Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time Change Reminder and Halloween Safety


Don’t forget about the Time Change on Sunday, November 1. Set your clocks back one hour--the change officially starts at 2:00am on November 1. The majority of the United States observes daylight time, but there are some exceptions, including Hawaii and most of Arizona.
If your kids are going trick-or-treating, check out some Halloween Safety tips. They include:
Ensuring that your child's costume is flame-resistant.
Accompanying young children and ensuring that all children walk along sidewalks.
Instructing children not to enter homes.
Examining all candy before your child eats it.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Community Colleges Pave the Way to Upward Economic Mobility

From Pew Charitable Trust:

A report released by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project shows that community colleges are an important stepping stone for students of all backgrounds, income levels and high school achievements to improve their economic mobility prospects. Earning a community college degree boosts earnings by an average of $7,900 annually, an increase of 29 percent over those with only a high school diploma. For low-income, high-achieving high school students in particular, community colleges serve as a springboard to further postsecondary education; more than half eventually transfer to four-year programs, and three-quarters of those who transfer earn a bachelor’s degree.

Full report (PDF) here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beige Book – October 21, 2009

Source: Federal Reserve Board

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated either stabilization or modest improvements in many sectors since the last report, albeit often from depressed levels. Leading the more positive sector reports among Districts were residential real estate and manufacturing, both of which continued a pattern of improvement that emerged over the summer. Reports on consumer spending and nonfinancial services were mixed. Commercial real estate was reported to be one of the weakest sectors, although reports of weakness or moderate decline were frequently noted in other sectors.

Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines, but virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered. For example, Dallas cited slight improvements residential real estate and staffing firms, while New York noted gains only in a few sectors (predominantly manufacturing and retail). Retail and manufacturing conditions were mixed in Boston, but some signs of improvement were reported. New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and San Francisco cited small pickups in manufacturing activity. In the Kansas City District, an uptick was noted in technology firms, while services firms posted revenue gains in Richmond. However, conditions were referred to as stable or flat for business services and tourism firms in Minneapolis and agriculture in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The weakest sector was commercial real estate, with conditions described as either weak or deteriorating across all Districts. Banking also faltered in several Districts, with Kansas City and San Francisco noting continued erosion in credit quality (often with more expected in the future). One bright spot in the banking sector was lending to new homebuyers, in response to the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Finally, labor markets were typically characterized as weak or mixed, but with occasional pockets of improvement.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

California Would Lose Seats Under Census Change

By SAM ROBERTS, New York Times

A Republican senator’s proposal to count only United States citizens when reapportioning Congress would cost California five seats and New York and Illinois one each, according to an independent analysis of census data released Tuesday. Texas, which is projected to gain three seats after the 2010 census, would get only one.
The proposed change would spare Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania the expected loss of one seat each. Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina would each gain a seat.
If every resident — citizens and noncitizens alike — is counted in 2010, as the Census Bureau usually does, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each and Texas would get three, the analysis found.
Losing one seat each would be Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the analysis of census data through 2008 by demographers at Queens College of the City University of New York.

-- more here

GAO Report: 2010 Census

2010 Census: Efforts to Build an Accurate Address List Are Making Progress, but Face Software and Other Challenges, by Robert Goldenkoff, director, strategic issues, before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-10-140T, October 21. Highlights.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

State of the Blogosphere 2009

From the description by Eric Olsen, Publisher of Blogcritics/Technorati

Earlier this month, denizens of the blogosphere descended on Las Vegas for three days of networking and socializing at the 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo. Besides the conference and trade show, there was much to learn from the keynote speakers, and of particular interest was the 2009 State of the Blogosphere delivered by Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra.

The 2009 State of the Blogosphere

Introduction: Why the results of the survey are displayed according to four different types of bloggers.

Day 1: Who Are the Bloggers? We delve into the demographics.

Day 2: The What and Why of Blogging: Why we do what we do.

Day 3: The How of Blogging: How often we blog, what technologies we use, and whether or not we track our traffic.

Day 4: Blogging Revenues, Brands and Blogs: Branding and monetizing our blogs.

Day 5: 2009 Trends: Political Impact of Blogging, Twitter Usage.

In addition to the survey results, you'll find illuminating interviews with some of the blogosphere's movers and shakers:

Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist
Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital, Micro Persuasion
Alex Santoso, Neatorama
Henry Copeland, Blogads
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post
Jonathan Salem Baskin, Dimbulb
Mathew Ingram, Toronto Globe and Mail
Seth Godin, Squidoo,
Simon Mackie, Web Worker Daily
Dan Gillmor,
Duncan Riley, The Inquisitr

About the State of the Blogosphere

Since 2004, Technorati's annual State of the Blogosphere report has followed growth and trends in the blogosphere. For the second time, bloggers, generous with their thoughts and insights, were surveyed directly to provide the data for the report. The 2009 State of the Blogosphere survey demonstrates that the growth of the blogosphere's influence on subjects ranging from business to politics to the way information travels through communities continues to flourish. In a year when revolutions and elections were organized by blogs, bloggers are blogging more than ever, and the State of the Blogosphere is strong.

