The state of the union, in 9 charts

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s election-year State of the Union address to Congress, here’s a look at the data behind some of the topics and policies he could bring up Thursday evening.

After inflation rose in 2021 and soared for most of 2022, it cooled to more reasonable levels by the end of 2023 and without triggering a recession.

In January, the unemployment rate held steady at just 3.7%. And stock markets have been rallying since October. The S&P reached a new all-time high and notched its best showing in a year.

Still, Americans are feeling the effects of rising home prices and mortgage rates, putting home ownership and the “American Dream” out of reach for many.

The Biden administration has forgiven $138 billion in student loan debt for 3.9 million borrowers through a variety of programs.

The president’s broad, one-time student debt cancellation plan, which would have erased $430 billion in total federal debt for borrowers, was struck down by the Supreme Court last year.

Abortion is currently banned or restricted in 21 states, concentrated in the southeastern quadrant of the country. The Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which eliminated a constitutional right to abortion nationwide, has created a patchwork of state laws and an increasingly fragmented abortion landscape.

The Supreme Court also reentered the abortion debate late last year and is slated to review a Texas lower court’s decision regarding access to medication abortion later this month. The high court could choose to protect full access to the abortion pill, or enforce restrictions such as revoking mail order access.

With 656 mass shootings recorded, 2023 ranked second for the most mass shootings recorded in a single year in at least a decade. At least 71 mass shootings have been recorded in the United States this year, as of March 6.

As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its third year, aid to Ukraine has been a major source of tension between the White House and House Republicans.

In February, the Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid package, including $60 billion for Ukraine, but Speaker Mike Johnson has yet to bring it to the House floor for a vote and it’s unclear if he will do so. The Senate’s package also included $14 billion for Israel as the latest Israel-Hamas conflict nears the six-month mark.

The president is likely to tout what is largely seen as one of Democrats’ key legislative achievements so far, the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a major change to health policy by giving Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs. While the rollout of this particular change is still in progress, here’s a look at the projected trend of out-of-pocket prescription drug spending for Americans:

Data on US Customs and Border Protection encounters with migrants at the US-Mexico border show a marked increase from pre-pandemic levels. While this is just one facet of immigration in the United States, the border crisis is a major issue that both Donald Trump and Biden are trading blame over as they head toward their likely general election rematch in November.