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A young immigrant in Michigan: "The hope is still there, but fear is really intense."

Thousands of young immigrants in Michigan today are living in a state of limbo.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to end the Obama administration's deferred action program that allowed these young immigrants to go to school, and work, without fear of deportation.

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Earlier this week, libertarian author Charles Murray argued that marriage is the cornerstone of any successful society. New census data suggests that he might be onto something. In 2011, families headed by single mothers were four times more likely than married-couple families to be poor.

I have to confess, I'm a little obsessed with measures of economic mobility. These measures address the basic elements of the American Dream. We get plenty of platitudes from politicians about the ability to start out from modest beginnings and achieve great success as an adult.

At first, the news from the Census Bureau today seems really good. The agency's most recent report on poverty and health coverage shows that poverty has held steady and health insurance coverage has increased.

Hey, I'll take it because it's always good and increasingly rare, to see numbers going in the right direction.

But the numbers are still really high. Fifteen percent of the country's population is living in poverty, and 15.7 percent is uninsured.

Update: Census poverty numbers not horrible, just bad

Sep 12, 2012

The Census Bureau shared better than expected news this morning.

The Bureau released the numbers on how many Americans lived in poverty last year. It was expected these numbers would show more people live in poverty now than in the 1960s.

courtesy American Enterprise Institute

Charles Murray may not be a household name. But the libertarian author and commentator has had a major effect on our nation's approach to poverty. His ideas helped shape the landmark 1996 welfare reform act. He's also a figure of controversy, particularly for those on the left.

Michael Newman / flickr

Tomorrow the Census Bureau will release estimates on how many Americans were living in poverty during 2011. Back in July there were stories about how this report is likely to be seriously depressing.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Just when you thought the Republican and Democratic national conventions were over...

I'm here to talk about an event that took place behind the scenes at one of the conventions -- specifically the DNC in Charlotte, NC. Between all the speeches and sound bites and people in funny hats mugging for the camera, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held a symposium in Charlotte, where they released a 47-page report on the profound achievement and opportunity gaps that African American males face.

The "Challenge the Status Quo" report looks at not only those factors that impede academic progress for black male students, but also what can be done about it. 

You can check out the full report here, which is packed with data and research from a wide range of studies. Meantime, here are a few highlights:

Education and the inequality of opportunity

Sep 7, 2012
SvobodalT / flickr

I’m new to State of Opportunity. Before I begin writing regular posts I want to tell you a little bit about myself. It isn’t very often that readers get a glimpse into the personal lives of reporters.

My personal narrative in part explains why issues like those we explore in State of Opportunity are so important.

I was raised in what is quickly becoming the typical American family. My mother provided for my sister and me through working as a secretary and monthly child support payments.

Next week, we're hoping to sit down for a chat with political scientist and author Charles Murray. For the unfamiliar, Murray is a conservative thinker whose writings on race, achievement and the family have been hugely influential and plenty controversial.

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