Friday, May 31, 2013

College majors, unemployment and earnings 2013

From the press release (

In the past, a college degree all but assured job seekers employment and high earnings, but today, what you make depends on what you take. In Hard Times 2013, we show differences in unemployment and earnings based on major for BA and graduate degree holders. We show that STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics — majors typically offer the best opportunities for employment and earnings, while unemployment is higher for graduates with non-technical degrees.

Here are some of our major findings:

1. Even as the housing bubble seems to be dissipating, unemployment rates for recent architecture graduates have remained high (12.8%)...

2. Unemployment is generally higher for non-technical majors, such as the arts (9.8%) or law and public policy (9.2%).

3. People who make technology are still better off than people who use technology...

4. Unemployment rates are relatively low for recent graduates in education (5.0%), engineering (7.0%), health and the sciences (4.8%)...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Census Bureau Challenge to App Developers: National Days of Civic Hacking

The U.S. Census Bureau has joined other federal agencies and nonprofit organizations to issue a challenge to participants in the National Day of Civic Hacking. The event brings together citizens, software developers and entrepreneurs from across the nation to use publicly released data, code and technology to solve challenges facing neighborhoods, cities, states and the nation.
The Census Bureau has created “The Census American Community Challenge,” which asks developers to use publicly available American Community Survey statistics in the agency’s open API. Participants are asked to develop an application that helps communities either with economic development or with disaster planning. Note: Protecting your privacy and confidentiality is a core Census Bureau commitment. No confidential or personally identifiable information is available.
The Census Bureau’s API and participation in this national event open up Census Bureau statistics beyond traditional uses, giving developers in research, business and government the means to customize the statistics into applications that their audiences and customers need.
With the release of this API and other upcoming forward-looking online communications improvements, the Census Bureau is meeting the goals of the Digital Government Strategy to make information more transparent and customer-centered.

When: Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2

Who: 5,000 expected participants, including software developers and entrepreneurs; 20 local, state and federal agencies

Where: More than 80 cities nationwide. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #hackforchange and #census. Developers can access the API online and share ideas through the Census Bureau’s Developers Forum.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Response to attacks on Census Bureau surveys

Two bills currently in Congress would do great harm to the data-gathering capacity of the country:

H.R.1638 Latest Title: Census Reform Act of 2013
Latest Major Action: 5/3/2013 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition.
This bill would terminate the ACS and other surveys conducted by the Census Bureau, except the decennial counting.

H.R.1078 Latest Title: To make participation in the American Community Survey voluntary, except with respect to certain basic questions, and for other purposes.
Latest Major Action: 3/12/2013 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The New York Times thinks the first bill won't pass but the second might. Here's a little more on what the first bill would do, e.g. end unemployment data, poverty data,

Jonathan Lupton, a planner from Little Rock on the Census Transportation Planning Package list, had a very good summary of why this data needs to be collected by a public entity.

The loss of Census sampling (today the ACS), the Census of Agriculture, the Economic Census, etc., would be disastrous in so many ways I find it hard to believe anyone – even deeply partisan politicians – would advocate their demise. The small gain to the Federal government’s bottom line would be undercut by huge (albeit hidden) losses to the private and public sectors. The loss would be especially acute for small businesses.

1. There can be no serious doubt that Federal sample products leverage their cost many times over in benefits to the economy. The benefits are so widespread, and so implicit, that the burden of proof must lie on anyone attempting to undo Federal data-gathering. And they will find no such proof.

2. The U.S. government has, in the past, set the world standard for data-gathering. The widespread availability of free, accurate data runs hand-in-hand with upholding the standard as the world’s foremost democratic society. To surrender the ACS and related products is not just a bad idea, it is a retreat from leadership.

3. Answering ACS forms, or any other Federal questionnaire, is a matter of personal responsibility. To survive, democracy depends not just on the protection of personal rights; it also demands a sense of responsibility by its citizens.

4. I have never heard of anyone going to prison, or even being fined, for failing to provide data to Census takers. Everyone knows that there are people and businesses which refuse to cooperate; the practice of non-compliance is already tolerated. But compliance is the law, and this sets a tone of legality which allows the ACS and other projects to gather the necessary data.

5. If the data business becomes mostly private in nature, the cost of obtaining data will largely limit its availability to large corporations that could afford to purchase it, creating another disadvantage to small businesses and business start-ups.

