Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Births and Deaths by Month, 1995-2002

This ABC News story from 2005 I came across while looking for something else.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Website lets public track illness

New Yorkers can now find out the hospital admission rates for preventable illnesses by ZIP Code through a new Web site initiated by the state Department of Health.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Domestic Homicide in New York State: 2007

Bellwether study provides comprehensive view of domestic violence fatalities in NYS

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missouri Census Data Center Updates

The Missouri Census Data Center has processed a number of new data files and updated some web applications to work with the new 3-year ACS data. The new data include a complete national collection of the ACS 3-year period estimates, both the MCDC's custom profile extracts (similar to the Bureau's profile reports available via AFF) and the complete set of base tables with MOEs. They have also converted the latest income and poverty estimates from the Bureau and the just-released state level population estimates.
For details please visit the MCDC home page - http://mcdc2.missouri.edu/ - and follow the various links from there. Uexplore/Dexter users may find it helpful to visit the MCDC Data Archive home page - http://mcdc2.missouri.edu/applications/uexplore.shtml - and look at the Recent Updates to the Archive section.
Be sure to note that the link to "ACS Profiles" in our Quick Links navigation box now takes you to the revised version of the application, modified to facilitate access to our 4-across profile reports with graphics for both the 3-year period estimates and the single-year data.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

County Compensation by Industry, 2007

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis:
Total compensation of U.S. workers grew 5.2% in 2007 and most counties shared in that growth, according to statistics released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Compensation grew in over 90% of the 3,111 counties in the U.S., as the average annual compensation per job in the U.S. grew by 4.1% to $53,892. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, grew 2.6% in 2007.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

PRB DataFinder

The Population Reference Bureau exists to collect and publish statistics about population, health, and the environment worldwide. For an introduction to a specific place - anywhere in the world - there's no better place to start.

The PRB DataFinder tool aggregates statistics on U.S. states and nations around the world. The interface is simple, belying the broad coverage and notable depth of available information. Focus differs, on a state vs. nation basis, but in addition to population demographics, you'll find statistics as diverse as CO2 emissions per capita, number of uninsured citizens, remaining natural habitat, percentage of women in leadership, vaccination rates, and more.

U.S. TOPICS
* Population Characteristics
* Education
* Health
* Labor Force and Commuting
* Economic Security
* Housing
* Family Structure

WORLD TOPICS
* Population Trends
* Education
* Economic
* Environment
* Health
* HIV/AIDS
* Reproductive Health

Monday, December 22, 2008

New York State Local Employment Dynamics (LED)

The New York State LED program is a recent partnership between the New York State Department of Labor and the U.S. Census Bureau. The data series is unique as it combines information from several different types of federal and state administrative data on employers and employees with core Census Bureau censuses and surveys, while protecting the confidentiality of people and firms that provide the data. This rich compilation of data provides an in-depth picture of local employment conditions unavailable elsewhere. This is the best data source for describing the churning that goes on in the labor market.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Health Care Costs, Biofuel Use Among Subjects in 2009 Statistical Abstract

The U.S. Census Bureau released this week the new Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009. First published in 1878, "Uncle Sam’s Almanac" is a summary of statistics on a wide range of important topics, from A (aquaculture) to Z (zinc production). Whether one seeks numbers on biofuel or banking, foreign trade or foreign aid, cars or bars, there is no better one-stop shop for statistics.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Updated State Health Stats

Statehealthfacts.org has recently added new and updated data on Demographics and the Economy, Medicaid & SCHIP, Medicare, Providers & Service Use, Health Status and Women’s Health.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Energy Outlook 2009

The Annual Energy Outlook 2009 released this week by the Energy Information Administration presents updated projections for U.S. energy consumption and production through 2030.

Oil Use and Import Dependence: For the first time in more than 20 years, the new AEO reference case projects virtually no growth in U.S. oil consumption.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

America Will Soon Owe More Than Its Citizens Are Worth

The sum of America’s liabilities and other financial commitments now exceeds the collective net worth of its citizens, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation has calculated using the latest official data. Growth in the government’s unfunded promises for social insurance programs such as Medicare, combined with a drop in Americans’ net worth due in part by lower home equity values, is causing this unprecedented milestone.

In related news, bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts numbered over 1 million for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2008, up more than 30 percent when compared to filings in Fiscal Year 2007, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Global Health Facts

This interesting site provides data on a variety of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and more. One can access data by topic and by country. Maps are included that provide population statistics indicating who is afflicted with various diseases. The demographic information touches on median age, population density, contraceptive prevalence rate, maternal mortality ratio and life expectancy by gender. The interface can be a little clunky, but the data are quite good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Project Sunlight

"Shine a light on governmental decision-making in New York State. Project Sunlight: A Public Integrity Initiative contains general and advanced search features and datasets for doing research on elected officials, campaign finance, legislation, lobbying, state contractors and more." My favorite feature is a list of who lobbied for what bills.

The Road Less Traveled

The Road...Less Traveled: An Analysis of Vehicle Miles Traveled Trends in the U.S. from the Brookings Institute is "an analysis at the national, state, and metropolitan levels of changing driving patterns, measured by Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) primarily between 1991 and 2008, reveals that:

Driving, as measured by national VMT, began to plateau as far back as 2004 and dropped in 2007 for the first time since 1980. Per capita driving followed a similar pattern, with flat-lining growth after 2000 and falling rates since 2005. These recent declines in driving predated the steady hikes in gas prices during 2007 and 2008. Moreover, the recent drops in VMT (90 billion miles) and VMT per capita (388 miles) are the largest annualized drops since World War II."

Monday, December 15, 2008

HarpWeek: Explore History

"This website puts American history (1857-1912) in context. It uses Harper’s Weekly original news and feature articles, editorials, political cartoons, and period advertisements to provide overviews and analysis of events in the making of modern America." Lots of cartoonist Thomas Nast, plus perspective on Andrew Johnson's impeachment and the Electoral College debacle of 1876-77, which compares uunfavorably with Florida and the 2000 election.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Annenberg Political FactCheck/Project Vote Smart

Just because the campaign is overdoesn't mean you won't want to question the accuracy of political assertions. Check out FactCheck.org. "This non-profit, non-partisan website aims to clarify the claims made and the statistics stated. It acts as a 'consumer advocate' for voters, an invaluable resource in any election."

Also, votesmart.org will continue to provide you the facts on elected officials and candidates. "A nonprofit, non-partisan organization, funded by the American people."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flickr Commons

The Library of Congress goes Web 2.0 with The Commons! In this pilot project, users can add tags, comments, and identifying information to two outstanding photography collections of the Library of Congress: 1930s and 1940s in color and News in the 1910s.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Globalization 101

As our world becomes smaller, globalization becomes more prominent. This website, geared for students and teachers but suitable for general users, aims to clearly, accurately and in a bias-free manner explain what globalization is and showcase the complex issues surrounding it. Sponsored by the Levin Institute, a graduate institute of the State University of New York

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New York State Physician Profile

This user-friendly web site lists New York State doctor’s medical education, translation services, and legal actions taken against them. Doctors can add optional information such as the address and phone number of all offices, the names of other doctors in a practice group, a list of the articles or research papers the doctor has published, a list of professional and community service activities or awards, a list of the health plans the doctor works with, and the doctor's community involvement.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

National Survey Reveals Escalating Budget Crisis for States

States, which already have closed $40 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget gaps, face at least an additional $97 billion they must close over the next 18 to 24 months, according to a national report issued this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NCSL said the news will pose difficult decisions for state legislators across the nation as they prepare for the 2009 legislative sessions.

State Budget Update: November 2008, a survey of the nation’s state legislative fiscal officers, reports that states face a $32 billion budget gap after already closing a $40 billion gap since the current fiscal year began. Their projections for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1 for most states, reveal another $65 billion gap.

