Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PolicyMap

From Hill Library:

If you're looking for a powerful online mapping tool, use PolicyMap to "capture data in visually powerful ways through custom maps, tables, and reports."

Users can create and save data maps for their area(s) of interest, including neighborhoods, zip codes, cities, states, and more. Users can also create tables to compare data across locations or to study data over time, or they can create reports about specific geographies or locations.

PolicyMap is available at various subscription levels. There's a free level, as well as standard, premium, and even student subscription levels. The free level includes datasets such as Census, Postal Service, FBI's city crime rates, County Business Patterns, HUD, and more.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Box Office Mojo

The movie Titanic, released December 19, 1997, had a production budget of $200 million, and had a domestic total gross of $600,788,188. But what if I wanted to know its gross for every single one of its 287 days in release?

The foreign gross for the film was $1,242,091,767. But when was it released in Bulgaria, and how did it do?

For all things involved with movie box office, I go to Box Office Mojo. "There are currently over 9,000 movies listed and more are on the way."

BTW, Titanic was released in Venezuela on February 18, 1998 and raked in $4,651,253.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Six EIU free/gratis reports

Marketing, sales and customer service don’t share information, according to Economist Intelligence Unit surveys. A series of surveys across six industries— financial services, technology, telecommunications, utilities, consumer goods and retail —reveals that most companies still fall short when trying to deliver value consistently in all the functions that interact with customers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF: Holiday Edition

'TWAS THE EVE OF THE CENSUS

'Twas the week before New Year's and all through the land:
Uncle Sam poised to count us by mail and by hand.
Local offices open (500 in all).
Praying 300 million will answer the call.

The children all learning the census in school,
In hopes that their parents will think it is cool.
With recruitment in full swing, Bob Groves at the helm,
Soon short forms (10 questions!) would blanket the realm.
And I with my News Briefs and hard-to-count map ...
(For census apostles, no long winter's nap.)

When out in the street there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tore open the shutters and drew back the sash.

The sun on the crest of the new fallen snow
Gave the lustre of hope to my neighbors below.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But a huge tractor trailer; '2010' on the rear.

The logo was striking; the slogan was grand:
The success of the census is all in our hands!
It's easy, important; you've nothing to fear!
And that's when it hit me: The road tour was here.

A mustachioed driver. Good God, could it be?
I knew in a moment: Dr. Groves, it was he!
"We're here to remind you, the census is nigh.
We strive to miss no one," he said with a sigh.

"Omissions and duplicates trouble my dreams.
For each passing decade gets harder, it seems."
He pondered past troubles: analyzed, overcame.
He prayed to his forerunners, then called out each name.

Now Chapman, now Keane, now Barabba (served twice).
On Bryant, on Riche (two women - how nice!).
Now Prewitt, Kincannon, then Murdock (the last) --
The director was haunted by censuses past.

But times are a'changin. There's no need to brood.
With ads sure to brighten the national mood,
With partners and Facebook, we're raising the bar.
It's time to be counted! ¡Hagase contar!

The crowd moved in closer; they wanted to see
Those mysterious forms they could mail back for free.
The director cajoled them: It's for your own sake.
Ten questions, ten minutes is all it will take.

Relationship. Birth date. Your gender. Your race.
Your telephone number to call just in case.
The people were wary. They weren't sure why
The envelope blared at them: You must comply!

Don't fret! There's a law; section 9 is the key.
Your personal answers are all safe with me.
The director then thanked us, good patriots all.
The road tour was off to more towns big and small.

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of view,
"If you mail back your form, we will not visit you!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Statistical Abstract of the United States

My favorite Christmas present from the federal government:

The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

America’s Most Literate Cities

Central Connecticut State University released a ranking of America’s Most Literate Cities 2009.

Drawing from a variety of available data resources, the America’s Most Literate Cities study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources.


One can argue the criteria, but it is interesting.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF #82

CENSUS BUREAU READIES LAUNCH OF AD CAMPAIGN; RECRUITMENT ON SCHEDULE

After printing hundreds of millions of census questionnaires, "successfully opening" roughly 500 Local Census Offices, and readying three massive processing centers (Phoenix, Baltimore, and Jeffersonville, IN) to scan tens of thousands of forms an hour, the Census Bureau is preparing to launch a $300 million advertising campaign in mid-January and enumerate residents of remote Alaskan villages at the end of that month. Ads will run during the Golden Globe Awards on January 17, as well as during the Super Bowl, for what Census Director Robert Groves called the "shortest census in our lifetimes."

At his second operational press briefing on December 14, Dr. Groves highlighted 135,000 official census partners, organizations like AARP, Black Entertainment Television and Telemundo, the National Urban League, Target Corporation, and thousands of local groups that "volunteer to get the message out about the census" to their constituencies. The Census Bureau has employed about 3,000 partnership specialists and assistants for the 2010 census, five times the number it hired for the 2000 count.

Thirty-seven states have formed Complete Count Committees, bringing together representatives of a community's population and sectors to promote the census, Dr. Groves reported. The bureau, which has catalogued 9,100 such committees -- some formed by local governments, some by communities of interest -- nationwide, is now trying to "energize" these stakeholders, the director said. He commended Complete Count Committees for their creative activities, including census booths at block parties and community centers and promotional messages on garbage trucks.

The director said that the paid media campaign will feature "tailored messages to very small areas," such as census tracts, targeting communities where mail response was especially low in 2000. Advertising also will try to convince people who hold anti-government views that the census can benefit their communities and families, he added in response to a reporter's query, saying that distrust of government is "part of the American spirit." Regional promotion will start in early January, when 13 vehicles set off on a road tour (one national; one for each of the 12 Census Bureau regions), stopping at local events to drum up interest in the 2010 count.

Operational preparations continue: In a large canvassing operation last spring, the Census Bureau checked 145 million addresses on its Master Address File, as well as those submitted by cities, towns, and states under the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. The final list contains 134 million addresses, about two percent more than the most recent independent, annual housing unit estimate. Canvassers couldn't find some addresses on their list; about 100,000 housing units can't be placed in an appropriate census block, Dr. Groves noted. The bureau will continue to update the address list through the LUCA appeals program, local government submissions of newly constructed units, and a final comparison with the Postal Service's Delivery Sequence File. Most housing units added to the master list this close to the start of the census will not receive a questionnaire by mail; census takers will visit the homes during later field operations.

The bureau completed a new program to confirm the location of facilities that house groups of people (called Group Quarters), such as college dorms, military barracks, prisons, and long term nursing homes. Field workers are building an address list, independent from the one used to conduct the census, that will set the universe for the post-census accuracy check survey (called Census Coverage Measurement). The Census Bureau ran a "large load test" on key software that will help it manage data collection and field operations. Dr. Groves said the test revealed "some glitches" for which the bureau had solutions; a follow-up test was scheduled for last week.

The director acknowledged that "not everything will work perfectly" once the census starts and that "there will be bumps" along the way. The key to a successful enumeration, he said, is to "calmly, quickly, and wisely" fix problems at they occur. The expertise and experience of Census Bureau staff managing the census give him confidence, Dr. Groves said, that the agency can meet the challenges of such a massive undertaking.

Recruitment campaign helped by recession: High unemployment in many areas has made census jobs more "valued," Dr. Groves observed at the press briefing, resulting in an applicant pool of "unprecedented" quality and skill. The Census Bureau is recruiting 3.8 million applicants to fill 1.2 to 1.4 million temporary positions in 2010, with as many as 700,000 of those workers on board during peak operations from May through early July, when enumerators visit households that didn't mail back a census form. The Census Bureau tries to "hire locally," giving priority to applicants from the neighborhoods in which they will work and bilingual applicants in areas where a language other than English is primary.

