Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First Consumer Price Index decline for medical care services in nearly 40 years

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is best known for our monthly job and inflation reports. We also publish data on many other topics, ranging from how Americans spend their time and money to workplace injuries and the growth of entrepreneurship. My new blog series, “Why This Counts,” will explain why we conduct our surveys and how people can use the data at work and home. I hope this series will take the mystery out of our data and make our work come to life for both new and advanced users.
In the March 24 Consumer Price Index release, one interesting item caught my eye. The seasonally adjusted index for medical care services declined 0.2 percent in February 2015, its first decline since November 1975. That’s a long time ago

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reports on 2012 Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures

The number of cigarettes sold to wholesalers and retailers in the United States declined from 273.6 billion in 2011 to 267.7 billion in 2012, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report.
The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion by the largest cigarette companies in the United States rose from $8.37 billion in 2011 to $9.17 billion in 2012, due mainly to an increase in spending on price discounts (discounts paid to cigarette retailers or wholesalers in order to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers). Spending on price discounts increased from $7.0 billion in 2011 to $7.8 billion in 2012. The price discounts category was the largest expenditure category in 2012, as it has been each year since 2002; in 2012, it accounted for 85.1 percent of industry spending.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Frequency Of Words In Songs

These fascinating graphs are the work of one Nickolay Lamm, and are part of a project that he’s calling Money, Love and Sex. The project charts the frequency with which various words appear in the top 100 singles on the Billboard chart over the years, essentially providing a portrait of how the vocabulary of music has evolved since the 1960s.

As Lamm explains, “Each cell represents a song. The more red a song is, the more often that particular word appears appears in the song. For example, if a song has five ‘love’ words and a total of 100 words in the entire song, that song is assigned five percent and a particular shade of color.” There are some really interesting facts to be gleaned; it’s no surprise that “love” has been fairly constant, or that the use of curse words has increased dramatically from the early 1990s onward, but who knew that the trajectory of the word “hate” has been pretty much inversely proportional to “happy,” or that “sad” and “lonely” have been on the decline since the 1960s?

More from FlavorWire

Friday, March 27, 2015

Measuring America: A Child’s Day

At A Glance infographic uses statistics from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine aspects of a child’s well-being, including participation in extracurricular activities, academic experiences, meals with a parent and being read to. Internet address: <http://census.gov/library/infographics/childs_day_2015.html>.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Metro Areas and Counties that Propelled Growth in Florida and the Nation

County Population Estimates
The Villages, Fla., Nation’s Fastest-Growing Metro Area for Second Year in a Row
Florida was home to the nation’s fastest growing metro area from 2013 to 2014, according to new U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates released today.
The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, to reach a population of about 114,000. State population estimates released in December revealed that Florida had become the nation’s third most populous state. Today’s estimates show Florida’s growth to reach this milestone was propelled by numerous metro areas and counties within the state.
Florida contained seven of the nation’s top 50 numerically gaining metro areas between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and these areas accounted for more than three-quarters of the state’s population gain over the period:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nearly 1 in 10 in the U.S. Want to Move


  Nearly 10 percent of U.S. residents are dissatisfied with their current housing, neighborhood, local safety or public services to the point that they want to move, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. However, only 18.3 percent of the 11.2 million householders who wanted to move actually did so between 2010 and 2011.
  “Fifty-six percent of people who didn’t move in 2010 but wanted to, no longer wanted to move when interviewed again the following year. However, this does not necessarily mean that these residents were satisfied with where they lived,” said Peter Mateyka, an analyst with the Census Bureau’s Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch and the report author. “Some additional factors that influence if people move include time, money, health and suitable alternative homes, which may explain why many people change their minds about moving.”
  The report, Desire to Move and Residential Mobility: 2010-2011, looks at the characteristics of householders who desired to move and their subsequent mobility pattern from 2010 to 2011 using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. This survey follows an initial sample, also referred to as a panel, of about 50,000 households for several years. Below highlights characteristics from 2010.
Who wants to move?
·         Young householders: About 14.6 percent of householders age 16 to 34 reported a desire to move, com­pared with 10.4 percent of house­holders age 35 to 54, and 6.3 percent of householders age 55 and older.
·         Renters: 16.5 percent of all householders who rented desired to move, more than twice the rate for homeowners.
·         Householders living in impoverished areas: Of homeowners who desired to move, the average census tract (neighborhood) poverty rate was 13.7 percent. For all homeowners, the average neighborhood poverty rate was 10.3 percent.
·         Householders with children: 14.3 percent of households with children desired to move compared with 8.7 percent of households without children.
·         Householders with a disability: 12.5 percent of householders with a disability reported a desire to move versus 8.2 percent of those without a disability.
Why do householders want to move?
·         6.1 percent reported dissatisfaction with housing conditions.
·         4.7 percent reported dissatisfaction with their neighborhood.
·         4.1 percent reported dissatisfaction with local safety.
·         1.8 percent reported dissatisfaction with public services.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Increased Smartphone Use Equals Lower GPA Among College Students