Monday, October 26, 2009

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

You can find details on the religious composition of the United States, including religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices in the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. More than a study of religion, the Pew Research survey also includes the social and political attitudes affiliated with religious traditions in the United States. The survey is based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans.

One element I found particularly interesting is A Brief History of Religion and the U.S. Census. From the document:

The U.S. Census Bureau has not asked questions about religion since the 1950s, but the federal government did gather some information about religion for about a century before that. Starting in 1850, census takers began asking a few questions about religious organizations as part of the decennial census that collected demographic and social statistics from the general population as well as economic data from business establishments...Although the census takers did not interview individual worshipers or ask about the religious affiliations of the general population, they did ask members of the clergy to identify their denomination – such as Methodist, Roman Catholic or Old School Presbyterian. The 1850 census found that here were 18 principal denominations in the U.S.

The same basic questions on religious institutions were included in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. In 1880, census takers started collecting more in-depth information from religious leaders on topics ranging from average worship attendance to church income, expenditures and debt. The scope of inquiry about religion was expanded again in 1890, when census takers gathered information about the number of ministers in each denomination. Classifications for the denominations also were more detailed...

There were no other significant changes in data collection on religious bodies until 1902, when the U.S. Census Bureau was established as a permanent government agency and census officials decided to separate some data collection from the regular decennial census. This led to the statutory creation of the Census of Religious Bodies, which began in 1906 as a stand-alone census to be taken every 10 years.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

State Personal Income: Second Quarter 2009

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

U.S. personal income grew 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, the first growth in a year for the U.S. and for 15 states, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, U.S. personal income fell 2.3 percent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hard Times to Diminish Census Response

Hard economic times will likely diminish response rates for the 2010 U.S. Census, government officials predict.

The Census Bureau said Monday that mounting mistrust of government and record numbers of home foreclosures may well dissuade more residents from mailing back Census forms next year, USA Today reported.

More here.

IRS migration data

The IRS has released a new year of state and county level migration flows based on tracking tax returns between 2007 and 2008. As usual, the Missouri Census Data Center has obtained these data and made them available in its public data archive, as well as via its interactive web application that displays a migration profile for any selected county in the U.S.

MDCD used to have to purchase these data on CD-ROM/DVD, but starting this year, the IRS has decided to make the raw files available via a free download site.

You can access the MCDC irsmig data collection, which lets you access the migration profiles menu page.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The States of Marriage and Divorce

Source: Pew Research Center

In Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young — half of first-time brides in these states were age 24 or younger on their wedding day. These states also have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008.

It’s the opposite state of affairs in Massachusetts and New York. Their residents marry late — half of ever-married New York men were older than age 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.

Looking at rates, about 6% of Texans who ever have been married have wed three times or more. That is similar to the national average (5%), but well below the leaders in this category — the neighboring states of Arkansas and Oklahoma — where about 10% of all ever-married adults have had at least three spouses.

Marriage and Divorce: A 50 State Tour

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alternative Income and Poverty Estimates: 2008

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is releasing alternative income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2008. The data were collected from the 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The first set of alternative measures include poverty estimates only and are based on recommendations from a 1995 National Academy of Sciences panel on measuring poverty. These estimates use a broadened definition of income and a set of poverty thresholds that are conceptually consistent with this income measure. The second set of alternative measures includes both income and poverty estimates and shows the impact of cash and noncash benefits and taxes on the distribution of income and prevalence of poverty. The poverty estimates in this series are based on the official poverty thresholds. Both of these alternative measures are similar to estimates released in January 2009 covering calendar year 2007 from the 2008 CPS ASEC.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Waste Money and Ruin the Census

New York Times editorial, published October 19, 2009

With the start of the 2010 census just a few months away, Senator David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana, wants to cut off financing for the count unless the survey includes a question asking if the respondent is a United States citizen. Aides say he plans to submit an amendment to the census appropriation bill soon.

As required by law, the Census Bureau gave Congress the exact wording of the survey’s 10 questions in early April 2008 — more than 18 months ago. Changing it now to meet Mr. Vitter’s demand would delay the count, could skew the results and would certainly make it even harder to persuade minorities to participate.

It would also be hugely expensive.

-- More here.

Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2009

Source: Eurostat

Through graphics and text, the Eurostat regional yearbook 2009 paints a statistical portrait of life in the regions of the European Union’s member states, candidate countries and the EFTA countries. Its 13 chapters are written by specialists and presented in a language accessible to all. The book gives an ideal opportunity to assess the progress made so far in regional policy programmes recently launched as part of the EU’s new cohesion policy. The latest results from the Urban Audit provide a snapshot of city life across the regions.

