Friday, July 31, 2009

1 in 11 Prisoners Serving Life Sentences

A new report released by The Sentencing Project finds a record 140,610 individuals are now serving life sentences in state and federal prisons, 6,807 of whom were juveniles at the time of the crime. In addition, 29% of persons serving a life sentence (41,095) have no possibility of parole, and 1,755 were juveniles at the time of the crime. No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America represents the first nationwide collection of life sentence data documenting race, ethnicity and gender. The report’s findings reveal overwhelming racial and ethnic disparities in the allocation of life sentences: 66% of all persons sentenced to life are non-white, and 77% of juveniles serving life sentences are non-white.

2010 Census Bilingual Questionnaires

The Census Bureau will be sending bilingual (English/Spanish) questionnaires to census blocks that have large concentrations of households speaking Spanish at home.

They've produced maps for each regional office showing where these will be distributed. While these maps aren't very detailed, they are still useful in getting an idea as to where these questionnaires will be sent.

Boston Regional Office

New York Regional Office

Thursday, July 30, 2009

State Transportation Statistics 2008

This report presents a statistical profile of transportation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is the sixth annual edition of the State Transportation Statistics, and a companion document to the National Transportation Statistics (NTS), which is updated quarterly on the BTS website.

The Future is Wireless

Pew Internet Report: Wireless Internet Use, July 22, 2009

56% Of All Americans Have Accessed The Internet By Wireless Means


An April 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project asked respondents whether they had used a variety of devices - laptops, cell phones, game consoles, and more - to go online using a wireless network. Altogether, 56% of Americans said they have at some point used wireless means for online access.

* 39% of all Americans have used a laptop computer to go online wirelessly, making this the most prevalent means of wireless access.

* 32% of all Americans have gotten online with a mobile device - meaning they have used a cell phone or other handheld device to check email, access the internet for information, or send instant messages.

Together, laptop and mobile wireless access account for the vast majority of wireless access, as 51% of Americans have gotten online using either of these two methods. Some people (19% of Americans) opt for both means of wireless access - portable laptops on fast WiFi networks or handheld access on slower networks from cell carriers.

Use of the internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.

* In December 2007, 24% of Americans said they had at some point used the internet on their mobile device.

* By April 2009, 32% of Americans said they had at some point used the internet on their mobile device.

* In December 2007, 11% of Americans said they had yesterday accessed the internet on their mobile.

* By April 2009, 19% of Americans said they had yesterday accessed the internet on their mobile.

Links To HTM and PDF versions of the Full Report available

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FCC Releases Data on Local Telephone Competition

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released new data on local telephone service competition in the United States. Twice a year, all incumbent local exchange carriers (incumbent LECs) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are required to report basic information about their local telephone service, and all facilities-based mobile telephony providers are required to provide information about their subscribers, pursuant to the FCC’s local telephone competition and broadband data gathering program (FCC Form 477). Statistics released reflect data as of June 30, 2008.

Computer Use and Ownership

Reported Internet Usage for Individuals 3 Years and Older, by State: 2007

"Computer Use data have been collected in various supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Beginning in 1997, the survey included questions on Internet Use."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Federal Domestic Spending Increases 9.3 Percent in FY ’08

The federal government obligated nearly $2.79 trillion in domestic spending for fiscal year 2008, up 9.3 percent from 2007, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s equivalent to a total of $9,184 per person living in the United States. Entitlement programs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security comprised 48 percent of all federal spending, accounting for $1.35 trillion. Of that amount, $659 billion went to Social Security. The one-year increase in spending for these three programs was approximately $359 for every person in the United States.

Hunting and Fishing

National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR)

Presents microdata records (with any information that might identify a specific person or household removed) on individuals involved in fishing, hunting, and other wildlife-associated recreation, such as wildlife observation, photography, and feeding. Data include state in which these activities occurred; number of trips taken; duration of trips; and expenditures for food, lodging, transportation, and equipment. The survey was conducted by the Census Bureau for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, which prepares printed reports in this field.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Orleans Mayor's comments about Census Day residence create stir

Ray is wrong.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (D) is encouraging former residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina to identify themselves as residents of the city in the 2010 census, even if they have not yet returned to their pre-storm homes. The mayor's spokesman told the City's Times-Picayune newspaper that, "A low population count would mean the loss of millions of dollars needed to provide critical services" (July 14, 2009, Editorial). Communications Office representative James Ross clarified in a July 20 Wall Street Journal article, "What we're really talking about is people who are really close to coming back." Census Dallas Regional Director Gabriel Sanchez responded to Mayor Nagin's proposal by saying, "We need to count people where they live, not where they plan to live or where they want to live" (July 13, 2009 Times-Picayune).