If college students want to excel in the classroom, they'll need to lay off using their smartphones, according to a new study.

A Kent State University survey of approximately 500 students revealed that coeds using their phones more than 10 hours per day had a significantly lower grade-point average – 2.84 – in comparison to the GPA of those students who only used their phones up to two hours daily – 3.15.

Professors Jacob Barkley, Andrew Lepp and Aryn Karpinski published their findings last month. The survey, The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students, follows in the footsteps of previous research done and findings made by the group.

The difference this time, however, is that the researchers controlled for several factors. Those items included gender, high school GPA, class standing and self-confidence for self-regulated learning and academic achievement.

In an email to Government Technology, Barkley explained that after controlling for these known predictors, the group still found the relationship between cellphone use and GPA was “statistically significant and negative.”

More from CenterDigitaled

Monday, March 23, 2015

State Revenues from Gambling Show Weakness Despite Gambling Expansion

States derive the bulk of gambling-related revenues from three major sources—lotteries, casinos, and racinos. While casinos experienced dramatic growth during the 1990s, that trend shifted downward over the past decade. In recent years, much of the growth has shifted to racinos—hybrids of casinos and racetracks —as more states have approved such facilities. Pari-mutuel betting, once the major source of gambling revenue for states, now represents less than 1.0 percent of such revenue.

When tax revenue weakens during economic downturns, states often consider expanded gambling operations among other options for balancing budgets. That has been no exception during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Since the recession began in December 2007, over a dozen states have enacted various measures to expand gambling.

States’ revenues from gambling showed soft growth at 0.6 percent in fiscal 2014, despite expansion of various gambling activities in recent years. In fiscal 2014, revenue collections from lotteries and racinos grew by 0.6 and 1.5 percent, respectively, while revenue collections from casinos declined by 1.4 percent. The expansion of gambling across the nation created stiff competition for certain regions of the nation and heightened rivalry for the same pool of consumers.

More from the Rockefeller Institute of Government

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why the country’s youth are abandoning religious conservatism

From SALON. This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
There’s been a lot of media attention recently to the changing demographics of the United States, where, at current rates, people who identify as “white” are expected to become a minority by the year 2050. But in many ways, the shift in national demographics has been accelerated beyond even that. New data from the American Values Atlas shows that while white people continue to be the majority in all but 4 states in the country, white Christians are the minority in a whopping 19 states. And, nationwide, Americans who identify as Protestant are now in the minority for the first time ever, clocking in at a mere 47 percent of Americans and falling.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Deficit Projections Are Often Way Off the Mark

The fairly modest federal deficit projected for the next few years has made fiscal discipline a less urgent policy concern than it was only a couple of years ago. But can we believe the projections? Does the fact that the deficit is projected to remain fairly small mean that the deficit is likely to remain fairly small in reality?

History indicates there is often a wide gulf between the deficit projections offered by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and what actually ends up happening. And that can have major implications when it comes to policy.

The deficit has shrunk considerably, and is expected to remain tame, according to recent federal budget deficit data, and projections released with the 2016 budget (see chart 1). In fiscal year 2014 the federal budget deficit was 2.8 percent of GDP. And it is projected to stay around 2.5 percent of GDP through 2020. This is close to the average deficit of 2.6 percent of GDP since 1960, and much lower than the deficit was only a few years ago, when it exceeded 8 percent of GDP.