6. Here in Little Rock we host one of the country’s largest data-gathering agencies, the Acxiom Corporation. It’s an open secret that Acxiom, and other companies like it, hold vast amounts of data about just about everybody. While Census data is protected by confidentiality laws, disturbingly intimate corporate data can be sold to the highest bidder.

7. While the anti-census anti-government lobby argues unconvincingly about government as “Big Brother,” there is therefore another, less accountable version of “Big Brother,” existing in secret corporate data-gathering. Such data could become the only basis for information about our society. Without Federal laws, and Executive and Congressional oversight, who could prevent this private data from being falsified? Without the credibility of ACS and related programs as a “cross-check,” false information could be fed into the system, and could be manipulated by private power brokers.

8. Here in Little Rock we have a small spinoff company which has used Acxiom data to attempt census-like products. Around 2009, they privately gave me a total for the state’s largest county (Pulaski) that disagreed with my careful estimates. They ended up being high by about 7 percent, compared with the Census 2010 count that appeared a few months later. My own estimate, based on housing records, was within 1 or 2 percent. A corporate representative thought their figures were inarguably correct; I thought their methods for counting people were flawed. Guess who was right.

9. Data-gathering by the Census Bureau and related agencies isn’t perfect, but it has oversight through the democratic process. I’ll trust a process that’s been around since 1790 before I trust a private company that answers first to shareholders.

It is my earnest hope that the effort to kill the ACS is so blatantly foolish that it will never make it to a vote by the U.S. Congress or Senate. I ask those who keep their ear to Congress to please keep the data community well-informed about this disturbing development.

As Warren A. Brown, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research; President, Association of Public Data Users; and Research Director, Cornell Census Research Data Center, puts it succinctly:

Unfortunately the Census Bureau and its American Community Survey are caught in the cross-hairs of partisan squabbling. Data collection, processing and dissemination is not a liberal or conservative cause, but rather information to be used in policy making—be it at the federal, state or local level. The ACS is “our ACS” because it yields information that is vital to state and local governments as well as private and non-profit organizations. A number of professional associations—some examples are Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS); Association of Public Data Users (APDU); Population Association of American (PAA); and American Statistical Association (ASA)—have sent letters of support on behalf the Census Bureau and the ACS to members of Congress. I encourage you all to let your member of Congress know how useful the Census Bureau’s data are for local decision making. Whatever your political philosophy regarding the appropriate role of the federal government, we can’t afford to be flying blind without benefit of statistical information.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Obama nominates John H. Thompson to head Census Bureau

From the Washington Post:

President Obama has tapped John H. Thompson, the head of a private-sector research group with ties to the University of Chicago, to lead the U.S. Census Bureau, which has operated without a permanent director for about nine months.

Thompson, 61, who was nominated Thursday, has served as president and chief executive of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) since 2008. He also held positions with the Census Bureau between 1987 and 2002, according to a biography provided by the White House.

The Census Project, a group that represents census stakeholders, encouraged the Senate to quickly confirm the president’s nominee “so that the bureau can continue serious planning for Census 2020.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Historic numbers of occupied units at the municipal levels

Census of Population and Housing

The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation. The census helps our communities determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets, and from homes to hospitals. It helps the government decide how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities. It is also used to draw the lines of legislative districts and reapportion the seats each State holds in Congress.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Texas Cities Lead Nation in Population Growth

Eight of the 15 fastest-growing large U.S. cities and towns for the year ending July 1, 2012 were in Texas, according to population estimates released this weeky by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Lone Star State also stood out in terms of the size of population growth, with five of the 10 cities and towns that added the most people over the year.

The fastest-growing municipalities are spread across Texas, from the High Plains of West Texas to the Houston suburbs. San Marcos, along the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, had the highest rate of growth among all U.S. cities and towns with at least 50,000 people. Its population rose 4.9 percent between 2011 and 2012. Completing the top five nationwide were Midland and Cedar Park, both in Texas; South Jordan, Utah; and Clarksville, Tenn. No state other than Texas had more than one city on the list of the 15 fastest-growing large cities and towns. However, all but one were in the South or West.
1 San Marcos city, TX - 4.91; 50,001
2 South Jordan city, UT - 4.87; 55,934
3 Midland city, TX - 4.87; 119,385
4 Cedar Park city, TX - 4.67; 57,957
5 Clarksville city, TN - 4.43; 142,519
6 Alpharetta city, GA - 4.37; 61,981
7 Georgetown city, TX - 4.21; 52,303
8 Irvine city, CA - 4.21; 229,985
9 Buckeye town, AZ - 4.14; 54,542
10 Conroe city, TX - 4.01; 61,533
11 McKinney city, TX - 3.95; 143,223
12 Frisco city, TX - 3.92; 128,176
13 Odessa city, TX -3.83; 106,102
14 Auburn city, AL - 3.71; 56,908
15 Manhattan city, KS - 3.71; 56,069