The safety of both the public and enumerators is "paramount," the director said. Candidates for census jobs must submit to an FBI background and fingerprint check; any felony conviction disqualifies an applicant from employment, and applicants must demonstrate they are not a danger to others if their background check turns up a lesser crime. To help ensure their safety while going door-to-door, census takers in higher-crime neighborhoods will work in pairs or have escorts. The agency is "acting aggressively to make sure enumerators and the American public are safe," Dr. Groves asserted.

Foreclosures, legal deadlines pose challenges: Most of the population will receive their census forms in the mail in mid-March 2010. The Census Bureau is still evaluating factors that could affect mail response, Dr. Groves said, emphasizing that the national mail-back rate is a "very fragile number" that could change due to unforeseen, widely-reported events. The foreclosure crisis will likely contribute to lower initial response rates because the numbers are calculated based on all housing units on the address list, whether occupied or vacant. Dr. Groves predicted that new initiatives for 2010, such as bilingual (English-Spanish) forms and targeted replacement questionnaires in low response areas, would help boost cooperation during the "mail-out/mail-back" phase of the census.

Census workers will hand-deliver questionnaires to residents of rural and remote areas, Indian reservations, and other areas that lack city-style addresses or are undergoing significant housing upheaval, such as communities still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. People should return their forms by April 1, Census Day. (Census takers will collect information from residents when they deliver the questionnaires in some very remote areas, including Indian reservations, in an operation called Update/Enumerate.)

Door-to-door visits to unresponsive homes will take place from May through early July. High vacancy rates add to the scope and cost of the Nonresponse Follow-Up operation, the director warned, as field workers try to confirm that no one lives in a unit. Those displaced by foreclosures "went somewhere" and could be doubled-up with relatives or friends, he added. The Census Bureau is under a "very hard [legal] deadline," Dr. Groves emphasized, to report state population totals to the President by December 31, 2010, for the purpose of reapportioning the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Correction: Based on an inadvertent misstatement at the last census advisory committee meeting, the November 8, 2009 Census News Brief #81 incorrectly stated that 15,000 local governments would participate in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) appeals process, which allows them to challenge the final address lists resulting from last spring's nationwide canvassing operation. There were only 7,600 governments eligible to take part in the final phase of LUCA. The Census Bureau reported that roughly 15,000 local governments, out of 29,000 eligible jurisdictions, said they were interested in the New Construction Program; just over 6,000 of those jurisdictions registered to take part.

PROMOTION CAMPAIGNS TO HIGHLIGHT 100-DAYS-OUT AND CHRISTMAS-CENSUS LINK

National advocacy groups and grassroots organizations are launching campaigns targeting hard-to-reach populations, hoping to reverse the persistent, disproportionate undercount of people of color, low income households, and young children in the census. Using December 22 -- which marks 100 days from Census Day (April 1) -- and the Christmas season to draw attention to the decennial count, the activities will highlight the birth of Jesus while Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem to be counted in the census and set the stage for the start of the Census Bureau's massive paid media campaign in mid-January.

The Unity Diaspora Coalition (UDC), an alliance of organizations representing the interests of Black Americans, met with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Census Director Robert Groves last week and announced their plans to encourage census participation in native-born and immigrant Black communities. Meeting participants included Marc Morial, National Urban League president and chair of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee; Melanie Campbell, Executive Director/CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; National Council of Negro Women chair Dorothy Height; census subcommittee chairman and Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO); NAACP president Ben Jealous; the Reverends Jesse Jackson Sr. (Rainbow PUSH Coalition) and Al Sharpton (National Action Network); census subcommittee Chairman William Lacy Clay; Danny Bakewell, Sr., National Newspaper Publishers Association president; Benjamin Afrifa, African Federation Inc.; and Dr. Claire Nelson, Institute on Caribbean Studies president.

The UDC leaders pledged to work closely with the Census Bureau to reduce the undercount of Blacks in the census. The coalition will launch the I count. You count. We count. campaign before the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend in January. While nationwide in scope, the initiative will focus on boosting census participation in eleven metropolitan areas with high concentrations of Black residents, including Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Gary, IN. The coalition asked the Census Bureau to increase advertising buys in Black-owned publications, which the advocates said reach significant numbers of people at the neighborhood level; the current plan devotes $2.5 million to this component of the paid media campaign. The UDC's platform also includes revising census residence rules to count prisoners in their home communities, instead of at their places of incarceration; increasing contracting opportunities for Black-owned businesses; and modifying the census and American Community Survey race questions to gather more detailed information on Black population subgroups.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) is distributing posters that tie an accurate census to important community benefits, such as grant money for schools, health centers, and public transportation. The It's Time. Make Yourself Count. campaign is encouraging faith leaders to discuss the importance of a complete count through sermons and church bulletins.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, part of the ya es hora! HAGASE CONTAR! campaign to urge census participation among Latinos, created a poster depicting the journey to Bethlehem for the census, in the hope of appealing to evangelical immigrants. (LCCREF is producing the poster in English, Korean, Vietnamese, and Creole.) The head of CONLAMIC, a group of Latino evangelical clergy, has called on undocumented residents to boycott the census unless Congress and the Administration enact comprehensive immigration reform, and some sympathizers have threatened to expand the boycott's reach to all Latinos. But in November, the two largest Hispanic evangelical networks, Esperanza USA and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), joined the ya es hora! HAGASE CONTAR! effort. NHCLC president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez called census participation "a moral imperative that the Faith community must address without trepidation." Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr., head of Esperanza USA, said Latinos "must be addressed as a legitimate and integrated part of this great nation."

The Asian American Justice Center, a member of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, released four public service announcements urging Asian Americans to mail back their census forms by April 1, 2010. The PSA's feature Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairman Mike Honda (D-CA), and other prominent community leaders. The PSAs are posted on the Internet.

National and regional organizations representing Iranian Americans are mobilizing their community to participate in the upcoming decennial count through the Iranian American 2010 Census Coalition, whose goal is "to reach every Iranian American household in the country," according to a November 11 press advisory. Visit the web site of the National Iranian American Council, an official 2010 census partner, for more information on the campaign.

Organizations that advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, including the Human Rights Campaign and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), launched Our Families Count, a "voluntary public education initiative promoting LGBT visibility and participation in next year's U.S. census." The campaign's web site, Our Families Count, features Frequently Asked Questions about the census, downloadable campaign logos, and materials in English and Spanish.

CONGRESS FINALIZES CENSUS BUREAU FUNDING FOR 2010

Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill covering most non-defense agencies for Fiscal Year 2010, more than two months after the October 1 start to the budget year. The bill (H.R. 3288), which the President signed last week, allocates $7.325 billion for the Census Bureau, close to the amount the Administration requested. More than a dozen diverse stakeholder organizations participating in The Census Project had urged House and Senate negotiators to adopt the Senate-approved funding level, saying in their November 17 letter that the House's lower budget number "could compromise key [census] operations."

The larger of the bureau's two main accounts, Periodic Censuses and Programs, received $7.066 billion, most of which will be spent to conduct the 2010 census. Appropriators said the estimated life-cycle cost of the 2010 decennial is now $14.7 billion. The "Periodics" account also covers the Economic Census and Census of Governments, both of which take place every five years; the next such data collection efforts are slated for 2012.

In their conference report (H.Rept. 111-366), appropriators emphasized the importance of the 2010 census communications campaign, urging hiring diversity in the Partnership Program, "robust paid media efforts ... with a specific focus on hard-to-reach populations," and adequate funding for Census in the Schools and adult education materials. The report expressed concern about "flaws" in the fingerprinting process for temporary census workers and directed the bureau to "improve employee training and ensure the safety of the public." Conferees asked for updates from the Census Bureau on language outreach for the 2010 census and ongoing American Community Survey (ACS) and on efforts to improve the reliability of ACS data on small population groups. They also told the bureau to adopt recommendations issued by the Commerce Department's Inspector General, aimed at improving oversight of fee awards to contractors and compilation of an accurate address list.