Census residence rules provide that people are counted at their "usual residence," which the Census Bureau defines as "the place where the person lives and sleeps most of the time. This place is not necessarily the same as the person's voting residence or legal residence."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Unprecedented Global Aging Examined in New Census Bureau Report

Report Commissioned by the National Institute on Aging

The average age of the world’s population is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The number of people worldwide 65 and older is estimated at 506 million as of midyear 2008; by 2040, that number will hit 1.3 billion. Thus, in just over 30 years, the proportion of older people will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total world population, according to a new report, An Aging World: 2008 (PDF: 11.6 MB).

The report examines the demographic and socioeconomic trends accompanying this phenomenon. It was commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health and produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The world’s population of people over age 65 is growing rapidly, and with it will come a number of challenges and opportunities,” said NIA Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes. “NIA and our partners at the Census Bureau are committed to providing the best data possible so that we can better understand the course of population aging and its implications.”

An Aging World: 2008 examines nine international population trends identified in 2007 by the NIA and the U.S. Department of State (Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective). The report also contains detailed information on life expectancy, health, disability, gender balance, marital status, living arrangements, education and literacy, labor force participation and retirement and pensions among older people around the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Food Nutrient Database

Data via USDA. Keyword search or browse by food category. More access points vs. version on USDA web site.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Annual Report Service

From Hill Library:

Are you looking for information on a public company? A good place to start is with the company's annual report.
Use Annual Report Service to search for a company's annual report. Annual Report Service claims to be "the of online annual reports." Not only can you access reports online, you can request free copies of the printed reports as well.
Annual Report Service allows you to search by symbol or name, or you can browse the alphabetical list of companies. You can also search by industry or US state, and the database currently contains 559 Canadian companies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Copyright Newsletter not just for lawyers

The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter, volume 13 (2009) issue 1, is now available. This 13-year-old quarterly print and electronic newsletter provides copyright information, news, analysis and practical advice, in plain English from a variety of contributors - from lawyers to academics to others working on copyright and licensing issues in their organizations.
Each issue is 12 pages.

T of C (Vol. 13, Issue 1)
Editorial – lobbying for copyright reform
Copyright Rules of the Road for Bloggers
U.S. Copyright Legislation in 2009
Copyright Quiz 1.0
“Non-Commercial” and Other Definitions in Licenses
Copyright Questions & Answers (a comprehensive list of these Qs & As is at

You may also email for a PDF version of this issue.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Presentations from American Community Survey Workshop

The Population Association of America's (PAA) Committee on Population Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau sponsored a special ACS workshop during the PAA meetings on April 29, 2009.

The presentations focused on the basics of the ACS and specific case studies.
Welcome and ACS Fundamentals
Case Study 1 – How to Deal with Estimates with Low Reliability
Case Study 2 – Choosing Between 1, 3, and 5-year Data
Case Study 3 – Making Comparisons
Case Study 4 – Introduction to Demographic Research Using the ACS PUMS
Case Study 5 – Introduction to Demographic Research Using Aggregated ACS Data for Ecological Regression

Links to most presentations are available on the PAA website.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

States' Tax Revenues Take Biggest Plunge on Record

Taxes collected by the 50 states dropped by 11.7 percent overall during the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period a year earlier — the largest such decline in the 46 years for which quarterly data are available, according to the latest report on state finances from the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Overall state tax revenues fell to the lowest first-quarter level since 2005, according to the Institute. The decline in personal income tax was particularly sharp, with an unprecedented decline of 17.5 percent, as the weakened economy continued to hammer state budgets. Forty-five of the 50 states experienced revenue drop-offs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

GAO testimony on Census Data and Formula Grants

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released the following testimony:
Formula Grants: Census Data Are among Several Factors That Can Affect Funding Allocations, by Robert Goldenkoff, strategic issues, before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-09-832T, July 9.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

From Hill Library:

Did you know that "foreign direct investment (FDI) into 17 countries, including France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US, fell by 50% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the last quarter of 2008?" So reports the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Check out the OECD for global statistics on topics related to the economy, society, development, finance, and more. You can access publications and documents, information by country, or statistics. Find indicators for economic growth, competition, education, migration, biotechnology, and so much more.