The Texas cities that added the most people included Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. New York, the nation’s largest city, topped the list and was the only city among the top 15 outside the South or West. It added 67,058 people over the year. Three cities were in California: Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.
1 New York city, NY - 67,058; 8,336,697
2 Houston city, TX - 34,625; 2,160,821
3 Los Angeles city, CA - 34,483; 3,857,799
4 San Antonio city, TX - 25,400; 1,382,951
5 Austin city, TX - 25,395; 842,592
6 Phoenix city, AZ - 24,536; 1,488,750
7 Dallas city, TX - 23,341; 1,241,162
8 Charlotte city, NC - 18,989; 775,202
9 San Diego city, CA - 18,074; 1,338,348
10 Fort Worth city, TX - 16,328; 777,992
11 Denver city, CO - 14,980; 634,265
12 Washington city, DC - 13,303; 632,323
13 San Jose city, CA- 12,751; 982,765
14 Seattle city, WA - 12,638; 634,535
15 Nashville*, TN - 12,323; 624,496
*Nashville-Davidson metropolitan government (balance)

New York continued to be the nation’s most populous city by a wide margin, with 8.3 million residents in 2012, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. The composition of the list of the 15 most populous cities has remained unchanged since last year; however, the list’s order has changed slightly. Between 2011 and 2012, Austin moved up from 13th to 11th in total population, supplanting Jacksonville, Fla., while Indianapolis moved down from 12th to 13th. Texas and California each had four cities on the list in both years.
1 New York city, NY - 8,336,697
2 Los Angeles city, CA - 3,857,799
3 Chicago city, IL - 2,714,856
4 Houston city, TX - 2,160,821
5 Philadelphia city, PA - 1,547,607
6 Phoenix city AZ - 1,488,750
7 San Antonio city, TX - 1,382,951
8 San Diego city, CA - 1,338,348
9 Dallas city, TX - 1,241,162
10 San Jose city, CA - 982,765
11 Austin city, TX - 842,592
12 Jacksonville, city, FL - 836,507
13 Indianapolis city, IN - 834,852
14 San Francisco city, CA - 825,863
15 Columbus city, OH - 809,798

The estimates released cover all local governmental units, including incorporated places (like cities and towns), minor civil divisions (such as townships) and consolidated cities (government units for which the functions of an incorporated place and its parent county have merged).

Other highlights:
Of the 19,516 incorporated places in the United States, only 3.7 percent (726) had populations of 50,000 or more in 2012.

Nine areas surpassed the 50,000-population mark between 2011 and 2012, including four in the West, four in the South, and one in the Northeast. The Western areas were Lehi, Utah (51,173); Kirkland, Wash. (50,697); Gilroy, Calif. (50,660); and Palm Desert, Calif. (50,013). Those in the South included Harrisonburg, Va. (50,981); Bradenton, Fla. (50,672); Southaven, Miss. (50,374); and San Marcos, Texas (50,001). Plainfield, N.J. (50,244) in the Northeast also crossed the mark.

Two local governmental units dropped below the 50,000 threshold between 2011 and 2012. Troy, N.Y., declined from 50,072 in 2011 to 49,946 in 2012, with Joplin, Mo. falling from 50,475 to 49,526. Joplin was struck by a devastating tornado in May 2011.

See more information about the geographic areas for which the Census Bureau produces population estimates.

The population clock, one of the most widely visited features of the website, displays continuously updated projections of the total U.S. population, including the rate of births, deaths and net migration for the United States. The projections are based on a monthly time series of population estimates starting with the April 1, 2010, resident population count derived from the 2010 Census. Additionally, users can access tables displaying the most populous states, cities and counties in the United States.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Surviving the First Day : State of the World's Mothers 2013

From Save the Children:

More than 1 million babies die on the first day of life – making the birth day the most dangerous day for babies in nearly every country, rich and poor alike. This is one of the major findings of Save the Children’s 14th annual State of the World’s Mothers report. The findings indicate, as never before, that helping babies survive the first day – and the first week – of life represents the greatest remaining challenge in reducing child mortality and meeting the ambitious Millennium Development Goal of reducing 1990 child mortality rates by two- thirds by 2015.

