Monday, October 24, 2016

Who’s Voting?

By Katie Thomas, Project Associate

The 2016 election has certainly been one for the books. This week marked the last presidential debate in what has been considered one of the most divisive elections thus far. Given some of the topics and polarized views, and being the data nerd that I am, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at who will likely be voting in this year’s election and ultimately deciding who our next president will be. 

Turns out, this year’s electorate will be the most diverse one yet in terms of age, race, and ethnicity. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly one-third of eligible voters this year will be Hispanic, African American, Asian, or another racial or ethnic minority. Additionally, as of April of this year, the number of millennials that are of voting age is nearly equal to that of the Baby Boomer generation (69.2 million compared to 69.7 million).

Yet, despite population dynamics and the electorate becoming more diverse, the percentage of eligible voters that are actually voting is another story, and parties on both side of the aisle are concerned about voter turnout. The following headlines from various news sources reflect the uncertainty surrounding this year’s election.

Historically, voter turnout has varied significantly among the different age groups, races, and ethnicities. Although millennials will soon account for the largest share of the eligible voters, they trail every other generation when it comes to voter turnout rates. Less than half of millennials eligible to vote in 2012 reported voting, while nearly 70 percent of Boomers voters turned up. Likewise, according to U.S. Census Bureau, 66.2 percent of black eligible voters and 64.1 percent of white, non-Hispanic eligible voters cast voters. However, voter turnout rates were lower among Asians and Hispanics; only 48 percent of Hispanics and 47.3 percent of Asian eligible voters reported voting in 2012. 

Across the U.S., the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Massachusetts had the highest turnout rates in 2012 according to the Census Bureau. Voter turnout among the five ranged from 75.9 percent to 70.8 percent. Meanwhile, West Virginia, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas had the lowest, with roughly half of the total voting-age population having reported voting in 2012 in each state. Such a wide range of turnout rates among the states raises even more uncertainly about the electoral votes, certain battleground states, and what to expect November 8th. 

Beyond differences in opinions on topics and stances on issues, the ultimate outcome of the election will come down to who shows up at the polls to cast their vote. Obviously, the goal is for all voters to cast their vote in every election, but historically, this has yet to happen. Hopefully, turnout rates continue on their upward trend for this year’s election. Either way, for better or worse, this election will be over in a few weeks and we can hopefully all more forward as one.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Living at Work

By Stephanie Allen, Project Assistant

By now, we’re all more than familiar with the “live, work, play” refrain. But, a new trend on corporate campuses gives this idea a 21st century twist—or maybe it’s more accurate to call it a 19th century twist. 

As housing becomes more and more of an obstacle to attracting the best talent in some of the nation’s major markets, corporate employers have begun to add housing to their amenity-rich campuses. Facebook’s Menlo Park campus recently added almost 400 units of housing. Presumably, many of these employees already eat at one of the campus’s eleven establishments, relax in the plaza with free beer, work out at the on-campus gym or exercise on the climbing wall. So, they already work there and play there. Why not live there?

It’s an interesting move, but it’s not a new one—not exactly. In the 19th century, the US saw a number of “company towns” pop up surrounding large, industrial operations. Think Pullman, Illinois; Hershey, Pennsylvania; Oneida, New York; Kohler, Wisconsin. Company towns provided jobs, healthcare, schools, housing, markets, libraries, and even churches. They were designed to meet practically all of the needs of their employees.

Corporate campuses already chockfull of amenities that are now adding housing seek to do much of the same. It’s another perk like ping-pong tables, onsite haircuts, and doggie daycare. As recruitment for top talent gets more and more competitive, this is just one more perk to up the ante.

It’s not just corporate campuses that are investing in this living at work concept.

There are a few private developers who are adding residential units to their office parks too. The Davis Companies will add 271 residences along with high-end food service, indoor/outdoor collaboration areas, and a fitness center to a traditional Class A master-planned office park in Burlington, MA. The nearly 60 year-old Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, which is home to more than 200 companies, is planning a new 100-acre mixed-use development in the heart of the Park with restaurants, apartments, and shopping. Bike and walking paths will connect the new development with the existing office buildings and labs. 

And, WeWork, the recognized leader in the co-working space movement, is also getting in the game. Known for their artsy, glassed-in, community-encouraging co-working spaces with month-to-month leases and as much coffee, tea, and beer as you can drink, WeWork launched a new live-work concept last year, WeLive. The first location, in New York City, has 200 residential units above seven floors of co-working space. They call it a “community-driven living concept.” You can rent co-working space downstairs and community-driven living space upstairs.

Personally, I’m not sure I’d want to live at work. But, I work from home so perhaps that’s really not so different.