Monday, October 31, 2011

Global Education Digest 2011

Source: UNESCO

From the press release:

Governments are struggling to meet the rising demand for secondary education, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are enough school places for just 36% of children of age to enroll. Girls face the greatest barriers as the gender gap widens across the region, according to the 2011 Global Education Digest published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

Globally, secondary schools have been accommodating almost one hundred million more students each decade, with the total number growing by 60% between 1990 and 2009. But with increasing numbers of children attending and completing primary level education, demand for places in secondary education has increased exponentially. ...

The Digest, produced by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, presents a wide range of indicators on the extent to which girls and boys are enrolling and completing secondary education. The report also enriches policy debates by examining the human and financial resources devoted to the classroom experience of students. For example, the total number of secondary teachers has risen by 50% since 1990 although shortages persist, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Link to full report.

City challenging Queens Census

City planning expert says federal boro numbers just don’t add up

Check out Joe Salvo at work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


From Terri Ann Lowenthal of the Census Project:

Next week, both the House and Senate will be back in session.

The Senate is expected to finish action on its first 'minibus' appropriations bill (H.R. 2112) for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), covering three appropriations accounts: Commerce, Justice & Science (which includes the Census Bureau); Transportation/HUD; and Agriculture. While we have not yet seen amendments that would affect the Census Bureau's funding, anything is possible -- there was a rumor last week about an amendment to reduce the Bureau's Working Capital Fund, a lesser known but robust revolving line item that funds critical core activities of the agency -- and we will keep a close eye on continued Senate debate.

Meanwhile, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) announced that conferees would begin work next week on the minibus bill, even though the House itself has not considered any of the bills incorporated in the larger one. Therefore, conferees will be working with parameters set by the House Appropriations Committee and, presumably, the full Senate.

As a reminder, key activities in the Periodic Censuses and Programs (Periodics) account are the 2010 Census (final evaluations; data products; challenge program; Census Coverage Measurement, or undercount/overcount estimates); research and planning for 2020 Census; and the 2012 Economic Census and 2012 Census of Governments. The Salaries and Expenses (S&E) account covers ongoing economic and demographic surveys and research supporting ongoing programs.

Here's the current lay of the land:

1. The Census Bureau requested $752.7M for Periodics, a reduction of $138.5M from the FY11 funding level. House appropriators allocated only $596.2M for Periodics (H.R. 2596), a reduction of 21% below the request (and 25% below the FY11 funding level). With this funding level, the Census Bureau says it would cancel the 2012 Economic Census, scheduled to start this fiscal year, with data collection occurring at the start of 2013. The Bureau also would delay or cancel some 2010 Census evaluations (possibly including the Count Question Resolution Program, through which local governments can challenge their census counts) and unique 2010 Census data products. The House budget cuts also would delay estimates of undercount/overcount from the Census Coverage Measurement program.

2. Senate appropriators allocated $690M for Periodics (S. 1572). Report language directed the Census Bureau to conduct the Economic Census and to reduce spending on periodic programs (indicating less than a thorough understanding of this account, since the Econ Census IS a periodic program!). According to the Commerce Department's impact statement, the Census Bureau needs "no less than" $690 million for the Periodic Censuses and Programs account to start the 2012 Economic Census. However, the agency would eliminate some key elements of the Economic Census, including the Survey of Business Owners. It also would cut Group Quarters (prisons; college dorms; military barracks; nursing homes; juvenile detention centers; etc.) from the American Community Survey. The proposed Senate funding level also would affect final 2010 Census activities, as noted above in the consequences of the House-committee approved level. The Census Bureau indicated that the Senate funding level would "adversely impact" nearly 300 jobs.