The spending bill allocated $259 million for the bureau's second main budget account, Salaries and Expenses, which covers ongoing demographic and economic surveys and statistical programs, including the Survey on Income and Program Participation.

SENATORS PROPOSE HIRING PRIORITY FOR THE UNEMPLOYED

Four U.S. senators have proposed a "hiring preference" for people collecting unemployment benefits, as the Census Bureau gears up for next year's decennial count by recruiting millions of temporary workers in communities across the country.

In a December 2 letter, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) urged Commerce Secretary Gary Locke "to target the long-term unemployed" for census positions, noting that the roughly 1.4 million temporary positions the Census Bureau hopes to fill "presents an interesting opportunity to help a significant number of the long-term unemployed, thereby allowing them to shore up their savings or earn a paycheck" before their unemployment benefits run out. The lawmakers suggested recruitment activities at unemployment centers, including distributing census job applications and interviewing prospective hires on site.

The Census Bureau abandoned plans for a national recruitment campaign after an unexpectedly large number of qualified candidates applied for address lister positions last spring. The senators suggested that the agency could use funds originally earmarked for a hiring publicity drive to recruit people at unemployment centers. At his December 14 press briefing in Washington, DC, Census Director Groves said the bureau was advertising for 2010 census jobs at unemployment agencies and was reaching out "disproportionately" to the unemployed to help fill temporary jobs.

The Census Bureau must recruit almost four million applicants to sustain its hiring goals during peak field operations from March through July. The larger-than-projected number of people looking for work has reduced the need to advertise census jobs in many areas. Instead, local office managers are narrowly targeting recruitment efforts, to ensure that census takers are indigenous to the neighborhoods they will canvass in the nonresponse follow-up operation. All applicants take a test and, after passing FBI background checks, are ranked according to their scores (veterans preference applies). Local Census Offices establish assignment areas and hire applicants based on their ranking and where they live; language skills also might be a factor in some immigrant communities.

NEW RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES

New report examines undercount of children: A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation concludes that the census misses children under the age of five more than any other age group. Dr. William O'Hare, author of Why Are Young Children Missed So Often in the Census?, described the disproportionate undercount of young children as "startling, but ... not a new problem" and called on advocates for the nation's children "to act as partners in delivering the message that the census is easy, important, and safe."

The 2000 census missed more than 750,000, or nearly four percent, of children under age five, according to the study. The undercount of minority children in this age group was even higher, with more than five percent of both Black boys and Black girls missed. The report cited the greater likelihood of young children living in large (7+ persons) households, in more mobile families, in rental units, and in non-traditional households as primary reasons for the disproportionate undercount. Census Bureau research shows that it is more difficult to achieve an accurate count of households with these characteristics.

The Foundation, whose work focuses on "meet[ing] the needs of today's vulnerable children and families," is home to the KIDS COUNT project, which relies on census data and other statistical indicators to evaluate the well-being of children annually. Noting that many child-focused programs -- such as Head Start, foster care grants, and the children's health insurance program -- rely, directly or indirectly, on census data to distribute billions of dollars to states and localities, KIDS COUNT coordinator Laura Beavers observed that, "Children depend on the rest of us to make sure they are counted accurately ... and will be the ones to suffer" if their communities are undercounted.

The Casey Foundation report, which includes recommendations to help improve the count of children in the 2010 census, is available on-line at www.aecf.org.

Updated analysis of federal funding allocations tied to census data: The Brookings Institution completed an updated analysis of federal program funds allocated, in whole or in part, based on census data. The new study found that federal agencies used census numbers, or data derived from census figures, to distribute $431 billion through 194 programs in Fiscal Year 2008.

Tables showing the amount of funds allocated to each state (and the District of Columbia) and the amount of funds distributed through each program and by program function, such as transportation, are available on The Census Project web site. The Washington, DC-based think tank will release a full report describing key findings and its methodology, along with federal funding tables for the 100 largest metropolitan areas and 200 largest counties, next month.

Fact sheet offers guidelines for outreach activities: The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund has prepared a fact sheet to help community based organizations plan appropriate census education and outreach activities that adhere to legal and procedural protocols for collecting personal information. "Guidelines for Community-Based Group Volunteers Promoting the Census," available at www.civilrights.org, suggests practical ways that grassroots organizations can help hard-to-count populations understand the census form and why participation is important, while honoring the law's strong confidentiality protections for individual responses.

QUICK LINKS:

2010 Census Web Site: The Census Bureau's new 2010 census web site offers useful basic information on the census process, as well as sample questionnaires, information on job opportunities, and in-language materials. Add it to your "Bookmarks" bar to track mail response rates daily for your state and locality next spring.

2010 Census Jobs: Visit this web page to download a Census Practice Test and find information about the application process and a Local Census Office near you.

The Census Project: Visit the Census Project web site for previous Census News Briefs, fact sheets, and a weekly blog in support of an accurate 2010 census.
***
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.

Monday, December 21, 2009

National Center for Education Statistics

If you're looking for a source of education-related statistics, visit the Institute of Education Sciences' National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

NCES is part of the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. It is the primary organization that collects, analyzes, and reports on education-related data in the United States. NCES reports complete statistics on the condition of American education and education activities internationally.

In addition to education statistics, NCES also provides other tools, such as the ability to search for schools, colleges, and libraries, or use the college navigator to identify schools that best meet the user's criteria.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New York Times blog on IRV use for Best Picture Oscar

As the awards race begins to rev up...the new math of The 10 is beginning to sink in, and Oscar-watchers say, with X-factors like “Avatar” about to drop, it is more confusing than ever.

That may be because there is actually new math involved: after it doubled its best picture nominees, the Academy changed the voting process itself. Instead of simply listing one film for the top award, members will now have to rank all 10 in order of preference. The change to this preferential system, Bruce Davis, the executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, explained to Steve Pond at The Wrap, was necessary to avoid having a slim plurality triumph.

More here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Census ready to start counting

By Hope Yen, Washington Post

With preparations for next year's count nearly complete, the head of the Census Bureau said he's growing more hopeful that the government can achieve a strong response rate, similar to what was seen in 2000.

Career Guide to Industries

From James J. Hill Reference Library

Use the Career Guide to Industries to find information on occupations, training and advancement, earnings, job prospects, and more for dozens of industries.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Census Bureau To Advertise In Super Bowl

Count the Census Bureau among the advertisers in February's Super Bowl. The agency is using the platform to nudge its huge audience to fill out forms for the 2010 count.

The February 7 game on CBS comes soon after the Census kicks off a $300 million-plus outreach campaign. And importantly, just a few weeks before the Bureau begins disseminating its questionnaires.

The Super Bowl offers a chance to swiftly reach a massive amount of the U.S. audience. Last year, 151.6 million people -- about half of the U.S. population -- watched at least a portion of the game. On average, the game was seen in 48 million homes and viewed by 98.7 million people.

More here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Country Background Notes

These publications from the US State Department include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. The Background Notes are updated/revised by the Office of Electronic Information and Publications of the Bureau of Public Affairs as they are received from the Department's regional bureaus.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Foreign-Born in the United States

The Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 2007 and 2008 — National-level tabulations from the Current Population Survey on this population group are shown by a wide range of characteristics including education, marital status, employment status, occupation and industry, earnings and poverty, and household type and tenure. Unique to this data set are tables that show the foreign-born population by these characteristics crossed by generation status (i.e., first, second or third).