Fifteen states are forecasting double-digit gaps in FY 2010. The largest are in Arizona (24.2 percent), New York (20 percent), California (18 percent), Wisconsin (17.2 percent), Minnesota (14.7) and Kansas (14.5 percent).

NCSL's State Budget Report Update: November 2008 is a 60-page report that provides information for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. It gives an overview of state fiscal conditions, including state revenue performances, estimated budget gaps in FY 2009 and FY 2010 and actions legislatures are expected to take to close their budget gaps. This report is free only to credentialed members of the media and is available for purchase.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Consolidation = Taxpayer Savings

In Orleans County, NY, if the Village of Albion merges with the Town of Albion, which incorporates four-fifths of the Village, taxpayers can save at least 18%. If the neighboring Town of Gaines also consolidates with them, taxpayer savings are at least 22%. These savings come from cost reductions due to efficiencies and substantial new state consolidation incentive funds.

That report and others designed by Center for Governmental Research can be found here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

American Community Survey release of multiyear data

On December 9, 2008, the Census Bureau will release the first set of three-year American Community Survey data for all geographies with populations greater than 20,000. The release will provide the first look at detailed socioeconomic and housing characteristics for geographies between 20,000 and 64,999 since Census 2000. The type of data released and geographies covered can be found here.

Different from a point-in-time estimate

Before I talk about multiyear estimates, it’s important to understand the concept of a period estimate because all ACS estimates are period estimates.

The ACS produces period estimates of socioeconomic and housing characteristics. It is designed to provide estimates that describe the average characteristics of an area over a specific time period. In the case of ACS one-year estimates, the period is the calendar year. For example, the 2007 ACS data describe the population and housing characteristics of an area from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, not for any specific day within the year.

A period estimate is different from a point-in-time estimate. A point-in-time estimate is designed to measure characteristics as of a certain date or narrow time period. For example, the purpose of the decennial census is to count the population living in the United States on a specific date, which is traditionally April 1. Although decennial census data are actually collected over several months, they are designed to provide a snapshot of the U.S. population as of April 1.

Understanding Multiyear Estimates in the American Community Survey

Period for ACS multiyear estimates is either 3 or 5 calendar years. A multiyear estimate is simply a period estimate that encompasses more than one calendar year. In the case of ACS multiyear estimates, the period is either three or five calendar years.

While a one-year estimate includes information collected from independent monthly samples over a 12-month period, a three-year estimate represents data collected from independent samples over a 36-month period, and a five-year estimate includes data collected over a 60-month period. For example, the 2005-2007 ACS three-year estimates describe the population and housing characteristics of an area for the period January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007, not for any specific day, month, or year within that time period.

The types of ACS estimates published for a particular area or population group are based on established population thresholds. Geographic areas with at least 65,000 people will receive one-, three-, and five-year ACS estimates. Areas with 20,000 or more people will receive three- and five-year estimates. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. ZIP code tabulation areas, census tracts, and block groups, regardless of their population size, will only receive five-year estimates. Areas with less than 20,000 people, down to the block group level, will only receive five-year estimates.

ACS estimates based on data collected from 2005-2007 should not be labeled "2006" or "2007" estimates. Multiyear estimates do not represent any one year or the midpoint of a period. The correct labeling for multiyear estimate: "The child poverty rate for the 2005-2007 period was X percent."

Perhaps it is obvious, but multiyear estimates must be used when no one-year estimate is available. Unless a geographic area has a population larger than 65,000, that geography will be reliant on multiyear estimates.

Multiyear estimates should also be used when analyzing data for small population groups due to the higher margins of error associated with them. An example of a small population group could be "Families with Female Householder with own Children under 18". The choices posed for using mulityear estimates is more than simply a choice between using the one-year or the multiyear estimates, however, because for many areas there will also be the choice of which multiyear estimate to use, three- or five-year.

For small areas, only five-year estimates are released, but for larger areas, each annual release will provide one-, three-, and five-year estimates. For example, in 2010, there will be three sets of commuting data for San Diego County – one-year estimates for 2009, three-year estimates reflecting 2007-2009, and five-year estimates for the period of 2005-2009. Users need to decide which is the most appropriate for their needs.

In making this choice, one need to consider the tradeoff between currency and reliability. The one-year estimates for an area reflect the most current data but they tend to have higher margins of error than the three- and five-year estimates because they are based on a smaller sample.

The three-year and five-year estimates for an area have larger samples and smaller margins of error than the one-year estimates, but they are less current because the larger samples include data that were collected in earlier years. The main advantage of using multiyear estimates is the increased statistical reliability for smaller geographic areas and small population groups.

There are no hard-and-fast rules on choosing between one-, three-, and five-year data, but the margins of error provided with ACS data can help data users decide on the tradeoff between currency and reliability.

Only compare the same type of estimate:
1-year estimates to other 1-year estimates
3-year estimates to other 3-year estimates
5-year estimates to other 5-year estimates

When comparing estimates from two multiyear periods, it is easier to make comparisons between non-overlapping periods. This is because the difference between two estimates of overlapping periods is driven by the non-overlapping years. To illustrate what I mean, consider the 2005-2007 period and the 2007-2009 period estimates. Both contain the year 2007. Thus, the difference between the 2005-2007 and 2007-2009 estimates is determined by the difference between the 2005 and 2006 estimates versus the 2008 and 2009 estimates.

In this example, the simplest comparison is between the 2005-2007 estimate and the 2008-2010 estimate, which do not include any overlapping years.

There are global differences that exist between the ACS and Census 2000. These include differences in residence rules, universes, and reference periods. For example, the ACS uses a "two-month" residence rule - defined as anyone living for more than two months in the sample unit when the unit is interviewed. On the other hand, Census 2000 used a "usual residence" rule - defined as the place where a person lives or stays most of the time.

The reference periods between the ACS and Census 2000 also differ. For example, the ACS asks respondents to report their income for the 12 months preceding the interview date while Census 2000 asked for a respondent’s income in calendar year 1999.

Also, as discussed earlier, the ACS produces period estimates whereas Census 2000 data are interpreted to be a snapshot of April 1, 2000.

The Census Bureau subject matter specialists have considered all of these differences and have determined that for most population and housing subjects, comparisons can be made. Further information about comparing measures from the ACS and Census 2000 can be found here.

There are other subtlies of ACS data which I'll not touch on, such as controlling to county population estimates.

The ACS Web Site is offering handbooks providing "user-friendly information about the ACS and the new multiyear estimates... Each handbook targets a specific user group including first time ACS data users."

The ACS Compass Presentations, from which this post was partially purloined, can be found here.

Data Analysis and User Education Branch: 301.763.3655

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New York QWI Data on LED Website

The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) for the state of New York have been posted on the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) website. They are available through the QWI Online and Industry Focus. New York becomes the 46th state to post its QWI data on the LED website.

To get there:
1. Go to Census website www.census.gov
2. Click on Local Employment Dynamics, which takes you to http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/index.html
3. Click on QWI Online, which takes you to http://lehd.did.census.gov/led/datatools/qwiapp.html
4. Click on New York

Or you can go to the New York State Department of Labor site
From the home page -http://www.labor.state.ny.us/, click on Labor Statistics, then Employment, on the left-hand side. LED s the last on the list under Employment. http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workforceindustrydata/lsled.shtm.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Census Spending Cuts Raise Concerns on Count

Washington Post, Wednesday, November 26, 2008; A11

The Census Bureau plans to cut spending on advertising and community outreach for the 2010 census by at least a fourth compared with the 2000 census, provoking concern among congressional overseers that historically difficult-to-count groups such as minorities and illegal immigrants will not be accurately tallied.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

North American Transportation in Figures

This report provides a comprehensive overview of transportation statistics in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Each language edition — English, Spanish and French — contains more than 30 data tables. Statistics include modes of transportation, fuel consumption, number of passengers, fatalities and more.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers

Soon enough, it will be tax season. The NYS Tax Department offers Publication 135 (11/08). Check out the PDFs the document here and the memo here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NOAA Winter Forecast


Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic: Equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. For regions with more definitive trends, see here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The 2010 Census – A Great Way to Earn Extra Money

Here's a nice user-friendly page promoting the 2010 Census employment opportunities:

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and the work is close to home.