The world has made unprecedented progress since 1990 in reducing maternal and child deaths. Working together, governments, communities, nongovernmental organizations and families have reduced the annual number of children under 5 who die each year by over 40 percent – from 12 million to 6.9 million. Progress for mothers has been even greater, with deaths declining almost 50 percent since 1990 – from 543,000 to 287,000 per year.

But we have made much less progress for the children who are the most vulnerable of all – newborns. In 2011, 3 million babies died in their first month of life. This is 43 percent of all deaths of children under age 5 worldwide. Three-quarters of those newborns died in the first week of their lives, and one-third did not survive their first day of life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Per Student Public Education Spending Decreases in 2011 for First Time in Nearly Four Decades

Fiscal year 2011 marked the first decrease in per student public education spending since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data on an annual basis in 1977, according to new statistics released this week (dollars not adjusted for inflation). The 50 states and the District of Columbia spent $10,560 per student in 2011, down 0.4 percent from 2010. The top spenders were New York ($19,076), the District of Columbia ($18,475), Alaska ($16,674), New Jersey ($15,968) and Vermont ($15,925).

Total expenditures by public elementary and secondary school systems totaled $595.1 billion in 2011, down 1.1 percent from 2010. This is the second time total expenditures have shown a year-to-year decrease, the first time being 2010.

The findings come from Public Education Finances: 2011. These statistics provide figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of the nation's elementary and secondary public school systems for the 2011 fiscal year. The release includes detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels.

Of the $595.1 billion in total expenditures for public school systems, $522.1 billion is comprised of current spending (i.e. operational expenditures, not including long-term debt). Expenditure for instruction amounted to $316.3 billion (60.6 percent) of the total current spending, while costs for support services amounted to $178.7 billion (34.2 percent). Instructional salaries were the largest expenditure category for public elementary and secondary education, accounting for $208.8 billion in 2011.

On the revenue side, public schools received $599.1 billion in total revenue for 2011, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2010. The largest source of revenue is from state governments at $265.9 billion (44.4 percent of total revenue), followed by local governments at $259.5 billion (43.3 percent) and the federal government providing $73.7 billion (12.3 percent).

States that had the highest percentage of their total public school revenue coming from federal funding included Mississippi (22.3 percent of the statewide education revenue), South Dakota (20.3 percent), Louisiana (18.7 percent), Alaska (17.8 percent), Florida (17.8 percent) and New Mexico (17.7 percent).

Conversely, states that had the lowest percentage of their total school revenue coming from federal funding were New Jersey (5.1 percent), New Hampshire (6.5 percent), Vermont (7.1 percent), Massachusetts (7.8 percent), Minnesota (7.8 percent) and Connecticut (8.3 percent).

Other highlights:

--Property taxes accounted for 65.6 percent of revenue from local sources for public school systems.

--Of the 100 largest school systems by enrollment in the U.S., New York City School District ($19,770) in New York had the highest current spending per student in 2011, followed by Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland ($15,483), Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland ($15,421), Milwaukee Public School in Wisconsin ($14,244) and Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland ($13,775).

--States spending the least per student were Mississippi ($7,928), Arizona ($7,666), Oklahoma ($7,587), Idaho ($6,824) and Utah ($6,212).

--Eight out of nine states in the Northeast region of the U.S. were ranked among the top 15 in current spending per student in 2011. The remaining state in the northeast, Maine, was ranked 17th. Out of the 16 states with the lowest per student spending, 15 were in the South and West regions. The remaining state, South Dakota, was in the Midwest.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The new geography of poverty: the suburbs


A new report released on Monday by the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution found that poverty is down in urban areas like New York City but is on the rise in surrounding suburbs and has been for the last decade.