Monday, October 19, 2009

USA Counties

From the Census Bureau:

USA Counties features over 6,500 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2008 estimates and many items from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 1990 census, the 1980 census and the 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982 and 1977 economic censuses.

Information in USA Counties is derived from the following general topics: age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, health, households, housing, income, labor force, manufactures, population, poverty, retail trade, social programs, veterans, vital statistics, water use, and wholesale trade.

Files contain a collection of data from the U. S. Census Bureau and other Federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Social Security Administration.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It being October, with its Oktoberfests, er al., I commend to you the Beer Institute, with a great deal of statistics about beer consumption.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pew Internet & American Life Project

As described by

If you're interested in learning more about the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, check out the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The Project produces reports exploring these topics, including how they impact daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project studies the social impact of the internet, focusing on topics such as health, teens, and broadband. Its three main topic areas are Activities & Pursuits, Demographics, and Technology & Media. The Project provides access to a number of data tools, including research reports and commentary, infographics, trend data, survey questions, and datasets. Data is based on phone surveys, online surveys, and qualitative research.

Recent reports include: The Internet as a Diversion, Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years, Wireless Internet Use, Home Broadband Adoption, and The State of Music Online. To see these reports and many more, visit the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here's a list of ALL the roundabouts in the U.S. and Canada. It lists the location, the type of roundabout, and the year it was constructed. It was compiled in 2006, but at least three of the records for Albany County, NY were updated in 2007.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Variation in Insurance Coverage Across Congressional Districts

New data on health insurance coverage from the American Community Survey show extensive variation in rates of private and public coverage and uninsurance across congressional districts in the United States. Rates of private coverage are lowest in districts that have higher poverty rates which tend to be concentrated in the South and West and uninsurance remains most serious in districts with low rates of private coverage. This analysis identifies the districts in which residents would have the most to gain from health reforms that are designed to increase health insurance coverage toward a higher and more uniform national standard

Monday, October 12, 2009

How Well Does Your State Constitution Protect Individual Rights, Limited Government?

Source: Goldwater Institute

In 50 Bright Stars: An Assessment of Each State’s Constitutional Commitment to Limited Government, Goldwater Institute constitutional policy director Nick Dranias assessed and ranked the strength of limited government provisions of each state constitution as currently interpreted in recent court decisions and the quality and philosophy of each state’s judiciary.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Was On The Radio

I was on Internet radio on Monday, October 5. Don't mind telling you that I was mildly terrified.

Through a series of connections, involving the website, a woman named Barbara Weltman became aware of me and my connection with the NYS Small Business Development. Her producer, Gloria Luzier, e-mailed me and asked if I would appear on Barbara's radio show, Build Your Business Radio.

I provided a few questions that she might ask me, about the SBDC, the State Data Center and blogs. I got a call about 4:20 pm to make sure I was actually at the appointed place, then again at 4:27. I never talked to Barbara herself before or after the show, but I was in contact with other friendly and helpful people, including Wade Taylor, wsRadio, Operations Officer and Assistant Program Director, who gave me information on how to provide the links below.

SBDCs, State Data Centers, and the Curse of Blogging, Part I - Roger Green

SBDCs, State Data Centers, and the Curse of Blogging, Part II - Roger Green

Have I mentioned that I really HATE the sound of my own voice?

Report on the Taxation of the Telecommunications Industry in New York State

"Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2009, Part NN mandated that the Department of Taxation and Finance, in consultation with the New York State Public Service Commission, conduct a study to examine the assessments, fees, tax rates, and associated policies of the state of New York as they relate to the telecommunications industry. The report" that can be found here is "the result of that mandate.

"The report proceeds by first providing a discussion of the scope and nature of the telecommunications industry in New York. The report then provides a basic discussion of all the taxes, fees, and assessments to which the industry is subject. Finally, the report culminates in the challenging task of presenting a matrix that attempts to show what taxes apply to the various services provided by the industry.

"This report is not an exhaustive examination of the tax issues affecting the telecommunications industry."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

America’s Families and Living Arrangements 2007

Highlights of the Census Bureau report include:

* 68% of households in 2007 were family households, compared with 81% in 1970.
* The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2007, from 17% to 27%.
* Between 1970 and 2007, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6.
* Most family groups with children under 18 (67%) were maintained by married couples.
* The vast majority of fathers who lived with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s mother (94%). In comparison, 74% of mothers living with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s father.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

State Tax Department Plans Greater Responsiveness

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward announced this week new initiatives to ensure that the department is accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

To view the entire document please visit here.

