We present the following #RandomtThoughts on America This Week:
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The strength of the US dollar
The US dollar is the most prominent currency in the world. The dollar’s strength comes from America’s position as a critical global economic power — and from the country’s political and financial stability. Plus, the Federal Reserve adds durability by aiming to keep inflation rates low, preventing the dollar from losing too much value. A new USAFacts article has the data and history on the vital global role of the US dollar.
- We can partially measure the dollar’s central role in the global economy by its share in foreign exchange reserves. Central banks worldwide hold reserve currencies to conduct trade deals and financial transactions. Among the past 20+ years, foreign exchange reserves of the US dollar were highest in 2001, at 71.5%. By 2021, it was 59.5% of foreign reserves.
- Seven nations, including Ecuador, Micronesia, and Zimbabwe, have adopted the US dollar as their official currency. Several other countries have tied their currencies to it.
- As of March 2021, people in foreign countries held nearly half of all US banknotes, amounting to roughly $950 billion.
- There are some drawbacks to a strong dollar. For one, it’s harder for US producers to sell goods abroad since countries with weaker currencies can produce goods more cheaply. It also means people can import goods at cheaper prices.
Learn more here, including the post-WWII decision that secured the US dollar at the center of the new global economy.
Who was homeless in America last year?
About 18 out of every 10,000 people in the United States were homeless last year. A recent report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that unsheltered homelessness in America is up and that some races are more affected than others.
- About 582,000 people were homeless nationwide in 2022. However, the counting process is difficult; this total could be an undercount.
- Veterans experience homelessness at higher rates than the population overall (20 out of every 10,000 veterans were homeless in 2022), but rates are down. This is partly due to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program and other services that help veterans find permanent housing and healthcare. The nation’s veteran population is also shrinking in general, down from 21.8 million in 2008 to 16.5 million in 2021.
Get the data here.
- Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are 1.8% of the homeless population despite being 0.26% of the US population. They have the nation’s highest rate of homelessness: 121 per 10,000 people. Black people were the second-highest demographic, at 48 people per 10,000.
- This report includes sheltered and unsheltered people. Sheltered people live in hotels/motels, various types of shelters, or safe havens serving homeless individuals with mental illnesses. Unsheltered people live outdoors, in cars or abandoned buildings, or other places unfit for human habitation.
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