State of the Nation

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

28% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 59% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

  Right track Wrong track
Male 32% 57%
Female 25% 62%
Democrats 47% 35%
Republicans 8% 87%
Independents 29% 62%
Urban 37% 50%
Suburban 28% 60%
Rural 21% 68%

[Econ/YouGov 3/22/22]

In 2021, the Capital Area Food Bank provided 60 million healthy meals, distributed 30.5 million meals of produce and 6.9 million meals of protein. [Winter 2022]

6,516 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2020, the latest full-year official numbers available. That is the highest number since 1989. [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.]

In the last two years there has been a dramatic drop in Americans’ satisfaction with the State of the Nation in a variety of areas. The following
are a selection of the issues.

The only issue on which there has positive growth between 2020 and 2022 is “the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation”.

Aspects of U.S. life: 2020 2021 2022
The overall quality of life 84% 67% 69%
Size and power of the federal government 39 31 32
How well the system of government works 43 27 30
The way income and wealth are distributed 43 36 30
The moral and ethical climate 32 18 20
Policy areas: 2020 2021 2022
Acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation 56% 55% 62%
The position of women in the nation 63 62 60
The quality of medical care in the nation 52 53 46
Position of Black and other racial minorities 46 35 40
The social security and Medicare systems 43 44 38
Availability of affordable healthcare 37 34 35
State of the nation’s economy 68 43 33
The state of race relations 36 23 28
The nation’s energy policies 44 42 27
Nation’s policies regarding abortion issue 32 33 24
Nation’s policies to reduce or control crime 47 27 24

(To see the entire list, go to and search “Americans Offer Gloomy State of the Nation Report”, dated 2/2/22.)

12 countries have full equal/legal rights for women – the United States is not one of them. The countries that have full equal rights are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

Ranking 13th and 14th with a score of 97.5 are Germany and the United Kingdom. The United States ranks #15 with a score of 91.3.

Following the United States, in order, are Saudi Arabia 80; Japan 78.8; China 75.6; India 74.4; Nigeria 63.1; Qatar 29.4. [ Statisa 8/8/22] [Thanks to Jason Berman.]

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.8% in February and was up 7.9% over a year earlier, the steepest 12 month rise since 1982. [Mike Allen 3/10/22]

There are 6,166 state legislative seats up for election in 2022. [Ballotpedia 2/25/22]

Only 70 of the 3,843 people who have ever served as federal judges in the United States – 01.82% — have been Black women. [2/2/22]

The average American read 20 minutes a day in 2020, up 21% from 2019.
[Axios Finish Line 3/22/22]

21% of adults say that “cost of living” is the most important issue facing the country. 16% say it is jobs and the economy, 14% say it is war between Russia and Ukraine. Other issues earning double digits include voting rights and climate change. [NBC 3/22/22]

In March 2020, roughly 90% of Americans trusted the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Within weeks that trust was plunging among those who mostly watch Fox News.

By the end of last month, (February 2022) only 16% of those who said they get most of their news from Fox or other conservative outlets still said they trusted the CDC.

77% of those who favor network news and major national newspapers still say they trust the CDC while 87% of those who primarily watch CNN or MSNBC continue their trust of the CDC. [Axios AM 3/11/22]

Since its founding in 2011, the National Diaper Bank Networks member banks have distributed more than 550 million diapers.

The Greater DC Diaper Bank (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) has distributed 25 million diapers of which about 16 million of those diapers have been distributed since March 2020.

The diaper banks across the country have also distributed tens of millions of material basic necessities, including baby wipes, children’s books, breast pumps, bottles, and period products.

For the first time the federal budget includes $10 million for diapers. There is still a long way to go but it is a step in the right direction. [National and DC diaper bank offices]

The Initial Public Offering business has frozen over. So far this year just 22 companies have gone public in traditional initial public offerings, raising $2.3 billion through March 22, 2022. That is down from the same time last year when 79 companies had raised nearly $36 billion by this point. [WSJ 3/26/22]

5.4 million people applied for small-business licenses last year, a 53% jump from 2019, pre-pandemic. Global investment in startups shattered records in 2021, hitting $643 billion – 10x what it was 10 years ago. [Axios Finish Line 3/15/22]

23 three states do not require concealed carry gun permits. In the 2020 presidential election, 7 of those states (51 electoral votes) voted for Biden while16 of those states (131 electoral votes) voted for Trump. [National Archives]

The following are excerpts from an article by Alexandra Moe that was published in Washington City Paper the week of March 21st. [Alexandra’s website is]

The New Fire at Engine 22

They became firefighters to fight fires. Now they’re senior aides.

