Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Glimpse at Medical Error Rates Separates the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Between Oct. 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010, Medicare patients at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, N.Y., suffered thirteen instances of severe bed sores during their stay requiring additional treatment, a rate of nearly 2.9 per 1,000 treated. At St. John’s Riverside Hospital, three miles down Broadway from St. Joseph’s, the rate was 20 times lower: only one severe bed sore was reported, even though St. John's discharged far more Medicare patients during that period -- 8,270 to St. Joseph's 4,541.

Over the protests of groups like the American Hospital Association, Medicare officials this month publicly revealed for the first time where harmful events like these took place. In addition to bed sores, the data includes information on trauma and falls, infections and the egregious errors known as "never events," such as patients being given the wrong blood type, or foreign objects being left in the body after surgery.

As many as 98,000 Americans are thought to die annually from medical errors, and about as many succumb to infections they picked up during a hospital stay, according to oft-cited figures released a decade ago, but new research published last week suggests that "adverse events" like these occur about 10 times as frequently as previously thought, in about a third of all hospital stays.


America’s High School Graduates: Results of the 2009 NAEP High School Transcript Study

This report presents information about the types of courses 2009 high school graduates took during high school, how many credits they earned, and the grades they received. Information on the relationships between high school records and performance in mathematics and science on the twelfth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is also included. Transcripts were collected from a nationally representative sample of 37,700 high school graduates. The 2009 results are compared to the results of earlier transcript studies, and differences among graduates by race/ethnicity, gender, and other demographic characteristics are examined. In addition, the report takes a closer look at science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) coursetaking, ways in which graduates may earn more credits, and the coursetaking patterns of students with disabilities and English language learners.

Friday, April 29, 2011

American Housing Survey for the United States – 2009

From the Census Bureau [PDF].


The Office of Pipeline Safety is the Federal safety authority for ensuring the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the Nation's pipeline transportation system.

The National Pipeline Mapping System provides very limited access to information about pipelines. You can only view one county at a time, and I've found it sluggish, to say the least.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

List of best cities to get high

The online magazine The Daily Beast ranked...America's Pot-Smoking Capitals. The results were based on drug-usage surveys [from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration], arrest data and an [admittedly subjective] assessment of "local pot culture."

New York cities include: Albany (7), Manhattan - which is part of a city (8), Ithaca (22), Binghamton (27), Buffalo (28), Newburgh (33), Watertown (34), and Syracuse (36).

Read more in the (albany) Times Union HERE.

Sales tax on food in New York State

Inspired by the front page story in today's Albany Times Union, Food ready to eat on a plate? It's taxable

In New York State:
Food Item is///Tax Exempt if///Taxable if
Cold cuts///sliced and sold by weight///arranged on food platter
Pizza///frozen, refrigerated, unheated///heated
Hot dog///refrigerated (packaged)///served on a bun or heated
Fish///sold unheated///heated or served in a sandwich
Bread///sold by the loaf (whole or sliced)///served with a bowl of soup
Bananas///sold whole, individually or by the bunch///peeled or sliced as part of a fruit platter
Bagel///sold by quantity (whole or sliced)///toasted, buttered, or with cream cheese
Salad mix///packaged in bag///from a self-serve salad bar or prepared and arranged on a plate
Ice cream///sold in a container by weight (including hand-packed pints, quarts, etc.)///made-to-order cone or sundae
Macaroni salad///packaged and sold by weight///served with a sandwich, served in a tray as a side dish or on a plate, or from a self-serve salad bar
Chicken wings///sold unheated///sold heated

More fun explanations of the New York State sales tax law re food sold by food stores.
for food retailers.
for specific products and services.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Congress Would Look Like If It Really Represented America


America is getting more and more diverse — for instance, our Hispanic population grew by 43 percent in the past decade alone — but you'd never be able to tell it by looking at our Congress. Here's what the House and Senate look like today, and what they would look like if they were demographically representative of our nation.

One thing not noted on this infographic is that, besides being nothing like America in terms of race, sex, or religion, our senators and representatives are also wholly different from most Americans in terms of wealth.

More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees

New Census Bureau Data Provide Most Detailed Look Ever at Years of School Completed

Among the employed population 25 and older, 37 percent of women had attained a bachelor's degree or more as of 2010, compared with 35 percent of men, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, among all adults 25 and older, 29.6 percent of women and 30.3 percent of men had at least a bachelor's degree.

The data come from tabulations on Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010 and not only examine gender differences in attainment but also provide the most detailed information on years of school completed ever presented by the Census Bureau, showing for each level of attainment exactly how many years of education adults have.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Results From the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study of 2004/09

Data presented in these tables come from the 2004/09 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09), a study that followed first-time, beginning postsecondary students through their postsecondary education for a period of six years. These Web Tables disaggregate these students’ persistence and attainment outcomes by their participation in the Pell Grant program. Additional detail is provided by students' initial degree program, dependency status, and income quartile.

States see tax gains; local government​s feel recession'​s pain

States' tax revenues finished strong in 2010 and show solid gains through the early part of 2011, continuing a trend toward gradual fiscal recovery, according to the Rockefeller Institute's latest State Revenue Report.

State tax revenues grew by 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Rockefeller Institute research and Census Bureau data. This is the fourth consecutive quarter that states reported growth in collections on a year-over-year basis. Forty-two states reported tax revenue growth
during the fourth quarter, with nine showing double-digit growth. Preliminary figures for January and February 2011 indicate further strength in state tax revenues this year. Overall collections in 45 early-reporting states showed growth of 9.5 percent compared to the same months of 2010, and 7.5 percent compared to the same months of 2009.

Local tax revenues, however, have experienced the reverse trend. Tax collections by local governments declined by 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, mostly driven by declines in property tax collections. This is the result in part of the lagged impact of falling housing prices on property tax collections. Such a lag in the recession's impact on local government coffers is somewhat typical, say report authors Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd.

To read the full report, visit the Institute's Web site.
> .

NACHA - fraudulent email warning

The Electronic Payments Association has recently issued on their website a warning that fraudulent emails are being sent out in their name. Our office has been getting a bunch of these lately (I had three in my in-box this morning).

It goes without saying, *don’t* open the .exe file that is embedded in the email. Clearly, they’re phishing.

This, BTW, is a variation of a problem that's been going on for nearly a month.

More from NACHA (a legitimate organization).

Other Sources of Census Data

From the Pew Research Center:

Many State Data Centers (here is a map with links to all of them) have repackaged census data for their localities in simple-to-use tables. In Alaska, the look-up includes Alaska native villages and tribal areas as well as cities, boroughs and other units of geography. California offers detailed data and some numbers from earlier years. Colorado offers rankings as well as data. Connecticut offers a color-coded map of population change and Indiana has population maps by school district and other geographies. Pennsylvania has detailed group quarters numbers for each of its counties.

Also take a look at the “Sites & Sources” section in the right-hand column. This very blog is linked! Way cool.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Picture of Subsidized Households for 2004-2007

From the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Per-Capita Personal Income by State: 2000-2010

The links on this page include provisional per-capita income figures for each state along with rates of change, rankings, adjustments for inflation, and provisional estimates of intercensal population. These figures were produced by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget based on personal income and inflation statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and population statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

2010 Census Advance Group Quarters Summary File

The Census Bureau, in response to federal and state officials as well as other data users, is providing an early version of table P42 from the 2010 Census Summary File 1, showing population counts for seven types of group quarters. The institutionalized group quarters categories include correctional facilities for adults, juvenile facilities, nursing facilities/skilled-nursing facilities and other institutional facilities; while the noninstitutionalized group quarters categories include college/university student housing, military quarters and other noninstitutional facilities. Data are shown for states, counties, census tracts and blocks. This early release will be useful to data users in the redistricting community who must follow state legislation regarding group quarters populations in redrawing boundaries. This table will only be available via the FTP site and is identical to table P42 in Summary File 1 to be released this summer. At that time, characteristics of the group quarters population will also be available. More information about the definitions of the group quarters types and how to use the summary file can be found in the documentation accompanying the data on the FTP site and HERE. More information about census redistricting data..

January 2011 Airline System Traffic Up 2.2 Percent from January 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that U.S. airlines carried 53.7 million scheduled domestic and international passengers in January 2011. This is a 2.2 percent increase from January 2010. The January 2011 passenger total was 3.7 percent above that of two years ago in January 2009 but still remained 6.9 percent below the early recession level of 57.7 million in January 2008.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

2008 Immigration/Emigration Supplement Data

These data focus on five migration-related topics - citizenship, year of entry, residence one year ago, residents and emigrants abroad and monetary transfers. The monetary transfers section, in particular, is noteworthy because it represents the first time questions on both the giving and receiving of these transfers were included on a large, federally sponsored, nationally representative survey in the United States. This supplement to the Current Population Survey was fielded in August 2008. The purpose was to provide additional data to improve the statistics on the size and characteristics of the foreign-born population in the United States. These microdata can be downloaded from the Census Bureau website.

Jail Inmates at Midyear 2010

Presents data on numbers of jails as well as analyzes patterns of growth and decline in jail populations. These statistical tables include data on rated capacity of jails, percent of capacity occupied, and capacity added. They provide estimates of admissions to jails and detail the volume of movement among the jail population. This web document also includes total numbers for jail inmates by sex, race, and Hispanic origin. Standard errors for jail estimates are included.

Highlights include the following:

Between midyear 2009 and midyear 2010, the confined inmate population in county and city jails (748,728) declined by 2.4% (18,706 inmates).
On June 30, 2010, adults represented 99% of all jail inmates. Males accounted for 87.7%, and females accounted for 12.3%.
The estimated rated capacity for all jail jurisdictions at midyear 2010 reached 866,974 beds, an increase of 2.0% (17,079 beds) from midyear 2009.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Local Area Personal Income, 2009

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released estimates of personal income at the county level for 2009. Among large counties (those with a population of more than 250,000) the change in personal income from 2008 to 2009 ranged from an 8.1 percent decline (in Oakland County, Michigan) to a 4.2 percent gain (in Loudoun County, Virginia). Growth slowed in all but one of the nation’s 255 large counties. For the nation, personal income fell 1.7 percent in 2009 after growing 4.0 percent in 2008.

In Case of Emergency: New Data on Medical Benefits

Most medical insurance plans provide coverage for emergency care, including visits to emergency rooms and transportation by ambulance, according to a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics based on the National Compensation Survey (NCS). The study also found that emergency care coverage was subject to a variety of limits, including copayments and deductibles.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Summary Estimates for Multinational Companies

Employment, Sales, and Capital Expenditures for 2009

U.S. multinational companies: U.S. and foreign operations

Worldwide employment by U.S. multinational companies (MNCs) decreased 4.1 percent in 2009, to 31.3 million workers, with decreases in both the United States and abroad. Employment in the United States by U.S. parent companies decreased 5.3 percent, to 21.1 million workers, which mirrored the percent change in total private-industry employment in the United States. The employment by U.S. parents accounted for almost one-fifth of total U.S. employment in private industries. Abroad, employment by the majority-owned foreign affiliates of U.S. MNCs decreased 1.5 percent, to 10.3 million workers.

Searching for corporations

Can one search for corporations in all 50 states at once? Well, no. But one can use, an LN company.

As a librarian noted, "A multistate search is free and you can purchase individual or expanded records on a pay-as-you-go basis. Another option is a day pass. You could check for other KnowX pricing options. Also check coverage and updating information if those are key issues for you. Delaware is not included. Here is the blurb:

"'Research Corporate Records, and Search for Company Public Record Information. Search Corporate Record filings from the Secretary of State Offices across the United States. The types of information included in the Corporate Records search are records related to corporations, limited partnership, limited liability companies, trademarks, reserved names, and more.'"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Poll: New Yorkers not saving, just hoping

The majority of New Yorkers who are not retired haven't invested heavily in their retirement savings over the past six months, fear Social Security will be gone by the time they retire and think saving enough money for retirement will be a problem, according to a Siena Research Institute Poll. However, they are not worried about maintaining their current standard of living when they stop working.

The poll, the first Special New York State Financial Planning Survey (PDF), released Monday asked 811 New Yorkers (511 not retired, 300 retired) about their current finances and tax filings, savings and retirement.

Read more HERE.

SDC Clearinghouse calendar

To keep up-to-date with census data releases and SDC project deadlines, check out the Data Release Calendar on the SDC Clearinghouse website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that this year, for the first time ever, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. Just enter a few pieces of information about your taxes, and the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care.

Monday, April 18, 2011

10 Words That Should Never Appear on Your Website

From BNET:

"Here are words and phrases you should remove from your website — not just from your About Us page but from many other pages as well."

Results of Selected Medical Benefits Survey Released

The National Compensation Survey this week released data on additional medical benefits not previously published in its recent survey of benefit provisions. The following are the 12 additional benefits included in this report: emergency room visits; ambulance services; diabetes care management; kidney dialysis; physical therapy; durable medical equipment; prosthetics; maternity care; infertility treatment; sterilization; gynecological exams and services; and organ and tissue transplantation. The findings presented include information on the coverage or exclusion of each of these benefits and the type of limits imposed on them.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 directs the Secretary of Labor to conduct a survey of employer-sponsored health plans to determine the benefits typically covered by employers, and to report the results of the survey to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This study was conducted to supplement the medical benefit provisions regularly published as part of the National Compensation Survey’s (NCS) employee benefits program.

The full version of the report is available here (PDF). Links to this report and other recent health benefits data are available on the National Compensation Survey web page. The 12 additional medical benefits come from the same sample that yielded data for NCS: Health and Retirement Plan Provisions in Private Industry in the United States, 2009 (PDF).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What you didn't know but could learn for free, you may have to pay for

From the Daily Kos:

It was felt that the popular Statistical Abstract of the United States—the “go to” reference for those who don’t know whether a statistic is available, let alone which agency/department is responsible for it—could be sacrificed. Staff will be moving to “Communications,” digitizing the data set. It is hoped that the private sector—commercial publishers---will see the benefit of publishing some version of the title in the future...

Some would argue that this is just one more round in a policy that began under Ronald Reagan in which access to government data became ever more restricted—some of it not being collected at all—or commodified: collected but accessible only from private sources for payment. Or maybe it's just the Census Bureau's opening salvo, the usual approach of any organization under budgetary siege, picking one of its more popular programs as an example of what will be lost if it has to cut back.

Whatever the case, if the Statistical Abstract is something you'd like to keep around, you can sign a petition about it started by Alesia MacManus here.

American Housing Survey for the United States – 2009

From the Department of Housing and Urban Development - here's the PDF.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Census Director Groves Discusses Bureau’s Approach to Online Data Collection

In a recent blog post, Census Director Robert M. Groves discusses the Bureau’s approach to online data collection for surveys. Currently, 50 surveys have an online response option, which the Bureau hopes to increase to 60 in the near future. The Director also weighs the pros and cons of online data collection for varying survey types.

IRS Tax Stats - SOI Bulletin: Winter 2011

Includes Individual Income Tax Returns, Preliminary Data, 2009 and much more HERE.

Digest of Education Statistics, 2010

The 46th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest's primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons

Thursday, April 14, 2011

College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates

A whole lot of stats HERE.

Multifactor productivity in private nonfarm business, 2009

In 2009, multifactor productivity—a measure of the change in output per unit of combined capital and labor—in the private nonfarm business sector grew at a modest 0.1-percent annual rate.

In 2009, the gain in multifactor productivity reflected decreases of 3.7 percent in output and 3.8 percent in the combined inputs of capital and labor.

More HERE.

Univision on "The New American Reality"

-You've probably read the headlines: "New census milestone: Hispanics reach 50 million"; "U.S. Hispanic population tops 50 million" and one of our favorites "Los USA -- Latino Populations Grow Faster with Wider Spread." The U.S. Census numbers have confirmed that the Hispanic population has reached an important milestone, the 50 million mark. We are waking up to a new reality, a new face of America. The New American Reality video speaks to the unique experience of being Latino in America today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Be Credit Savvy

Building good financial credit is important. It can affect your ability to make large purchases and qualify for a loan or mortgage. Learn more about credit:

How Credit Works
Why Credit Scores Matter
Build a Better Credit Report
General Credit Tips

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

US ImporT Prices

U.S. import prices rose 2.7 percent in March, following a 1.4 percent advance in February.
The March increase was driven by both higher fuel and nonfuel prices. The price index for U.S. exports increased 1.5 percent in March after rising 1.4 percent the previous month.

Does the Bankruptcy Code Provide a Fresh Start To Entrepreneurs?

The U. S. bankruptcy system is designed to recover funds for creditors while giving bankrupt small businesses an opportunity for a “fresh start.” While a fresh start is a goal of the system, little analysis has been done to evaluate the ability of small firms to reset and thrive after bankruptcy. This paper attempts to fill that gap. The research finds that 2.6 percent of firms filed for bankruptcy within the previous seven years, that they are comparable to other firms in terms of cash flow and firm size, and that they have a 24 percent higher likelihood of being denied a loan and are charged interest rates that are 1 percent higher than those charged other firms.

The research summary can be found HERE.

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


The Scale of Starbucks [Source: Online MBA]

Monday, April 11, 2011


Healthmap, as someone noted, is "a site that aggregates freely available information and turns it into maps showing what is happening in human and animal public health, and where it's happening. The info comes from sources ranging from Google News, to the World Health Organization, to ProMED Mail—a site that reviews and curates reports of disease outbreaks."

The page has this caveat: "This site necessarily relies on publicly available third-party information. We assume no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Open Government Data Sites to Go Dark in May

Several of President Obama’s open government initiative data websites are scheduled to go dark in May due to lack of funding. Funding will run out on April 20 for IT Dashboard;, which provides enhanced access to publicly available federal datasets; and, which tracks improper payments from government programs. Other open government public data sites scheduled to go dark after July 30 are, which provides detailed information on federal contracts, and, a site that tracks how federal agencies use free web applications. More information about the proposed cuts is available here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Free gov pubs online

The press release read: "Through a partnership among GSA, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Google, 100 of the most popular government publications are now available to download for free online. This partnership will allow for greater access to these documents and contribute to an open and transparent government. As more documents become available online, it will eventually reduce the number of documents that GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center prints while reducing costs and the environmental impact."

Sounds great! So I decided to check it out at I should note that one can order almost any of the physical items and receive them in one to three weeks, rather than writing to Pueblo, Colorado, like I used to.

First couple categories, Cars and Consumer Action Handbook, each had only one item, but one could click on the link and make a PDF.

But several areas had no such link. Under Small Business was Diversifying Your Workforce, with no link. What to do? Check out the FAQ!

"During this pilot program, we are limiting copies to one per person. However, you can download and print copies of government publications from Google Books ( or order print copies of publications from the Federal Citizen Information Center ( and the Government Printing Office Bookstore (

I tried Google Books first. The export citation choices were BiBTeX (.bibtex), EndNote (.enw), and RefMan (.ris); my computer recognized none of the extensions. At the FCIC/Pueblo site, not only did I find a PDF of the resource, but links to related items. I couldn't find the item at all at the GPO bookstore.

Next I looked for, under Money, the item Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number. Both Google books and FCIC/Pueblo led me to the Social Security page with a PDF link. Again, no luck at the GPO bookstore.

Your experiences may vary.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Census Director Outlines His Vision for Moving Bureau Forward

Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves discusses lessons learned and the future of the Census Bureau with the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security. Groves highlighted early quality indicators of the 2010 Census, outlined organizational changes geared to building the Census Bureau of the future and discussed planning efforts under way for a successful 2020 Census.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Census of Doom

From the New York Times blog:

Among all the events that touched off the [Civil War]... — there is one that has been strangely ignored by most historians. True, it was less dramatic than the others. It occurred when enumerators traveled from door to door throughout America, counting up Easterners and Westerners; Northerners and Southerners; blacks and whites; freemen and slaves. The numbers that they came up with helped to split apart the Union.

Eighteen-sixty was a federal Census year, and the results had begun coming in early that autumn — with exquisitely poor timing, as far as Southern paranoia and Northern hubris were concerned. At the very moment that the slave states faced the imminent election of a Republican, antislavery president, a candidate who would win without a single vote in the Deep South, came other, equally shocking signs of change.

More HERE.

Popularity of Web Browswes Visualized

The browser wars may seem to have heated up only recently, but! Browsers have been slugging it out for your attention since as early as 1994.

How did I forget Netscape!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Links to data, maps, analysis, and more about the 2010 Census

On March 24, 2011, the Census Bureau completed its state-by-state publication of official population counts from the 2010 decennial census. Data for New York State was included in this last release of states.

The Center for Urban Research has helpfully compiled much of the information available thus far.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement

Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems is a quarterly survey that provides national summary data on the revenues, expenditures, and composition of assets of the largest state and local government employee retirement systems. This survey currently consists of a panel of 100 retirement systems, which comprise 89.4 percent of financial activity among such entities, based on the 2007 Census of Governments.

2010 Census Advertising Campaign Earns Prestigious Ogilvy Awards

Read about it HERE or HERE.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Electronic tax filing

Nearly seven million taxpayers are expected to electronically file (e-file) their New York State tax returns this year, generally error-free.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Copyright quiz

From Lesley Ellen Harris at

When it comes to copyright law, there is much misinformation. Take the test below to determine what you think is a copyright truth or myth (false).

Truth or Myth (False)?

T F 1. Only registered works are protected by copyright.

T F 2. Online content is in the public domain unless it has a copyright notice.

T F 3. In at least 164 countries that belong to the Berne [Copyright] Convention, copyright protection is automatic upon creation of the work.

T F 4. In all countries, the duration of copyright is seventy years after the death of the author.

T F 5. Fair use is intentionally ambiguous.

T F 6. You can copy 3 percent of a work without obtaining copyright permission.

T F 7. If a work does not have a copyright notice, ©, then you may freely use the work without obtaining permission.

T F 8. All U.S. government works are in the public domain.

T F 9. Fair use never applies in a for profit situation.

T F 10. There is no such thing as an international copyright law.

Answers HERE or below.

QUIZ 1 - general copyright knowledge

QUIZ 2 - international copyright knowledge

Answers to above quiz: 1F, 2F, 3T, 4F, 5T, 6F, 7F, 8F, 9F, 10T