According to the analysis of census data, urban poverty in the New York metropolitan area is down by 7 percent, but the number of people living below the federal poverty line in nearby suburbs rose by 14 percent over the past 10 years. As reported by the New York Times:

While New York and Newark’s combined share of poor people in the region dipped from 71 percent to 67 percent, the cities were home to twice the 800,000 or so people who officially qualified as poor in the suburbs in 2010.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Public Information about Government Data Will Improve With New Obama Policy

From APDU:

The Obama Administration released an Executive Order and a Policy Directive that move the federal government forward in a significant direction -- officially requiring that, going forward, data generated by the government be made available in open, machine-readable formats (with appropriate protections). Most notably, it requires that agencies create and maintain an “enterprise data inventory, if it does not already exist, that accounts for datasets used in the agency's information systems" -- with the ultimate goal of including all agency datasets, and with indications whether the agency has determined that the individual datasets may be made publicly available and whether these are currently available to the public. Here's what you need to know:
• The Executive Order declares that information is a valuable resource and strategic asset for the nation.
• Newly generated government data will be required to be made available in open, machine-readable format by default -- enhancing their accessibility and usefulness, and ensuring privacy and security.
• These executive actions will allow entrepreneurs and companies to take advantage of this information -- fueling economic growth in communities across the Nation.

Watch a short video and find out more about the announcement HERE. Also, read more HERE.

In conjunction with those steps to unleash troves of useful data from the vaults of government, the interagency US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) launched a new online tool that promises to accelerate research relating to climate change and human health—the Metadata Access Tool for Climate and Health, or “MATCH.” MATCH is a tool, driven by open data, which could open the door for new scientific insights in the public health and climate science communities. It is a publicly accessible digital platform for searching and integrating metadata—standardized contextual information—extracted from more than 9,000 health, environment, and climate-science datasets held by six Federal agencies. Read more HERE.

Friday, May 17, 2013

2012 National Population Projections

From the Census Bureau:

The Population Projections Program produces projections of the United States resident population by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. The 2012 National Projections are based on the July 1, 2011 population estimates, which are based on the 2010 Census, and provide projections of the population for July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2060. The projections were produced using a cohort-component method and are based on assumptions about future births, deaths, and net international migration. The Census Bureau releases new national projections periodically.

The 2012 National Projections include a main series and three alternative series. These four projections series provide results for differing assumptions of net international migration. The main series, referred to as the Middle series, was released in December 2012. The alternative series, released in May 2013, were based on assumptions of low, high, and constant levels of net international migration. All other methodology and assumptions, including fertility and mortality, are the same as those used in the Middle series. The three alternative series are useful for analyzing potential outcomes of different levels of net international migration.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

International Migration to Become Primary Driver of U.S. Population Growth?

International migration is projected to surpass natural increase (births minus deaths) as the principal driver of U.S. population growth by the middle of this century, according to three new series of population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This scenario would mark the first time that natural increase was not the leading cause of population increase since at least 1850, when the census began collecting information about residents’ country of birth. The shift in what drives U.S. population growth is projected to occur between 2027 and 2038, depending on the future level of international migration.

“Our nation has had higher immigration rates in the past, particularly during the great waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s senior adviser. “This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation’s declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration.”

The three new projections cover the period from 2012 to 2060. These alternative series complete the official set of 2012 National Population Projections, which began with the middle series projections released in December 2012. All four series maintain the same methodology and fertility and mortality assumptions, and differ only in the levels of net international migration they assume. They are broken out by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

“Projections of international migration are challenging to produce, because it is difficult to anticipate future social, political, and economic conditions and how they may influence migration into or out of the United States,” notes Census Bureau demographer Jennifer Ortman. “Developing this range of alternative projections shows how differing levels of net international migration alter the pace at which the U.S. population grows, ages, and diversifies.”

Higher international migration would mean a faster growing, more diverse, and younger U.S. population. The December 2012 series projected net international migration to increase from 725,000 in 2012 to 1.2 million in 2060. In contrast, the alternative measures are considerably different:
--The low series would increase annual levels of net international migration slightly from 702,000 in 2012, to 824,000 in 2060.
--The high series would increase net international migration from 747,000 in 2012 to 1.6 million by 2060.
--The final series projects a constant level of net international migration of 725,000 throughout the 2012-2060 period.

The high series projects that the U.S. population will hit 400 million by 2044, earlier than the 2051 date the December series projected. The high series also projects that the U.S. resident population will become majority-minority by 2041, two years earlier than the December projection of 2043. In other words, less than 50 percent of the population will be non-Hispanic single-race white.

