident refusing eviction is shot by police, poor Virginia tenants are made homeless over their landlords’ violations, and other indicators of social breakdown.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 24 May 2012

This week, we report on a prison riot in Mississippi; the razing of multiple homeless tent cities; mass job lineups in the Pacific Northwest; and Tennessee’s growing dental health disaster.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 10 May 2012

This week we report on homelessness among Michigan children; a hungry homeless man seeks relief in jail; states privatize multitudes of services; and other facets of the social crisis.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 2 May 2012

Life expectancy falls in counties across the US, domestic violence and arrests of school children spike, the Obama administration scraps proposed child farm labor rules, and other signs of social breakdown.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 2 April 2012

This week, new findings emerge in the death of a homeless St. Louis woman arrested for seeking medical help, South Carolina health clinic workers are laid off without pay, Arizona moves toward the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and other developments.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 24 March 2012

This week, tornado-stricken states are denied federal aid, Philadelphia criminalizes feeding the homeless, Missouri moves to end a health care program for the blind, and other signs of social distress across the US.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 8 March 2012

The government cuts school lunch program costs by using ammonia-treated meat byproduct; a wealthy New York family is charged with enslaving an undocumented immigrant; Idaho slashes taxes on highest earning households as schools and medical programs founder.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 14 February 2012

This week, the Labor Department loosens its child farm labor proposal, Alabama immigrants report being denied food stamps for their US-born children, and management of California’s prison health care system is turned over to the state.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 28 January 2012

Tornados ripped through central Alabama again this week; hospitals contend with meth-related accident victims and dental emergencies among the uninsured; California jail conditions worsen under prisoner “realignment” program.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 20 January 2012

Rising rates of mental illness, suicide, and child abuse coincide with drastic cuts to public health budgets and social worker burnout.

Ohio’s hidden housing crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 10 January 2012

Columbus, Ohio provides a portrait of rising homelessness and the lack of affordable housing across the Midwest.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 4 January 2012

Thousands line up for subsidized housing, blight in post-Katrina New Orleans, inhumane conditions in youth prisons, and other indications of the social crisis in the United States.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 29 December 2011

The Christmas weekend saw numerous deadly house fires, a near-riot at the Mall of America, and other signs of mounting social distress.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 8 December 2011

A Texas mother denied food stamps shot herself and her two children; Tacoma, Washington, announced deep cuts in firefighting; the housing crisis deepened in the nation’s capital.

Social crisis in America: Thanksgiving 2011

By Naomi Spencer, 24 November 2011

Millions of Americans face extraordinarily grim circumstances this holiday.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 29 October 2011

Relentless budget cuts are felt in public education, the justice system, and in health care programs for the poor.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 27 September 2011

Rhode Island homeless shelters are filled to capacity, coroners’ offices report rising numbers of unclaimed bodies, New York City threatens 100 schools with closure, and other reports of social distress in America.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 12 September 2011

An Ohio man without insurance dies of a tooth infection; a Georgia university opens a food pantry for students; Florida cities seek to drive out homeless population ahead of Republican convention; and other reports on social distress in the US.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 1 September 2011

Among symptoms of deep social decay are the slashing of legal aid funding, dire overcrowding in an Alabama jail and the plight of poor New Orleans residents six years after Hurricane Katrina.

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 18 August 2011

Deteriorating social conditions find expression this week in a mass line up for dental care in Georgia, a crackdown on a growing New Jersey tent city, and deepening pessimism among the youth

Notes on the social crisis in America

By Naomi Spencer, 11 August 2011

Conditions of life are deteriorating for millions of working class families as key social programs are cut and job prospects dry up.

Notes on the US social crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 4 August 2011

The federal budget deal targets critical social programs that are already under duress at the state level.

Notes on the US social crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 26 July 2011

As state and local government budget crises deepen, working class living conditions are unraveling.

Notes on the US social crisis

By Naomi Spencer, 20 July 2011

The economic crisis manifests itself in virtually every facet of working class living conditions in the US.