More from the American Institute for Economic Research

Friday, March 20, 2015

Consumer spending by age group in 2013

Housing was the largest spending category among all households in 2013. Consumers ages 25 to 34 had the highest share of spending on housing (35.8 percent). Consumers ages 45 to 54 had the lowest share (31.4 percent).

In 2013, consumers under age 25 had the highest share of overall spending on food away from home, at 6.9 percent. This age group also had the highest shares of total spending on education (6.8 percent), apparel and services (5.0 percent), and alcoholic beverages (1.2 percent).

Consumers age 65 and older spent a higher share on healthcare, 12.2 percent of total spending, than other age groups. Consumers ages 55 to 64 had the next-highest healthcare share (7.8 percent), followed by those ages 45 to 54 (6.3 percent).

More from the BLS.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Employment Situation of Veterans

The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans--declined by 1.8 percentage points over the year to 7.2 percent in 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all veterans, at 5.3 percent, also declined from a year earlier. In addition, 29 percent of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service-connected disability in August 2014, compared with 16 percent of all veterans.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Taxpayer ID Theft: Use IRS.gov to Verify Your Identity

The IRS stops and flags suspicious or duplicate federal tax returns that falsely represent your identity, such as your name or social security number. If the IRS suspects tax ID theft, the agency will send a 5071C letter to your home address. If you receive this letter, verify your identity at idverify.irs.gov or call the toll-free number listed in the letter. 

If you are a victim of state tax ID theft, contact your state's taxation department or comptroller's office about the next steps you need to take. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) 2015

Irish American Graphic
Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.
Originally, a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948.

Population Distribution

33.3 million
Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2013. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second-most frequently reported European ancestry, trailing German.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Census Bureau Releases New Median Earnings by Detailed Occupations

The U.S. Census Bureau released a new table showing median earnings by detailed occupation from the 2013 American Community Survey. The table includes ratios indicating the percentage of women in an occupation, as well as the male-to-female earnings ratio in the occupation for full-time, year round workers in the past twelve months. Internet address: <http://www.census.gov/people/io/publications/table_packages.html>.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Catholic Church Opposes the Death Penalty. Why Don't White Catholics?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church holds that if non-lethal methods are sufficient for preventing a criminal from doing further harm, then those methods should be preferred over lethal punishment. It isn’t difficult to imagine why: The Catholic Church values a consistent respect for human life, the kind of approach Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernadin called “a seamless garment”—that a person’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant to the inherent value of their life. That's why the Church has long opposed capital punishment. Pope John Paul II was an especially eloquent and dedicated advocate for life. Pope Francis, too, has called for the abolition of the death penalty, saying, “It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor.”

With overwhelming papal consensus and such sound theological reasoning on the Church’s side, one might presume American Catholics are generally united in opposing the use of capital punishment. But that isn’t the case, and a 2014 Pew report found that a significant racial gap divides American Catholics on the subject of capital punishment.

More from the New Republic.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Canada's Action Plan on Open Government

Canada's commitment to open government is part of the federal government's efforts to foster greater openness and accountability, to provide Canadians with more opportunities to learn about and participate in government, to drive innovation and economic opportunities for all Canadians and, at the same time, create a more cost effective, efficient and responsive government.

Historically, Canada has been a world leader in making information available and in being accountable to its citizens. Government of Canada legislation, policies, and practices have consistently advanced transparency and openness.

More from the government of Canada.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Census Bureau Releases a Collection of Wholesale Trade Statistics

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a collection of statistics on the wholesale trade sector of the economy, completing the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series, beginning the 2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series, and releasing the 2013 Annual Wholesale Trade Report.
Preliminary statistics from the 2012 Economic Census show the sector had sales of $7.8 trillion, up 20.0 percent from the final published total of $6.5 trillion from the 2007 Economic Census. The number of establishments declined, however, from 434,983 in 2007 to 420,014 in 2012. According to estimates from the Annual Wholesale Trade Report, sales increased  3.0 percent from $7.8 trillion in 2012 to $8.0 trillion in 2013. This report presents data from merchant wholesalers of durable and nondurable goods, including manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, as well as agents and brokers.
Other findings:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

17 Percent Have Said ‘I Do’ More Than Once

While 52 percent of U.S. adults have taken the vows of marriage only once, the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that 17 percent have said “I do” two or more times. The findings show that of all U.S. residents age 15 and older, 13 percent have been married twice and 4 percent have walked down the aisle three or more times.

