State of the Nation

*Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.

66% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track, that includes 63% of men and 70% of women.

26% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This includes 29% of men and 23% of women. [YouGov 10/6/20]

In 2019, there were 568,110 married same-sex households in the U.S.
58% of the 980,000 same sex households reported in 2019 were married couples.

The highest concentration of same-sex households were found in
D.C. (2.4%), Delaware (1.3%), Oregon (1.2%), Massachusetts (1.2%), and Washington state (1.1%).

48 is the average age of respondents
47 is the average age of their spouses
82% identified as white
13% identified as Hispanic
Almost 7% identified as Black
Almost 4% were Asian

16+% of same-sex married households were interracial couples, double the rate for opposite-sex married couples.

[AxiosPM 9/17/20]

The budget deficit will reach a record $3.3 trillion (16 percent of GDP) in Fiscal Year 2020 and total $13 trillion over the subsequent decade.
[CBO 9/2/20]

On August 19, 2020, the value of Apple was greater than the entirety of the Russell 2000 small cap index.

62% of Americans believe that the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade. 24% say it should be overturned and 14% have no opinion.

Those saying it should be upheld include 66% of women, 58% of men, 81% of Democrats, 75% of moderates, 75% of those with no religious preference, 37% of conservatives, 40% of Republicans, and 44% of evangelical Protestants. [ABC/WP 10/9/20]

51% of adults expect their lives to remain changed in major ways after the pandemic is over. [PEW 9/19/20]

As of 9/12/20, 9 million people still haven’t collected their first economic impact payment. [WP 9/13/20]

About 53% of Latinos identify as white. [NYT 9/18/20]

Last year, a team of researchers led by one of America’s leading authorities on homelessness projected that in the next 10 years, the number of elderly people experiencing homelessness in the nation would nearly triple. [NYTimes, 10/4/20]

In 2019 a typical white family had eight times the wealth of a typical Black family and five times the wealth of a typical Hispanic family. White families had a median family wealth of $188,200 compared to the $24,100 median income of Black families. [WP 9/29/20]

Perceptions of America have dropped over the last 20 years. Of the countries listed, in only South Korea has the favorability rating of Americans not dropped.


2000 2002 2020
United Kingdom 83%   41%
Germany 78%   26%
Canada   72% 35%
Japan 77%   41%
South Korea 58%   59%
Italy 76%   45%
France 62%   31%
Spain 50%   40%

[PEW 9/15/20]

According to NASA, 18 of the warmest 19 years have occurred since 2001.We just experienced the warmest decade ever. [AXIOS PM 9/12/20]

Women of color have increased their share of elected office by 46%.
People of color have increased their share of elected offices in 58 of the 100 largest cities.

Since 2016 the number of women and people of color elected as mayors has increased from 39/100 to 54/100.

In 79 of the 100 largest cities the percentage of white people in office exceeds the percentage of white people in the population.

Of the ten largest cities only three have elected leaders who reflect the racial makeup of their cities – San Antonio, Philadelphia, and San Jose. [Reflective Democracy Campaign, WhoLeads.Us 9/20]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2020 is 7.9%. That unemployment rate is lower than the 11.1% rate in June, 8.4% in August and greater than the 3.5% unemployment rate of a year ago.

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate is 12.8%, down from 18.00% in June, 14.2% in August and up from 6.9% a year ago.

661,000 jobs were created in September and 1.2 million jobs were created in August. A year ago, 135,000 jobs were created in September.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for September is 61.4%, down from 63% in July 2019. [BLS 9/20]

22 million jobs have been lost and 11.4 million jobs have been regained. 837,000 more Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending October 2nd than were added in the entire month of September. [Steve Rattner 10/7/20]

The Demographics of Unemployment for September 2020

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –6.9% (down from last month)
  • Men – 6.5% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 7.0% (down from last month)
  • Black –12.1% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic – 10.3% (down from last month)
  • Asian –8.9% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –10.6% (down from last month)
  • High School – 9.0% (down from as last month)
  • Some college – 8.1% (up from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 4.8% (down from last month)

In August, 34 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 8.4%; 16 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

In August, Nevada at 13.2%, had the highest unemployment rate in the country. Nebraska at 4.0%, had the lowest unemployment rate in the country. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]

In the United States, 19.6% of working-age adults (18-64) said the reason they were not working was because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements.
Women age 25-44 (32.1%) are nearly three times more likely than men of the same age (12.1%) to be unemployed because of childcare. [U.S. Census Bureau/pulse survey 8/18/20]

Today, 65% of Americans approve of labor unions. This is the highest number in 17 years. Here are the approval ratings over time.

% approving of labor unions
1936 72%
1953 & 1957 75%
1979 55%
2002 65%
2009 48%
2020 65%

Approval of labor unions based on party affiliation

Dem Ind GOP
2001 76% 56% 46%
2011 78% 52% 26%
2020 83% 64% 45%

[Gallup 9/3/20]