Don't miss the most frequently requested statistics, some of which include consumer price indices, forecasts, health, hourly earnings, labor costs, population, and retail trade. The OECD also provides a searchable glossary of statistical terms under the "Don't miss" navigation box in the upper right corner of the site.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who Marries & When? Age at First Marriage in the US: 2002

Key findings (PDF):
Data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth

+ Over 70% of men and women aged 25-44 have ever been married: 71% of men and 79% of women.

+ Non-Hispanic black men and women aged 25-44 have lower percentages who have ever been married than non-Hispanic white and Hispanic persons of the same age.

+ The probability that men will marry by age 40 is 81%; for women, it is 86%.

+A larger percentage of women than men aged 35-44 have married by age 35.

+ Smaller percentages of non-Hispanic black women aged 35-44 have married by age 35 than non-Hispanic white or Hispanic women of the same age range.

+ Smaller percentages of non-Hispanic black men aged 35-44 who are below the poverty line have been married by age 35 than non-Hispanic black men of the same age who are at least 200% above poverty.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics / CDC

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


July 13, 2009
Census Briefs #70

The U.S. Senate voted today to confirm Dr. Robert Groves as Director of the Census Bureau, overcoming objections of several Republicans more than three months after President Obama nominated the renowned survey methodologist and former Census Associate Director to head the nation's largest statistical agency. Senators voted 76 - 15 to end debate on the nomination and then proceeded to give final approval to the nominee by voice vote.

Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), chairman of the census oversight subcommittee, told his colleagues that the census was one of the few specific obligations of the federal government mentioned in the Constitution and that the decennial census requires thousands of people and years of preparation. "We can't turn a light switch on next April and take a census," the chairman said. Sen. Carper called Dr. Groves "an inspired choice" and said the nominee was "ideally suited to this position" because of his credentials in survey methodology and his prior experience as a senior Census Bureau official.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the senior Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Census Bureau, said that her committee had "scrutinized this nominee thoroughly" and had unanimously approved his nomination on May 20. The Census Director "will need to quickly take action to ensure an accurate, actual enumeration," Sen. Collins stated, adding that the outcome must be "accurate, objective, and free from even the appearance of political interference."

Sen. Collins described Dr. Groves as "superbly well-qualified" to head the agency. Addressing colleagues who were concerned that the Obama Administration will politicize the census for partisan purposes, the senator recounted Dr. Groves' pledges under oath at his confirmation hearing "to resign and actively work to stop any action to improperly influence the census for political gain." Dr. Groves also testified at the May 15 hearing that he had no intention of using statistical sampling methods to adjust the 2010 census, the senator said, and that he was "committed to a transparent census process." "I don't know what more you could ask" of a nominee, Sen. Collins concluded, adding that Dr. Groves is "not a political person; he is a scientist, a researcher, a statistician."

Sen. Collins also criticized the Census Bureau for failed procurements that she said "have not been a pretty picture" and have resulted in a "dramatic increase in [the] cost of the 2010 census." The senator said that the large investment in new technology for 2010 had "gone to waste" because of "gross mismanagement," referring to a significant reduction in the Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) contract for GPS-equipped handheld computers to gather information from households during field operations.

HSGAC Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) called Dr. Groves "a brilliant social scientist" who is "well-positioned to see [the decennial census] through to a successful conclusion." "The Administration would have had a hard time appointing a better-qualified candidate to lead the Census Bureau," the chairman said in a statement applauding the final vote.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who introduced the nominee at his confirmation hearing, said Dr. Groves "may be the best candidate ever nominated for this position." Dr. Groves holds Master of Arts degrees in statistics and sociology and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan and most recently served as Director of the University's Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research. Sen. Levin noted that six former Census Directors, appointed by both Republican and Democratic presidents, had written a letter in support of Dr. Groves' nomination.

