Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Time spent in leisure activities in 2014, by gender, age, and educational attainment

On an average day in 2014, nearly everyone age 15 and over (96 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Among those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (6.0 hours) than did women (5.2 hours).

Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average. Men spent 3 hours per day watching TV, while women spent 2.6 hours. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 0.7 hours per day for both men and women.

On average, adults age 75 and over spent 8.0 hours per day engaged in leisure activities—more than any other age group; 35- to 44-year-olds spent 4.1 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities—less than other age groups.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Monday, June 29, 2015

Find Out if the Government Owes You Money

If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it’s unclaimed.
Currently, the government does not have one central website for finding unclaimed money by name, Social Security number, or state. To find unclaimed money from the government, you can check various sources.

A word of caution: government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets. Avoid unclaimed money scams by learning how to recognize government impostors.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How Your Hometown Affects Your Chances of Marriage

The place where you grow up doesn’t affect only your future income. It also affects your odds of marrying, a large new data set shows.

The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado.

These conclusions — based on an Upshot analysis of data compiled by a team of Harvard economists studying upward mobility, housing and tax policy — are not simply observations about correlation. The economists instead believe that they have identified a causal role that geography plays in people’s lives. The data, which covers more than five million people who moved as children in the 1980s and 1990s, suggests that children who move from, say, Idaho to Chicago really do become less likely to marry, even if the numbers can’t explain exactly why these patterns exist.

More from the New York Times.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Copyright Office Releases Report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization

The U.S. Copyright Office today released Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights. The Report documents the legal and business challenges faced by good faith users who seek to use orphan works and/or engage in mass digitization projects. It provides a series of legislative recommendations that offer users a way forward out of gridlock, but also take into account the legitimate concerns and exclusive rights of authors and other copyright owners.

The Copyright Office has long held the view, which it reiterates in the Report, that too many valuable projects are forestalled because users can neither locate the rightsholders nor protect themselves or their licensees from ongoing exposure to liability. Similarly, recent litigation has highlighted a gap in the law regarding how to fully facilitate mass digitization projects that are in the public’s interest without undermining the rights of copyright owners, including the right to be fairly compensated.
With respect to orphan works, the Report provides draft legislation that draws upon the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act passed by the Senate seven years ago, albeit with some updates and changes that reflect intervening developments and public discussions.

With respect to mass digitization, the Report recommends a more incremental approach that would allow the United States to gain experience with an extended collective licensing framework that is in use or under consideration elsewhere in the world. The Office suggests a “pilot program” that would enable users to digitize and provide access to certain works for research and education purposes under conditions to be agreed upon between rightsholder and user representatives. To assist it in developing appropriate legislation, the Office is issuing a Notice of Inquiry contemporaneously with the Report, inviting public comment on various issues concerning the scope and administration of such a program.

The full report is available at HERE.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Economic Census: Released Publications by State

The 2012 Economic Census is being released on a flow basis on American FactFinder (AFF) through June 2016. Data at the state, metro area, county, and place levels are provided in the Geographic Area Series (GAS) data files. Data by ZIP code are provided in later releases. The GAS data are released by NAICS sector and by state, and the data are also summarized in the Economy-Wide Key Statistics (EWKS) data file.

By the end of June 2015, for New York, Wholesale Trade, Utilities, Real Estate and Rental and Leasing, Construction, Manufacturing will have been released.

See Census Bureau.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Assembly Expenses Topped $1M in Latest Period

The Assembly paid $1.1 million to 130 members for costs related to "legislative duties" performed in Albany between April and September 2014, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website. The data was released more than eight months after the end of the reporting period, an unusually long delay.
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj of the Bronx collected the most in Albany legislative duty reimbursements, receiving $17,940 in the six-month period. Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper of Nassau County was reimbursed $14,135, the second most. The reimbursements include travel to and from Albany as well as "per diem" payments for food and lodging.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

America's CEOs Now Make 303 Times More Than Their Workers

From Mother Jones:

"Those at the top of the income distribution, including many CEOs, are seeing a strong recovery, while the typical worker is still experiencing the detrimental effects of a stagnant labor market," the study's authors, Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis, found.

The pay gap between CEOs and the typical worker has widened since 2009, with CEOs now making more than 303 times the earnings of workers in their industries. CEOs have made at least 120 times the earnings of typical workers since 1995.

