By Melissa Wuske
Income Levels Worldwide
According to a Pew Research study, global poverty has dropped dramatically in recent years—in 2001, 29 percent of the population was classified as poor, falling to 15 percent by 2011. While that’s certainly good news, it seems that upward mobility has stiff limits: the next wealthiest bracket, low income, is still the largest group in the world, rising from 50 to 56 percent during that decade.
So how is the middle class faring? This group, often noted as the indicator of real progress against poverty, did see modest growth from 7 percent to 13 percent of the population—seeing particular gains in China, South America, and Eastern Europe. But middle-income people still face great economic hardship: the study designates middle income as those who live on $10-20 a day per person, or roughly $14,600 to $29,200 for a family of four.
Since these middle-income ranges straddle the poverty line in the United States, it may seem that they’re barely a measure of success. However, the study derived the $10-20 a day measure by studying Latin America: households there have below a 10 percent chance of becoming impoverished if their income is $10 per day per person.
Real Safety in Soccer
Kids (and adults!) across the country were enthralled by the U.S. Women’s World Cup win. No doubt many envision themselves as future soccer champs—and the Safer Soccer Campaign aims to make sure kids are safe during play. One of the campaign’s efforts is to minimize concussions by banning heading the ball in youth leagues.
It’s certainly a helpful move, but Dawn Comstock, an injury epidemiologist at the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health wanted to know just how effective the measure would be. “I like to see kids kept safe,” she said, “but I like to see that the evidence is data-driven.”
Comstock’s team studied data on high school soccer players and found that 30 percent of concussions in boys and 25 percent in girls happened while heading the ball. But many of those concussions weren’t a result of contact between the player’s head and the ball; rather the cause was athletes colliding. Overall they found that athlete-to-athlete contact caused more than half of concussions for girls and nearly 70 percent in boys.
Rather than simply banning heading the ball, Comstock advises: “Coach fair play, coach technique. And ensure officials enforce the rules of the game.”
A Win Against Human Trafficking
Visa, MasterCard, and American Express now refuse to be payment options on Backpage.com. For years Backpage.com, a classifieds website, has hosted and profited from ads for illicit services. “Traffickers are selling women, children, and men online against their will across America,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, an anti-trafficking organization. “Polaris has directly worked with survivors of trafficking who have been sold on Backpage.com.” The credit card companies’ move was a response to a plea from Thomas J. Dart, Cook County Sheriff in Illinois.
It may seem like a small move, but human trafficking is a business designed to make money. Myles said, “Companies can play an integral role in disrupting sex trafficking by making it more challenging for traffickers to do business.”
Packages No Longer Come With Built-In Stress Relief
Consumers who love the catharsis of popping bubble wrap will need to find a new stress-busting method. Sealed Air Corp. has eliminated its once-popular product due to slowing sales. While the company is working on a new, more space- and cost-conscious alternative, it’s rumored the new version won’t make that satisfying popping noise.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).