The President named Dr. Groves to head the Census Bureau on April 2, but the nomination stalled after Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) objected to a confirmation vote until they received assurances from the Administration that there would not be a statistical adjustment of the 2010 census and that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) would not play a role in the decennial count. During today's debate on a motion to "invoke cloture," or end debate, on the nomination, Sen. Vitter said he had written to the Administration in June, asking for assurances that ACORN -- one of thousands of official 2010 Census partners that have agreed to promote participation in the census -- "will have nothing to do with the census." Sen. Shelby said that he had sought similar assurances from the Administration in March. Both senators said they had not received responses to their letters.

The two senators discussed charges brought against several workers ACORN recruited to help with voter registration during the 2008 election cycle. Sen. Vitter suggested that, as a decennial census partner, ACORN would perform "exactly the sort of activity of signing people up" as it did in recruiting workers who produced "fraudulent voter registrations." As a non-governmental organization, ACORN enlisted workers to help people complete voter registration applications, but was not in a position to register voters, which generally is the responsibility of local registrars who review applications before adding people to the voting rolls. Sen. Carper pointed out that the role of partner organizations is to encourage people to respond to the census and that partners receive no money or grants from the Census Bureau. "This is not about ACORN," the chairman said, saying the group's employees would not "go door to door." The Census Bureau will begin recruiting more than three million applicants this Fall, to fill about 1.2 million temporary census positions over the next year. Partner organizations communicate the availability of census jobs to their constituencies but play no direct role in considering and hiring census workers or in collecting information from unresponsive households. All temporary census employees must pass a test and will undergo FBI background and fingerprint checks before they are approved for work.

Sen. Shelby said he could not support Dr. Groves if the nominee did not "denounce" ACORN's role as a 2010 census partner organization. He expressed concern that the political party "controlling the census" could affect the distribution of political power in the redistricting process and "skew" the allocation of federal funds to communities their members represent. Census data are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, to draw federal, state, and local district lines, and to allocate more than $400 billion annually under federal formula grant programs.

The fifteen Republican senators voting against the motion to end debate on the nomination were Sens. John Barrasso (WY), Sam Brownback (KS), Jim Bunning (KY), Saxby Chambliss (GA), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Crapo (ID), John Ensign (NV), Michael Enzi (WY), Johnny Isakson (GA), Jim Risch (ID), Pat Roberts (KS), Jeff Sessions (AL), Richard Shelby (AL), David Vitter (LA), and Roger Wicker (MS).

The National Association for Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, a member of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, issued a statement shortly after the final vote, calling Dr. Groves "the right person to lead the Bureau at this critical time of planning for next year's enumeration" and saying that the confirmation "fills an important leadership void at the Census Bureau." The nonprofit organization urged the Census Bureau to ensure that the 2010 census communications and outreach program "takes into account the current economic and social realities" caused by natural disasters and the economic crisis. NALEO also "strongly condemn[ed] the efforts of a small group of organizations with extremist views, and even a member of Congress, calling for a boycott" of the census. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders has urged undocumented residents not to participate in the census until the Administration and Congress adopt comprehensive immigration reform. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said publicly that her family will refuse to answer any census questions other than the number of people living in their household, even though census response is required by law. "A boycott would only exacerbate the undercount, which would hurt neighborhoods and communities," NALEO said. "Encouraging anyone not to participate in the census is simply wrong."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Population Change in Central, Outlying Counties of Metropolitan Statistical Areas

This report (PDF) examines population change and the demographic components of change from 2000 to 2007 for central an outlying counties of metropolitan statistical areas. Population change in metro areas and their component central and outlying counties will be examined through the configurations of census regions and divisions, metro area population size categories, and 12 of the most populous metro areas. Demographic components of change are births, deaths and migration. The difference between the birth and death components is termed natural increase, and the migration component can consist of both net international migration and net domestic migration. Data used in this report come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.

The report focuses on metro areas and the central and outlying counties that compose the areas—all metro area counties belong to one of these two catego- ries, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The 2006 area definitions are based upon the 2000 OMB Standards for Defining Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas applied to Census 2000 data and Census Bureau population estimates.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

(When) are Religious People Nicer?