The Foreign-Born Labor Force in the United States: 2007 — This analysis from American Community Survey data looks at the characteristics of the civilian foreign-born vs. native labor force population on topics that include educational attainment, occupation and industry.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Richard Nathan's "Social Science in Government"

Richard P. Nathan's book Social Science in Government uses rich histories of prominent policy issues and descriptions of major studies of welfare and job programs to bring to life crucial questions about how social science can best serve social policy. Nathan, who recently retired from the Rockefeller Institute after 20 years as its director and co-director, is a social scientist who spent many years conducting evaluation studies of what works — and what doesn't work — in domestic public affairs. The book presents a lively retrospective account of a career as an insider and outsider in American government and academe.
The Institute has now made Social Science in Government available in its entirety online. You can find it here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Update of Statistical Area Definitions, Guidance on Their Uses

The annual update of statistical area definitions and guidance on their uses from OMB was released on December 1st. You can find the full 154 page document here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers

From the Global Information Industry Center:

In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes. These estimates are from an analysis of more than 20 different sources of information, from very old (newspapers and books) to very new (portable computer games, satellite radio, and Internet video). Information at work is not included.

We defined "information" as flows of data delivered to people and we measured the bytes, words, and hours of consumer information. Video sources (moving pictures) dominate bytes of information, with 1.3 zettabytes from television and approximately 2 zettabytes of computer games. If hours or words are used as the measurement, information sources are more widely distributed, with substantial amounts from radio, Internet browsing, and others. All of our results are estimates.

Previous studies of information have reported much lower quantities.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Local Governments Offer Data to Miners

Many local governments are turning over big chunks of data to programmers to create useful Web sites and apps.
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, New York Times

San Francisco, New York and Washington have all organized contests to encourage software developers to create applications with their data. And the developers are using the data to build businesses. Stamen, for example, uses Crimespotting to show potential clients what it could create for them. Other firms are selling the iPhone apps they have built.

The cities, meanwhile, are to some degree using developers to provide citizens with a service so they do not have to.

"We are increasingly governing in a time when the demand for services exceeds our resources," said Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer of the United States. If the contests "spur dozens of innovative applications," he said, "then we’ve essentially achieved a policy objective at virtually no cost."

Friday, December 4, 2009

NORAD sees Ol' St. Nick when he's sleeping, knows when he's awake

Children of all ages are now able to track Santa live through a variety of social media services and OnStar, thanks to updates to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's annual Santa tracking public service.

New this year, children and the young-at-heart can track Santa through mobile devices and the Internet via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, TroopTube.mil and OnStar. To follow Santa on these Web sites, users should type @noradsanta into the search engine. Dedicated Santa trackers who are also OnStar subscribers can follow the jolly old elf in their vehicles by pushing the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa’s whereabouts.

The NORAD Tracks Santa Web site, www.noradsanta.org, is now live and features holiday games and activities that change daily. The Web site is available in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese. On Dec. 24, the Web site will stream videos, captured by NORAD “Santa Cams,” from cities along Santa’s journey.


More here: NORAD enhances Santa tracking abilities.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

School district data

Purloined from a listserv:

NCES has a database of school district data. Additional profiles/geographic info available here.

School District Data compiles data from the Council of Chief School Officers. Free, and much of the info is the same as the NCES.

Estimates used for funding allocations for school districts based on the ACS are available through the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE).

Proximity One has some free data on the site, and sells software for geographic applications by subscription. Has 2008 school district population estimates from the SAIPE in a ranked table.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guide on how to use the ACS multiyear estimates

You will find a link to this 12-page guide here (12 pp, PDF).

It will explain some of what librarians and other data users need to do to provide
quality service for ACS data, including:

* "Cherry-picking" data from different surveys - a bad practice
* Questions of currency versus reliability
* Adjustments for inflation
* Comparing ACS multiyear estimates with each other
* Comparing ACS data with Census 2000 and Census 2010 data
* Four types of sampling errors
* Four types of non-sampling errors
* Data Swapping
* and more

May you find it useful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Open Doors 2009: Annual Report on International Education

The United States continues to be the number one choice of international students seeking education outside their home countries, and the trend lines this past year remain positive.

We have seen major, double-digit increases from several countries – for example:

» The number of students coming from Vietnam increased 46%; and,
» The number of students from China, Saudi Arabia, and Nepal all increased by more than 20%.
A very substantial increase in first-time enrollments — 16% — has helped to bring the total number of international students in the United States to an all-time high. These numbers demonstrate the depth, diversity, and caliber of America’s higher education system, but we also recognize there is intense competition for these highly motivated students and scholars.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Form 990

NOZA has 990s on their site - it's the database that formerly belonged to GrantSmart. However, this database is primarily composed of grant-making organizations rather than grant-seeking or operating organizations.

Also, ERI has wonderful database of 990s. They only have the 2007 one as well.

International roundup of data

On a rare occassion, Information Advisor makes ones of its articles available free to everyone; it has just released on locating international industry information.

It's a roundup of some of the best sources (market research and industry databases, international agencies like UN, OECD, World Bank, associations, etc.); and search strategies for zeroing in on official and reputable information on industries around the globe.

It's a 4 page PDF.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Homes With Cell Phones Nearly Double in First Half of Decade

The number of households with cell phones increased from 36 percent to 71 percent between 1998 and 2005, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This corresponded with a decrease in households with telephone landlines, particularly households headed by young adults.

Expanding the Product Line

There was a recent discussion on a listserv I monitor about what a florist might do who is suffering in the recession. One participant suggested "expanding their offerings beyond just flowers...some gifty/crafty stuff to compliment the flowers and get feet through the door and create incremental volume." Good idea, that.

One of my favorite resources is looking at the Economic Census for the Product Lines documents. The one for Retail Trade (NAICS 44-45) can be found here. For NAICS code 45311, found on page 173, you'll see that of the 22,750 florists in 2002:
3719 sell candy, 1209 sell other food stuff or 4061 selling some sort of grocery item (some sell both)
9268 sell some sort of kitchenware
603 sell jewelry
364 sell books
4810 sell games and toys

Again, these are 2002 numbers - the 2007 numbers don't exist yet - but it does provide some guidance for how an entity might diversify its line.

There are similar product line reports for:
NAICS 22: Utilities
NAICS 42: Wholesale Trade
NAICS 48-49: Transportation and Warehousing
NAICS 51: Information
NAICS 52: Finance and Insurance
NAICS 53: Real Estate, Rental and Leasing
NAICS 54: Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
NAICS 55: Management of Companies and Enterprises
NAICS 56: Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services Services
NAICS 61: Educational Services
NAICS 62: Health Care and Social Assistance
NAICS 71: Arts, Education and Recreation
NAICS 72: Accommodations and Food Services
NAICS 81: Other Services (except Public Administration)

This information is also available from Census' American Factfinder, but frankly I found it less than user-friendly.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New papers, presentations from Rockefeller Institute

Trends in state and local government finance, social welfare spending and gambling revenues to states are among the topics Rockefeller Institute researchers have explored in recent conference papers and presentations. The following papers and presentations are now available from the Rockefeller Institute Web site:
• The Decline of States in Financing the U.S. Safety Net: Retrenchment in State and Local Social Welfare Spending, by Thomas Gais, Lucy Dadayan and Suho Bae, presented at the “Reducing Poverty: Assessing Recent State Policy Innovations and Strategies” conference at Emory University, Nov. 19-20.
• State Budgets, Health Care, and Health Care Reform, presented by Donald J. Boyd to the National Academy of Public Administration, Nov. 19.
• Discussant comments on “Fiscal Sustainability Issues & Options,” presented by Donald J. Boyd at the National Tax Association Annual Meeting, Nov. 14.
• Trends in Gambling Revenue to the States, presented by Lucy Dadayan to Stop Predatory Gambling, Nov. 9.
• State Budget Gaps: Consequences for Policy, Now and in the Future, presented by Robert B. Ward to the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Annual Research Conference, Nov. 5.