“In 2017, only 4 percent of calls that firefighters responded to involved actual fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The vast majority of calls – 80 percent in Washington, DC in 2020, for example – are for medical emergencies. Many times, an old person has fallen and can’t get up (a ‘lift assist’, in firefighter – speak.) In 2020 the DC Fire and EMS Department performed nearly 4,000 lift assists, an average of 10 per day. In plain English, firefighters spend a surprising amount of time picking our parents and grandparents up off the ground.”
– – –
“Since 1987, all DC firefighters have been required to train as EMTs. Twelve percent of uniformed members are trained paramedics.”
– – –
“Firefighters entered a job intending to douse flames yet learn that one of the most important skills is how to talk to elderly person alone on a bathroom floor.”
– – –
“John Donnelly, Chief of the DC FEMS, noted, ‘They’re not calling us because they have other options. We’re the front line of health care for a lot of people.”

Who believes this statement? Given the difficult energy situation we find ourselves in, we have to do everything: maximize drilling, maximize developing alternative energies, maximize nuclear power, and maximize conservation.

Believe Do not believe
Overall 67% 17%
GOP 74 14
Independent 64 18
Democratic 64 19

[Winning the Issues 3/14/22]

Rural Voters’ Views of the Democratic and Republican Parties

The Democratic Party The Republican Party
Favorably Unfavorably Favorably Unfavorably
All rural voters 29% 65% 52% 41%
Less than 45 31% 56% 46% 41%
45 & older 27% 70% 56% 41%
Less than College 28% 65% 54% 37%
Some College or More 32% 65% 47% 50%
Party ID:
Democratic 77% 19% xx 79%
Independent 23% 61% 32% 54%
Republican xx 94% 88% 11%

[Morning Consult 1/16/22]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for 2022 is 3.6%. That unemployment rate is lower than the 3.8% in February and substantially less than the 6.0% unemployment rate of March 2021.

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 in March was 6.9% down from 7.2% in February and less than 10.7% a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in March is 62.4%, up from 62.3 in February 2022.

The Demographics of Unemployment for March 2022

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)
Women –2.8% (lower than last month)
Men –3.1% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race
White – 3.2% (up from last month)
Black –6.2% (down from last month)
Hispanic – 4.2% (down from last month)
Asian –2.8% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)
Less than high school –5.2% (up from last month)
High School –4.0% (down from last month)
Some college –3.0% (down from last month)
Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 2.0% (down from last month)

In February 2022, 25 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.8%. 27 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average.

The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate in February was Puerto Rico at 6.8%.

There are roughly 1.8 job openings for every unemployed worker in the United States. [NYT 4/2/22]

On Equal Pay Day, March 15th, there was evidence of the size of the gender pay gap.

  • From the start of the pandemic through December 2021, women accounted for nearly 60% of our country’s 3.6 million net job losses.
  • Approximately 1.1 million women left the workforce entirely.
  • 1.8 million more women were underemployed – i.e., working fewer hours than they’d like.
  • As of December, more than a third of unemployed women had been out of work for at least six months.

[Nancy LeaMond – nleamond@, 3/15/22]

Currently, 50% of us believe we need to focus here at home because America cannot be the world’s policeman.

41% believe that America has not been strong enough and has allowed Russia and China to extend their influence and power throughout the world.

In 2015, 52% thought we needed to focus here at home because America cannot be the world’s policeman.

40% believed America had not been strong enough. [NBC 3/22/22]

79% of us agree with the decision by the United States to ban Russian oil, even if it causes higher gas prices. 17% disagree. [NBC 3/22/22]

The following are the top reasons U.S. workers left a job in 2021: Low pay, no advancement opportunities.

Major Reason Minor Reason Net
Pay was too low 37 26 63
No opportunities for advancement 33 30 63
Felt disrespected at work 35 21 57
Childcare issues 24 24 48
Not enough flexibility to choose when to put in hours 24 21 45
Benefits weren’t good 23 20 43
Wanted to relocate to a different area 22 13 35
Working too many hours 16 14 30
Employer required a COVID-19 vaccine 8 10 18

[PEW published 3/9/22]