Census taker jobs are excellent for retirees, college students, persons who want to work part-time, persons who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 10 Best Newspaper Websites

The Bivings Report decided to break out a list of the best examples of good newspaper websites, judging sites not only on their web features but also on the design, aesthetics and general usability of the site.

Some readers noted that it is heavily skewed to those sites associated with larger newspapers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

State Economic Profiles

The 2008 edition of The Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories present key small business data for the United States, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories. The profiles combine data from several government sources to show small businesses’ overall numbers, their impact on employment and job creation, the industries they represent, plus bank and lending information.

The 2008 edition of The Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories is located here.

At my library, I use this source all of the time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What kind of blog is this?

My Colleague Darrin wrote this post about the nature of the SBDC Research Network blog, using Typealyzer. So I thought I'd try it on THIS blog.

The analysis indicates that the author of http://nysdca.blogspot.com is of the type:

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers
The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work int heir own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.
Analysis
This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zoom Prospector

Description courtesy of the James J. Hill Reference Library:
Prospecting for a new business location can be taxing. If you have cities in mind you can research them one at a time, but what if you don't know where to start?

Zoom Prospector highlights available research on places, but focuses just on those aspects most essential to business interests. Look up a specific place, sure. Or, really take advantage of the site by building a list of communities that match your criteria - by size, employment growth since 2000, number of college/high school grads, white collar vs. blue collar jobs, median household income, and more.

This is a great tool for comparing U.S. places, whether your plans involve a new location or just getting to know your current one a little better.


This has some of the features of Citymelt.com, mentioned recently. Try them both and see what works best for you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marital Status and Health Differentials from 1972 to 2003

The Times They Are a Changin’. "Although the meanings and rates of being married, divorced, separated, never-married, and widowed have changed significantly over the past several decades, we know very little about historical trends in the relationship between marital status and health."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued this week.

Full report in PDF.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

citymelt.com

Here's a fun website with practical applications. At citymelt.com, one can choose any of the 25 criteria "to find a place that is right for you", based on population/demographics, education, and weather. "Over 50,000 villages, towns, and cities available for your own personal analysis. Select county or state level data for your expanded research project."

Creator Stephen Traino notes that he will soon update the site with American Community Survey data when the new 2007 data for smaller places comes out in early December.

It's a bit quirky in that it seems to work best when picks just one criterion at a time. However, if you get too many hits, you can narrow the search by moving another "slider".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2010 Census Jobs Available Now! (and not just in the Boston region)

The Boston Regional Census Center is seeking qualified applicants to fill more than forty Partnership Specialist positions in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York. Census is turning to past and current partners to help find qualified applicants for these important and attractive-paying jobs.

Partnership Specialists are charged with developing partnerships with local, state and tribal governments, as well as community and faith-based entities, schools, businesses, media and grassroots organizations. These partnerships will help create a responsive environment when census questionnaires go to households in spring 2010.

For some Partnership Specialist positions, the Census Bureau seeks applicants who have professional and/or volunteer experience developing partnerships in African American, Hispanic/Latino, Mexican, Native American, Asian and other minority communities and cultures. Specific cultural and/or language requirements (for example, proficiency in Spanish) are noted in the Recruiting Bulletins (job announcements).

Postings for Partnership Specialist, Administrative Specialist and Regional Technician positions are available NOW at www.census.gov/robos/www or www.usajobs.com. To receive consideration, an applicant must submit a complete application packet to the Boston Regional Census Center as directed. This includes written responses to all questions and evaluation criteria shown in the Recruiting Bulletin.

If you have questions, please call the contact listed on the Job announcement or contact the Partnership and Data Services Program at 617-223-3610.

If you live in another part of the country, go here.

Living Wage Calculator

The Department of Geography at Penn State has put together this website, described thusly: "In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The Calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages in the location you have selected."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why doesn't the SEC use NAICS?

My old friend Jennifer Boettcher decided to investigate this question, since:
According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), all federal offices must use NAICS for federal statistical reporting purposes. Continued use of SIC for nonstatistical purposes is usually left to the discretion of the agency. Some statutes may refer to SIC -- these are being addressed. For example, the HSR Premerger Notification Rules mentioned SIC, but that was easily remedied by using notices in the Federal Register, such as the one allowing the change from SIC to NAICS in 2001.

Unfortunately, when she contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about why she never got a satisfactory answer: "We will take that under advisement".

The division responsible for choosing which industrial classification system
to use is the Division of Corporation Finance. She spoke with a staff member at the Division about why the SEC has not converted. The main reason given was that it would require too much work for the Office of Information Technology to change. He said there were no immediate plans to covert from SIC to NAICS. When I asked about the new IDEA software to replace EDGAR, he said IDEA is still in the concept phase. She asked him to put NAICS into the concept.

When other federal government agencies converted to NAICS:

Census Bureau: started in 1997 and completed in 2002
IRS: 1998 (in 2003, 95.9% of Partnership tax receipts used NAICS. Proving companies and accountants have adopted NAICS)
SSA: 1999 (employer establishments to assign establishment’s activities)
SBA: 1999 (SBA assigns small business size standards to NAICS codes)
FTC: 2001 (looking at anti-trust premerger issues)
BEA: 2003 (looking at the National Income and Product Accounts)
BLS: 2004 (labor, wages, PPI, etc are measured using NAICS)
EPA: 2006 (connecting Toxic Release Index to NAICS)

Learn more about NAICS
Sorry for the delay in reporting back.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Census Director?

From the Latino Census Network

As President-elect Barack Obama puts together his transition, the top priority of advocates for the Census is the selection of a new Census Director by the end of January. With the 2010 Census less than 18 months away, the pressure is on to get the Obama Administration to quickly get a new leader for the Bureau on board to replace Census Director Steve Murdock. While some have argued that, given the short time left to pull of the Decennial, it would make sense to push to retain Murdock in this post to assure continuity, it appears that even Murdock acknowledges that with a new President will come a new Census Director.

The name that has been circulating the most to replace Murdock is that of Kenneth Prewitt. He was the person who oversaw the very successful 2000 Census, which would address the continuity issue. Prewitt is currently on the faculty of the political science department at Columbia University and has broad support.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Estimating the Contribution of Immigrant Business Owners to the U.S. Economy

Using data from three large nationally representative government datasets — the 2000 Census 5% Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), the 1996-2007 Current Population Survey (CPS), and the 1992 Characteristics of Business Owners (CBO) — this study examines the contribution of immigrant businesses to the U.S. economy. According to Census 2000, immigrants constitute 12.2 percent of the total U.S. work force, and 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners. Business income generated by immigrant business owners totals $67 billion, representing 11.6 percent of U.S. business income.
Immigrant business ownership is geographically concentrated in a few states.

A copy of the report is located here (PDF) and the research summary can be found here (PDF).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Chance to Help the Census

From Hispanic Business:

The Census Bureau issued a request for nominations to the Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population. The nine-member committee facilitates communication between Hispanic communities and the Census Bureau, and seeks to help the Bureau remedy the undercount of the Hispanic population.

