September/October 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 7

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Science Policy


Senate confirms criminologists John Laub
and Jim Lynch as NIJ and BJS directors

In late June, the Senate confirmed two Obama Administration Justice Department nominees, John Laub as Director of the National Institute of Justice and James Lynch as Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. While the president nominated them in October 2009, their confirmations, as well as 58 others, were delayed by Senate Republicans in a dispute over a presidential recess appointment. Laub, a professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, is the first criminologist in almost 40 years to serve as NIJ director. He is also a Visiting Scholar at Havard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science Laub’s research areas include crime and deviance over the life course, juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, and the history of criminology. Lynch, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, previously chaired the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University. He has focused on measurement issues in criminal justice data and statistics.

MetroMonitor: tracking economic recession and recovery in America’s largest metropolitan areas

The MetroMonitor is a quarterly, interactive barometer of the health of America’s 100 largest metropolitan economies through Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. It examines trends in metropolitan-level employment, output, and housing conditions in an effort to delve deeper into national economic statistics to show the diverse metropolitan trajectories of recession and recovery across the country. MetroMonitor aims to enhance understanding of the particular places and industries that drive national economic trends, and to promote public- and private-sector responses to the downturn that take into account the unique starting points for eventual recovery that metro areas have. The first edition of the Monitor examines indicators through the first quarter of 2010 (ending in March) in the areas of employment, unemployment, output, home prices, and foreclosure rates for the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Among its conclusions are that each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas had output growth in the first quarter of 2010, but the rate of output growth declined in 90 metropolitan areas. For more information, and the full report, see

Low birth rates and overpopulation: PRB World Population Data Sheet

There are two major trends in world population today according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). They are chronically low birth rates in developed countries, which are beginning to challenge the health and financial security of their elderly, and the fact that developing countries are adding over 80 million to the population every year, exacerbating poverty and threatening the environment. PRB’s 2010 World Population Data Sheet and its summary report offer detailed information about country, regional, and global population patterns. For example, many countries are facing a shrinking pool of their working-age populations, jeopardizing pension guarantees and long-term health care programs for the elderly. Global population rose to 6.9 billion in 2010, with nearly all of that growth in the world’s developing countries. The data sheet and summary report also provide information on 19 population, health, and environment indicators for more than 200 countries, and the contrasts between developing and developed countries. For more information, as well as the webcast of the July 28 press briefing on this topic, along with presenters’ PowerPoint presentations, see

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