All posts by Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences Kristine has a Ph.D. in Social Sciences (ABD), and works as a Democratic Governance and International Development Consultant. From 2004 to 2012, she worked as program officer for United Nations Development Programme and United States International Agency for International Development. Since 2013, she  is a freelance consultant for international development organizations.

The nation on the move slows down

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

People in the United States are more geographically mobile than in any other western country — at least they used to be. The idea that one can choose to move to a place that promises better life has been an important part of American life. For more than 40 percent of Americans who change their address every five years,[i] mobility is a lifestyle.

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Satisfaction with Life and Happiness in the U.S.

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

The phrase “I’d rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle,” now a catchphrase, belongs to a 20-year-old female contestant on a Chinese game show. For her, like for many of us, sadness in luxury is preferable to happiness in necessity. But when the conditions for happiness are that high, frustration with reality makes people unhappy. China is generally not a very happy nation — it finished in a low 93rd in the World Happiness Report published by the United Nations in September 2013.[i] In contrast, Denmark, which has the second most bicycles per capita (4,500,000 bicycles per 5,560,628 people, 80.1 percent of the population being cyclists)[ii], is the happiest nation in the world. BMWs are not for everyone, but bicycles are.

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Well-being in the United States

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

When people perceive that their lives are going well due to good living conditions, high income, affordable healthcare, a good education system, a safe neighborhood or other well-functioning systems of the society, they a have high level of well-being. There are several approaches to measuring well-being that focus on objective indicators, such as access to education, living conditions, life expectancy and healthiness. However, most of these fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives, how they evaluate their relationships, their resilience, or overall satisfaction with life. Well-being is more than our income; it is the way we experience our life in general and whether we are positive or negative about the general state of our being.

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Gender inequality today (or when higher earnings do not necessarily mean you do less laundry at home)

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

In 2013, advocates of gender equality celebrated two important anniversaries:  50 years of both the Equal Pay Act and Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique,” which marked the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States in the 1960s. After 50 years of revolutionary changes, achievements in gender equality leave us with mixed feelings. As our brief statistical overview will later show, women have come a long way; today, more women are working, and fewer are getting married.

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Our expenditures and debts on the rise, again

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

In this post, we’ll examine the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 Consumer Expenditure Report. After almost four years of abstinence, Americans started spending again. In 2012, the average expenditures per consumer rose to $51,442, which is 3.5 percent higher than in 2011. It exceeded the highest spending recorded in 2008, after which the effects of the recession led to a low of $48,109 in 2010. In 2011, when the average expenditures and prices for goods and services had almost the same increase rate, there was hardly any increase in actual expenditures at all. In 2012, expenditures rose more than prices.

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Picturing the American Family Today

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

Since the 1950s – the decade of all-time highest marriage rates, youngest families and “Mrs.” degrees – the social institutions of marriage and family in the United States have changed dramatically. The marriage rate dropped from 143 to 31 in 2012, and today less than half of women (47.1 percent) are married. In contrast, the proportion of divorced or separated women has significantly increased (14 percent). The share of married men is slightly higher (50.6 percent), and the share of divorced or separated men is lower (11 percent).

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How the United States Grows

Kristine Barseghyan

Kristine Barseghyan, Ph.D. (ABD) Social Sciences

Theoretically, the United States could accommodate 86.7 billion people at density of New York City. Texas alone could accommodate a population of 6.9 billion; together with New Mexico, it could host the world population of 10.9 billion by the end of the 21st century.[i]

Since the Post–World War II Baby Boom, the U.S. population growth rate has been declining. In 2012-2013, it increased only by 0.71 percent after averaging 0.9 percent growth in the last decade.[ii] According to current projections, the net international migration will become the driver of population growth in 2032 (Figure 1).[iii]

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