The new report, Remarriage in the United States, uses American Community Survey data collected from 2008 to 2012 to look at marital history by selected socio-economic characteristics and for metropolitan statistical areas.

“In 1990, 54 percent of marriages were the first for both spouses,” said Jamie Lewis, an analyst in the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch and one of the report’s authors. “Now, newlyweds are more likely to be walking down the aisle for the first time — 58 percent of recent marriages were a first for both. The stabilization or slight decrease in the divorce rate during this period may explain why more marriages today are first marriages."

Below are a few highlights from the report:

*About 13 percent of men age 15 and over have been married twice, compared with 14 percent of women.

*Between 1996 and 2008-2012, the share of those who had married at least twice increased only for women age 50 and older and men 60 and older.

*Non-Hispanic white men and women are most likely to have married three or more times, while Asian men and women are least likely.

*Those employed are more likely to have married only once than the unemployed or those out of the labor force.

*About 70 percent of adults with personal incomes of at least $100,000 had married only once.

*Those with at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely to have married only once (64 percent) than all adults (52 percent).

*The majority of recent marriages (58 percent) are first marriages for both spouses, although 21 percent involve both spouses marrying for at least the second time.

*Remarried adults are more common in Southern and Western states and less common in the Northeast and Midwest. Among all states, the percentage of ever-married adults who had married two or more times is greatest in Arkansas (35 percent). Remarried people are least common in New Jersey (16 percent).

*Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz., and Prescott, Ariz., are among the metro areas with the highest percentage of ever-married adults who had remarried.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Receipt for Households: 2000-2013

This American Community Survey brief presents statistics on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receipt at the national and state levels based on data from the 2013 American Community Survey. In addition, this report discusses the current SNAP receipt rates for metropolitan statistical areas with large populations. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Insult to Injury: Is Income Inequality Tied to Worker Safety?

From the US Department of Labor:

The costs of workplace injuries are borne primarily by injured workers, their families, and taxpayer-supported components of the social safety net. Changes in state-based workers’ compensation insurance programs have made it increasingly difficult for injured workers to receive the full benefits to which they are entitled. Employers now provide only a small percentage (about 20%) of the overall financial cost of workplace injuries and illnesses. This cost-shift has forced injured workers, their families and taxpayers to subsidize the vast majority of the lost income and medical care costs generated by these conditions.

When employers are excused from this burden, worker safety and health often becomes less of a priority. This is especially important because preventing these injuries and illnesses in the first place would be the number one way to alleviate this type of suffering before it even begins.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Census Bureau Report Analyzes U.S. Population Projections

Population Projections

New Census Bureau Report Analyzes U.S. Population Projections
A new U.S. Census Bureau report released today provides an in-depth analysis of the nation’s population looking forward to 2060, including its size and composition across age, sex, race, Hispanic origin and nativity. These projections are the first to incorporate separate projections of fertility for native- and foreign-born women, permitting the Census Bureau to better account for the effects of international migration on the U.S. population.
·         The U.S. population is expected to grow more slowly in future decades than it did in the previous century. Nonetheless, the total population of 319 million in 2014 is projected to  reach the 400 million threshold in 2051 and 417 million in 2060.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Please take action to save the ACS 3-year data products.

Steven Ruggles
President, Population Association of America
Regents Professor, University of Minnesota
Director, Minnesota Population Center

The U.S. Census Bureau plans to discontinue the 3-year American Community Survey (ACS) data products as a cost-saving maneuver. Although the Census Bureau will continue to provide 1-year and 5-year ACS products, significant data will be lost.

The 3-year data provide a unique combination of spatial, temporal, and statistical precision, enabling a range of high-value analyses that the other ACS products cannot support. With a sample three times larger than 1-year ACS data, 3-year estimates have considerably smaller margins of error and are made available for nearly twice as many areas. Compared to 5-year data, 3-year data provide a degree of specificity that is crucial for some time series comparisons

The 3-year estimates may be used to analyze pre-recession (2005-2007), recession (2008-2010), and post-recession (2011-2013) characteristics of population and housing, summarizing shorter time periods than 5-year data and smaller areas (with at least 20,000 people) than 1-year data (with at least 65,000 people).