(When) are Religious People Nicer? Religious Salience and the ‘Sunday Effect’ on Pro-Social Behavior

Source: Harvard Business School

Prior research has found mixed evidence for the long-theorized link between religiosity and pro-social behavior. To help overcome this divergence, we hypothesize that pro-social behavior is linked not to religiosity per se, but rather to the salience of religion and religious norms. We report on a field experiment that examines when auction participants will respond to an appeal to continue bidding for secular charitable causes. The results reveal that religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to respond to an appeal for charity only on days that they visit their place of worship; on other days of the week, religiosity has no effect. Notably, the result persists after controlling for a host of factors that may influence bidding, but disappears when the appeal for charity is replaced by an appeal to bid for other reasons. Implications for the link between religion and pro-social behavior are discussed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Predicting Social Security numbers from public data

"Information about an individual’s place and date of birth can be exploited to predict his or her Social Security number (SSN). Using only publicly available information, we observed a correlation between individuals’ SSNs and their birth data and found that for younger cohorts the correlation allows statistical inference of private SSNs. The inferences are made possible by the public availability of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File and the widespread accessibility of personal information from multiple sources, such as data brokers or profiles on social networking sites. Our results highlight the unexpected privacy consequences of the complex interactions among multiple data sources in modern information economies and quantify privacy risks associated with information revelation in public forums."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

2010 Census Song

I was told about a hiphop song that has been written to promote the 2010 Census. You can listen to the song and watch the accompanying video here. It's the "draft" copy, but it's interesting.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President 2009

The 2009 edition of The Small Business Economy documents the 2008 recession’s effects on small business as well as their role in the 2008 economy. The report includes chapters focusing on the state of small business (with brief subsections on small business challenges such as health care and globalization, as well as contributions in job creation and innovation) and financing. Appendices include additional data on small firms and a summary of Advocacy research published in 2008.

• Small businesses in most industries, especially in the construction industry hard hit by the housing market downturn, saw declines in employment.

• Average unincorporated self-employment fell from 10.4 million in 2007 to 0.1 million in 2008 and averaged 9.6 million by November and December 2008.

• Incorporated self-employment remained steady at 5.8 million on average over the 2007-2008 period.

• Some surveys found small firms expressing less willingness to expand, hire new workers, invest in new plant and equipment, or borrow money, at least in the near term.

• Health care costs remain a major concern for small firms: according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual cost of a family premium for employer-sponsored health insurance increased 119 percent between 1999 and 2008, with a 5 percent increase in 2008 from the previous year.

• Real exports have risen steadily since 2005, outpacing the growth in imports; the value of real exports increased 6.2 percent in 2008.

• Most small businesses faced a less accommodating credit market, especially in the second half of 2008.

• Lenders exhibited widening interest rate spreads and tightening terms of lending.

• Business borrowing plunged in the fourth quarter of 2008 to a low annual rate comparable to the levels experienced in the 2001 recession.

• According to June 2007-June 2008 Call Report data, developments in the financial markets had a limited impact on small business lending in the first half of 2008.

• Despite the lack of very current financial data, a number of indicators suggest that the flow of funds to small firms was much curtailed by the end of 2008.

A copy of The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President 2009 can be found here (PDF) and the research summary can be found here (PDF).

Monday, July 6, 2009

250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives

This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories to help you continue your research efforts.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Annual report of the Superintendent of Insurance

The New York State Insurance Department recently released its 150th Annual report of the Superintendent of Insurance to the New York Legislature. This 2008 report can be found in PDF, along with other recent years, on the Insurance Department's web site here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SREB Fact Book on Higher Education, 2009

The SREB Fact Book on Higher Education is one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of comparative data on higher education. For decades, state leaders, policy-makers, researchers and journalists have used the Fact Book to find useful data quickly — and to learn more about long-term trends and developments in SREB states and across the nation.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009

"The ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report sheds light on the faces of modern-day slavery and on new facets of this global problem. The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country, including the United States. In acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of human trafficking."
–Secretary of State Clinton, June 16, 2009