Individuals, groups, and organizations can nominate candidates who have knowledge and expertise on the cultural patterns, issues, and/or data needs of the Hispanic community. Please submit a nomination letter and a summary of the candidate's qualifications (resume or CV) by December 5 to Jeri Green, Chief, CAC Office, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8H182, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233, or via fax at 301-763-8609, or by e-mail to jeri.green@census.gov.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Credit card industry facts, debt statistics 2006-2008

This page contains credit card-related statistics — including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, bankruptcies and more — compiled by the CreditCards.com staff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

GAO sets up transition Web site

The Government Accountability Office has identified 13 urgent issues that will require the attention of incoming President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress...

On the list: the 2010 Census
The decennial census is a mammoth undertaking that affects congressional districting and the allocation of $300 billion a year in federal aid to state and local government. “Soon after taking office, the new administration will need to address the significant management and technology challenges facing this complex and costly effort,” the GAO said. “Early in 2009, the first nationwide field operation of the 2010 Census — address canvassing — is scheduled to begin. During this operation, the Census Bureau will rely, for the first time, on hand-held computers to verify address and map information.”

GAO last year identified the census as a high risk area because of challenges in IT management. “The Census Bureau is strengthening its oversight of IT management activities, and a limited field test of the hand-held computers is scheduled for December 2008,” GAO said. “Importantly, there will be little time for refinements if performance problems persist.”

GAO said that Census needs to make sure that all IT systems are fully tested and improve the reliability of cost estimates for the program.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shifts to and from Daylight Saving Time and Incidence of Myocardial Infarction.

More than 1.5 billion men and women are exposed to the transitions involved in daylight saving time: turning clocks forward by an hour in the spring and backward by an hour in the autumn. These transitions can disrupt chronobiologic rhythms and influence the duration and quality of sleep, and the effect lasts for several days after the shifts.

Not incidentally, Daylight Saving Time returns on March 8, 2009 to most of the United States.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prediction: U.S. Election Will Cost $5.3 Billion

The 2008 election for president and Congress is not only one of the most closely watched U.S. elections in years; it’s also the most expensive in history. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates that more than $5.3 billion will go toward financing the federal contests today. The presidential race alone will cost nearly $2.4 billion, the Center predicts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

U.S. Domestic Airline Fee Chart

Even though $140/bbl oil seems to be temporarily off the table, the airlines still tack on fees from reservation by phone to baggage to food. Here's a table that should help.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Americans Drove 15 Billion Fewer Miles than a Year Ago

New federal data show Americans are continuing a 10-month-long decline in driving habits, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced today. The decline is putting new pressure on the way road, bridge and transit projects are funded at a time of record growth in transit ridership, showing the need for a new approach for funding transportation construction, she added.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Enduring Poverty in America

The Federal Reserve System and its 12 member banks partnered with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program to produce a new, in-depth look at concentrated poverty in America. The two-year study, The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America, profiles 16 high-poverty communities across the United States, investigating the historical and contemporary factors associated with their high levels of economic distress.

Friday, October 31, 2008

FBI Releases 2007 Hate Crime Statistics

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released statistics which indicated that 7,624 criminal incidents involving 9,006 offenses were reported in 2007 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nearly Half Of States Fail On Emergency Plan Communication

Seven years after Sept. 11, and in the wake of many major natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes and flooding, nearly half of U.S. states either have no state-level emergency plan or do not provide it readily to the public, reveals a new study by George Mason University Communication Professor Carl Botan. MORE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ACS Compass Products

Over the next six months, the Census Bureau will be releasing a series of handbooks, a set of presentations, and an e-learning tutorial to provide guidance to users on how to understand and best use ACS data. This set of educational materials is called the ACS Compass Products. This week marks the first release of ACS Compass Products and includes these audience-specific handbooks in PDF format:

What General Data Users Need to Know - This handbook helps general audiences understand the basics of the ACS, its opportunities and challenges, and how to access and use the ACS data on the Census Bureau's Web site. It includes concrete examples of how ACS data can be used to answer real-world questions about our society.

What the Business Community Needs to Know - This handbook acknowledges that to make effective use of the ACS, businesses need to understand how ACS data are collected and reported, and their advantages and limitations relative to the long form data previously collected during the decennial census. This handbook describes the data products available from the ACS and how to access them. Examples are provided with step-by-step instructions on accessing the data.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FFIEC 2008 Census Reports

Find current data using the FFIEC Census Reports tool. It provides access to 2008 demographic, income, population, and housing estimates for people by census tract. Search for these tracts by county or metro area.

Census tracts generally include between 2500 and 8000 residents. Rural counties may have only one or two census tracts, while most urban neighborhoods will have several. Get help locating them with these census tract maps from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Monday, October 27, 2008

2007 Census of Govts Counts 16 Million State, Local Employees

The nation's 89,526 state and local governments employed 16.4 million full-time equivalent employees in 2007, a 4.5 percent increase from 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

These State and Local Government Employment and Payroll figures are the first comprehensive data to be released from the 2007 Census of Governments. Local governments include counties, cities, townships, special districts and school districts.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Census Bureau's Counting of Prisoners Benefits Some Rural Voting Districts

Author: SAM ROBERTS
Date: Oct 24, 2008
Source: New York Times (NY)
Section: A
Page: 12

...

Concerns about so-called prison-based gerrymandering have grown as the number of
inmates around the nation has ballooned. Similar disparities have been identified in upstate New York, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Critics say the census should count prisoners in the district where they lived before they were incarcerated.

...

In 2006, experts commissioned by the Census Bureau recommended that the agency study whether prison inmates should be counted in 2010 as residents of the mostly urban neighborhoods where they last lived rather than as residents of the mostly rural districts where they are temporarily housed against their will.

...

"With only one exception nationwide," Mr. Wagner said, "every time a community learns that prison populations are distorting their access to local government, the legislature has reversed course and redrawn districts based on actual population, not the Census Bureau's mistakes."

The sole exception he cited is St. Lawrence County in upstate New York. ...

"In New York and several other states, the regional transfer of a minority population does have a representational impact," said Prof. Nathan Persily, director of the Center on Law and Politics at Columbia Law School. "There's no reason why a community ought to gain representation because of a large, incarcerated, nonvoting population."

Prof. James A. Gardner of the University at Buffalo Law School, said that because "prisoners don't want to be there, leave at the first opportunity, and
there's no chance they can vote, it is taking advantage of a completely inert
population for the purpose of sneaking out extra political power."

The Prison Policy Initiative found 21 counties across the country where at least one in five people, according to the Census Bureau's count, were actually inmates from another county.

...

more

Copyright © 2008 The New York Times Company

Friday, October 24, 2008

Country Insights

Country Insights is a source for statistical data, historical, economic, and political conditions for 199 countries around the world, including the United States.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

State Bankruptcy Filings

Given the current economic situation, a timely resource: CreditCards.com compiled state-by-state statistics for bankruptcy cases. Click on a state; more information will appear below the map.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

International Program Center

The International Programs Center (IPC) is part of the US Census Bureau Population Division. It conducts demographic and socioeconomic studies and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products. For over 50 years IPC has assisted in the collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and use of statistics with counterpart governments throughout the world. Check out their website, including these handy links to international statistical agencies!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

2008 Great Places in America

"APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement."

And two of them are in New York State.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

JEOPARDY! Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Show #5542
Category: WHICH U.S. CABINET DEPARTMENT?
$1000 clue in the first round: The Bureau of the Census

None of the contestants even rang in on this, the 28th question of the round; this is called a triple stumper in the J-archives lingo. I must admit that I knew it instantly, but then again would have been embarrassed if I did not.

Do you know?

Interestingly, a similar clue was also a triple stumper on Show #5036 - Monday, July 3, 2006.

The answer?