Read the EPI report HERE.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Reverse Mortgages are not Risk-Free

The reverse mortgage ads you may have read or seen on TV sound like great solutions to older homeowners’ financial strain, but can you trust them?

Not entirely, warns the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many of these ads lead seniors to believe reverse mortgages are risk-free. If you’re thinking of getting a reverse mortgage, learn what the ads don’t tell you and what the risks are first.

If you or a loved one already has a reverse mortgage, take these three steps to protect yourself and make a plan for the future.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father’s Day: June 21, 2015

Father's Day: June 21, 2015
June 12, 2015 — The idea of Father’s Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.
The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
How Many Fathers?
70.1 million

Monday, June 15, 2015

Using music in political campaigns: what you should know

From Daily Kos:

The union of politics and music has a long history. It works on a multiple levels too. Associating a campaign with a popular song is the equivalent of having a good jingle for a product, and it helps to get the crowds going.


Can a candidate use a song at a campaign event in front of the crowd before the candidate arrives?

• When music is played in public, such as at a campaign event, it is typically necessary to obtain a license for the musical composition (words and music). It is not necessary to obtain a license from the owner of the sound recording (usually a record label).
• The musical composition license is usually issued by a performing rights organization (“PRO” – such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC).
• The license can be obtained by either the campaign or the venue (e.g., hotel, restaurant, stadium).

From Future of Music

Cases get less clear cut when political campaigns use songs in a context that could be interpreted as an endorsement of particular ideas or candidates on the part of the artist. ASCAP offers this guide for music use by political campaigns [PDF], which outlines the process of clearing a song, and also explains how licensing a song may not protect a campaign from being sued by an artist who does not want them to use their music.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

American Housing Survey Emergency Preparedness Infographic

To better understand the needs of first responders and other emergency workers, the 2013 American Housing Survey asked U.S. residents how prepared they are for disasters. A new infographic released this week displays a wide range of the resulting statistics on topics such as having an emergency water supply and emergency evacuation kit.
The American Housing Survey is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the most comprehensive housing survey in the United States. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Celebrate Flag Day by Learning About Its History and Display

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. Since then, the Stars and Stripes has become our most famous symbol. Few things have witnessed American history as up-close as the flag. From the birth of the nation, to the darkest and brightest moments over time, the flag has been there. Learn more about its 238 years of history and this observance.

Whether you are displaying a flag at home, work or in a public setting, learn how to do it correctly using these guidelines(PDF).  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26

 On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of this law’s enactment, this edition of the Facts for Features provides a demographic snapshot of the U.S. population with a disability and examines various services available to them. The statistics come from various Census Bureau censuses and surveys, covering differing periods of time.
Population Distribution
56.7 million
Number of people in the United States in 2010 with a disability, according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation. People with disabilities represented 19 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. People with a disability have a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major life activities, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, preparing meals, going outside the home or doing housework. A disability can occur at birth or at any point in a person’s life. Source: Americans with Disabilities: 2010 <http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf>
15.7 million
According to data collected from the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2012, the number of people 65 and older — 39 percent of the population in this age group — with at least one disability. Of this group, two-thirds had difficulty in walking or climbing. The second-most cited disability was difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping. Source: Older Americans With a Disability: 2008-2012

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Looking for Affordable Housing? Beware of Section 8 Scams

If you know someone who needs public housing assistance, make sure he or she knows about the Section 8 housing scams that prey on home-seekers. The scams use websites that look like registration sites for Section 8 waiting list lotteries. They take people’s “registration fee” money, their personal information, and their chance to register for the real lottery—since these hopefuls usually don’t know they’ve been scammed until the real waiting list is closed.

There is never a fee to register for a real Section 8 waiting list. To sign up for one, contact yourlocal public housing authority.

And for more information on finding an affordable home, visit the new USA.gov “beta” site—a work in progress!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MasterCard 2015 Global Destination Cities Index

Driven by insights into travel patterns, the Global Destinations Cities Index [PDF] provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. More than just a travel tracker, the Index delivers deeper understanding of how people move around the world and speaks to the importance and prominence of the world’s cities as homes, destinations and engines of growth.

According to the study, London is projected to receive 18.82 million international visitors in 2015, just slightly ahead of second-ranked Bangkok. The two cities have topped the Index throughout its five-year history...

