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In 2020, Americans turned to USAFacts for the government facts behind the stories in the news. Plus, some content from previous years was as relevant as ever. Here are the most read reports of this year.

10. Wealth distribution by race and ethnicity

This past summer, as the national conversation turned to racial inequity, USAFacts published facts on wealth distribution in the US. Data from the Federal Reserve shows that white Americans own 85.5% of wealth in the nation while making up 60% of the population. Black households own 4.2% of the nation’s wealth, while Hispanic households own 3.1%. These figures haven’t changed much since 1990.

Share of wealth by race

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9. Police funding

Following the killing of George Floyd in May, police budgets became a national topic. These interactive charts made it easy to understand how much America’s largest counties spend on police, allowing readers to sort the data by median income within a county, the percentage of nonwhite residents, and more.

8. Five monthly insights about COVID-19

USAFacts has been sharing monthly insights from COVID-19 data since July, but the September findings really grabbed readers’ attention. The nation recorded 1.2 million cases in September, down from 1.45 million in August. Of course, infections have trended upward since then.

7. Why do people immigrate to the US?

First published in May 2018, this article has been updated with new data. The United States is now home to more naturalized citizens than immigrants without citizenship. The nation is taking in more asylees from Asia and North America than it did in 1996. There are many reasons people come here, including family, safety, and education, but most people cite work as their main reason for coming to the US.

Immigration by reason

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6. Pausing payroll taxes

In August, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to pause federal payroll tax obligations for many Americans. Readers wanted to know the implications of this order, including how much money the order could mean for the average household. That came out to $520 in postponed taxes for the average family and $1,197 for the average upper middle class family.

Estimated payroll tax deferral by household income bracket

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5. The federal minimum wage

Between the presidential election, the economic fallout from the pandemic, and the federal efforts to jumpstart the economy, the federal minimum wage garnered fresh attention this year. The national rate is still $7.25 per hour, but 29 states, plus Washington, DC, have minimum wages above the federal level. In November, Florida voters approved a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2026.

Nominal vs. inflation-adjusted federal minimum wage

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4. Presidential voting rate

As Americans geared up for the November presidential election, attention turned to the presidential voting rate. Historically, older, white Americans are the most likely to vote. In the 2016 election, Washington, DC, Maine, and Wisconsin had the highest citizen voting rates: 74%, 73%, and 70%, respectively. Tennessee (54%), West Virginia (51%), and Hawaii (47%) had the lowest citizen voting rates.

Preliminary data for 2020 suggests that a record 158 million people voted in the November presidential election.

Presidential voting rate by race/ethnicity

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3. How much do people pay in taxes?

To better understand how much different income brackets pay in taxes — including the middle class (defined here as the middle 20% of the nation’s income-earners) — many readers consulted this article. Combining direct and indirect taxes, plus taxes from state and local government, the average American family paid $15,748 in taxes in 2018.

2. Understanding the COVID-19 stimulus

When Congress passed the CARES Act in March, Americans had many questions about the relief checks included in the bill. This article broke down which income brackets would get how much from the federal government. The average American family expected to receive $1,628.

1. Top causes of death

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, USAFacts published this report detailing how various causes of death affect different age and demographic groups. In April, heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death for Americans, with COVID-19 being the third-most-common cause. That’s still true as 2020 ends: cancer deaths are trending slightly lower than last year. However, heart disease deaths trended higher during the spring and summer, when COVID-19 cases were surging, compared to 2019.

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