TIME

Here Are the American Counties That Struggle Most With Hunger

One in seven Americans face food insecurity. This map shows where people are hurting

While millions of Americans prepare Thanksgiving feasts, 23 million households will get by with the assistance of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, which provide financial help to low and no-income individuals.

To make better sense of these numbers, TIME mapped every household receiving SNAP in 2012, the latest year for which Census data was available across all counties. Use the search bar to see how many are battling hunger by county.

 

Methodology

Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 5-year estimates for 2012.

TIME

See Where Uber Faces the Biggest Competition

Itching to ditch the ride-sharing app? Your alternatives are limited but growing

For those crying foul this week over Uber’s violation of user privacy and alleged sexism, there’s a growing list of alternatives – that is, if you live in a major U.S. city.

Since its founding in 2008, Uber, the dominant ride-sharing service, has spread to 132 cities of the at least 147 U.S. cities with taxi alternatives provided by ride-sharing companies. Uber faces no major competitor in 54 of those cities.

But Uber’s three major competitors – Lyft, Curb and Sidecar – are catching up. By coverage, Lyft appears to be Uber’s chief rival, with drivers in over half as many cities. In two cities, Lyft faces no major rival while Curb operates in four cities without a major competitor. Seven cities are now home to all four competitors: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Click on the company labels to show cities with that company.

 

Methodology

Cities are taken from Sidecar, Uber, Lyft and Curb websites, and manually edited where different names were used for the same geographic area.

This post was updated on Nov 25 with new cities.

TIME

See How Much Every Top Artist Makes on Spotify

Taylor Swift had October's top-earning single before pulling her music from the streaming service

Taylor Swift’s recent decision to yank her music off of Spotify, the online music streaming service used by more than 50 million people, has become the latest episode in the battle over the music industry’s diminishing profits.

One central mystery in the drama: just how much do artists make when their songs are played on the service? We used Spotify’s stated payout range – $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream – to calculate how much the top 50 songs streamed globally earned artists in 2014. See the bar charts below for each song. The payout range represents the top and bottom figures for each song as described by Spotify’s latest publicly available formula.

Spotify provided its “per stream” range in 2013 in an attempt to satisfy curiosity about the company’s royalties formula, which factors in total revenue made by Spotify and total streams across the site, both unavailable to the public. Regardless of the exact per stream payout each month, Swift’s chart-topping single “Shake It Off” earned more than any other song in October. But having spent only 7 weeks on Spotify, Swift’s single can’t compete with the top 20 best-paying songs from the first 10 months of 2014, like Calvin Harris’s “Summer,” which could have netted the Scottish singer $1.7 million.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has said that since the company was founded in 2008 it has paid out $2 billion to record labels and publishers, half of that total in the last year alone. In a recent blog post, he said that an artist of Swift’s size could earn $6 million by streaming her music on Spotify in the past year.

When contacted by TIME last week, a Spotify spokesperson said Swift had earned $2 million off global streaming of her music in the past year. Swift’s record label, Nashville-based Big Machine, said last week that it had received exactly $496,044 for domestic streaming of Swift’s music over the past 12 months.

While few are going to fear that Swift is about to go begging, the fact that the country’s best-selling artist believes Spotify devalues her work could have a major influence on whether other artists stick with the service.

I’m always up for trying something,” Swift told TIME about joining Spotify. “And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things.”

Read Taylor Swift’s interview with TIME.

Read more about Taylor Swift’s Spotify paycheck mystery.

Read next: Sony Rethinks Spotify Collaboration, Taking a Cue from Taylor Swift

TIME interactive

This Chart Shows How Much Americans Love Divided Government

Since the origins of the Republican Party, more than 150 years ago, rival powers tend to occupy the Senate and Oval Office

Senators wishing for a long career in Washington would do well to root against their party when it comes to presidential elections.

A two-term president commonly loses seats in Congress in the sixth year of his presidency. In fact, pretty much any election is bad for the president’s party, at least as far as the Senate goes. Even with only a third of the seats up for election every cycle, the president’s party is about twice as likely to lose seats in the upper chamber as it is to gain them.

 

Tuesday’s elections were no exception to the rule. Even if Republicans take Alaska and Louisiana this year, for a 9 seat gain, seven elections in the 20th century saw higher seat turnovers. In 1980, Republicans picked up 12 seats to take control of the Senate as Ronald Reagan won the presidency–only to lose it again six years later. In 1866, Republicans saw the largest gain in history with 18 seats, but this was largely due to Southern states rejoining the Union. Democrats came close to breaking that record when they picked up 16 seats in 1958, by snagging 13 from Republicans and gaining three seats with the addition of Alaska and Hawaii.