3. The Census Bureau requested $272.1M for the S&E account, incorporating $14M in program decreases to help rein in spending, including popular activities such as the Statistical Abstract. The House committee allocated $258.5M, equal to the FY11 funding level. The Senate committee allocated $253.3M. Under either funding level, the Census Bureau would carry out its own proposed cutbacks and would not proceed with three other initiatives: statistics on state and local government pensions, which inform GDP calculations; updates to the nation's poverty measure (through the CPS Supplemental Survey); and research on the use of administrative records to replace or supplement field data collection.

4. Continuing Resolution for FY12: The current CR runs through November 18. Congress could extend the temporary funding measure until Thanksgiving, or until the week before Christmas. Too early to know!

For more detail on the consequences of reducing or eliminating these core Census Bureau programs, including the quinquennial Economic Census, please see the letters to the House and Senate signed by dozens of organizations participating in The Census Project

SUGGESTED ACTION: Census Bureau stakeholders should contact members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, and Science, as well as the Appropriations Committee chairs and ranking members -- all presumed conferees -- to highlight the serious consequences of the proposed funding levels for the Bureau.
House subcommittee members
Senate subcommittee members

Please keep in mind that important research for the 2020 Census also is at stake. Congress is directing the Census Bureau to reduce spending on the decennial census significantly over the decade. The Census Bureau already has taken that directive to heart, but it cannot hope to implement new cost-saving methods and operations without a modest investment up front (e.g. early in the decade) on thorough research and testing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

List of Lists

While preparing for a presentation, a colleague stumbled upon this website created by a librarian that lists a series of lists. Some of them are a bit dated, but at worst, it may give one a direction to find more information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Drop Off Your Unwanted or Expired Medications this Saturday

Saturday, October 29, you can dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medications at a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection site. Find a drug collection site near you. If you can’t participate in Prescription Drug Take Back Day, learn how to safely and properly dispose of unused medicines.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Updated QuickFacts Tables Available from Census Bureau

Summary profiles for geographic areas have been updated with the most recent information from frequently requested statistics from various Census Bureau programs including the 2010 Census, 2010 American Community Survey and 2007 Survey of Business Owners. These easy to access and easy to use tables are now available for the nation, state and counties and have expanded from places with populations of 25,000 or more to places with 5,000 or more. Tables also provide links to more detailed data sets.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trends in College Pricing 2011

Source: College Board

Increases in college prices for the 2011-12 academic year reflect the continued impact of a weakened economy as well as state funding that has not kept pace with the growth in college enrollments. For the fifth consecutive year, the percentage increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities was higher than the percentage increase at private nonprofit four-year colleges.

Full article

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2010 Guide to State and Local Census Geography

The 2010 Guide to State and Local Census Geography is now available. This Product is an update of the book by the same name that the Census Bureau produced in collaboration with the Association of Public Data Users (APDU) following the 1990 Census. (There was no similar product for 2000.) The 2010 web version offers similar content as the 1990 print version, but also provides links to lists of geographic entities within each state.

This guide provides a nice summary of each state’s geographic structure and some highlights about the state’s geographic history and current geography. Here's New York’s information.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Household spending cuts

Some of my colleagues were interested to know if there is research regarding where consumers cut back first, second, etc., when times
are hard. This is different than what one OUGHT to cut back in hard
times, for which I find oodles of examples; I was looking for what people

Where Would You Cut Your Household Budget First? (2007) is interesting but flawed, in that it reflects what people saw they would do if there were hard times. But at the time, things seemed rosy.

More useful were Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks (2008) and Consumer Cutbacks: Temporary or Permanent? (2009), which reported on actual hard-times responses.

Also very helpful: Americans Cutting Back on Everyday Expenses to Save Money (Harris poll, 2011).

Addressing the issue from a different angle: 12 Things We Buy in a Bad Economy (TIME - 2011)

But THE treasure trove, if one takes the time to study it, is the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the US Department of Labor, especially the most recent multiyear table (2006-2010 PDF), as well as the ones for previous years, going back to 1981.