...In 2015, it is expected that nearly 383 million overnight trips will be made by international visitors between the Index’s 132 cities, representing a massive demand for goods, services and experiences as they spend at total of US$360 billion during their visits.

According to the UN report on World Urbanization Prospects, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. By forecasting the number of international overnight travelers, the Global Destination Cities Index shows the infrastructure needed to meet the expectations of both locals and visitors.

Monday, June 8, 2015

You can’t rent a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America on a minimum-wage job

A new report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition shows that there is no state in the U.S. where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford the rent of a one-bedroom apartment.

According to the report, the national average Housing Wage in 2015 is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $15.50 for a one-bedroom unit, while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour in 2015, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. In 13 states and D.C., Housing Wage is more than $20 per hour. The Housing Wage is an estimate of the full-time hourly wage that a household must earn to afford a decent apartment at HUD’s estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR) for no more than 30% of their income.

See more from Raw Story.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New ACS Website Coming Soon

The U.S. Census Bureau plans to launch a newly designed website for the American Community Survey (ACS) on June 23.

The website will have a look and feel and contain terminology consistent with census.gov, allowing users to quickly find information thanks to an easy to understand hierarchical structure. Users may find that previously bookmarked pages must be updated, but we will provide hyperlinks to the most popular content in our announcements.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Paying your friends through an app? Read this.

Imagine you’re at a restaurant with your friend. She pays the check, and says you can pay her back. Do you:

a) write an IOU on a napkin?

b) pull out a wad of cash and give her exact change?

c) take out your phone and pay her through a mobile payment app?

If you answered c), this post is for you.

Like apps that let you pay at stores with your phone, “peer-to-peer” payment services can be a convenient way to pay friends. But before you use one — or use one again — check the app’s settings for available security features.

More from the Federal Trade Commission.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The "Turn Around, Don’t Drown" rule of flood waters

With storms continuing to pound the East Coast and other parts of the country, the dangers of driving and walking through flood waters can’t be ignored. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult, while 12 inches can carry away a small car. Follow the Turn Around, Don’t Drown rule of flood waters. It’s advice to live by.

And learn more about your risk of flooding, the most common natural disaster in the United States.

 If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, emergency preparation is key. Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes.
Be prepared for severe storms:
  • Check for alerts at the National Hurricane Center and your local weather at weather.gov.
  • Know your risk if you live in an evacuation zone and check your local weather channels regularly for updates.
  • Know where to go if you're area is designated for evacuation.
  • Develop a plan that identifies all of the steps that as a family you need to take before, during, and after a disaster to ensure maximum personal safety and property protection (Download NOAA’s Weather Safety: Hurricanes publication (PDF). 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Per Pupil Spending Varies Heavily Across the United States

Public Education Finances
Census Bureau Releases New Public Education Finance Data
June 2, 2015 — Per pupil spending for the nation was $10,700 during fiscal year 2013, a 0.9 percent increase from 2012, but varied heavily among states with a high of $19,818 in New York and a low of $6,555 in Utah. 
Today’s findings come from Public Education Finances: 2013, which provides figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems. The report and tables, released annually, include detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Study reaffirms link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt

We already knew that conservative religiosity in the United States was closely tied to denying evolution. What wasn’t so obvious was why views of global warming, or the environment, would seem to so closely track views on where we humans (and the rest of all life on Earth) come from. Yet it seems they do.

The new study, which David Konisky of Georgetown authored with Matthew Arbuckle of the University of Cincinnati, draws on a vast dataset from the 2010 installment of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which not only asks people about their religious views, affiliations, and habits, but also samples a huge group of Americans — some 55,000 of them.

That large number allows the researchers to conduct a fine-grained analysis of the divergences in views on environmental matters between members of different major religious traditions (Catholics, Protestants, Jews) and also members of different denominations (Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and so on) in the United States. That includes looking at how “religiosity,” a measure of how committed people are to their faiths and how much they’re involved in religious activities (like going to church), seems to influence those environmental views.

More from the Washington Post.

Monday, June 1, 2015

2014 Characteristics of New Housing

Using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Construction, which is jointly funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this report provides annual statistics on the characteristics of new privately owned residential structures by census region. The report includes characteristics such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location of the laundry, presence of homeowner’s association, the buyer's source of financing and the structure's square footage. Internet address: