🎓 2x Student Grants. Gas Reliance. Childbirth.

Chart of the Day #56 looks at Postsecondary Education, Energy Consumption, and Child Birth.

Hei 👋

A recent report showed that the percentage of premature births in the US increased by 12% from 2014 to 2022 to nearly 8.7%. African American mothers were 67% more likely than white mothers to give birth prematurely, with rates of 12.5% and 7.6%, respectively. China's natural gas output grew rapidly in the first two months of 2024, reaching 41.7 billion cubic meters, a 5.9% increase from the prior year.

Today's Topics

  • 🎓 Postsecondary Education. 2x rise in postsecondary grants
  • Energy Consumption. Gas usage in Africa rises to 30%
  • 👶 Child Birth. 71% of births are by vaginal delivery

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🎓 2x Rise in Postsecondary Grants

In response to the rising burden of student debt and the soaring costs of tuition fees, policymakers have recognized the urgent need to address the affordability of post-secondary education across generations. With higher education often leading to high-paying jobs but requiring substantial funding for education, there's a concerted effort to alleviate financial barriers through increased grants.

The 2009 recession led to widespread job losses nationwide, and numerous states faced budget crises, necessitating cuts. To counteract the effects of the crisis, the federal government boosted education grants as part of the stimulus plans aimed at combating the recession. Since then, growth has been gradual, while the effects of the pandemic have seen fewer grants being given out. A renewed focus on alleviating student debt could see greater benefits for education funding in the future.

⛽ Gas Usage in Africa Rises to 30%

Africa's considerable natural gas reserves of 800 trillion cubic feet, as reported by the investment platform Energy Capital & Power, contribute to the notable rise in gas consumption across the continent. In 2024, Africa is anticipated to accelerate progress in tapping into its reserves, with many projects underway to enhance energy security through natural gas utilization.

Despite the global progress in renewable energy, Africa still heavily relies on fossil fuels, particularly oil, with usage remaining consistent over the years. This persistent dependence can be primarily attributed to insufficient funding, expertise, infrastructure, and a lack of coherent policy direction required for the development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

👶 71% of Births Are by Vaginal Delivery

Studies have outlined that for most women, vaginal birth is considered safer and healthier, reducing the risk of complications compared to cesarean section births. Mothers who deliver babies through vaginal births typically recover faster and spend less compared to C-sections. Despite the global rise in C-section birth rates, particularly in first-time pregnancies, there have been more natural births across all age groups.

However, the difference in the number of women having C-sections compared to natural births becomes less pronounced in older mothers. This is likely a result of the increased risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. Studies have also illustrated that whether or not women have previously given birth affects their choice of delivery, with first-time mothers significantly more likely to opt for a C-section.

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