Thanks to Alisa Coddington, John Skutnik, Terese Mulkern Terry, and Chantal Walvoord for their wisdom.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Trends in High School Dropout & Completion Rates in the US: 1972–2009

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

From the description:
This report updates a series of NCES reports on high school dropout and completion rates that began in 1988. The report includes national and regional population estimates for the percentage of students who dropped out of high school between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of young people who were dropouts in 2009, and the percentage of young people who were not in high school and had some form of high school credential in 2009. Data are presented by a number of characteristics including race/ethnicity, sex, and age. Annual data for these population estimates are provided for the 1972-2009 period. Information about the high school class of 2009 is also presented in the form on on-time graduation rates from public high schools.

Link to full report (PDF)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Public Assistance Receipt for Households: 2009 and 2010

This brief [PDF], based on the 2009 and 2010 American Community Survey results, notes geographic differences in the distribution of public assistance as well as change between 2009 and 2010.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peak Affluence, Cell Phones and What It Takes to be Middle Class

American Consumers Newsletter


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Determinations of Political Jurisdictions Subject to Minority Language Assistance Provisions of the Voting Rights Act

Pursuant to specifications in the Voting Rights Act as amended in July 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau released today a list of 248 jurisdictions across the nation that must provide language assistance during elections for groups who are unable to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process.

The list identifies which jurisdictions are covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act and must provide language assistance for Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Asian language groups. The Census Bureau has made these determinations following each decennial census since Section 203 was enacted in 1975. In 2006, Congress specified that the Census Bureau shall use statistics from the American Community Survey to make the determinations following the 2010 Census.
The 248 covered jurisdictions are 3.1 percent of the 2,920 counties and 4,972 minor civil divisions that comprise the political subdivisions in the United States. There are 79,245,487 voting-age eligible citizens in the covered jurisdictions, or 33.8 percent of the total U.S. voting-age population. The determinations found a total national population of 19,209,431 voting-age citizens from the language minority groups that reside in the 248 covered jurisdictions, compared with 13,463,635 and 296 jurisdictions in 2002, an increase of 42.7 percent. The determinations found a total of 14,794,716 Hispanics, 4,030,110 Asians and 384,605 American Indian/Alaskan Natives voting-age citizens in the covered jurisdictions.
Consistent with the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, the determinations were processed using data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey estimates. Census Bureau statisticians also used modeling techniques based on the 2010 Census population counts to improve the accuracy of the results.

A complete listing of which jurisdictions are covered, and for which language minority groups, can be found on the Federal Register Notice Public Inspection site. For more information, please visit HERE.

These are the jurisdictions in New York State:

Bronx County………………………………………………………………………………. Hispanic
Kings County……………………………………………………………………………….. Asian (Chinese)
Kings County……………………………………………………………………………….. Hispanic
Nassau County…………………………………………………………………………….. Hispanic
New York County…………………………………………………………………………. Asian (Chinese)
New York County…………………………………………………………………………. Hispanic
Queens County……………………………………………………………………………. Asian (Asian Indian)
Queens County……………………………………………………………………………. Asian (Chinese)
Queens County……………………………………………………………………………. Hispanic
Queens County……………………………………………………………………………. Asian (Korean)
Suffolk County……………………………………………………………………………… Hispanic
Westchester County……………………………………………………………………. Hispanic