What is the Commerce Department?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Corporate philanthropy

Giving in Numbers, 2007 Edition is "an analysis of 2006 philanthriopy data from 136 leading companies." Giving was up overall, but while 57% gave more, 43% gave less. The latter may be attributed in some part by "beyond-budget donations" in 2005 in response to huuricanes Katrina and Rita.

Friday, October 10, 2008

USA Today notes difficulty of next decennial Census

For 2010 Census, counting gets tougher:
To count [families], the Census Bureau first has to find them. Complicating the task is a widespread climate of suspicion about personal data landing in the wrong hands and government's increased surveillance power. Much of the unease is engendered by the growing problem of identity theft and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The article also had an interesting timeline, provided by our good friends at Census.

2008

Fall: Recruitment begins for local Census jobs for early operations.

2009

Spring: Census workers go door to door to update address lists.
Fall: Recruitment begins for Census takers for 2010.

2010

February-March: Census questionnaires mailed or delivered to households.
April-July: Census takers visit households that did not mail in a questionnaire.
December: Census Bureau delivers population counts to president for apportionment.

2011
March: Census Bureau finishes delivering redistricting data to states.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

U.S. economy generates 750,000+ green jobs

First Metro Green Jobs Report Projects 4.2 Million Jobs by 2038. "The report, released...by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayors Climate Protection Center, is the first calculation of its kind to measure how many direct and indirect jobs are in the new and emerging U.S. green economy."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Business Birth/Death Model

Issues in Labor Statistics: How the Business Birth/Death Model Improves Payroll Employment Estimates (PDF. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program annually "adjusts its sample-based estimates of industry employment for the previous year to universe employment counts derived primarily from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)... Accurate CES employment estimates are made possible in part by the use of the “birth/death” model, an adjustment developed by BLS to account for the net employment change stemming from business births and deaths that cannot be captured in real-time by the CES sample."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Economic Bailout

An Analysis of the Economic Emergency Stabilization Act (PDF) by CCH/Wolters Kluwer. President Bush signed EESA into law within two hours of its final passage in the House of Representatives on October 3, 2008.

Ten Questions and Answers About the Housing Crisis and the Financial Bailout— In Plain English from the Century Foundation

Monday, October 6, 2008

State Budget Damage 'Just Beginning'

“The damage is just beginning” in state budgets, the Rockefeller Institute’s latest State Revenue Report concludes. While overall tax revenues were “superficially strong” in the second quarter of 2008, sales-tax collections are down and declines in income-tax revenue are highly likely in the months ahead. More widespread budget cuts by states “are virtually certain,” the Institute reported. Read the news release.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Private Delivery Services accepted by the NYS Tax Department

"Generally, tax returns, payments, and other documents sent to the New York State Tax Department are considered to be ontime if they are postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before the due date of the return, payment, or other document. As a result of the 1997 Taxpayer Bill of Rights, taxpayers can also use certain private delivery services, in addition to the U.S. Postal Service, with the assurance that returns, payments, etc., that are mailed on time will be considered to have been filed on time. However, only mail delivered by private delivery services that are designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury or by the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance qualify for the timely postmarked is timely filed/paid rule." To view the entire document, Publication 55 (9/08), click here(PDF).
Note DHL, FedEx and UPS are on the list, but it must be for specific levels of service.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Best Performing Cities Index

The somewhat misleadingly titled Index actually ranks large and small metropolitan areas, separately, "by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth."

For New York State, the news could be worse. The best rank is for NYC/White Plains/ Wayne, NJ at #85, up from #148 last year.
Other improvemements:
96. Nassau-Suffolk (up from #139)
125. Binghamton (up from #147)
127. Syracuse (up from #174)
134. Utica-Rome (up from #164)
138. Albany-Schenectady-Troy (up from #166)

Not all the news was good. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown plunged from #87 to #159, while Buffalo-Niagara Falls (#183 to #180) and Rochester (#182 to #181) barely moved.

For the small cities, Ithaca (#97 to #64), Glens Falls (#77 to #72) and Kingston (#128 to #77) all were heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dealing with the Emergency

Influenza outbreak.
Terror attack.
HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new Web-based interactive tool to help hospitals and emergency planners identify resource requirements to treat an influx of patients due to a major disaster.

Tool Estimates Resources Needed For Emergency Response

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bill to make Census Bureau independent agency introduced

From the office of Rep. Maloney:

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation to elevate the Census Bureau to the status of an Independent Agency in the federal government hierarchy, moving it outside of the massive Commerce Department. Joining Maloney as original cosponsors the "Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act of 2008", H.R. 7069 are Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), William Clay (D-MO), Michael Honda (D-CA), and Henry Waxman (D-CA).

"After three decades of controversy surrounding the decennial census, the time has come to recognize the Census Bureau as one of our country’s premier scientific agencies and it should be accorded the status of peers such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation," Maloney said. "This action will be a clear signal to Americans that the agency they depend upon for unbiased monthly economic data as well as the important decennial portrait of our nation is independent, fair, and protected from interference," the Congresswoman added.

Maloney’s bill was endorsed in a letter signed by every living former Director of the Census who collectively served seven Presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.

"Although appointed by different Presidents we are of one mind in our strong endorsement of the proposed legislation known as ‘Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act of 2008’ that will establish the Census Bureau as an Independent Agency. We believe that this is an Act whose time has come, and that its enactment will ensure that the Census Bureau can discharge its constitutional obligation to conduct the Decennial Census and carry out other statistical operations – such as the Economic Census and the Census of Governments – that the Congress requires," wrote the seven former Directors.

"Nearly every economic statistic reported in the news and relied upon by Americans is derived from data collected day in and day out by career professionals at the Census Bureau. Yet, the average American would be hard pressed to find this vital agency even on the Commerce Department’s own organizational chart on the government’s website where it is buried in the basement of 32 boxes on the chart!" Maloney said.

The bill would take effect in January 2012 after completion of the 2010 Decennial Census so as not to interfere with preparations for that important event. It also calls for a five-year term for the new Director by nomination of the President and confirmation by the Senate. A new independent Census Inspector General would be created by the legislation as well.

"Our goal with this bill is to begin a serious national discussion in advance of hearings next year in the new Congress. Census stakeholders, the Congress, and America’s businesses and universities that are the biggest consumers of Census Bureau data are encouraged to offer their views on what I believe is a long overdue step to ensure the professional independence of this agency," Rep. Maloney said.

"At the dawn of the American republic, both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison felt the Census was so vital to our democracy that they each took responsibility for our earliest censuses. It is indispensable to the basic principles of democratic representation that the decennial census itself is seen by the American public to be completely independent and nonpartisan," she concluded.

Commerce Dept. current organizational chart (PDF)

H.R. 7069 in PDF
***
September 23, 2008

To: Carolyn Maloney, Member of the House of Representatives

From: Vincent P. Barabba (1973-76 and 1979-81)*
Bruce Chapman (1981-1983)
John G. Keane (1984 – 1987)
Barbara Everitt Bryant (1989 -1993)
Martha Farnsworth Riche (1994-1998)
Kenneth Prewitt (1998-2001)
Charles Louis Kincannon (2002 - 2008)
*Years of service as Director of the U. S. Census Bureau

The signatures to this Letter served as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, appointed by Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, G. H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G. W. Bush. Although appointed by different Presidents we are of one mind in our strong endorsement of the proposed legislation known as “Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act of 2008” that will establish the Census Bureau as an Independent Agency. We believe that this is an Act whose time has come, and that its enactment will ensure that the Census Bureau can discharge its constitutional obligation to conduct the Decennial Census and carry out other statistical operations – such as the Economic Census and the Census of Governments – that the Congress requires and the nation needs.