Marketing U.S. Organic Foods: Recent Trends From Farms to Consumers

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Organic foods now occupy prominent shelf space in the produce and dairy aisles of most mainstream U.S. food retailers. The marketing boom has pushed retail sales of organic foods up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997. U.S. organic-industry growth is evident in an expanding number of retailers selling a wider variety of foods, the development of private-label product lines by many supermarkets, and the widespread introduction of new products. A broader range of consumers has been buying more varieties of organic food.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Geography of Homelessness, Part 3

The Homelessness Research Institute at the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) has released the third brief in its Geography of Homelessness series. Part 3: Subpopulations by Geographic Type examines the geographic distributions of three homeless subpopulations: chronically homeless individuals, non-chronically homeless individuals and persons in families with children. Each of these subpopulations' geographic distributions is compared to that of the total homeless population.

"Part 3" goes on to differentiate between sheltered and unsheltered subgroups of the above three subpopulations, eventually making the following determinations:
*The occurrence of unsheltered persons in families who are rurally located is almost double that of their urban counterparts
*66 percent of chronically homeless individuals are unsheltered nationwide
*The "Mostly Rural" category differs from other categories in almost every aspect

Monday, October 5, 2009

Women in the Labor Force

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
From Introduction and Highlights

The past several decades have been marked by notable changes in women’s labor force activities. Women’s labor force participation is significantly higher today than it was in the 1970s, particularly among women with children, and a larger share of women work full time and year round than in past decades. In addition, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education: among women aged 25 to 64 who are in the labor force, the proportion with a college degree roughly tripled from 1970 to 2008. Women’s earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings also have grown over time. In 1979, women working full time earned 62 percent of what men did; in 2008, women’s earnings were 80 percent of men’s.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

American Religious Identification Survey 2008

The American Religious Identification Survey 2008 survey was carried out during February-November 2008 and collected answers from 54,461 respondents who were questioned in English or Spanish.

The American population self-identifies as predominantly Christian but Americans are slowly becoming less Christian.

+ 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008.
+ The historic Mainline churches and denominations have experienced the steepest declines while the non- denominational Christian identity has been trending upward particularly since 2001.
+ The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.
+ 34% of American adults considered themselves "Born Again or Evangelical Christians" in 2008.
+ The U. S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one out of every five Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008.
* The "Nones" (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) continue to grow, though at a much slower pace than in the 1990s, from 8.2% in 1990, to 14.1% in 2001, to 15.0% in 2008.
* Asian Americans are substantially more likely to indicate no religious identity than other racial or ethnic groups.
+ One sign of the lack of attachment of Americans to religion is that 27% do not expect a religious funeral at their death.
+ Based on their stated beliefs rather than their religious identification in 2008, 70% of Americans believe in a personal God, roughly 12% of Americans are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable or unsure), and another 12% are deistic (a higher power but no personal God).
America’s religious geography has been transformed since 1990. Religious switching along with Hispanic immigration has significantly changed the religious profile of some states and regions. Between 1990 and 2008, the Catholic population proportion of the New England states fell from 50% to 36% and in New York it fell from 44% to 37%, while it rose in California from 29% to 37% and in Texas from 23% to 32%.
Overall the 1990-2008 ARIS time series shows that changes in religious self-identification in the first decade of the 21st century have been moderate in comparison to the 1990s, which was a period of significant shifts in the religious composition of the United States.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NEA Arts Magazine - New Issue

How do you tell a story? Oral storytelling has been practiced for generations around campfires and dinner tables, in barrooms and barbershops. But there are also other ways to tell a story: there is music, there is dance, there is basket weaving and pottery. These too tell the stories of our culture, both individual and shared. The folk and traditional arts, passed down hand-to-hand, from elder to apprentice, bear our nation’s history—our story of a multitude of cultures uniquely stitched together—in songs, in dances, in crafts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hispanic Origin Population in the US

National-level tabulations from the Current Population Survey on this population group are shown by a wide range of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. They include information on the generational distribution of the Hispanic population, as well as of specific groups, such as Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban. There are also tabulations on educational attainment, nativity and citizenship status, year of entry of the foreign-born, household type, labor force and employment status, occupation, earnings and poverty, housing tenure, mobility and health insurance status.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Holocaust Victims Insurance Act of 1998


New York State insurance law was amended in 1998 to address claims by Holocaust victims, survivors and their heirs, that certain insurers doing business in New York, either directly or through affiliates, that issued policies prior to the end of World War II had failed to pay legitimate claims.

Language in legislation emphasizes that, "Outside of Israel, New York is home to the largest number of Holocaust survivors and their heirs in the world."

The Annual Report to the Governor and the New York State Legislature on "The Holocaust Victims Insurance Act of 1998" was issued by the New York State Insurance Department from 1999 through 2009.

The Annual Report, describing the involvement of New York State in the restitution of Holocaust era assets, is available in the New York State Library's digital documents management system.