For all the hand-wringing over partisan gridlock in Washington, Americans seem intent on preventing one party from controlling both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Source: Senate.gov

TIME interactive

Are You a J. Crew Democrat or a Pizza Hut Republican?

Check out this chart and search tool to see the political leanings of the places that Starbucks, Walmart, and 2,700 other companies call home

If you live near a Ben & Jerry’s or a few Dunkin’ Donuts outposts, odds are good that your Congressional district elected a Democrat on Tuesday. More familiar with the inside of a Pizza Hut or a Long John Silver’s? Chances are you’ll be represented next year by a Republican.

The following chart places 49 common brands on a political spectrum based on the percentage of their brick-and-mortar stores that are located in Democratic or Republican districts. To do this, TIME matched nearly 2 million store locations provided by the research company AggData to their corresponding Congressional district and then tallied them by that district’s vote in 2014 midterms. Of the 139 American Apparel stores, for example, 83 percent are in blue districts. Nearly nine in 10 Belk department stores, meanwhile, can be found in red districts. All the other brands on the chart fall somewhere in between. You can look for any store you like in the search tool below the graphic.

There is no evidence, of course, that a regular infusion of banana ice cream and fudge chunks inspires a person toward liberalism. Because two-thirds of the Ben & Jerry’s in the United States are found in Democratic districts, however, the mere presence of a store in a district raises the statistical odds that its residents are people who vote for Democrats.

While stores like Whole Foods or Hobby Lobby might already conjure partisan stereotypes, the vast majority of America’s brands do not. Even so, where these stores are located tells us a tremendous amount about who their shoppers are sending to Washington.

Methodology

The list of retail locations was provided by AggData. Stores were matched to Congressional district by comparing their longitude and latitude to the Census definitions of districts. The results do not include the 14 Congressional races that have yet to be resolved as of 6:00 AM on Nov. 6, 2014.

Read next: How the World Sees America Now

Correction: The interactive chart originally linked the incorrect record for Armani Exchange when the user clicked the icon in the chart. It has since been updated.

TIME 2014 Election

Election 2014: Latest Results Scorecard

Midterms Elections Held Across The U.S.
A man fills walks past voting signs displayed outside a polling station during the mid-term elections November 4, 2014 in Hamtramck, Michigan. Joshua Lott—Getty Images

See who has won the the most important races

Here are the key races to determine Senate control, along with tossup House races and key ballot measures. The scorecard will update as polls begin to close at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

Can’t wait that long? Here’s where to look for bellwethers and hints as the polls come in.

 

TIME

Predict Who Will Win the Senate in 2014

Forget Nate Silver. Anyone can be a political handicapper. Place your bets on whether the Democrats or the Republicans will be victorious on Election Day

The professional election handicappers in Washington and New York are trying to cut you out of the process. They are using their fancy number machines to predict which party will control the U.S. Senate next year. The Washington Post says Republicans have a 91% chance of getting at least 51 seats, while the The New York Times and ESPN’s Nate Silver say there is a 63% chance.

But you shouldn’t let them do it alone. In America anyone can handicap an election. We’ve provided each candidate’s political strength and liabilities. And we’ve left out the political party to make you think harder about the individual candidates. So have at it. Tell us all who is going to win in each of the next ten races, and we’ll tell you who will win the Senate. Then share on Twitter and Facebook.

 

*Polling numbers from RealClearPolitics.

TIME ebola

How Ebola Hysteria Could Help Contain Flu Season

Since Ebola’s first symptoms resemble that of the flu, fears about Ebola could drive an influx of patients to doctors and emergency rooms with flu symptoms, who might otherwise have stayed home, doctors say. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu, though most don’t see their doctor. In 2011, the last year for which data is available, 1,532 Americans died from influenza.

That number gives a sense of which disease is more dangerous to the greatest number of Americans. While only three people have been diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, nearly 40 percent of Americans say they are concerned that someone in their family will get the deadly virus within a year, a Harvard Public Health poll found last week.

While the media and polls depict an American public that is acutely fearful about Ebola, there is only modest evidence of a widespread change in behavior thus far. That could change as flu season kicks off, especially if new cases of Ebola arise in the United States. “We might expect to see an increase in people seeking health care for influenza like illness this season,” said Dr. Richard Webby, the director of a World Health Organization center studying influenza. But Webby described the flu as “background noise,” for its potential interference in efforts to contain Ebola.

For those who do see a doctor, the CDC tracks the percentage of visits in which the patients report flu-like symptoms, regardless of whether he or she actually has the flu. This figure is the best to follow to determine how fears over Ebola are influencing Americans’ response to the flu. Since March of this year, the percentage of flu related visits has been higher than the same period in 2013. This uptick approximately correlates with the rise of Ebola new coverage.