We offer three reasons for our endorsement. First, following three decades during which the press and the Congress frequently discussed the Decennial Census in explicitly partisan terms it is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau.”

Second, the Commerce Department is responsible for many activities and several very large agencies. For the Commerce Department, the importance of the Census Bureau waxes and wanes, peaking as the Decennial approaches but then drifting down the Department’s priority list. The Census Bureau, however, conducts extensive preparatory activities for the Decennial Census during the entire decade preceding it. It also has other major statistical responsibilities in the years that intervene between Decennial Censuses – including producing the nation’s ongoing economic monitoring measures. As an Independent Agency it will more efficiently focus on these continuous responsibilities.

Third, as Directors each of us experienced times when we could have made much more timely and thorough responses to Congressional requests and oversight if we had dealt directly with the Congress.

The Census Bureau is the nation’s largest, general-purpose statistical agency. Establishing it as an Independent Agency, in the government’s highly decentralized system of statistical programs, will be broadly beneficial to other statistical agencies and programs in emphasizing that the nation’s statistical products are scientific and independent of partisan considerations. This is a valuable signal for the American public in a time of economic uncertainty and the corresponding high level of dependence on the numbers generated by the federal statistical system.

We congratulate you and your colleagues for initiating the Bill, and offer our services in any way that you might find useful.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hearing on reducing the census undercount

Testimony from September 23 hearing from:
Steven H. Murdock, Director, U.S. Census Bureau
Robert Goldenkoff , Director of Strategic Issues, GAO
Kenneth Prewitt, Former Census Director, Columbia University
Roderick Harrison, Consultant, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director , Asian American Justice Center
Joseph Salvo, Director, Population Division , New York City Department of City Planning
Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

Not so incidentally, we count Joe Salvo as one of our own.

You are Like a Hurricane

An online tool, Historical Hurricane Tracks, helps users get a quick picture of coastal areas with the greatest frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms -- and that historical "snapshot" can help community members and local emergency managers develop better plans for storm preparation and recovery.

NOAA Tracking Site Looks At Historical Hurricane Activity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One-in-Five Speak Spanish In Four States

At least one-in-five residents of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas spoke Spanish at home in 2007, according to new American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationwide, an estimated 35 million, or about 12.3 percent, hablan espaƱol at home.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Well, maybe you do where you are. But what about Bangkok, Thailand or Barcelona, Spain? Heck, what DAY is it in Bangkok when it's 5 pm in the US? I use timeanddate.com. I don't have to keep track which countries experience Daylight Saving Time differently from the U.S. or not at all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What's Your Signage? - Signs for Small Biz

Since the JJ Hill Library plugged it, how can I not?



If you run a retail shop or have an office to meet with clients, what's the first thing your customers see when they get to your location? Your sign! So you want to make sure it presents the same good face for your business as you do.

The What's Your Signage? site includes articles detailing the importance of signage to a business and provides background on the elements of a well-designed sign. You can use this information to become an informed partner with the sign-maker of your choosing, or use the site's manufacturer locator to find recommendations.

What's the most important thing a good sign will do for your business? Reassure your customers that they've found the right place.


My reluctance to promote this is a function that this is product of the NYS Small Business Development Center, where I work, and I didn't want to seem self-serving. Well, if it's good, it's good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Projections of Education Statistics

Projections to 2017.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Continuing resolution boosts funding for Census Bureau

From the 9/24/2008 Federal Times

The Census Bureau would get extra funds to conduct the 2010 census under the continuing resolution passed by the House today.
While the bill holds most agencies’ funding to current levels, the Census Bureau would receive $2.9 billion in 2009, up from $1.3 billion in 2008.
The vote comes one day after the head of the bureau told lawmakers that its efforts to launch the 2010 census would be set back significantly if Congress opted to simply extend current budget levels into 2009 under a continuing resolution.


This shows the danger of continuing resolutions. Census needs more money heading towards the decennial census than it does in some other years, and Congress actually responded to that fact.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Economic Freedom of the World: 2008 Annual Report

Source: Cato Institute

From the press release:
Economic freedom around the world remains on the rise but it has declined notably in the U.S. since the year 2000, according to an authoritative study released today by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute.

In 2000 the U.S. was the second-freest economy listed in Economic Freedom of the World, an annual report written by James Gwartney from Florida State University and Robert Lawson from Auburn University. This year the U.S. has fallen to 8th place, behind Hong Kong (ranked in first place), Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Canada.

More significant than the U.S.’s drop in the rankings is its fall in the freedom ratings: on a scale of 0-10, the U.S. fell from 8.55 in 2000 to 8.04, according to the Economic Freedom of the World Report: 2008 Annual Report. Only five countries have experienced a greater decline over the same time period: Zimbabwe, Argentina, Niger, Venezuela, and Guyana.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Which States Have Most Economic Freedom?

The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a free-market think tank based in California, today released the U.S. Economic Freedom Index: 2008 Report, a ranking of economic freedom in the 50 states. Published in association with Forbes, the Index scores states based on 143 variables, including regulatory and fiscal obstacles imposed on businesses and residents.

South Dakota, which ranked 15 in 2004 (the last time the Index was published), has assumed the notable spot as the nation’s most economically free state, while New York consistently remains the most economically oppressed state, ranking 50 in all three editions of the Index.

The net migration rate for the 20 freest states was 27.36 people per 1,000, while it was a low 1.17 people per 1,000 for the 20 most economically oppressed states. "People are moving to the freest states and fleeing the least free states as our market-based migration metric of economic freedom predicts," said Lawrence J. McQuillan, Ph.D., director of Business and Economic Studies at PRI and director of the project.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Personal Income Tax: Analysis of 2005 Personal Income Tax Returns

From your friends at the NYS Tax Department comes a report describing "the prominent features of New York's personal income tax, with particular emphasis on the 2005 tax year. It also includes taxpayer profiles consisting of number of taxable returns, sources of income, federal adjustments, New York modifications, deductions,
dependent exemptions, tax liability and credits by NYAGI class, filing status and
return type. In addition, it includes separate sections on income, itemized deduction amounts, exemptions, available credits and information on refundable credits. Finally, it compares statistics for 2005 with those from the prior year for most of these items.

Accompanying this report are statistical tables that cover resident, part-year resident, and nonresident returns. The report also includes a description and statistical information from returns filed by fiduciaries of estates and trusts."

So go view the entire publication and download statistical tables.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes, August 2008 Edition

I'm such a geek for these things:

The Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes provides a general descriptive overview of the taxes which New York State and its local governments impose, and is revised periodically to reflect recently enacted law changes. It does not include non-tax revenue sources such as motor vehicle fees and the Lottery. Instead, it focuses on taxes, especially those administered by the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Download the entire publication.

Health Insurance Coverage for Small Businesses

As we'ver seen, the health insurance crisis isn't just for those 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance, it's for the 250 million that do. Many are offered - or not - by small business.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Health Policy Research Center has issued a series of reports on private insurance coverage for small businesses. The reports, which were funded by the New York State Health Foundation, include a paper titled "From Access to Affordability," which is a nationwide scan of the various strategies states are using to try to address the growing problem of health insurance coverage for small businesses. In addition to the 50-state research, there are also three in-depth case studies on the strategies being used by Maine, Minnesota, and New Jersey and a comprehensive report that combines what was learned from the state scan and field research. For copies of the reports, please visit www.rockinst.org. Read the press release.

Friday, September 19, 2008

2007 American Community Survey Characteristics Data

On September 23, 2008, the Census Bureau will release 2007 data on social, economic, housing and demographic characteristics. These data cover topics ranging from language to education, from family size to work commute, and are available for more than 7,000 areas, including all congressional districts as well as counties, cities, metro areas, and American Indian and Alaska Native areas of 65,000 population or more. Special population profiles and Public Use Microdata Sample data will also be released. Data will also be available from the Puerto Rico Community Survey.

