Monday, August 31, 2009

ACS and ASEC Data on Veteran Status: 2007

Focuses on comparisons of national and state distributions of veteran status and period of military service between the 2007 American Community Survey and the 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Examines specifically, for instance, how, at the national level, the age distribution of veterans and, at the state level, how the percent of the adult population who are veterans differs between the surveys.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

National, State, Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children

The National Immunization Survey (NIS) estimates vaccination coverage among children aged 19–35 months for 50 states and selected local areas. Healthy People 2010 established vaccination coverage targets of 90% for individual vaccines in the 4:3:1:3:3:1† vaccine series and 80% for the series. This report describes the 2008 NIS coverage estimates for this series and individual vaccines, 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine (HepA), and hepatitis B vaccination received in the first 3 days of life (HepB birth dose)among children born during January 2005–June 2007.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Carnegie Mellon researchers develop tool to rank death rates

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Have you ever wondered what the chances are that you may die in the next year? Would it be from illness or an accident? Is it something you can control? Or is it completely out of your hands?

A new Web site,, developed by researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University, allows users to query publicly available data from the United States and Europe, and compare mortality risks by gender, age, cause of death and geographic region. The Web site not only gives the risk of dying within the next year, but it also ranks the probable causes and allows for quick side-by-side comparison between groups.

Suppose you wanted to know who is more likely to die next year from breast cancer, a 54-year-old Pennsylvania woman or her counterpart in the United Kingdom.

“This is the only place to look,” said Paul Fischbeck, site developer and professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy (EPP) at Carnegie Mellon. “It turns out that the British woman has a 33 percent higher risk of breast cancer death. But for lung/throat cancer, the results are almost reversed, and the Pennsylvania woman has a 29 percent higher risk.”

“Most Americans don’t have a particularly good understanding of their own mortality risks, let alone ranking of their relevant risks,” said David Gerard, a former EPP professor at Carnegie Mellon who is now an associate professor of economics at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.

The researchers found that beyond infancy, the risk of dying increases annually at an exponential rate. A 20-year-old U.S. woman has a 1 in 2,000 (or 0.05 percent) chance of dying in the next year. By age 40, the risk is three times greater; by age 60, it is 16 times greater; and by age 80, it is 100 times greater (around 1 in 20 or 5 percent). “The risks are higher, but still not that bad,” Gerard said. “At 80, the average U.S. woman still has a 95 percent chance of making it to her 81st birthday.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

Life Expectancy at All Time High; Death Rates Reach New Low, New Report Shows

Source: National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

U.S. life expectancy reached nearly 78 years (77.9), and the age-adjusted death rate dropped to 760.3 deaths per 100,000 population, both records, according to the latest mortality statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2007, was issued this week by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The data are based on nearly 90 percent of death certificates in the United States.

The 2007 increase in life expectancy – up from 77.7 in 2006 — represents a continuation of a trend. Over a decade, life expectancy has increased 1.4 years from 76.5 years in 1997 to 77.9 in 2007.

See also Births: Preliminary Data for 2007.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

USDA Announces New Global Agricultural Trade System Database

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently launched an enhanced U.S. foreign agricultural trade searchable database called the Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).

The GATS database, which replaces the current U.S. trade data system, will provide users with U.S. agricultural data not previously available from FAS, including U.S. Customs District trade data, monthly and annual trade data going back to 1967, and U.S. state export data. Users will also be able to use GATS to produce charts and graphs.

GATS will help exporters and government officials keep up with fluctuations in U.S. agricultural trade. This information can help formulate marketing and negotiating objectives and strategies. Policy makers, program administrators, farmers, exporters, food aid organizations and others will be able to use this information to plan activities and make decisions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New York State Senate and Assembly Payrolls Updated

An updated staff payroll for the New York State Senate and Assembly was posted this week at, the Empire Center's government transparency site for taxpayers. The payroll is fully searchable by name and title, and reflects the latest changes made in the Senate staff payroll. The payroll, current as of Aug. 17, can also be downloaded from the site in spreadsheet form.

For the full text of this press release, click here.

Contact: Tim Hoefer, 518.434.3100

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Speed Matters Report re: Internet

From the release:

The third annual Speed Matters report on Internet Speeds in America was released earlier today – and U.S. connection speeds have not improved significantly in the past year. The results of nearly 413,000 real-time Internet connection speed tests show that the United States continues to lag behind other countries for average upload and download speeds.

The average download speed of U.S. Internet connections is 5.1 megabits per second, significantly below the averages of countries like South Korea (20.1 mbps), Japan (16 mbps) and Sweden (12.7 mbps).

Take a look at the report’s website, which features an interactive map with zip code level data, state by state rankings and the Speed Matters speed test.

Or you can find the full report here (PDF).

Monday, August 24, 2009

NYS Draft 2010 Annual Action Plan: Notice of Public Comment Period

Each year, in order to maintain its eligibility to administer certain federal funds for affordable housing and community development, New York State must prepare an Annual Action Plan and submit it to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Annual Action Plan describes, for one specific Program Year, the State’s proposed use of available federal and other resources to address the priority needs and specific objectives in the Consolidated Plan; the State’s method for distributing funds to local governments and not-for-profit organizations; and the geographic areas of the State to which it will direct assistance.

The Plan also describes New York State’s planned use of approximately $86 million in federal fiscal year 2010 funds for: the NYS Community Development Block Grant Program ($47 million); the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (approximately $34 million); the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program ($1.9 million); and the Emergency Shelter Grants Program ($3.2 million).

New York State encourages public participation in the development of its Annual Action Plan. To provide an opportunity for that participation, New York State invites interested persons to review and comment on the draft Annual Action Plan for 2010 during an upcoming public comment period.

This 30-day public comment period will begin on Thursday, September 10, 2009 and extend through close of business on Friday, October 9, 2009. Beginning on September 10, 2009, New York State’s draft Annual Action Plan for 2010 may be viewed on and downloaded from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) website at In addition, copies can be requested by e-mail ( or by calling 1-866-ASK-DHCR (275-3427).

Comments should be mailed to: NYS DHCR, Attention: Brian McCarthy, 38-40 State Street, Albany, New York 12207 or e-mailed to Comments must be received by close of business Friday, October 9, 2009.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Public Authority Payrolls, School Labor Contracts Posted Online

Payroll files for 384 Public Authorities have been posted on, the Empire Center's government transparency web site for taxpayers. The new data includes names, titles, base pay rates and total pay received for most of the 44,320 public authority employees added this month. For the full text of the press release, click here.

Also, earlier this month, updated school labor contracts for 77 teacher unions and 86 school superintendents were posted on the site. For the full text of the press release, click here.

Contact: Tim Hoefer 518.434.3100

Thursday, August 20, 2009

State and Local Government Jobs are Up

While the private sector has lost nearly 7 million jobs since the recession began, state and local governments have added employees, a new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government shows. Over the past year, total state- and local-government employment rose in 30 states and dropped in 16. Many public employers have cut jobs in recent months, however, and further cuts are expected.

The New York Times reported on the study in today’s editions. The article is available here.

Access the full report at the Institute's Web site.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes, August 2009 Edition

The Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes provides a general descriptive overview of the taxes which New York State and its local governments impose, and is revised periodically to reflect recently enacted law changes. It does not include non-tax revenue sources such as motor vehicle fees and the Lottery. Instead, it focuses on taxes, especially those administered by the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

State Highway Safety Laws

Description from ResourceShelf:

While you may be familiar with what’s legal in your own state, it’s a different story when you’re planning a road trip that will take you through several states. Will you need a Bluetooth headset? What’s the story if your 18-year old kid and his friends are taking to the open road — with their cell phones? Well, you can always rummage around the Net in search of different state driving laws — or you could call AAA.

Or you could take the recommended ResourceShelf route and seek out a reliable one-stop shopping site — in this case, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which maintains a collection of various highway safety laws in every state, updated monthly. Topics covered:

» Aggressive Driving Laws
» Cell Phone Driving
» Child Passenger Safety
» Drug Impaired Driving
» Drunk Driving
» Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)
» Helmets
» Mature Drivers
» Seat Belts
» Segways
» Sobriety Checkpoints
» Speed Limits
» Speed and Red Light Cameras
» Work Zone Speed Limits
You can see a neat matrix of laws on a state-by-state basis, with comments, notations and additional information, including links to related issue briefs. If it’s more useful for you to browse all the laws at once for a particular state, you can access the information that way.

There are other treasures on the GHSA website, notably this outstanding collection of links and resources, from which you can get to all state highway safety office websites, related federal websites, and a nicely annotated page of links on various highway safety topics.

For a look at traffic safety beyond the U.S., check out this page of Global Road Safety Websites.

Friday, August 14, 2009

State Transportation Statistics 2008

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), presents State Transportation Statistics 2008, a statistical profile of transportation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is the sixth annual edition of the State Transportation Statistics, and a companion document to the National Transportation Statistics (NTS), which is updated quarterly on the BTS website.

Like the previous editions, this document presents transportation information from RITA/BTS, other federal government agencies, and other national sources. A picture of the states’ transportation infrastructure, freight movement and passenger travel, system safety, vehicles, transportation related economy and finance, energy usage and the environment is presented in tables covering the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Tables have been updated with the most recently available data.

Included in this State Transportation Statistics 2008 report is a brief description of the data sources used and a glossary of terms. Also contained in this publication is a summary table that displays the approximate timing of future data releases and contact information for each state’s department of transportation.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Accounting for the Census Clause

Accounting for the Census Clause
By Myrna PĂ©rez
Brennan Center for Justice Blog (August 11, 2009)

In the inaccurately titled opinion piece (Our Unconstitutional Census) published on August 9 in the Wall Street Journal, Messrs. Baker and Stonecipher, a constitutional law professor and pollster respectively, falsely claim that the current practice of counting undocumented persons in the census for the purpose of apportionment is unconstitutional...

The Constitution uses the word "numbers" or "persons"-not "citizens," or "legal residents," or "those lawfully present" as the authors suggest.

More here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The 2009 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Taking Results Seriously for Vulnerable Children and Families: The 20th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book profiles the well-being of America’s children on a state-by-state basis and ranks states on 10 key measures of child well-being. The Data Book essay calls for a “data revolution” that uses timely and reliable information to track the progress and improve the lives of vulnerable children.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas, 2008

Personal income growth slowed in 2008 in most of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal income growth slowed in 322 MSAs, increased in 42, and remained unchanged in 2 MSAs. On average, MSA personal income grew 3.3 percent in 2008, down from 6.0 percent in 2007.

Monday, August 10, 2009

American Community Survey Alert

On September 22, 2009, the Census Bureau will release the 2008 ACS 1-year estimates. Similar to last year's release, the 2008 ACS will include 1-year estimates available for the nation, 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district and all counties, places and metropolitan areas with populations of 65,000 or more. Included are the ACS income, earnings, and poverty data as well as all other ACS estimates on social, economic, demographic, and housing characteristics.

On October 27, 2009, the Census Bureau will release the 2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates, based on data collected from 2006-2008, for all geographic areas with populations of 20,000 or more. Included are the estimates on social, economic, demographic and housing characteristics.

Additional ACS Tools and Information - Coming Soon. Later this summer and into the fall the Census Bureau will provide tools to aid ACS data users. These tools include guidance on making comparisons between the 2007 and 2008 ACS data, ACS table shells, and a new e-tutorial to assist novice ACS data users.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pork-Barrel Spending Is Latest Addition To SeeThroughNY

This week, the Empire Center marked the first anniversary of its government transparency web site,, with the posting of $148.3 million in legislative pork barrel member items for 2009-10. The online database, which also includes $148.1 million in member items for 2008-09, is searchable by legislator, locality and recipient.

For the full text of this press release, click here. Contact Lise Bang-Jensen at 518.434.3100.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BLS Update

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: A listing of the latest publications from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is now available here, including The Employment Situation: July 2009. Please refer questions to

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

O Canada Business

Haven't stolen borrowed from the Hill Library lately:

A couple great resources to find statistics and resources on industry and business in Canada.