2006 Payroll Distribution Data by State and Major Industry

Because of recent requests for the number of firms by payroll size, the U.S.
Census Bureau recently produced 2006 payroll distribution data by state and major industry. The combined real estate, rental and leasing industry led the major industries in the share of firms with annual payrolls below $100,000 while the management industry had the lowest share. Most states were within 5 percent of the national share of firms with annual payrolls below $100,000, 58 percent. The District of Columbia stood out with only 36 percent of its firms in this pay category.

Should you need further information, please feel free to contact Brian Headd at (202) 205-6533 or advocacy@sba.gov.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MessageLabs Intelligence Special Reports

What are the most spammed cities and least spammed cities across the US and Canada? You might be surprised to find out that the top spammed cities are Idaho and New Brunswick. In 2008, Idaho actually fell into the top ten least spammed states.
Download the one page report highlighting the Top 10 Most Spammed Cities in the US and Canada.

The September 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence Special Reports provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and industry sector trends.

Facts for Features & Special Editions

28
Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 71,486 residents in 2008; Plymouth, Mass., had 55,705. There is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 128 in 2008. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,231 in 2008.


Where did I find all of those nifty statistics, and much more, about Thanksgiving? I went to Facts for Features & Special Editions, put out by the Census Bureau. Specifically, the Facts for Features for Thanksgiving 2009, which was posted on September 30.

Now if you want to spruce up your holiday newsletter or want some factoids for your business Twitter feed, you can get info from the Facts for Features: The 2009 Holiday Season, posted on October 29. Among other things, you can discover Where the Toys are Made (Pssst: Santa is, shockingly, NOT mentioned.)

And since the information is produced by the federal government, one can repost without fear of violating the Copyright Law.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Title II of Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Takes Effect

On November 21, 2009 Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) took effect. GINA prohibits discrimination by health insurers and employers based on individuals' genetic information. Genetic information includes the results of genetic tests to determine whether someone is at increased risk of acquiring a condition (such as some forms of breast cancer) in the future, as well as a person's family medical history. For more information about Title I provisions of the law relating to health coverage read The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008: Information for Researchers and Health Care Professionals.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Build Strong Media Relations

Tips for becoming a go-to source for news.

This article is written with the business owner in mind. Yet it seems to me that data providers might well take to heart some of these ideas, especially since some (rightly) complain about the inaccuracies that find their way into stories.

Suggestions such as -
• Become familiar with the journalists you would like to cultivate relationships with.
• Don’t let months pass without contact.
• When you are interviewed, give good quotes.
- seem like great strategies. Not sure about the idea of sending a birthday card, though.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2010 Census Data Products At A Glance

The 2010 data products plan, "2010 Census Data Products At A Glance," is available (in PDF format) on the Internet here.

Data users can access by going to the Census Bureau's home page - www.census.gov, click on "People & Households," click on "Other Products," and then on the first link.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nearly Half of Parents Get Full Amount of Child Support

About half (46.8 percent) of parents owed child support in 2007 received the full amount, while nearly one-third (29.5 percent) received only a portion of the total due and about one-quarter (23.7 percent) received none of the child support they were owed, according to a new national report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Of the $34.1 billion total child support owed, 62.7 percent was reported as received.

For further details, see Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. This report focuses on the child support income that custodial parents reported receiving from noncustodial parents living elsewhere, and other types of support, such as health insurance and noncash assistance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Yorkers Can Compare School Spending Online

The often opaque world of school finances has become more transparent thanks to Benchmarking New York, which allows New Yorkers to analyze how their school districts spend money and to compare them to nearly 700 other districts around the state.

For the full text of this press release and a regional breakdown of total and instructional spending per pupil, click here.

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen, 518.434.3100

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2010 Census New York Region Decennial 2010 Newsletter - Fall 2009

2010 Census New York Region Decennial 2010 Newsletter - Fall 20092010 Census New York Region Decennial 2010 Newsletter - Fall 2009

Thank you for your support of the 2010 Census! Together, we will achieve the best decennial census ever - It's in Our Hands !

For more information about the 2010 Census, please visit the recently relaunched http://www.2010census.gov/.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hollywood on the Hudson

Personal Income Tax:

Empire State Film Production Tax Credit Report - October 2009
Chapter 60 of the Laws of 2004 created the Empire State Film Production credit to promote film and television production in New York State. The credit is available under Article 9-A, the Franchise Tax on Business Corporations, and Article 22, the Personal Income Tax. As enacted, the credit was limited to $25 million annually and was scheduled to expire on August 20, 2008. The credit has since been amended three times.

Chapters 61 and 62 of the Laws of 2006 increased the annual cap to $60 million and extended the sunset date through December 31, 2011. Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2008 made several significant changes to the program. It increased the credit rate from 10 percent to 30 percent of qualified production costs. It also shortened the credit refund period from 50 percent over two years to 100 percent in one year, Finally, the total amount of credit that can be awarded was increased from $60 million annually in 2008 through 2011 to $65 million in 2008, $75 million in 2009, $85 million in 2010, $90 million in 2011 and 2012, and $110 million in 2013.

Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2009 authorized an additional $350 million allocation for 2009. It also required the use of the credit to be spread across several years, depending on the size of the credit.

The credit is administered by the Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development (MP/TV), which is the entity also responsible for monitoring the status of the credit cap.

Chapter 60 also mandated an annual report evaluating the effectiveness of the tax credit in stimulating the growth of the film industry in the State. This report was prepared by the Office of Tax Policy Analysis (OTPA) and MP/TV using data from applications filed with MP/TV for allocation of film production credits.
***
2008-2009 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 2008-2009 and some historical statistics. New York State's fiscal year is April 1 - March 31.

To download either or both publications, please visit the State Tax Department website.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Governor's 2010 Census Kickoff

Thursday, the Secretary of State announced the Governor's Executive Order creating the NYS Complete Count Committee at a press conference in Albany. The event was attended by Congressman Paul Tonko, State Assembly member Jack McEneny, the directors of the Boston and New York Census Regional Offices, state agencies, and members of the media. You can view the event here. (35 minutes)
(Uses Windows Media)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Higher State Poverty Rates Based on Alternative Measure

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

The percent of Americans living in poverty is higher than the current poverty measure captures, according to a new report that, for the first time, lists how poverty rates change in each state using a modern poverty measure.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) compiled the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) calculations of each state’s poverty rate using a Census web tool and published these calculations in Measure by Measure: the Current Poverty Measure v. the National Academy of Sciences Measures.

“The current federal poverty measure is bereft in many ways,” said Dorothy Smith, the report’s author. “It only considers the cost of food, but not other basic living expenses. And it doesn’t count other sources of income and programs designed to lift people out of poverty, such as tax credits and Food Stamps.”

Measure by Measure provides each state and the District of Columbia two additional poverty rates using poverty measures based on NAS recommendations. The NAS poverty measure captures median spending by a family of four on food, clothing, shelter and other needs. Under this measure, income is broadly defined to include such non-cash resources as tax credits, and Food Stamps while subtracting expenses such as child care and medical expenses. The second measure adds an adjustment for the geographic differences in the cost of housing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Public School Graduates and Dropouts: School Year 2006-07

This First Look report presents the number of high school graduates, the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), and dropout data for grades 9 through 12 for public schools during the 2006-07 school year. State education agencies (SEAs) provided the data to the Common Core of Data (CCD) nonfiscal survey.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sources of Health Insurance, Characteristics of the Uninsured

This Issue Brief provides historic data through 2008 on the number and percentage of nonelderly individuals with and without health insurance. Based on EBRI estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s March 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS), it reflects 2008 data. It also discusses trends in coverage for the 1994–2008 period and highlights characteristics that typically indicate whether an individual is insured. HEALTH

COVERAGE RATE CONTINUES TO DECREASE: The percentage of the nonelderly population (under age 65) with health insurance coverage decreased to 82.6 percent in 2008. Increases in health insurance coverage have been recorded in only four years since 1994, when 36.5 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured; in 2008, the uninsured population was 45.7 million.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED COVERAGE REMAINS DOMINANT SOURCE OF HEALTH COVERAGE, BUT CONTINUES TO SLOWLY ERODE: Employment-based health benefits remain the most common form of health coverage in the United States. In 2008, 61.1 percent of the nonelderly population had employment-based health benefits, down from 68.4 percent in 2000. Between 1994 and 2000, the percentage of the nonelderly population with employment-based coverage expanded.