If you believe this change would significantly harm the nation's statistical infrastructure, you should make your feelings known by email:

Email James Treat, Chief of the American Community Survey Office, at james.b.treat@census.gov, and tell him how this elimination will negatively impact your research. Please be as specific as possible!

Email Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at Katherine_K._Wallman@omb.eop.gov, and tell her how this cut will negatively impact your research. The OMB must approve the spending plan proposed by the Census Bureau.

For more details on the proposed discontinuation and how it would impact research, please see these posts:

The ACS 3-year Demographic Estimates Are History

Opportunities to Provide Input Regarding the Proposed Elimination of ACS 3-year Data Products

Census to Eliminate 3-year Estimates

If policy-makers, academics, and students explain why these data are important, we may save this critical element of the nation's statistical infrastructure. I urge you to send your comments to james.b.treat@census.gov and Katherine_K_Wallman@omb.eop.gov and copy us at nhgis@umn.edu.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

One hundred and fifty years ago this week, President Lincoln signed a law establishing the first federal veterans’ facility for disabled Civil War veterans. This facility gave root to the Department of Veterans Affairs' assistance programs.

Today, the VA offers many benefits and services to eligible veterans and connects our military service men and women with resources across the country. Share this information with a veteran you know, or an organization that helps veterans.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Economic Census Reveals Sharp Growth in Value of Shipments for Oil and Gas Extraction Industry

Biofuel Sales Nearly Quadruple

Oil and Gas
       The U.S. Census Bureau released figures this week from the Economic Census showing that the value of shipments for the nation’s crude petroleum and natural gas extraction (NAICS 211111) industry climbed 28.9 percent between 2007 and 2012, despite only an 8.5 percent increase in the number of establishments over the same period.
      Value of shipments rose from $212.8 billion in 2007 to $274.3 billion in 2012, with the number of establishments increasing from 5,964 to 6,470.
      The industry also experienced a 21.1 percent increase in employment, which climbed from 143,054 in 2007 to 173,281 in 2012. Payroll jumped even more dramatically: 62.2 percent, from $9.1 billion in 2007 to $14.7 billion in 2012.
      The industry’s growth was attributable to crude petroleum, whose substantial rise in value of shipments over the period (73.8 percent) was in stark contrast to that of natural gas, which experienced a 22.5 percent drop.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

U.S. Cities are Home to 62.7% of U.S. Population, but Comprise Just 3.5% of Land Area

A majority of the U.S. population lives in incorporated places or cities, although these areas only make up a small fraction of the U.S. land area, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of the population living in cities in 2013 was highest in the Midwest and West at 71.2 percent and 76.4 percent, respectively.
 “The higher percentage of people living in cities in the West can partly be explained by the limited access to water outside of western cities and federally held land surrounding many of these cities, which limits growth outside incorporated areas,” said Darryl Cohen, a Census Bureau analyst and the report’s author. “This is especially true in Utah, where 88.4 percent of the population lives in an incorporated place.”
  The report, Population Trends in Incorporated Places: 2000 to 2013, draws from population estimates data on more than 19,000 cities across the U.S., including trends in population growth and loss, population density, geographic distribution, annexation and new incorporations.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Nonemployed Americans Spend Their Weekdays: Men vs. Women

From the New York Times:
Every year, the American Time Use Survey asks thousands of Americans to record a minute-by-minute account of one single day. For many “prime-age” adults, those between the ages of 25 and 54, a significant chunk of time on weekdays is taken up by work. But for the almost 30 million prime-age Americans who don’t work, a typical weekday looks far different.
Nonworkers spend much more time doing housework. Men without jobs, in particular, spend more time watching television, while women without jobs spend more time taking care of others. And the nonemployed of both sexes spend more time sleeping than their employed counterparts.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Annual Survey of Manufactures: 2013

National-level data for manufacturing industry groups and industries at the three-, four-, five- and six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) levels. Provides statistics on employment, payroll, supplemental labor costs, cost of materials consumed, operating expenses, value of shipments, value added by manufacturing, fuels and electric energy used, and inventories. 
Also provides statistics for each state and the District of Columbia as well as product shipments statistics at the seven-digit product class level. Survey statistics are released annually except for years ending in 2 and 7, at which time they are included in the manufacturing sector of the economic census. Internet address: