Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NYS Sales and Use Tax Rates by Jurisdiction, as of Dec 1, 2010

Effective December 1, 2010:
Publication 718 (11/10),New York State Sales and Use Tax Rates by Jurisdiction
Publication 718-F (11/10), Local Sales and Use Tax Rates on Qualified Motor Fuel, Diesel Motor Fuel, and B20 Biodiesel

The change from the previous list is for Chautauqua County.

Monday, November 29, 2010

OTC meds will need Rx for Health Flex Spending

I believe there are some really good aspects of the new health care bill. This is not one of them: Over-the-counter medications will require a prescription to buy them with flexible spending account funds next year under new health care reform regulations. "The health care reform law sharply restricts FSA reimbursements for OTC purchases such as nonprescription pain relievers, cold medicines, antacids and allergy medications." Insulin is specifically excluded from this ruling.

Specifically, "the IRS says OTC reimbursements require a prescription, which it defines as a 'written or electronic order for a medicine or drug that meets the legal requirements of a prescription in the state in which a medical expense is incurred and that is issued by an individual who is legally authorized to issue a prescription in that state,'" whatever THAT means.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving: thanks to the Census Bureau.

The "event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday."

We are thankful that FDR provided that extra shopping period. Otherwise, Thanksgiving would have been a week later in 2000, 2006 and 2007, and would be a week later in 2012, 2017, 2018, 2023, 2028, 2029...

Seriously, I am thankful for all sorts of good things.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

First and last names- How Many of Me?

"There are 310,771,873 people in the United States of America. If everyone in the U.S. lined up single file, the line would stretch around the Earth almost 7 times. That's a lot of people.

"The U.S. Census Bureau statistics tell us that there are at least 151,671 different last names and 5,163 different first names in common use in the United States. Some names are more common than others.

"There are 44,935 people named John Smith in the United States. There are 977 people named James Bond, 103 people named Harry Potter , 438 people named George Bush, and 31 people named Emily Dickinson. However, Johnny Cash (33 people) songs aside there are, statistically speaking, very few boys named Sue."


•There are 500,343 people in the U.S. with the first name Roger.
•Statistically the 111th most popular first name.
•More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Roger are male.

•There are 476,335 people in the U.S. with the last name Green.
•Statistically the 37th most popular last name.

The numbers appear consistent with the 2000 Census and recent Social Security numbers.

As for Roger Green:

LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Changing American Family

Decades of demographic, economic and social change have transformed the structure and composition of the American family.

From the Newsmax coverage of the story: "About half of all adults in the U.S. are married, down from 72 percent in 1960, while four in 10 people consider marriage obsolete...As marriage has declined, cohabitation has become more widespread. Living with a partner has doubled since 1990, and 44 percent of adults say they have cohabited at some point, usually as a step toward marriage. Among respondents who were married, 93 percent said love was the most important reason to tie the knot. Marriage rates also were higher among those with greater education levels."

Who Needs Marriage? A Changing Institution. The TIME magazine cover story.

Monday, November 22, 2010

USA Counties - a quick reference for many commonly requested data items

USA Counties features over 6,800 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2009 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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Economic Indicator Search Tool

The Census Bureau has introduced a new, user-friendly Internet tool that takes all the guesswork out of finding, downloading and using data from economic indicators. For the first time, users can access data from multiple indicators in one place and all in the same format. This tool provides an easy way to create data tables in ASCII text or time series charts in your favorite spreadsheet format. Users can select an indicator and choose data by item, time period and other dimensions using drop-down menus. Of the Census Bureau's 12 economic indicators, four are operational in the new tool now — international trade, manufactures' shipments, monthly wholesale trade and quarterly services; the remainder are expected to be available in this database throughout the course of 2011. See also a blog on this tool.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Census Data: Revolutionizing How We Understand Our Communities

by Lindsay Carille, Dutchess County Senior Planner

While [the decennial Census] is important, until the 2010 Census data is released in early 2011 it is not really newsworthy...

