Resource Library

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values and inform the work on our priority areas, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

We invite you to check back often, as this list is regularly updated.

 

Financial Incentives Increase Purchases Of Fruit And Vegetables Among Lower-Income Households With Children

October 23, 2019 – Families

New research in Health Affairs tests the effects of a 50 percent discount on produce among a sample of 600 low-income households in rural Maine, finding that spending on fruits and vegetables increased by 27 percent. The researchers conclude that this type of incentive program demonstrates desire for healthful food purchases and suggests that this scalable approach could have important effects on the social determinants of health.

Strengthening State Systems and Policies To Foster Two-generation Strategies and Practices

October 23, 2019 – Families

A new policy brief from the Working Poor Families Project that focuses on how to best strengthen state systems to improve economic conditions for working poor families through a two-generation approach. The brief highlights efforts in a few key states, largely centered on state systems that support local efforts for coordinating, enhancing, and strengthening family-level services. The report concludes that a two-generation lens can help spotlight ways that state systems and policies can become more equitable and effective for adults and children.

Income-Rent Gap Grew in 2018

October 23, 2019 – Families

New research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explores the disparities between renters’ incomes and their housing costs. The report finds that after sharp declines in the 2001 and 2007 recessions, renters’ incomes have finally recovered to 2001 levels, adjusting for inflation. During this period, however, median rental costs have risen steadily, now at 13 percent higher than in 2001. The report notes that a parent working full time at the minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state, and calls for expanded funding for federal rental assistance and stronger state and local programs.

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018

October 23, 2019 – Families

The Census Bureau has released its annual Income and Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage reports, with data for 2018. The key findings include that median household income remained stable ($63,179), while poverty ticked down half a percentage point to finally drop below pre-recession levels (11.8 percent in 2018). Health insurance findings were less positive, as the number of people without health insurance increased by two million between 2017 and 2018. This shift was largely driven by people losing public insurance. Maine saw no significant change in the share of people who are uninsured (poverty was not reported by state).

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018

October 23, 2019 – Families

The Census Bureau has released its annual Income and Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage reports, with data for 2018. The key findings include that median household income remained stable ($63,179), while poverty ticked down half a percentage point to finally drop below pre-recession levels (11.8 percent in 2018). Health insurance findings were less positive, as the number of people without health insurance increased by two million between 2017 and 2018. This shift was largely driven by people losing public insurance. Maine saw no significant change in the share of people who are uninsured (poverty was not reported by state).

Child Poverty Declines Slightly in 2018 to 18 Percent

October 23, 2019 – Families

New research from the Carsey School utilizes 2018 American Community Survey data released last week to estimate changes in child poverty since 2017. The data snapshot shows that 18 percent of children are still poor, although rates have finally returned to pre-recession levels. Poverty continues to be lowest in suburban areas and higher in cities and rural places. Changes in Maine child poverty were not statistically significant between 2017 and 2018.

Maine Data Glimpse: Incarceration Rates and Annual Admissions to County Jails, 2015

September 4, 2019 – General

Nationwide, the number of people in jails rose by 400% between 1970 and 2014. In 2015 in Maine, more than 190 per 100,000 residents were incarcerated in jails on a given day, and more than 4,500 per 100,000 residents were admitted to jail during the year. There is considerable inter-county variability in incarceration rates, even though annual admissions are relatively uniform across counties.

o Because pretrial incarceration is a significant share of jail populations, this is not necessarily just a function of differences in the adjudication process.

o These county differences may be due to unequal distributions of populations more likely to commit more serious crimes, differential ability to make bail across places, or differences in county justice systems, among other possibilities.

Androscoggin and Washington Counties admit at high rates, but incarcerate at about the statewide average rate. Somerset admits and incarcerates above average rates, while Lincoln admits at about average rates but incarcerates at far above average.

Aging and Declining Populations in Northern New England: Is There a Role for Immigration?

September 4, 2019 – General

A new brief from the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston explores the issues of Northern New England’s aging and shrinking population with the goal of identifying a role for immigration in stabilizing these trends. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the three highest median ages in the nation. Further, Maine is projected to have more residents aged 65 or older than residents under 18 by 2020—at least 15 years earlier than expected nationwide. The author finds that some of the towns with the slowest growth among native-born populations have seen their population losses offset by immigrant population increases (for example, Calais, Maine); nearly 60% of growth in these slow-growing places was driven by immigration. The brief concludes by addressing possible immigrant incentive approaches, as well as recognizing the need for federal resources to reduce strain on resettlement destinations (e.g., Portland, Maine).

Policy Brief: SUPPORTIVE SERVICES AND CAREGIVING FOR OLDER RURAL ADULTS

September 4, 2019 – Seniors

A new policy brief by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services offers recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on supportive services and caregiving for older rural adults. The key recommendations include (1) “creating a comprehensive resource on the aging and long-term services and supports available to older adults in rural areas”; (2) expanding telehealth offerings, related resources, and Medicare coverage of these offerings in rural areas; (3) promoting age-supportive efforts in rural health grant programs, and (4) expanding specialized Medicare Advantage plans into rural areas. The report recognizes challenges that are especially significant in rural places, including social isolation, transportation, and resources for unpaid caregivers.

A Spotlight on Professional Development in Head Start

September 4, 2019 – Young Children

Using data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), Mathematica explores professional development among Head Start staff. The brief finds that training and conferences are the most common kind of professional development among program and center directors, although program directors are the most likely to report participating. The Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is identified as an especially useful technical resource, and there are few differences in the kinds of supports available across programs. However, smaller programs do struggle to provide some specific resources to staff, and the report concludes by recommending targeting additional resources to smaller centers, and center directors (rather than just program directors).

Policy Brief: More Adequate SNAP Benefits Would Help Millions of Participants Better Afford Food

September 4, 2019 – Families

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explores the adequacy of SNAP benefits by addressing some of the key assumptions underpinning SNAP allocations. The brief finds that the assumptions of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP)—the estimated “bare-bones” diet upon which benefit levels are based—are misaligned with recipients’ ability to put time into meal planning, shopping, and cooking in a way that would maximize their SNAP dollars. The authors note that food-insecure SNAP recipients say that increasing SNAP benefits by $10 to $20 per person per week would result in a more realistic SNAP allocation, and smooth uneven food expenditure patterns across the month.

Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice

September 4, 2019 – Families

A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research tests whether low income families live in neighborhoods that offer few opportunities for income mobility because they prefer these places (e.g., to be near family), or because they experience barriers to relocating. By providing services that reduce barriers—financial assistance, but also rental search assistance and landlord brokering—the authors find that the share of families who move to higher opportunity areas increases from 14% in the control group to 54% in the treatment group. Families who make these moves do not express having made sacrifices to do so, and express high satisfaction with their new neighborhoods. The authors conclude that these structural barriers are a driver of residential income segregation, and suggest that more customized housing supports are an especially important component of affordable housing programs.