Help Improve the Census Bureau Web Site!

please take 10 minutes to fill out the 2008 Survey of Census Bureau Web Site Visitors. The U.S. Census Bureau is conducting this study to evaluate its online presence, products, and services to you. Your opinions and ideas are important to them. Your responses are voluntary and will remain confidential. This survey is being conducted under OMB Clearance Number 0607-0760, which expires on November 30, 2010. For further information regarding this clearance, please contact the Customer Liaison and Marketing Services Office at 301-763-4094.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

FBI Releases 2007 Crime Statistics

After rising for two straight years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation declined from the previous year’s total. The declining trend continued for property crimes, as those offenses were down for the fifth year in a row.

Statistics released...by the FBI show that the estimated volume of violent crime was down 0.7 percent, and the estimated volume of property crime decreased 1.4 percent in 2007 when compared with 2006 figures. The estimated rate of violent crime was 466.9 occurrences per 100,000 inhabitants (a 1.4 percent decrease from the 2006 rate), and the estimated rate of property crime was 3,263.5 per 100,000 inhabitants (a 2.1 percent decline).


Here's the paragraph I think is 1) most important and 2) most likely to be ignored.

Caution Against Ranking—Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Star Rebate Check Mailing Starts September 29

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Robert L. Megna announced this week that the Department will begin to mail rebate checks the week of September 29 to New York homeowners who qualify for the 2008 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program.

The mailing will continue through the end of October.

Unlike 2007, most homeowners will not have to apply for this year's rebate. If a household's 2008 property information remains unchanged from 2007, no reapplication is necessary. These homeowners will get their checks automatically.

Property owners who did not apply in 2007, and homeowners whose property information changed during the past year, will have to apply. Applications to these households will also be mailed automatically beginning September 29.

Nearly 3.3 million households may be eligible for a STAR rebate, which is in addition to the STAR property exemption on taxpayers' school tax bills. It is expected that more than $1.1 billion will be turned back to homeowners through this year's rebate program.

Commissioner Megna said, "Every eligible household should take advantage of this benefit, which is targeted to middle class homeowners and senior citizens. It is income based, so those who need it most will receive the largest benefit."

Rebate checks and applications will be mailed automatically in alphabetical order, by county, meaning that Albany County homeowners will receive their checks or applications first, followed by homeowners in Allegany and Broome Counties. Mailing to all of the state's counties, including the City of New York, will be completed by the end of October.

Residents can access the Tax Department's website at www.nystax.gov to find out when their checks will be mailed and the amount of the rebate they will receive. Information for senior citizens getting the Enhanced STAR rebate, and information for homeowners who need to apply for the 2008 program, can also be found on the website.

Last year there were about 635,000 rebate checks mailed to senior citizens who receive Enhanced STAR, and about 2.3 million checks mailed to homeowners who get the Basic STAR exemption.

The maximum benefit for those receiving the Basic STAR rebate goes to upstate homeowners earning $90,000 or less, and New York City metropolitan region homeowners earning $120,000 or less. The benefit diminishes until a homeowner's income reaches $250,000. Taxpayers earning over $250,000 are not eligible for the rebate, but continue to receive the STAR exemption on their school tax bills.

Applicants are encouraged to apply on line at www.nystax.gov. All applications must be received by December 31, 2008. Enrollment is easy and the rebate checks are mailed to homeowners as the applications are processed. Online applications take less time to process and the check is issued faster than with a paper application.

To apply, the homeowner only has to verify the property information provided on the application, enter the names, social security numbers, and all required information for all resident property owners and their spouses, verify the mailing address, and submit the application.

This year, rebates for Basic STAR recipients are subject to offset for debts owed to New York State agencies, the Internal Revenue Services, and certain other states.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Report Finds Retrenchment in State/Local Social Welfare Spending

Instinctively, this seems a logical result of belt tightening by states and localities, but it still shows the scary state of the "safety net". A new report entitled The New Retrenchment: Social Welfare Spending, 1977-2006 is now available on the Rockefeller Institute’s website. The report shows recent declines in social welfare spending — including cash assistance, medical assistance, and social services — as well as major shifts in the relationship between state fiscal capacity and social welfare spending. Read the news release.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Review

Newsletter of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council

Volume 5, Number 3, Fall 2008 available here includes:

Preparing Village "Main Streets" for Planning Guidebook Complete
Why Downtown Planning?
G/FLRPC Revolving Loan Fund: Helping to Create Jobs in the Region
A Sense of Place
Upcoming Events
Recent G/FLRPC Publications
Recent G/FLRPC Presentations
G/FLRPC Staff Comings and Goings

Company Insight Center

J.J. Hill Library's recommendation this week is Company Insight Center from BusinessWeek magazine, which "profiles 42,000 public and 322,000 private companies from across the globe. For public companies you'll find detailed financial data, executive pay, news stories, and stock performance. Private company coverage is much thinner and includes contact info and varying degrees of news coverage."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Digital Age, Federal Files Blip Into Oblivion

Here's a scary story for data users from the New York Times by ROBERT PEAR.
Published: September 12, 2008

WASHINGTON Countless federal records are being lost to posterity because
federal employees, grappling with a staggering growth in electronic
records, do not regularly preserve the documents they create on government
computers, send by e-mail and post on the Web.

Federal agencies have rushed to embrace the Internet and new information
technology, but their record-keeping efforts lag far behind. Moreover,
federal investigators have found widespread violations of federal
record-keeping requirements.

Many federal officials admit to a haphazard approach to preserving e-mail
and other electronic records of their work. Indeed, many say they are
unsure what materials they are supposed to preserve.

This confusion is causing alarm among historians, archivists, librarians,
Congressional investigators and watchdog groups that want to trace the
decision-making process and hold federal officials accountable. With the
imminent change in administrations, the concern about lost records has
become more acute.

We expect to see the wholesale disappearance of materials on federal
agency Web sites, said Mary Alice Baish, the Washington representative of
the American Association of Law Libraries, whose members are heavy users
of government records. When new officials take office, they have new
programs and policies, and they want to make a fresh start.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Chance at Free Credit Monitoring

"If you opened a credit card account, got a car loan or mortgage or used any other line of credit in the past 20 years, you may be eligible for free credit monitoring for up to nine months because of a recent class action lawsuit settlement with TransUnion, one of the three major credit-reporting bureaus...

Under the $75 million settlement, TransUnion will provide free credit monitoring... plus the ability to block third parties from viewing your credit history. You qualify if you had an open credit account or an open line of credit from a registered subscriber with a credit bureau between Jan. 1, 1987, and May 28, 2008.

You can choose from two options—six months of credit monitoring valued at nearly $60 and the possibility of getting an additional cash settlement, or nine months valued at $115, which has more services but disqualifies you from a cash settlement.

To receive either, register before Sept. 24 at www.listclassaction.com or call 1-866-416-3470 toll free."

From AARP.

Sales tax data


I do love this stuff:

2007-2008 Annual Statistical Report of New York State Tax Collections - Statistical Summaries and Historical Tables

This publication contains a series of statistical tabulations detailing taxes administered by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The information presented includes revenues and selected tax structure and consumption information for the State's major taxes. It also presents data for some locally imposed taxes.

This edition presents information for New York State Fiscal Year 2007-2008 (SFY 2007-2008) and some historical statistics. New York State's fiscal year is April 1 - March 31.

To download the entire publication and statistical tables, please visit here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Identity theft

From someone who's been a victim a couple times, what to do.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fire statistics resources

Next month is national fire prevention month, so here are links to some info.