American Community Survey (ACS)
The Census Bureau has long recognized the need for more current data than the once-a-decade collection. People using the data for important funding and planning decisions were, by necessity, using data that was at some points up to ten years out-of-date. The Census Bureau has found a solution to the problem of out-of-date socioeconomic information with the American Community Survey (ACS).

Phased in over the last 10 years, the ACS has replaced the “long form” and is now the source for socioeconomic information. The ACS is a survey designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing, every year instead of every ten years.

Much more info HERE.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have Consumers Become More Frugal?

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the third quarter of 2010, which shows that consumer debt continues its downward trend of the previous seven quarters, though the pace of decline has slowed recently. Since its peak in the third quarter of 2008, nearly $1 trillion has been shaved from outstanding consumer debts.

Additionally, this quarter’s supplemental report addresses for the first time the question of how this decline has been achieved and notes a sharp reversal in household cash flow from debt, indicating a decrease in available funds for consumption.

More HERE.

Quoting the American Consumers Newsletter: At the household level, the Consumer Expenditure Survey shows the same pattern. Household spending peaked in 2006 at $51,688. In 2008, the average household spent $50,486, or $1,200 less after adjusting for inflation. On many categories of products and services, the average household reversed the direction of its spending in the 2006-08 time period compared with the 2000-06 time period. Here are the 10 most telling U-turns in consumer spending:

1. RESTAURANTS: +8 percent to -6 percent. Americans are spending more on groceries.
2. MORTGAGE INTEREST: +21 percent to -5 percent. No age group has been hit as hard as 35-to-44-year-olds.
3. STATIONERY AND GIFT WRAP: +15 percent to -11 percent. Is there anything more discretionary than gift wrap?
4. DAY CARE: +16 percent to -8 percent. As the unemployment rate climbed, spending on day care fell.
5. FURNITURE: +1 percent to -22 percent. Houses were selling furiously during the housing boom, but spending on furniture was surprisingly lackluster.
6. HOUSEHOLD TEXTILES: +24 percent to -23 percent Towels, sheets, blankets, curtains.
7. BABY CLOTHES: 0 percent to -9 percent. When the recession set in, the number of births began to fall, and so did spending on baby clothes.
8. DRUGS: +6 percent to -12 percent. Behind the decline is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which went into effect in 2006.
9. ADMISSIONS TO ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS: +1 percent to -5 percent During the downturn, households continued to spend on high-definition television sets. But they cut back on other entertainment categories.
10. CASH CONTRIBUTIONS: +34 percent to -13 percent. Donations to charities are plummeting, says the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

American consumers spent $330 billion a year in borrowed dollars between 2000 and 2007, according to the Fed study. Now those dollars--and many of the businesses they built--are gone for good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taxable Sales and Purchases

Sales Tax: Taxable Sales and Purchases - County and Industry Data for March 2008 - February 2009

Article 29 of the Tax Law authorizes counties, cities and some school districts to impose a local sales tax as a complement to the statewide tax. This report presents statistical information on taxable sales and purchases subject to the county or the New York City (NYC) sales tax.
Taxable sales include nearly all retail sales of tangible personal property and certain services. Taxable purchases represent the value of tangible personal property or services purchased for use in business operations (which would otherwise be subject to tax) on which no sales tax was previously paid.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ruling On New York State's So-Called "Amazon Law"

In litigation of national significance, a recent State appellate court ruling upheld New York law requiring Internet retailers to collect sales tax on sales to New York customers, in litigation of national significance.

To view the entire document please visit HERE.

Men and Women Wait Longer to Marry

The median age at first marriage increased to 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women in 2010, an increase from 26.8 and 25.1 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This increase is a continuation of a long-term trend that has been noted since the mid-1950s. In addition, the overall percentage of adults who were married declined to 54.1 percent in 2010 from 57.3 percent in 2000.

According to America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2010, the average household size declined to 2.59 in 2010, from 2.62 people in 2000. This is partly because of the increase in one-person households, which rose from 25 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2010, more than double the percentage in 1960 (13 percent).

More HERE.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teacher and School Employee Salaries

A searchable online database including salaries of 402,896 public school employees, outside of New York City, was updated this month at www.SeeThroughNY.net, the transparency website sponsored by the Empire Center for New York State Policy. (New York City school salaries were updated on SeeThroughNY as part of the city payroll in July.)

The newly updated database includes data for professional employees, such as teachers and administrators, and for non-professional employees, such as custodians, bus driver, aides and secretaries.

The full text of this press release is available here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New York State Projection Data by County

In 2008 Cornell's Program on Applied Demographics redesigned its projection methods and produced population projections by county and by age and sex. The main differences from the earlier methodology and numbers are a 2005 base population instead of 2000, and the way populations in Group Quarters are handled.

Since 2008 the numbers were revised to accommodate new insights, such as new Census Bureau estimates. The results found on this web page were produced on April 2, 2009.

The projections are in 5 year intervals, in 5 year age groups, and project to 2035. The projections are based upon rates of change estimated from historic data. This means that the projections reflect what would happen if the rates of population growth and decline stay as they were. The projections are not meant to be forecasts; forecasts are predictions of future conditions while these projections are meant to gain insight into what might happen if the future looks like the past.

A methodology description and an Excel sheet with the assumptions can be downloaded from the download section.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Annual Statistical Report of NYS Tax Collections

2009-2010 Annual Statistical Report of New York State Tax Collections - Statistical Summaries and Historical Tables.

This publication contains a series of statistical tabulations detailing taxes administered by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The information presented includes revenues and selected tax structure and consumption information for the State's major taxes. It also presents data for some locally imposed taxes.

This edition presents information for New York State Fiscal Year 2009-2010 (SFY 2009-2010) and some historical statistics. New York State's fiscal year is April 1 - March 31.

Monthly tax collection information is also available HERE.

New York state warns of drowsy driving

By TIM O'BRIEN, Times Union Staff Writer

ALBANY -- It's been a long drive, and you're almost home. You grab a cup of coffee to keep going, roll down the window to let the cold air blast you in the face, and crank up the radio. Still, you can't seem to stop yawning. Your eyes fight to stay open. The last thing you remember is seeing your car start to drift.

Every year, 1,000 car crashes in New York state are caused by drowsy drivers. Another 3,000 accidents involve drivers who fell asleep at the wheel, said state Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner David J. Swarts.

According the Swarts, all the aforementioned tactics tired drivers try to use to make themselves more alert are "not effective."

"The best thing to do is pull over someplace safe and take a nap," he said...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day - Data from the Census Bureau

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New web site for Cornell Program on Applied Demographics

The last couple of months, the Cornell Program on Applied Demographics
has been working hard to completely overhaul its web site. This overhaul is related to limitations we had on the old site to present data. That limitation is now lifted.

Last month the new web site went live. The URL for the new homepage is http://pad.human.cornell.edu/index.cfm, and the link on the sidebar of this blog has been updated.

The whole structure of the new site is different from the old web site, so old bookmarks and links do not work anymore and need to be updated.

At the moment the site presents data from different sources on the County and School district level.

Fertility of American Women: 2008

Census Bureau Reports Nearly 1 in 3 Unmarried Women Who Give Birth Cohabit

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that among the 1.5 million unmarried women who gave birth during the period between June 2007 and June 2008, about 425,000, or 28 percent, were living with a cohabitating partner. These unmarried mothers included those who were separated and those married with an absent spouse.

These findings are contained in Fertility of American Women: 2008, which reports that 4 million women age 15 to 44 gave birth during that time.

"The report shows that many unmarried new moms are not raising their child alone."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Census in Schools Educator Update

Read the November Issue of The Census in Schools Educator Update; the following topics are included in the issue:
* 2010 Apportionment Data
* American Community Survey Data
* Lessons Plans for World Statistics Day

The Census in Schools Educator Update keeps educators informed about current and upcoming census data and provides ideas about how to use data in the classroom.

