Google and the social divide

The social divide: Google search terms reveal inequalities in American society.

The New York Times Upshot column explored life in every region in the United States, measuring six factors:

  • Education level
  • Median household income
  • Unemployment rate
  • Disability rate
  • Life expectancy
  • Obesity

This resulted in a league table of the hardest places to live in the country - with rural areas in particular scoring badly. Following publication of the results, Google's Hal Varian suggested the researchers look at 10 years of data exploring how Google searches varied between the 'best' and ‘hardest' areas. An astonishing picture emerges.

While the New York Times study is focusing on the whole of the United States, a study based in Baltimore sought to explore the factors that can make the difference between economic and social success and failure. The study has been following 800 Baltimore children for three decades and discovered that even when children were born in the same area, the factors for a more 'successful' life are most often decided at birth - are they born into a stable family unit?

Access to libraries and information

Meanwhile, in France at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, the Declaration on Access to Information and Development has been launched.

The Declaration calls on the United Nations to recognise the role of access to libraries and information in supporting sustainable development.

Sources: New York Times; endgadget; National Public Radio; IFLA.