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Illustration: Why is America so divided?
Why is America so divided? USC researchers from multiple disciplines are digging deep into America’s polarization problem. (Illustration/iStock)

Why is America so divided? Researchers find fake news about controversial topics contributes to political polarization

USC researchers dig deep into America’s polarization problem: a data-driven tool measures discord on controversial topics; computer scientists study who spreads fake news; and policy experts examine why polarization is different today.

Diverse hands
The research team identified all sources of income and benefits for families, studied eligibility requirements of each and combined them to estimate the total resource families have available. Next, they compared a family’s total resources to the estimated basic living costs for Los Angeles. (Photo/Pixabay)

Social safety net can become a web for low-income L.A. families who start to earn more

USC researchers say increased transparency and more robust benefits for low-income families are needed — particularly when it comes to housing — even after their wages go up to help avoid “plateaus” and “cliffs.”

West Coast wildfires air quality California
The sky across California darkened and turned orange in September as smoke from many wildfires across the state created a massive smoke cloud changing the sunlight and air quality. (Photo/Jason Doiy, iStock)

Big fires demand a big response: How 1910’s Big Burn can help us think smarter about fighting wildfires and living with fire

Expensive, militarized fire suppression led the U.S. down a forest management path that neglected more nuanced approaches, two USC experts note.