Monday, October 17, 2011

Health Insurance Coverage Estimates for All Counties

The U.S. Census Bureau released 2008 and 2009 estimates of health insurance coverage for each of the nation’s roughly 3,140 counties. Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) are currently the only source for estimates of health insurance coverage status for every county in the nation.
These estimates are available by sex, age groups, race and Hispanic origin (for states only), and income-to-poverty ratios relevant to the new health care reform legislation and other health programs. They enable local planners to determine, for instance, the counties in which low-income children are most likely to lack health insurance coverage. The data pertain to those under age 65.
SAHIE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others in the health care field. CDC uses these statistics in support of its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, providing free cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured women. The health insurance estimates help determine the level of need for breast and cervical cancer screenings in communities nationwide.
The estimates are based on statistical models combining data from a variety of sources, including the American Community Survey (ACS), Census Bureau population estimates, administrative records, such as aggregated federal tax returns and Medicaid participation records, and 2000 Census statistics.
“This is the first SAHIE release to make use of the American Community Survey,” said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. “In the past, our statistical models were based on the Current Population Survey, which has a smaller sample. The larger ACS sample allows us to provide estimates for additional income groups.
“By combining data from many sources through statistical modeling, we can considerably enhance the precision of state and county health insurance coverage estimates,” Groves said.
Along with the data, the Census Bureau is releasing a thematic mapping tool that permits users to examine health insurance coverage by county, based on various demographic variables.
At present, SAHIE is the only source of health insurance estimates for all counties. There are no county estimates derived from the Current Population Survey. In late October, the Census Bureau will, for the first time, release health insurance coverage estimates for counties with a population of 20,000 to 65,000 from the 2008-2010 ACS. Eventually the five-year estimates from ACS will include statistics on health insurance coverage.

Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on the Appointment of H. Carl McCall as Chair of SUNY Board of Trustees

"Few individuals have served New York State with such distinction and in so many capacities as the Honorable H. Carl McCall. As a former state senator, as New York State Comptroller, and as the state’s Commissioner of Human Rights, Mr. McCall has proven one of our most valued and admired public servants. And now, I’m proud to call him Chairman McCall as he assumes his new leadership role in the service of the citizens of New York State.

“At the same time, I want to express my sincere gratitude and admiration to Trustee Carl Hayden for his exceptional leadership during a particularly tumultuous and historic period in SUNY's history.

“The appointment of Carl McCall – a long-time member of our Board of Trustees – ushers in a new era of achievement for SUNY, and I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for providing the state university with such a stalwart leader. In his new capacity, Chairman McCall will be able to give even greater force, wisdom, and vision to the task of making SUNY the most outstanding public higher education system in the country.

“Since his first days in office, Governor Cuomo articulated a clear vision for public higher education as a catalyst for New York’s economic recovery, and he has delivered on his promise. The governor proposed, helped pass, and signed into law landmark reform for New York's tuition policies, which will help SUNY maintain both quality and accessibility for years to come.

“Now, with the selection of Carl McCall to lead the Board of Trustees, Governor Cuomo has shown, once again, that his commitment to SUNY’s academic excellence and its role as an economic driver is for the long haul. We look forward to a fruitful partnership.”

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

Friday, October 14, 2011

Updated Legislative Spending Posted Online

New York's State Legislature spent $105 million during the six-month period ending last March, according to the latest legislative expenditure data posted at SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center's transparency website. SeeThroughNY includes expenditures dating back to October 1, 2006, in what has become the most extensive searchable database of its kind available to New Yorkers on the Internet.

The expenditure information can be sorted by reporting period, expenditure type, and member name. Users can also isolate spending for individual units of the legislature's central staff...

For the full text of the Press Release, click here.
To go right to the database, click here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Developments in Women-owned Business, 1997-2007

The years from 1997 to 2007 were a dynamic period in the U.S. economy. The strong growth early in this period was arrested by the recession of 2000-2001; strong economic growth resumed in 2002-2007. The data reflect an economy moving out of a recession and ending on a high note in 2007. How did women and other small business owners fare during this 10-year period between 1997 and 2007?

The primary goal of this report [PDF] is to place gender in a broader perspective. Business ownership no longer can be analyzed simply on the basis of the owner’s gender; businesses owned by women and men more and more share the same general development patterns. Moreover, the strong growth of publicly held firms, which cannot be identified by the demographic characteristics of their many owners, has led to the need to focus on both privately owned and publicly held firms.

The research summary can be found HERE.