PUBLIC PROGRAM COVERAGE IS GROWING: Public program health coverage expanded as a percentage of the population in 2008, accounting for 19.4 percent of the nonelderly population. Enrollment in Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program increased, reaching a combined 39.2 million in 2008, and covering 14.9 percent of the nonelderly population, significantly above the 10.5 percent level of 1999.

INDIVIDUAL COVERAGE STABLE: Individually purchased health coverage was unchanged in 2008 and has basically hovered in the 6–7 percent range since 1994.

MOST/LEAST LIKELY TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE: Full-time, full-year workers, public-sector workers, workers employed in manufacturing, managerial and professional workers, and individuals living in high-income families are most likely to have employment-based health benefits. Poor families are most likely to be covered by public coverage programs such as Medicaid or S-CHIP.

RETHINKING THE VALUE OF OFFERING HEALTH INSURANCE: Research illustrates the advantages to consumers of having health insurance and the benefits to employers of offering it. In general, the availability of health insurance allows consumers to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering and improves the quality of life, and employers report that offering benefits has a positive impact on worker recruitment, retention, health status, and productivity. Employers may believe in the business case for providing health benefits today, but in the future they may rethink the value that offering coverage provides, especially if health costs continue to escalate sharply or if health reform changes the value proposition.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

College Towns Are Undiscovered, Affordable and Stable Markets For Home Buyers

The annual College HPCI released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC provides an apples-to-apples comparison of similarly sized 2,200 square foot, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom homes in college markets home to the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. This year, Akron, Ohio (University of Akron) is ranked as the most affordable college town, where a typical four-bedroom home costs $121,885. Muncie, Ind. (Ball State University) took the No. 2 spot at $144,996. Ann Arbor, Mich. (a quintessential college town home to the University of Michigan) came in as the No. 3 most affordable college market, where the sample size home only costs $148,000.

Overall, the 2009 College HPCI revealed that real estate buyers can find a typical four-bedroom home for less than $250,000 in 62 percent of the college markets surveyed (72 total), including iconic American college towns such as:

* Syracuse, N.Y (Syracuse University): $171,711
* South Bend, Ind. (University of Notre Dame) $183,938
* Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia): $205,862
* Oxford, Miss. (University of Mississippi): $212,000
* Knoxville, Tenn. (University of Tennessee): $223,850

Further research indicates that the charm and affordability of college towns is appealing to more than just students. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey; Austin, Texas (University of Texas), Provo, Utah (Brigham Young University), and Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State University) were among the metropolitan cities with the greatest population growth in 2008. In all three rising cities, home buyers can find a four-bedroom home for very a reasonable price; only $226,642 in Austin; $231,000 in Provo; and $241,462 in Raleigh.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Housing Stats

Since the topic of housing came up at the State Data Center Affiliates meeting last week, thought I'd put up a couple Census links:

State Housing Unit Estimates: 2000 to 2008

Quarterly Vacancy and Homeownership Rates by State and MSA

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Contract Reporter

The Contract Reporter is a wonderful tool for small businesses to learn about bidding opportunities from NY state government. Beginning next year the NYSCR will be free to any user. It is a publication that:
* Keeps small businesses apprised of weekly bid opportunities with individual state agencies, public authorities and public benefit corporations.
* Publishes services and technology bid opportunities and notices of upcoming commodity bid openings.
* Is available online.

From the ESD's Div. of Small Business Government Procurement web site:

New York State can help your business sell to state, federal, and local governments -- major purchasers of a wide variety of goods and services. New York State budgets for over $8.5 billion worth of contracts annually. New York schools, colleges, towns, villages and counties also make several billion dollars' worth of procurements each year. This is a significant market for New York companies.

Friday, November 6, 2009

ACS Compass Handbooks: Rural, American Indians

From the Census Bureau:

The Census Bureau recognizes that users of ACS data have varied backgrounds, educations, and experiences. They need different kinds of explanations and guidance to understand ACS data products. To address this diversity, the Census Bureau worked closely with a group of experts to develop a series of handbooks, each of which is designed to instruct and provide guidance to a particular audience. The audiences that we have chosen are not expected to cover every type of data users, but they cover major stakeholder groups familiar to the Census Bureau.

The handbook series is called A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data. The specific handbooks are listed below, along with a brief summary of each of the target audiences.
***
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released two new ACS Compass Products handbooks...
What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know introduces the ACS to people who care about, and use, social, demographic, economic, and housing data for small governmental units and rural communities. Using the devise of a single case study, this handbook illustrates a variety of aspects of the ACS and shows how results from the ACS are both similar to, and different from, data formerly gathered in conjunction with the decennial census.

What Users of Data for American Indians and Alaska Natives Need to Know provides an overview of the ACS data produced for the American Indian and Alaska Native populations. It describes the data products, provides information about how to access and use these products, and includes case studies to illustrate how best to use these data. Input from the Census Advisory Committee on the American Indian and Alaska Native Population and other stakeholders suggested the need for these ACS education materials.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

10 Questions, 10 Minutes

The 10 questions on the 2010 Census form.

1. How many people lived here on April 1, 2010?
2. Are there other people at the address on that date? (e.g. people staying temporarily)
3. Do you own or rent your dwelling?
4. What's the phone number? (in case Census can't suss out your answers)
5. Name of each person.
6. Each person's gender.
7. Each person's age and date of birth.
8. For each person: Hispanic or not?
9. Each person race or races.
10. For each person; does he or she live elsewhere (and thus might be counted elsewhere)?
Oh and they'll be a question about the relationship of the first person listed to the subsequent people listed.

That's it.

The forms, which are postpaid (i.e., you don't need stamps), are coming late in March. If you mail it back during the first week in April, you severely minimize the need for the Census Bureau to have to send out costly enumerators to knock on your door.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Census Bureau Launches 2010 Census Campaign With New Web Site

The U.S. Census Bureau last week kicked off its communications campaign to reach every resident in America with the launch of its 2010 Census Web site, 2010CENSUS.GOV. The Web site will serve as a platform for a national dialogue about how the census develops a “Portrait of America.”

2010CENSUS.GOV features an animated marquee that symbolizes the Census Bureau’s place at the intersection of the American experience. By clicking on images representative of the population, visitors can view video vignettes that ease fears about the census and encourage participation in the once-a-decade population count. The marquee will evolve over time, bringing the diverse voices of America to the site.

Press release.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vote - 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

And if you need to find your county board of elections to find polling places, offices to be filled, etc, go here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Poverty in the United States: 2008

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists/Secrecy News)

In 2008, 39.8 million people were counted as poor in the United States — an increase of 2.6 million persons from 2007, and nearly the largest number of persons counted as poor since 1960. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 13.2%; up from 12.5% in 2007, and the highest rate since 1997. The recent increase in poverty reflects the worsened economic conditions since the onset of the economic recession in December 2007. Many expect poverty to rise further next year, and it will likely remain comparatively high even after the economy begins to recover. The incidence of poverty varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. Under the official poverty definition, an average family of four was considered poor in 2008 if its pre-tax cash income for the year was below $22,025. This report will be updated on an annual basis, following release of U.S. Census Bureau annual income and poverty estimates.

Supporting data are based on the following: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008; Current Population Report No. P60-235, September 2009; and unpublished Census Bureau tables, available on the internet here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time Change Reminder and Halloween Safety

From USA.gov




Don’t forget about the Time Change on Sunday, November 1. Set your clocks back one hour--the change officially starts at 2:00am on November 1. The majority of the United States observes daylight time, but there are some exceptions, including Hawaii and most of Arizona.
If your kids are going trick-or-treating, check out some Halloween Safety tips. They include:
Ensuring that your child's costume is flame-resistant.
Accompanying young children and ensuring that all children walk along sidewalks.
Instructing children not to enter homes.
Examining all candy before your child eats it.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Community Colleges Pave the Way to Upward Economic Mobility

From Pew Charitable Trust:

A report released by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project shows that community colleges are an important stepping stone for students of all backgrounds, income levels and high school achievements to improve their economic mobility prospects. Earning a community college degree boosts earnings by an average of $7,900 annually, an increase of 29 percent over those with only a high school diploma. For low-income, high-achieving high school students in particular, community colleges serve as a springboard to further postsecondary education; more than half eventually transfer to four-year programs, and three-quarters of those who transfer earn a bachelor’s degree.

Full report (PDF) here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beige Book – October 21, 2009

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated either stabilization or modest improvements in many sectors since the last report, albeit often from depressed levels. Leading the more positive sector reports among Districts were residential real estate and manufacturing, both of which continued a pattern of improvement that emerged over the summer. Reports on consumer spending and nonfinancial services were mixed. Commercial real estate was reported to be one of the weakest sectors, although reports of weakness or moderate decline were frequently noted in other sectors.

Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines, but virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered. For example, Dallas cited slight improvements residential real estate and staffing firms, while New York noted gains only in a few sectors (predominantly manufacturing and retail). Retail and manufacturing conditions were mixed in Boston, but some signs of improvement were reported. New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and San Francisco cited small pickups in manufacturing activity. In the Kansas City District, an uptick was noted in technology firms, while services firms posted revenue gains in Richmond. However, conditions were referred to as stable or flat for business services and tourism firms in Minneapolis and agriculture in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The weakest sector was commercial real estate, with conditions described as either weak or deteriorating across all Districts. Banking also faltered in several Districts, with Kansas City and San Francisco noting continued erosion in credit quality (often with more expected in the future). One bright spot in the banking sector was lending to new homebuyers, in response to the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Finally, labor markets were typically characterized as weak or mixed, but with occasional pockets of improvement.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

California Would Lose Seats Under Census Change

By SAM ROBERTS, New York Times

A Republican senator’s proposal to count only United States citizens when reapportioning Congress would cost California five seats and New York and Illinois one each, according to an independent analysis of census data released Tuesday. Texas, which is projected to gain three seats after the 2010 census, would get only one.
The proposed change would spare Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania the expected loss of one seat each. Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina would each gain a seat.
If every resident — citizens and noncitizens alike — is counted in 2010, as the Census Bureau usually does, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each and Texas would get three, the analysis found.
Losing one seat each would be Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the analysis of census data through 2008 by demographers at Queens College of the City University of New York.

-- more here

GAO Report: 2010 Census

2010 Census: Efforts to Build an Accurate Address List Are Making Progress, but Face Software and Other Challenges, by Robert Goldenkoff, director, strategic issues, before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-10-140T, October 21. Highlights.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

State of the Blogosphere 2009

From the description by Eric Olsen, Publisher of Blogcritics/Technorati

Earlier this month, denizens of the blogosphere descended on Las Vegas for three days of networking and socializing at the 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo. Besides the conference and trade show, there was much to learn from the keynote speakers, and of particular interest was the 2009 State of the Blogosphere delivered by Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra.

The 2009 State of the Blogosphere

Introduction: Why the results of the survey are displayed according to four different types of bloggers.

Day 1: Who Are the Bloggers? We delve into the demographics.

Day 2: The What and Why of Blogging: Why we do what we do.

Day 3: The How of Blogging: How often we blog, what technologies we use, and whether or not we track our traffic.

Day 4: Blogging Revenues, Brands and Blogs: Branding and monetizing our blogs.

Day 5: 2009 Trends: Political Impact of Blogging, Twitter Usage.

In addition to the survey results, you'll find illuminating interviews with some of the blogosphere's movers and shakers:

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist
Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital, Micro Persuasion
Alex Santoso, Neatorama
Henry Copeland, Blogads
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post
Jonathan Salem Baskin, Dimbulb
Mathew Ingram, Toronto Globe and Mail
Seth Godin, Squidoo, sethgodin.typepad.com
Simon Mackie, Web Worker Daily
Dan Gillmor, dangillmor.com
Duncan Riley, The Inquisitr

About the State of the Blogosphere

Since 2004, Technorati's annual State of the Blogosphere report has followed growth and trends in the blogosphere. For the second time, bloggers, generous with their thoughts and insights, were surveyed directly to provide the data for the report. The 2009 State of the Blogosphere survey demonstrates that the growth of the blogosphere's influence on subjects ranging from business to politics to the way information travels through communities continues to flourish. In a year when revolutions and elections were organized by blogs, bloggers are blogging more than ever, and the State of the Blogosphere is strong.

Monday, October 26, 2009

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

You can find details on the religious composition of the United States, including religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices in the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. More than a study of religion, the Pew Research survey also includes the social and political attitudes affiliated with religious traditions in the United States. The survey is based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans.

One element I found particularly interesting is A Brief History of Religion and the U.S. Census. From the document:

The U.S. Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, but the federal government did gather some information about religion for about a century before that. Starting in 1850, census takers began asking a few questions about religious organizations as part of the decennial census that collected demographic and social statistics from the general population as well as economic data from business establishments...Although the census takers did not interview individual worshipers or ask about the religious affiliations of the general population, they did ask members of the clergy to identify their denomination – such as Methodist, Roman Catholic or Old School Presbyterian. The 1850 census found that here were 18 principal denominations in the U.S.

The same basic questions on religious institutions were included in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. In 1880, census takers started collecting more in-depth information from religious leaders on topics ranging from average worship attendance to church income, expenditures and debt. The scope of inquiry about religion was expanded again in 1890, when census takers gathered information about the number of ministers in each denomination. Classifications for the denominations also were more detailed...

There were no other significant changes in data collection on religious bodies until 1902, when the U.S. Census Bureau was established as a permanent government agency and census officials decided to separate some data collection from the regular decennial census. This led to the statutory creation of the Census of Religious Bodies, which began in 1906 as a stand-alone census to be taken every 10 years.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

State Personal Income: Second Quarter 2009

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

U.S. personal income grew 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, the first growth in a year for the U.S. and for 15 states, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, U.S. personal income fell 2.3 percent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hard Times to Diminish Census Response

Hard economic times will likely diminish response rates for the 2010 U.S. Census, government officials predict.

The Census Bureau said Monday that mounting mistrust of government and record numbers of home foreclosures may well dissuade more residents from mailing back Census forms next year, USA Today reported.

More here.

IRS migration data

The IRS has released a new year of state and county level migration flows based on tracking tax returns between 2007 and 2008. As usual, the Missouri Census Data Center has obtained these data and made them available in its public data archive, as well as via its interactive web application that displays a migration profile for any selected county in the U.S.

MDCD used to have to purchase these data on CD-ROM/DVD, but starting this year, the IRS has decided to make the raw files available via a free download site.

You can access the MCDC irsmig data collection, which lets you access the migration profiles menu page.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The States of Marriage and Divorce

Source: Pew Research Center

In Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young — half of first-time brides in these states were age 24 or younger on their wedding day. These states also have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008.