Can the Census Go Digital?

Science 15 October 2010: Vol. 330. no. 6002, pp. 310 - 312
by Sam Kean

The 2010 census will cost U.S. taxpayers $13 billion, making it the most expensive census in the world and prompting policymakers to ask if there are cheaper and better ways for the Census Bureau to do its job. For instance, why not tap into the vast amount of digital data on U.S. residents already being collected by various state and federal agencies and sitting in computers? But using digital data is not as straightforward as it would appear, and the Census Bureau must be very careful if it decides to rely on it in the future. For starters, a census can't err on the side of counting someone multiple times when the same person's name appears in different databases. Data from government agencies also contain more mistakes about individual characteristics—age, race, sex, and so on—than a census can tolerate. In addition, few databases come close to delivering the universal coverage the decennial census demands. What's more, there are no obvious technical fixes to these problems, in part because of the dearth of research on the topic.

[Complete article available, for a fee, HERE.]

Monday, November 8, 2010

2009 ACS 1-year PUMS Files Now Available

The U.S Census Bureau is pleased to announce the release of the 2009 ACS 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files today. The PUMS files are individual-level datasets that ACS data users can download and analyze on their own computers.

American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month

Facts for Features: American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month: Nov. 2010

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, getting endorsements from 24 state governments, to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Health-cost sharing could be step to balanced NY budget

Requiring local-government and school-district employees to pay part of the cost of their health insurance coverage could save New York taxpayers more than $1 billion a year without diminishing essential services, according to a new Rockefeller Institute report. The paper is one in a series prepared as part of Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch’s initiative to develop proposals that would lead New York State to structural budgetary balance.
“This idea would help localities manage through the inevitable cuts in state aid that can be expected in the coming years without compromising the quality of public services,” Ravitch said. “It is the kind of action that New York needs in order to avoid a destructive spiral of long-term economic decline.”
To read the report by Institute Senior Fellow Carol O’Cleireacain, visit the Institute Web site.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Community eligibility for grant programs

Someone asked me about income levels for certain grant programs:

The FFIEC, under contractual agreement with Tele Atlas, requires that you enter a street address along with either a city and state OR a zip code. It will provide demographic info for the area.

New York City has a Community Development Block Grant Eligibility Report

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Economic and trade sanctions

The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. OFAC acts under Presidential national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze assets under US jurisdiction.

Lengthy PDF list of blocked persons.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TSA's Secure Flight

Turning the calendar to November 1 means that airline passengers are now "required to provide complete Secure Flight passenger data when booking reservations so [the Transportation Security Administration or] TSA can conduct watch list matching and approve airlines to issue a boarding pass. To avoid unnecessary delays and prevent misidentifications, passengers should provide complete Secure Flight data - their name, date of birth, and gender as it appears on a recognized government ID - when booking airline travel, whether they have booked directly with the airline, a travel agent or an online booking site.

More HERE.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where Do You Vote?

Here's a national search engine as to where you vote, providing even the hours the polls are open.

Here's a New York State lookup. "To use this page, you must be a registered voter in the New York State." You also need the date of birth of the voter. The upside is that it provides voter district information, such as one's Election District, County Legislative District, State Senate District, State Assembly District, Congressional District, Town or City, and Ward. It also provides the party affiliation, in case you've forgotten.

Qualified Census Tracts and Difficult Development Areas

"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) supports the Department's efforts to help create cohesive, economically healthy communities.

"PD&R is responsible for maintaining current information on housing needs, market conditions, and existing programs, as well as conducting research on priority housing and community development issues. The Office provides reliable and objective data and analysis to help inform policy decisions. PD&R is committed to involving a greater diversity of perspectives, methods, and researchers in HUD research."

And that's where I found Qualified Census Tracts and Difficult Development Areas and other low-income data regarding housing, which can be applied to other uses.