Thursday, May 31, 2012

Economic Mobility of the States

Economic Mobility of the States, released by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project, is the first time research has identified where in the country Americans are more likely to move up or down the earnings ladder. Eight states, primarily in the Mideast and New England regions, have higher upward and lower downward mobility than the nation as a whole, while states in the South have consistently lower upward and higher downward mobility. ... Economic Mobility of the States evaluates economic mobility in three ways, including absolute mobility – measuring residents’ average earnings growth over time – as well as upward and downward relative mobility – measuring people’s rank on the ladder relative to their peers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paycheck Fairness Helps Families, Not Just Women

The gender wage gap varies across states. While on a national basis, women’s earnings are 18 percent less than men’s earnings, women in some states experience much larger differences in pay. ... For example, in Louisiana and Wyoming, women earn only 69.4 cents and 70.4 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by men. By contrast, in California, women earn 91.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although some portion of the gender pay gap can be explained by differences in education, occupation or job tenure between men and women, a portion of the pay gap remains unexplained and could be caused by gender-based discrimination.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Link Rot" and Legal Resources on the Web: 2012 Analysis

Access to web-published content can be lost as websites are routinely updated, reorganized, or deleted over time. In the five years since the program began, the Chesapeake Group has built a digital archive collection comprising more than 8,600 digital items and 3,700 titles, almost all originally posted to the web but captured and preserved within the group's digital archive.

Every year, the Chesapeake Group investigates whether or not the documents in the archive can still be found at the original web addresses from which they were captured. The group analyzes two samples of web addresses, or URLs, pulled from the archive's records. ...

In 2012, 218 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link rot has increased to 37.7 percent within five years.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Report on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries releases the 15th Annual Report to Congress on the Status of the Nation’s Fisheries. This report documents our national journey toward ending overfishing and rebuilding the nation’s fisheries.

Since 1997, this annual report to Congress identifies the status of our managed stocks and complexes. It provides a 'snap-shot' in time of where our nation’s fisheries were at the end of 2011 in relation to their thresholds of overfishing and overfished. This report does not capture the dynamic nature of sustainability and the many factors that may influence a fishery and require harvests to be adjusted.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Young adult employment during the recent recession :

The recent recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, with the unemployment rate increasing from 5.0 percent at the beginning of the recession to 9.6 percent at the end. This article compares the labor market experiences of young adults (24- and 25-year-olds) over an 18-month period prior to the last recession to those of young adults of the same age over the 18 months of the recent recession. Many of these young adults had recently entered the labor market, and research has shown that workers who enter the labor market during a recession can see long-term negative effects on their employment and earnings.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New American Community Survey Data: Race, Tribal, Hispanic and Ancestry Group Data

This is the first time this level of statistical detail has been available for groups since Census 2000. The tables compile five years of data to produce detailed estimates at multiple levels of geography for hundreds of race, Hispanic origin, ancestry and tribal groups.

2006-2010 ACS 5-Year Selected Population Tables:
• Estimates of characteristics for selected race, Hispanic origin, tribal, and ancestry populations
• Based on sample data collected from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2010

2006-2010 ACS 5-Year American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Tables:
• Estimates of characteristics for selected American Indian and Alaska Native tribal populations
• Based on sample data collected from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2010

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Driving and Road Trip Resources

Whether you're driving locally or taking a road trip, find helpful resources on's Road and Train Travel page, including:

Gas Mileage Tips -- Find out how driving efficiently, keeping your car in good condition, and combining trips can help you save money.
Traffic and Road Closures -- Get resources to keep you informed about road and traffic conditions.
Scenic Byways -- Find scenic drives that you might enjoy while traveling on the road.

Wherever you're driving, make safety a top priority and keep in mind that most states have banned texting while driving. Learn more about distracted driving.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price

Most Americans consume diets that do not meet Federal dietary recommendations. A common explanation is that healthier foods are more expensive than less healthy foods. To investigate this assumption, the authors compare prices of healthy and less healthy foods using three different price metrics ... For all metrics except the price of food energy [$/calorie], the authors find that healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined for this study as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).