Industry Canada is the place to go if you're looking for information on the state of Canada's industry. It includes business tools for start-ups, as well as information on electronic commerce. Use the company directories to research companies, or search for information on statistics, financing, innovation, research, science and technology, regulations and standards, and more for Canada.

Canadian businesses and start-up entrepreneurs can use Canada Business to reduce "the complexity and burden of dealing with various levels of government" when attempting to start or run a business. Canada Business covers a range of relevant topics, from starting a business to taxes to selling to government. You can access Canada Business services via Web, email, or phone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Small Area Health Insurance Estimates

The Census Bureau's Small Area Health Insurance Estimates program (SAHIE) is "very pleased and excited to inform you of the latest release of model-based health insurance coverage estimates for counties and states by selected demographic groups for calendar year 2006. These estimates were released...Monday, August 3, 2009.

"As you probably know, SAHIE data are created by combining data from a variety of sources. For the 2006 data release, those sources include the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS
ASEC) , population estimates, decennial census, County Business Patterns, administrative record sources such as anonymized tax return data, Medicaid and CHIP participation data, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program) participation data. These sources are inputs into our statistical models to produce new estimates without collecting further information via surveys.

"For COUNTIES, we have created estimates of people with and without health insurance coverage by:
Ages 0-64, 18-64 and 40-64;
People of All incomes and people At or below 200 percent or At or below 250 percent of the poverty threshold; and
Ages 0-18, All incomes and At or below 200 percent of poverty.

"For STATES, we have created estimates of people with and without health insurance coverage by:
Ages 0-64, 18-64, 40-64 and 50-64;
All Races, White not Hispanic, Black not Hispanic, and Hispanic (any race);
People of All incomes and people At or below 200 percent and At or below 250 percent of the poverty threshold; and
Ages 0-18, All incomes and At or below 200 percent of poverty.

"At the request of our data users, we have added the following variables for the release:
The under 19 age group is available for All income levels and At or below 200 percent of the poverty threshold (2005 estimates were only available for At or below 200 percent of the poverty threshold).
The 0-64 age group is also available for All income levels for both state and county-level (2005 estimates were available for either At or below 200 percent or At or below 250 percent of the poverty threshold).
Added a second definition of percent uninsured with the addition of the percent uninsured in demographic group for low-income. This new percent compares the number of low-income uninsured relative to the low-income population in that demographic group. (This new data is reported along with the other percent uninsured which is the percent in the demographic group for All income levels. This percent compares the number of low-income uninsured relative to the population in that demographic group.)
All categories available for uninsured estimates are also available for insured estimates.

"This project is partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New York Leads in Per-Pupil Public Education Spending at Nearly $16,000

Public schools in New York spent $15,981 per pupil in 2007, which was more than any other state or state equivalent, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. (See Table 11.) New Jersey ($15,691) and the District of Columbia ($14,324) had the next-highest spending. States spending the least per pupil were Utah ($5,683), Idaho ($6,625) and Tennessee ($7,113).

On average, each state spent $9,666 per pupil in 2007, a 5.8 percent increase over 2006. Of total public school financing, state governments contributed 47.6 percent, followed by local sources, which contributed 44.1 percent, and federal sources, which made up the remaining 8.3 percent.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Residential Vacancies and Homeownership

National vacancy rates in the second quarter 2009 were 10.6 (+ 0.4) percent for rental housing and 2.5 (+ 0.1) percent for homeowner housing, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau announced. The Census Bureau said the rental vacancy rate was higher than the second quarter 2008 rate (10.0 percent) and higher than the rate last quarter (10.1 percent). For homeowner vacancies, the current rate was lower than the second quarter 2008 rate (2.8 percent) and lower than the rate last quarter (2.7 percent). The homeownership rate at 67.4 (+ 0.5) percent for the current quarter was lower than the second quarter 2008 rate (68.1 percent), but not statistically different from last quarter’s rate (67.3 percent).