It’s the opposite state of affairs in Massachusetts and New York. Their residents marry late — half of ever-married New York men were older than age 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.

Looking at rates, about 6% of Texans who ever have been married have wed three times or more. That is similar to the national average (5%), but well below the leaders in this category — the neighboring states of Arkansas and Oklahoma — where about 10% of all ever-married adults have had at least three spouses.

Marriage and Divorce: A 50 State Tour

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alternative Income and Poverty Estimates: 2008

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is releasing alternative income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2008. The data were collected from the 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The first set of alternative measures include poverty estimates only and are based on recommendations from a 1995 National Academy of Sciences panel on measuring poverty. These estimates use a broadened definition of income and a set of poverty thresholds that are conceptually consistent with this income measure. The second set of alternative measures includes both income and poverty estimates and shows the impact of cash and noncash benefits and taxes on the distribution of income and prevalence of poverty. The poverty estimates in this series are based on the official poverty thresholds. Both of these alternative measures are similar to estimates released in January 2009 covering calendar year 2007 from the 2008 CPS ASEC.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Waste Money and Ruin the Census

New York Times editorial, published October 19, 2009

With the start of the 2010 census just a few months away, Senator David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana, wants to cut off financing for the count unless the survey includes a question asking if the respondent is a United States citizen. Aides say he plans to submit an amendment to the census appropriation bill soon.

As required by law, the Census Bureau gave Congress the exact wording of the survey’s 10 questions in early April 2008 — more than 18 months ago. Changing it now to meet Mr. Vitter’s demand would delay the count, could skew the results and would certainly make it even harder to persuade minorities to participate.

It would also be hugely expensive.

-- More here.

Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2009

Source: Eurostat

Through graphics and text, the Eurostat regional yearbook 2009 paints a statistical portrait of life in the regions of the European Union’s member states, candidate countries and the EFTA countries. Its 13 chapters are written by specialists and presented in a language accessible to all. The book gives an ideal opportunity to assess the progress made so far in regional policy programmes recently launched as part of the EU’s new cohesion policy. The latest results from the Urban Audit provide a snapshot of city life across the regions.

Monday, October 19, 2009

USA Counties

From the Census Bureau:

USA Counties features over 6,500 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2008 estimates and many items from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 1990 census, the 1980 census and the 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982 and 1977 economic censuses.

Information in USA Counties is derived from the following general topics: age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, health, households, housing, income, labor force, manufactures, population, poverty, retail trade, social programs, veterans, vital statistics, water use, and wholesale trade.

Files contain a collection of data from the U. S. Census Bureau and other Federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Social Security Administration.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Beer

It being October, with its Oktoberfests, er al., I commend to you the Beer Institute, with a great deal of statistics about beer consumption.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pew Internet & American Life Project

As described by hillsearch.org

If you're interested in learning more about the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, check out the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The Project produces reports exploring these topics, including how they impact daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project studies the social impact of the internet, focusing on topics such as health, teens, and broadband. Its three main topic areas are Activities & Pursuits, Demographics, and Technology & Media. The Project provides access to a number of data tools, including research reports and commentary, infographics, trend data, survey questions, and datasets. Data is based on phone surveys, online surveys, and qualitative research.

Recent reports include: The Internet as a Diversion, Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years, Wireless Internet Use, Home Broadband Adoption, and The State of Music Online. To see these reports and many more, visit the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roundabouts

Here's a list of ALL the roundabouts in the U.S. and Canada. It lists the location, the type of roundabout, and the year it was constructed. It was compiled in 2006, but at least three of the records for Albany County, NY were updated in 2007.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Variation in Insurance Coverage Across Congressional Districts

New data on health insurance coverage from the American Community Survey show extensive variation in rates of private and public coverage and uninsurance across congressional districts in the United States. Rates of private coverage are lowest in districts that have higher poverty rates which tend to be concentrated in the South and West and uninsurance remains most serious in districts with low rates of private coverage. This analysis identifies the districts in which residents would have the most to gain from health reforms that are designed to increase health insurance coverage toward a higher and more uniform national standard

Monday, October 12, 2009

How Well Does Your State Constitution Protect Individual Rights, Limited Government?

Source: Goldwater Institute

In 50 Bright Stars: An Assessment of Each State’s Constitutional Commitment to Limited Government, Goldwater Institute constitutional policy director Nick Dranias assessed and ranked the strength of limited government provisions of each state constitution as currently interpreted in recent court decisions and the quality and philosophy of each state’s judiciary.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Was On The Radio

I was on Internet radio on Monday, October 5. Don't mind telling you that I was mildly terrified.

Through a series of connections, involving the business.gov website, a woman named Barbara Weltman became aware of me and my connection with the NYS Small Business Development. Her producer, Gloria Luzier, e-mailed me and asked if I would appear on Barbara's radio show, Build Your Business Radio.

I provided a few questions that she might ask me, about the SBDC, the State Data Center and blogs. I got a call about 4:20 pm to make sure I was actually at the appointed place, then again at 4:27. I never talked to Barbara herself before or after the show, but I was in contact with other friendly and helpful people, including Wade Taylor, wsRadio, Operations Officer and Assistant Program Director, who gave me information on how to provide the links below.

SBDCs, State Data Centers, and the Curse of Blogging, Part I - Roger Green

SBDCs, State Data Centers, and the Curse of Blogging, Part II - Roger Green

Have I mentioned that I really HATE the sound of my own voice?

Report on the Taxation of the Telecommunications Industry in New York State

"Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2009, Part NN mandated that the Department of Taxation and Finance, in consultation with the New York State Public Service Commission, conduct a study to examine the assessments, fees, tax rates, and associated policies of the state of New York as they relate to the telecommunications industry. The report" that can be found here is "the result of that mandate.

"The report proceeds by first providing a discussion of the scope and nature of the telecommunications industry in New York. The report then provides a basic discussion of all the taxes, fees, and assessments to which the industry is subject. Finally, the report culminates in the challenging task of presenting a matrix that attempts to show what taxes apply to the various services provided by the industry.

"This report is not an exhaustive examination of the tax issues affecting the telecommunications industry."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

America’s Families and Living Arrangements 2007

Highlights of the Census Bureau report include:

* 68% of households in 2007 were family households, compared with 81% in 1970.
* The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2007, from 17% to 27%.
* Between 1970 and 2007, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6.
* Most family groups with children under 18 (67%) were maintained by married couples.
* The vast majority of fathers who lived with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s mother (94%). In comparison, 74% of mothers living with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s father.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

State Tax Department Plans Greater Responsiveness

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward announced this week new initiatives to ensure that the department is accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

To view the entire document please visit here.

Marketing U.S. Organic Foods: Recent Trends From Farms to Consumers

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Organic foods now occupy prominent shelf space in the produce and dairy aisles of most mainstream U.S. food retailers. The marketing boom has pushed retail sales of organic foods up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997. U.S. organic-industry growth is evident in an expanding number of retailers selling a wider variety of foods, the development of private-label product lines by many supermarkets, and the widespread introduction of new products. A broader range of consumers has been buying more varieties of organic food.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Geography of Homelessness, Part 3

The Homelessness Research Institute at the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) has released the third brief in its Geography of Homelessness series. Part 3: Subpopulations by Geographic Type examines the geographic distributions of three homeless subpopulations: chronically homeless individuals, non-chronically homeless individuals and persons in families with children. Each of these subpopulations' geographic distributions is compared to that of the total homeless population.

"Part 3" goes on to differentiate between sheltered and unsheltered subgroups of the above three subpopulations, eventually making the following determinations:
*The occurrence of unsheltered persons in families who are rurally located is almost double that of their urban counterparts
*66 percent of chronically homeless individuals are unsheltered nationwide
*The "Mostly Rural" category differs from other categories in almost every aspect