From the USDA

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mass layoffs at a more local level

Some asked if there are statistics below the state level on mass layoffs as defined by Bureau of Labor Statistics?

Here's an answer, provided by one of our Data Detectives:

They aren’t precise statistics, but the New York State Labor Department features on its website significant business expansions and contractions, as reported in local media.
Go to:
Click on “Regional Data” on the left hand side.
Choose your area of interest.
Some regions will have a section called employer or firm “expansions and contractions.”
It is in narrative form with statistics cited, but the information is by no means neat and tidy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month is an opportunity to recognize the guiding wisdom and important contributions of our nation's seniors.

Here are a few resources that seniors may find useful:

Economic Security for Seniors -- Learn about reverse mortgages and job training; and find benefit programs to help pay for medications and other essentials.
Tips on Exercise and Healthy Eating -- Get ideas for meal planning and safely increasing your level of physical activity.
Facts about Older Americans -- Did you know that more than 16% of older Americans are in the labor force or that the fastest growing age group in the older population is 85-94? Learn more interesting facts about America's 65+ crowd.
Senior Resources on -- Find a wide range of resources for seniors on topics that include health, money, housing, and more.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Latest national, state, and county estimates by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin

"The U.S. Census Bureau released a set of estimates showing that 50.4 percent of our nation's population younger than age 1 were minorities as of July 1, 2011. This is up from 49.5 percent from the 2010 Census taken April 1, 2010. A minority is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.

"The population younger than age 5 was 49.7 percent minority in 2011, up from 49.0 percent in 2010. A population greater than 50 percent minority is considered “majority-minority.”

"These are the first set of population estimates by race, Hispanic origin, age and sex since the 2010 Census...

"There was a small uptick in the nation's median age, from 37.2 years in 2010 to 37.3 in 2011. The 65-and-older population increased from 40.3 million to 41.4 million over the period and included 5.7 million people 85 and older. Likewise, working-age adults (age 18 to 64) saw their numbers rise by about 2 million to 196.3 million in 2011. In contrast, the number of children under 18, 74.0 million in 2011, declined by about 200,000 over the period, largely because of the decline in high school-age children 14 to 17..."

More HERE.

From Newsday:

"The data is ‘kind of what I expected,’ said Jan Vink, research support specialist at Cornell University's Program of Applied Demographics, which is a coordinating agency within the New York State Data Center.
The growing diversity of minority and ethnic groups on Long Island, and the aging of the population were ‘following the trends from the last decade,’ Vink said."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

The recognition of same-sex marriages generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Either legislatively or judicially, same-sex marriage is legal in seven states. Other states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, which grant all or part of state-level rights, benefits, and/or responsibilities of marriage. Some states have statutes or constitutional amendments limiting marriage to one man and one woman. These variations raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of federal benefits. ...

This report from Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists) discusses DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to enable or to prevent same-sex marriage. The report also examines House and Senate resolutions introduced in previous Congresses proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts’ jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Mystery of a Successful Marriage

What are the ingredients of a successful marriage? According to the National Center for Health Statistics report First Marriages in the United States, one of the most important ingredients--for women at least--is a college degree. Nothing guarantees a successful (i.e. long-lasting) marriage more than having a bachelor's degree. The percentage of women whose first marriage has lasted for 20 years ranges from a low of 39 percent among those who did not graduate from high school to a high of 78 percent among those with a bachelor's degree. The relationship between educational attainment and marital success is weaker for men, but still important, with the figure ranging from a low of 47 percent among men with no more than a high school diploma to a high of 65 percent among men with a bachelor's degree.

The answer to this mystery has nothing to do with love and everything to do with money. Increasingly, and almost exclusively, economic success accrues to men with a bachelor's degree. Women who graduate from college are far more likely than less-educated women to meet and marry a man with a college degree. Money--and men's ability to earn it--is the most important ingredient of a successful marriage.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Top 10 Baby Names for 2011

The U.S. Social Security Administration has just released the most popular baby names of 2011.

"Jacob" continued to top the list for boys while "Sophia" replaced "Isabella" as the #1 name for girls in 2011.