Percentage of Outpatient Visits Reporting Flu Symptoms

There is a historical precedent for fears of a pandemic raising concerns among those with the regular flu. CDC epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer, who developed the surveillance program for tracking flu cases, recounts a more dramatic trend in 2009. “During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, we did see an increase of people going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms,” she said. “Normally they would have stayed at home, but because they were worried about H1N1, they got tested.”

Over 200 labs submit specimens tested for flu to CDC’s flu surveillance network. The number of specimens tested each week, graphed below, rises along with the increase in patients with flu symptoms. Fear over Ebola may explain this rise, though the most recent uptick in October marks the beginning of a new flu season, in which CDC added 120 new laboratories.

Number of Specimens Tested for Flu

Of course, the severity of the flu varies from year to year, which could also account for any change. Of the specimens tested above, the 2014 strain of the flu outpaced the 2013 version through May, but now appears indistinguishable.

Percent of Specimens Tested Positive for Flu

With additional reporting by Pratheek Rebala.

Methodology

Data from the Centers for Disease Control weekly influenza reports.

Read next: Your Ultimate Guide to What Works (and Doesn’t Work) to Prevent Flu

TIME

Romney in 2016? What History Tells Us About a Third Presidential Campaign

Nine other major candidates have lost the general election and then run again

Despite Ann Romney’s protestations that her family is “done, done, done” with presidential politics, those around the two-time presidential candidate are apparently jonesing for a third campaign. “There is a feeling that the country missed out on an exceptional president,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty recently told the Washington Post. “If he runs, I believe he could win the nomination and the general election. It’d be the right person at the right time, and I would encourage him to do it.”

So what are the chances Romney could move into the White House? It helps to profile Romney’s trajectory against presidents with similar political paths. Romney would be the tenth candidate to enter the race after losing his first general election, not counting quadrennial candidates who never received a single electoral vote. The graphs below show how the previous nine fared.

A 2016 campaign would be Romney’s third time at bat, after losing the Republican nomination for president in 2008, then winning his party’s nomination in 2012 but losing to President Barack Obama in the general election.

Of the nine candidates who have tread this path before, four went on to win a subsequent general election. That includes Grover Cleveland, the only person to have won, lost and then won a general election again.

The remaining five candidates who ran again after losing a general election never saw the White House.

Many more candidates lost their first attempt at the nomination and then eventually went on to win the general election in a subsequent cycle. President Ronald Reagan didn’t win the nomination until his third attempt, and then won the presidency twice.

Methodology

Data compiled from the CQ Voting and Elections Collection.

TIME

See How Ebola’s Spread Compares to Other Deadly Outbreaks

These three charts compare Ebola to other disease outbreaks

When the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared Ebola to AIDS last week, he introduced a new note of urgency to the outbreak. As was the case in the early days of HIV, there are currently no approved drugs to treat Ebola, and the virus carries the potential to cause untold devastation—not to mention a lot of panic.

But as an epidemic, Ebola has far more in common with other diseases. Here’s a comparison of Ebola’s impact over the past 19 weeks to other recent outbreaks that, like Ebola, have no known cure or vaccine.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

MERS is a viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. The World Health Organization has since reported 853 MERS infections, of which at least 301 were fatal, as of Sept. 30, 2014. Close contact seems to spread MERS, but it’s unclear exactly how the infection travels.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

The 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong lasted nine weeks before flatlining, but spread far faster than Ebola. SARS is transmitted more easily from person to person, often from an infected person’s coughs and sneezes. The Ebola virus is not considered airborne because larger droplets of bodily fluids are required for transmission. Over 8,000 cases were reported, with a 10 percent fatality rate. SARS was effectively contained after two months.

Marburg Virus

The Marburg virus, named after the city in Germany where it was discovered, belongs to the same family of viruses as Ebola, which cause severe internal bleeding. And like Ebola, human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with blood or other bodily fluids, often infecting family members and health care workers. The most recent widespread outbreak of Marburg, in Angola in 2005, lasted 26 weeks and caused 374 infections and 329 deaths.

HIV, by contrast, spreads far slower. There is not comparable data for the first weeks of the HIV pandemic.

For outbreaks with no known cure, response teams seek to halt transmission through patient isolation and careful tracing of an infected person’s contact with others. With over 8,000 infected, containment of Ebola poses a greater challenge than similar outbreaks in recent history.

Methodology

Data compiled from periodic World Health Organization updates for Ebola, Marburg, SARS and MERS.

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