Entries by Maida Raza

How has COVID-19 impacted the MA opioid crisis?

In recent years, Massachusetts has seen a much larger uptick in opioid-related deaths than the national average. The state witnessed opioid overdose-related deaths rise by 41.6% between 2013 and 2014, with Barnstable County constituting 32.5% of the total increase. As identified by Harris Foulkes of Pioneer Institute, the opioid crisis on Cape Cod can be attributed to an opiate prescription rate that is 24% higher than the state average. In response to the opioid crisis, a prescription monitoring program was launched in 2016. The program tracks prescriptions by patient and includes information on drugs prescribed, the prescriber, and the pharmacy. This allows doctors to monitor the drug consumption patterns of patients and inform law enforcement agencies if they believe a […]

Why is housing so expensive in Boston?

According to a New York University  study, Boston had the third highest median rent in the US behind only Washington DC and San Francisco in 2015. The median price for a single-family house was $725,000 in 2021, which is 14% higher than the price in 2020. The number of houses available in 2021 has fallen by one-third compared to 2020.  A study conducted by The Boston Foundation argues that Greater Boston has not been issuing enough building permits required to meet the growing economy and population since 1980. That may be a defining factor for skyrocketing rents in the city. Approving housing permits in Boston is cumbersome due to prevalent zoning practices. Zoning is an urban planning tool that divides […]

Why does a gender-gap persist in vaccination rates?

Men are more likely to die of COVID-19 than women: 13 men die of COVID-19 for every 10 women. Additionally, before the vaccine roll-out, 20% of women and 26% of men were worried about getting a severe case of COVID-19. Given these statistics, it can be assumed that men will be more proactive in getting their shots. So much so that experts worried about potential low-turnout among the historic anti-vaxxers, i.e., women.  However, this turned out to be untrue. As of June 29, 40.7% of men and 44.5% of women have been fully vaccinated in the United States. The trend is the same in Massachusetts, where Pioneer Institute’s database shows that 59.9%  of women and 54% of men have been […]

Are higher K-12 teacher wages enough?

According to the MassEconomix database at Pioneer Institute, elementary and secondary schools have seen the highest wage growth, i.e., 65.4 percent, compared to other education sub-sectors from 2002-2019 in the state of Massachusetts. In 2020, the average K-12 teacher salary, adjusted to the cost of living, was $81,535 in Massachusetts, compared to a U.S. median of $64,524. It jumped to $82,042 in 2021, making Massachusetts the third-highest teacher-paying state in the country. Both K-12 teacher wages and state education standards started rising with the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 (MERA). MERA allowed Massachusetts to lead public education reform by doubling the funding of K-12 education from $1.3 billion in 1993 to $2.6 billion in 2000. Additionally, state frameworks were […]