You can search the popularity of names over time (dating back to 1880). You can also search for popular names by birth year, decade, or state; popular names for twins; and popular names in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

In a troubling development, the male name Roger continued to drop, to 529 in 2011, down from 511 in 2010.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A New BLS publication: Beyond the Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics this week premiered a new publication called Beyond the Numbers. This publication will serve as a source of timely, interesting analysis of BLS data and trends. Beyond the Numbers brings together the analyses previously found in Issues in Labor Statistics, Focus on Prices and Spending, Program Perspectives, Regional Reports, and OES Highlights. The first article in Beyond the Numbers, "International air passenger fares shrug off the recession," discusses how the price of international airfare changed during and after the recent global recession. The second article, "How new fees are affecting the Producer Price Index for air travel," examines how the introduction of baggage and cancellation fees affects the price of domestic airfare.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

HOUSE VOTES to ELIMINATE the Census Bureau's American Community Survey!

From Terri Ann Lowenthal

The U.S. House of Representatives voted this evening (232 - 190) to eliminate all funding for the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which as you know replaced the traditional census long form starting with the 2010 Census. The vote essentially was along party lines, with all but 11 Republicans voting in favor and all but four (4) Democrats voting against. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL).

Right before the House considered the Webster amendment, it approved, by voice vote, an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) to make response to the ACS voluntary, by prohibiting both the Census Bureau and the Justice Department from using funds to enforce penalties in the Census Act that make survey response mandatory. (The amendment had to be written as a limit on expenditure of funds in order for it to be ruled "in order" on an appropriations bill, FYI.) I suspect the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), did not call for a recorded vote on the Poe amendment because he figured the provision would be stripped in conference.

Now, I cannot imagine that President Obama would sign a Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill that eliminates the ACS. But this is a truly cautionary tale. I do not think any of us were prepared for the House to approve such a drastic measure. The outcome demonstrates, in my opinion, that all census/ACS data users must be much more pro-active in conveying their support for this and other surveys to all Members of the House and Senate. What if the White House and Senate majority change hands next year? Conceivably, we could lose an awful lot of data in the future, and this won't just be a theoretical exercise in Census Bureau cheerleading any more.

I also recall, when the Census Bureau first began the transition from the long form to the ACS (with research, then testing, then implementation in 2005), with a shove from Congress (ironically!), that some business community stakeholders were worried that decoupling the long form from the census would put the data collection at risk. That worry is now becoming a reality. Rep. Lankford (R-OK), in speaking in support of the Webster amendment during the debate, said the ACS was NOT the long form and did not collect the same type of data. Of course, he is just plain wrong.

The Senate is expected to take up the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill next week.

Annual Survey of Public-Employee Retirement Systems

The nation's state and local public-employee retirement systems had $2.7 trillion in total cash and investment holdings in 2010, a $257.2 billion or 10.6 percent increase from $2.4 trillion in 2009, according to new statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. This follows a $722.2 billion loss the previous year.

These statistics come from the 2010 Annual Survey of Public-Employee Retirement Systems, which provides an annual look at the financial activity and membership information of the nation's state and local public-employee retirement systems, including revenues, expenditures, investment holdings, and number of retirement systems and beneficiaries.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

U.S. trading partners and intellectual property rights

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual "Special 301" Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners' protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) [PDF].

The Special 301 Report provides a means for the United States to promote the protection and enforcement of IPR. In the Report, USTR announced that Malaysia has been removed from the Watch List after making significant strides, including passing copyright amendments that strengthen copyright protection, stepped-up IPR enforcement, and promulgating regulations to protect pharmaceutical test data. In addition, Spain has been removed from the Watch List because of its adoption of regulations implementing a law to combat piracy over the Internet. Ukraine is being moved to the Priority Watch List from the Watch List in light of serious and growing concerns relating to counterfeiting and rampant piracy, including piracy over the Internet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Annual Pass for US Parks and Recreation Areas

Consider buying an Annual Pass if you enjoy visiting America's beautiful national parks and recreation areas. The $80 pass entitles the pass owner and accompanying passengers (or up to four adults at sites where per-person fees are charged) admittance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas. Learn more about where you can use the pass and what it covers.

Other kinds of passes include:

Senior Pass -- $10 lifetime pass for U.S. citizens who are 62 years and older

Access Pass -- Free lifetime pass for permanently disabled U.S. citizens

Volunteer Pass -- Annual Pass awarded to volunteers who contribute 500 or more hours

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Decline in Teens Talking on the Phone

Teens are texting more and talking less on the telephone, according to a study by Pew Internet & American Life Project. Only 14 percent of 12-to-17-year-olds talked to friends daily on a landline phone in 2011, down from 30 percent two years earlier. The percentage who talk to friends daily on a cell phone fell from 38 to 26 percent during those years.

per American Consumers Newsletter

Saturday, May 5, 2012

United Stats of America - Series Premiere Tue., May 8 at 10/9c

From the History Channel:

Here’s a stat for you: The average American male is on earth for about 900 months, and in that time he will spend almost two months shaving, roughly five months on hold, and another five months complaining about his boss. He’ll also spend a whopping 198 months watching TV… but only two months having sex.

Randy and Jason Sklar were born a statistic: They're identical twins and stand-up comedians who also just happen to have an obsession with numbers and an amazing knack for finding the incredible stories behind the stats. The wisecracking brothers are the hosts of United Stats of America, which reveals the stories behind the most interesting and surprising statistics in American history—stories that tell us more about who we are as individuals and as a nation. Randy and Jason bring their irreverent brand of humor to locations across the country, uncovering hidden facts about America and Americans while engaging in stunts and experiments that help them uncover the story behind the stats. The Sklars will also utilize cutting-edge computer technology and visually stunning infographics to help bring these numbers to life.

Episodes explore the stats that help us understand how much money we make (and what we spend it on), how long we will live (and how we will die), what we do with our free time (and how to make more of it) and a whole lot more. In one episode, the Sklars explain how the deadliest animal in America is neither the snake nor the shark but rather the deer. In another, viewers learn that Americans waste 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic and that, in a nation with over 3.5 million square miles of territory, 99 percent of us are crowded into only 8 percent of the land.

Friday, May 4, 2012

No data on shootings by police

Within the Crime in the United States report from the FBI, one can find police employee data by status (sworn/civilian), among many other statistics.

However, national data on shootings by police is not collected: "The nation's leading law enforcement agency collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life.

"'We don't have a mandate to do that,' said William Carr, an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C. 'It would take a request from Congress for us to collect that data.'

"Congress, it seems, hasn't asked."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Subsidy Tracker: Discover Where Corporations are Getting Taxpayer Handouts Across the US

A growing number of state governments are disclosing which companies they are giving tax breaks and other subsidies in the name of job creation and economic development. Yet much of that information is being disseminated through hard-to-find reports and web pages. SUBSIDY TRACKER brings together the information from those far-flung sources--along with unpublished data obtained through open records requests--to create the first national search engine for state economic development subsidies.

Each entry identifies the recipient company and, depending on availability, provides data on the dollar value of the subsidy, the program and state agency involved, the location of the subsidized facility, and the employment impact of the subsidy. Each entry also indicates where the data came from, so the user can go to the original source for more details.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Measuring Financial Inclusion: The Global Findex Database

This paper (PDF) provides the first analysis of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Database, a new set of indicators that measure how adults in 148 economies save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. The data show that 50 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a formal financial institution, though account penetration varies widely across regions, income groups and individual characteristics. In addition, 22 percent of adults report having saved at a formal financial institution in the past 12 months, and 9 percent report having taken out a new loan from a bank, credit union or microfinance institution in the past year. Although half of adults around the world remain unbanked, at least 35 percent of them report barriers to account use that might be addressed by public policy. Among the most commonly reported barriers are high cost, physical distance, and lack of proper documentation, though there are significant differences across regions and individual characteristics.

Link to publication website for Accounts and Payments and Savings, Borrowing, and Risk Management.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Evaluating State Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth

A report by the Pew Center on the States (PDF) concludes that 13 states are leading the way in generating much-needed answers about tax incentives’ effectiveness. Twelve states have mixed results. Half the states have not taken the basic steps needed to know whether their incentives are effective. The study highlights a wealth of promising approaches states have taken to help lawmakers find those answers.

New York is in the middle group.

Press release.