Should you need further information, please feel free to contact Joe Johnson at (202) 205-6533 or

Monday, October 10, 2011

States With The Highest (and Lowest) Homeownership

The dream of owning a home has become increasingly unattainable for many Americans, and the situation is not likely to improve soon, as the collapse of the housing market and the recession continue to take their toll. That is the disturbing conclusion to be drawn from the US Census Bureau’s newly released report Housing Characteristics: 2010, an overview of the national home market at the end of the last decade. One of the highlights of the report is a list of the states that have the highest and lowest percentage of homes occupied by their owners. 24/7 Wall St.’s review of the data found that homeownership rates were high in thinly populated states and those with low home prices, while homeownership was low in states with expensive homes and large cities.

The homeownership rate is the second highest on record, behind only 2000, since homeownership data collection began in 1890. However, the rate decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 65.1 percent between 2000 and 2010. The decrease is the largest since the period from 1930 to 1940.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Voting Law Changes in 2012

Source: Brennan Center for Justice

Ahead of the 2012 elections, a wave of legislation tightening restrictions on voting has suddenly swept across the country. More than five million Americans could be affected by the new rules already put in place this year -- a number larger than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

This report [PDF] is the first full accounting and analysis of this year's voting cutbacks. It details both the bills that have been proposed and the legislation that has been passed since the beginning of 2011.

+ Link to the appendix [PDF], "a compilation of potentially vote-suppressing legislation proposed in the 2011 legislative sessions."

+ Link to the overview [PDF], a four-page summary with key findings

Saturday, October 8, 2011

2010-11 NYS County, Municipal Payrolls Posted on Revamped SeeThroughNY

The Empire Center for New York State Policy has posted updated municipal salaries on the newly revamped, the Center's transparency website. The data include the names and earnings of the 168,748 people who worked for New York's city, county, town and village governments in 2010-11.

The Center also paired the data with its annual report on these salaries, which summarizes average wages on a regional basis for each of the local governments (outside of New York City) contained in the database.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs, from his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Read more about Steve Jobs HERE.

Census Bureau Releases

Estimates of Same-Sex Married Couples
Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Year 2010 [PDF]
Intercensal Population Estimates: 2000 - 2010
Race, Ethnicity, & Education (REE) Data Release

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stack Exchange

There is a popular programmers Q&A site, Stack Overflow. It is part of a larger network of Q&A sites on a range of topics, Stack Exchange. While it is tech-heavy, there are several decidedly non-technical ones – cooking, photography, bicycles among others.

Notably, there is, described as "Q&A for entrepreneurs looking to start or run a new business."

(Thanks, Al!)

Bureau of Labor Statistics recent statistics

Consumer Expenditures 2010 [PDF]
Multifactor Productivity Trends for Detailed Industries, 2009

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Enroll in the U.S. Visa Lottery

There are many ways to legally immigrate to the United States, but only one of them depends completely on luck: the congressionally mandated visa lottery, which offers 50,000 green cards to people from certain countries.

Registration for the 2013 visa lottery will be open from October 4 to November 5, 2011. Participation is only available through the State Department’s website at It's free to enter the lottery so watch out for fraudulent websites that pretend to be government sites.

Learn how to participate in the lottery, how to avoid being disqualified, and how to avoid scams.

Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality: recent statistics

Coverage in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for the Private Sector, 2000 and 2010 [PDF]

Trends in the Pharmaceutical Treatment of Children's Asthma, 1997 - 2008 [PDF]]

Readmissions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 2008 [PDF]

Also, from the Census Bureau: Health Insurance Coverage of Workers Aged 18 to 64, by Work Experience: 2008 and 2010 [PDF]

Sunday, October 2, 2011

NCES releases The Condition of Education 2011

The Condition of Education 2011 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 50 indicators on the status and condition of education and provides a closer look at postsecondary education by institutional level and control. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2011 print edition includes indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Consolidated Federal Funds Report

The Consolidated Federal Funds Report is proposed to reach its end run this year. This could well be the last report of this kind issued! Be a part of history, read it, and maybe print a copy and keep it for your records.