State of the Nation

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

32% of adult voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 57% of adult voters say the country is on the wrong track. [Econ/YouGov 5/2/23]

India’s population is projected to surpass China’s sometime this year, if it hasn’t already done so. India’s population is expected to reach 1,429 billion by the end of the year. China will fall to the second largest population with 1,426 billion people. Comparatively, the United States is expected to reach 340 million people. [WSJ 4/15-16/2023]

Republicans and Independents are increasingly worried about the safety of money they have deposited in banks. Democrats are less worried than they have been in more than a decade.

  % Very/Moderately worried
  Sep 2008 Dec 2008 Apr 2023
Republicans 34% 42% 55%
Independents 44% 36% 51%
Democrats 55% 45% 36%


In 1923, the U.S Supreme Court issued 157 rulings by May 1st in a term that started the previous fall. On the same date a century later, the current justices, have disposed of only 15 cases. The court has decided fewer cases at this point of the term than at any time in the last hundred years. [NBC News 4/30/23]

Gun Deaths in the United States

More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2021 than in any year on record.

In 2021, 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. including murders, suicides, and other less common types of gun related deaths tracked by the CDC.

Suicides accounted for more than half of U.S. gun deaths in 2021.

  • Suicides 54%
  • Murders 43%
  • Other 3% (accidental 549, law enforcement 537, Undetermined 458)

The 48,830 gun deaths in 2021 represent a 23% increase since 2019. Murders increased by 45% between 2019 and 2021. Gun suicides rose by 10% in that same period.

The states with the highest rates of gun related deaths were Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama, and Wyoming. The states with the lowest rates include Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The states with the highest number of gun murder rates are the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and New Mexico. [PRC 4/26/23]

More than 1,000 incidents involving firearms have shaken America’s schools since 2018. A dramatic increase over any period since 1970. 273 people were killed or wounded on school grounds in 303 gun-related incidents in 2022.

Guns are the leading cause of death for U.S. children in 2021. Accounting for 19% of childhood deaths in 2021. 98% of K-12 schools report drilling students on lockdown procedures in the 2019-2020 school years. [Axios AM 5/20/23]

In almost half of opposite-sex marriages in the U.S., women are now earning the same as their husbands – or out earning them by an average of $53,000.

Spouses are earning the same income in nearly one-third, of opposite sex marriages, a significant jump from just 11% in 1972. In egalitarian marriages, women’s earnings are almost identical. In 2022, the median earnings for wives in such marriages was $60,000, while husbands earned $62,000. [CNBC 4/20/23]

Over the last 19 years (2004-2023) the announced political affiliation of U.S. adults has changed rather dramatically.

Political affiliation of U.S. Adults

2004 2023
Independents 31% 49%
Republicans 33% 25%
Democrats 35% 25%

62% believe artificial intelligence will have a major impact on jobholders overall in the next 20 years.

Impact on each group:

  Major Minor
Workers generally 62% 21%
The U.S. economy 56% 22%
Them, personally 28% 36%

Expected outcome for each group:

  Will help more than hurt Equally help and hurt Hurt more than help
Workers generally 13 32 32
The U.S. economy 19 34 20
Them, personally 16 30 15

Americans oppose allowing employers to use AI to …

  Oppose Favor
Make final hiring decisions 71% 7%
Review job applications 41% 26%


People spent 21% more at restaurants in 2022 and that figure rose to 29.5%. [Axios PM 4/21/23]

Americans now spend more on legal weed than on chocolate: Sales of marijuana from dispensaries topped $30 billion in the last year compared to $18 billion on chocolate. [Daily Mail, UK 4/21/23]

In 2022, vinyl record sales surpassed CDs for the first time since 1987. [RIAA 4/21/2023]

Of the 49% of Americans who listened to a podcast in the last year, a sizeable portion are acting on the information they consume. Because of a podcast,

  • 60% watched a movie.
  • 36% made a lifestyle change.
  • 59% of Americans picked up a new hobby during the pandemic.

[Axios Finish Line 4/18/23]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2023 is 3.4%.

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 6.6% in April 2023, less than the 7.0% it was a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation rate (LFPR) in April 2023 is 62.6% higher than the 62.2% in April 2022.

The Demographics of Unemployment for April 2023

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –2.8% (down from last month)
  • Men –2.9% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 3.1% (down from last month)
  • Black – 4.7% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic –4.4% (down from last month)
  • Asian –2.8% (same from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –5.4% (up from last month)
  • High School –3.9% (down from last month)
  • Some college –2.9 % (down from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher –1.9 % (down from last month)

In March 2023, 25 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.4 %. 24 states, including the District of Columbia, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. 2 states had unemployment rates the same as the national average.

The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate was Nevada at 5.5%.