U.S. Fire Administration. Fire Statistics

Fire Statistics (Center of Fire Statistics) June 2006

Yes, some of it is NOT in English. Still, if you look on page 46 (table 2a) Note row for U.S., as well as figures for other countries (see also p. 12 for some table explanation). Not so incidentally, for U.S.A. in 2003, (country no. 1), population is given in thousands (290789; adding 3 zeros, 290,789,000).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Census Should Only Count Legal Residents, GOP Platform Says

According to an AP wire story,
The 2008 Republican platform...says only those legally residing in the United States should be counted in the next census.

"The integrity of the 2010 census, proportioning congressional representation among the states, must be preserved," says the platform language, which is a reinterpretation of the Constitution that could affect how congressional seats are apportioned. "The census," it says, "should count every person legally abiding in the United States in an actual enumeration."

The 14th Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1868, says that representatives to the U.S. House "should be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed."

"Our mandate is to count all residents regardless of legal status," said Mark Tolbert, a spokesman for the Census Bureau.


Interesting, if unfortunate. Will a McCain Presidency actually alter the 2010 census, or is the platform just rhetoric to be ignored if the candidate is actually elected? as far as I know, the Democrats have made no suc statement in their platform.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

2010 Census and the GAO, again

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) this week released the following report:

2010 Census: Census Bureau's Decision to Continue with Handheld Computers for Address Canvassing Makes Planning and Testing Critical. GAO-08-936, July 31.

Highlights.

Well, yeah. My sense is that the general public has no idea what's involved in the Census in terms of planning and testing; I think most people think they just print up the forms every 10 years, and wait for them to come back in the mail.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2008 World Population Data Sheet

The Population Reference Bureau’s 2008 World Population Data Sheet and its summary report offer detailed information about country, regional, and global population patterns.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2007 Judicial Facts and Figures

Judicial Facts and Figures is a set of tables containing historical caseload data primarily for the fiscal years from 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2002 through 2007. The tables include data on the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rutgers Market Research Guide

From J.J. Hill library:

When someone hunkers down to do "market research" they can be embarking on about a thousand different journeys. They may focus on customers, competitors, industry data, or any number of other options - so having a guide to those options can help.

The Rutgers University Library offers one such guide, with this market research pathfinder. From commercial reports to government data and research centers, this collection (which focuses on consumer income, consumption, and demographics) highlights some of the best market research the Internet has to offer.

While a couple of the links within the guide don't go exactly where they intend to, the resource as a whole is an excellent intro to this multi-faceted research task.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The SIC/NAICS thing

An interesting conversation arose on a listserv I monitor about someone doing industry research at the SIC level. This led to conversations about why. I wrote:
NAICS was supposed to supersede SIC as of the 1997 Economic Census.
SIC, last updated in 1987, won't be revised, but NAICS will, every five years (2002, 2007).
That said, a lot of data are still in SIC.

Someone noted that the business analysts, all "recent business school grads", are only being taught SIC, not NAICS.
Others noted the D&B Market Identifiers File 516 database on Dialog uses both NAICS and SICs but other D&B products on Dialog only use SICs, as does the print D&B Industry Norms/Key Business Ratios.
The SEC still uses SIC codes, though "value-added vendors allow for searching by NAICS.

So why does SIC linger? One vendor reportedly suggested that while the government pushed for NAICS, the private sector is still happy with SICs. Companies such as D&B and RefUSA have each developed extended codes; e.g. SIC 7389-11, which differ from each other, of course.

I suspect that SIC will eventually shrink away, but may take a while. As one librarian noted: "Despite any residual warm feelings for SIC codes--extended or otherwise--that we may have, the SIC manual has no future. The Feds (OMB) are not going to revise it, whereas the NAICS codes will be updated every five years. As the years go by SICs will get more and more out of date. One only has to look at earlier SIC manuals to see how certain industries wither and flourish over the decades since the first one in 1939."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Census Bureau Releases 2007 ACS Data

U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2007 American Community Survey Data on Income, Poverty, and Earnings.

The Census Bureau released income, poverty, and earnings data from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS), in conjunction with the Census Bureau's annual release of income, poverty, and health insurance data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Data are again available for the nation, the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district and all counties, places, school districts, and metropolitan areas with populations of 65,000 or more.

The Census Bureau's Web site now contains guidance on comparing 2007 ACS data to 2006 ACS data, as well as comparing 2007 ACS data to Census 2000 data. This guidance may be found here.

The ACS Web site recently was redesigned to make navigation easier and to help users find the information they need more quickly. Information about the 2007 Data Release can be found here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

September is National Preparedness Month

I received an e-mail from the CPM Industry Insider that had a link to the article Survey: American Small Businesses Not Prepared For Power Outages. Probably not coincidentally, on the very same day, SBA sent out a press release about September being National Preparedness Month, from which I will quote extensively:

Homeowners, Renters and Businesses Are Encouraged to Plan Before Disaster Strikes

WASHINGTON – Recent floods in the Midwest and hurricanes/tropical storms in Texas and Florida have cost homeowners, renters and businesses millions of dollars in damages. These events serve as reminders to the public to have a disaster preparedness plan in place.

National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is designed to enhance the public’s awareness of the necessity of having an emergency plan in place to respond to a natural or man-made disaster. The U.S. Small Business Administration is one of the many government and private sector coalition partners participating in this fifth annual National Preparedness Month.

"There’s a tendency – and it’s human nature – to think that a large-scale disaster is not going to happen where you live," said SBA Acting Administrator Sandy K. Baruah. "Accepting the inevitability of an emergency, and then taking responsibility for your own recovery are the necessary first steps toward protecting your family, your assets, and your community."

To prepare for disasters, SBA offers the following tips:
• Develop a solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from the home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors. Individuals and business owners should ask an out-of-state friend, colleague or family member to be a “post-disaster”
point of contact, supporting the flow of information about short-term relocations, recovery, additional sources of assistance, etc.

• Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage – at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is or isn’t covered. Businesses should consider “business interruption insurance,” which helps cover operating costs during the post- disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit the Web site at www.floodsmart.gov.

• Copy important records. It’s a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store that information at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents and CDs should be stored in fire-proof safe deposit boxes.

• Create a "Disaster Survival Kit." The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash, and a digital camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.

More preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners and renters are available on the SBA’s Web site.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety also has information on protecting your home or business. To learn more about developing an emergency plan, visit the DHS’s Ready Campaign Web site at www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.

The SBA makes low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes. Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Individuals may borrow up to $40,000 to cover losses to personal property.

Non-farm businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged business assets and real property. Small businesses that suffered economic losses as a direct result of the declared disaster may apply for a working capital loan up to $2 million, even if the property was not physically damaged.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Death of Census.gov?

Following up on yesterday's piece about the SEC's EDGAR changing, the J.J. Hill Library wonders whether other government sites will follow. "A recent study from Princeton researchers suggests that the government give up creating their own Web sites altogether and instead focus on creating data feeds of government information to third party site creators. Interesting, in that this would surely result in better-designed sites, troubling in that it may bring agendas into the mix of public data. We’ll keep a keen eye on the developments."

I opined: "How will this play in the copyright issue? Currently, most govt stuff can't be copyrighted, but if the vendor brings 'value-added', then who owns what?
Maybe I'm being overly cynical. Probably not."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goodbye, Edgar. Hello, IDEA

SEC Plans Switch From Edgar To Interactive Database

Edgar, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s electronic database of corporate filings, will be replaced by a new system dubbed IDEA, or Interactive Data Electronic Applications, the SEC announced Tuesday.

“This isn’t just a renaming of Edgar,” but an entirely new approach, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said at a press conference to unveil the new system.

IDEA will supplement Edgar to start and eventually replace it altogether. Once the system is up and running, Cox said it will give investors faster and easier access to key financial information about public companies and mutual funds.