The share of the population that is working age (18 to 64 years old) is projected to decrease in all four series by 2060. The high series projects the smallest decrease in the share of the population in working ages (from 62.7 percent in 2012 to 57.3 percent in 2060). The share of the working-age population would drop in the December 2012 middle series from 62.7 percent in 2012 to 56.9 percent of the total in 2060. In each of the four series (including the December 2012 projections), the population 65 and older would rise from 13.7 percent in 2012 to more than 20 percent in 2060.

The high series also projects that the minority population ─ all people except for those that are non-Hispanic, single-race white ─ would climb from 37 percent of the total in 2012 to 58.8 percent in 2060. In contrast, the U.S. minority population would reach 55.9 percent in the low series. The Asian population, 5.1 percent of the total in 2012, would reach 7.3 percent in 2060 in the low series and 9 percent in the high series. Similarly, the Hispanic population was 17 percent of the total in 2012 and is projected to reach 29.9 percent in 2060 in the low series and 31.3 percent in the high series.

Other highlights:
--Total U.S. population in 2060 ranges from 392.7 million in the constant series to 442.4 million in the high series.
--The 65 and older population would outnumber the population younger than 18 as of 2038 in the constant series, 2046 in the low series, and 2056 in the December 2012 projections. In the high series, the under-18 population would remain greater than the 65 and older population throughout the period.
--The population younger than 18, 23.5 percent of the total in 2012, would drop to 20.8 percent in 2060 in the constant series. In the high series, it would decrease to 21.4 percent in 2060.
--The series with the latest projected date for when the U.S. population would become majority-minority (2046) is the constant series.
--The population under 18 years is projected to become majority-minority in either 2018 or 2019 in all four series.
--The working-age population is projected to become majority-minority between 2036 (high series) and 2042 (constant series).
--The percentage of the population 65 and older that is minority would increase in each series, but not become majority-minority by 2060 in any of them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Access and Experiences Regarding Health Care

Access to and the quality of the health care received by Americans is an issue of public policy concern because the level of quality of health care impacts the capacity to deliver timely, accessible, and efficient medical care to the population in need of services. Estimates of quality are important in evaluating the costs and outcomes of health care delivery and to help identify potential areas where improvements can be made. A self-administered questionnaire (SAQ) is distributed to all adults age 18 and older within the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to collect information on health care utilization, access, health status, and the quality of health care received.

Access and Experiences Regarding Health Care

Also from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:
National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2013
National Healthcare Quality Report, 2012

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Demographic Yearbook 2011

The Demographic Yearbook is an international compendium of national demographic statistics provided by national statistical authorities to the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Demographic Yearbook is part of the set of coordinated and interrelated publications issued by the United Nations and its specialized agencies, designed to supply statistical data for such users as demographers, economists, public-health workers and sociologists. Through the co-operation of national statistical services, available official demographic statistics are compiled in the Demographic Yearbook for more than 230 countries or areas throughout the world.

The Demographic Yearbook 2011 is the sixty-second issue in a series published by the United Nations since 1948. It contains tables on a wide range of demographic statistics, including a world summary of selected demographic statistics, statistics on the size, distribution and trends in national populations, fertility, foetal mortality, infant and maternal mortality, general mortality, nuptiality and divorce. Data are shown by urban/rural residence,
as available. In addition, the volume provides Technical Notes, a synoptic table, a historic al index and a listing of the issues of the Demographic Yearbook published to date. This issue of Demographic Yearbook contains data as available including reference year 2011.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Deer Harvest Reports & Information By State

Deer harvest reports are useful because deer hunters use them to identify the densest deer populations. Some states even break down their reports by county, game type and hunter type, or show them over time so that you can identify trends. Most deer harvest reports are funded in part by the purchase of hunting licenses and tags.

The real interest of this topic, for me as an information specialist, is this:

Other funding that has come from the government has been cut drastically or eliminated altogether. You will notice that some of the states have not updated their deer harvest statistics for a couple of years due to lack of funds.

More here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Is Your State's Highest-Paid Employee A Coach? (Probably) -Infographic

You may have heard that the highest-paid employee in each state is usually the football coach at the largest state school. This is actually a gross mischaracterization: Sometimes it is the basketball coach.

Based on data drawn from media reports and state salary databases, the ranks of the highest-paid active public employees include 27 football coaches, 13 basketball coaches, one hockey coach...

More HERE.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Jacob and Sophia Repeat atop Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names List

Jacob and Sophia are repeat champions as America’s most popular baby names for 2012. This is the fourteenth year in a row Jacob tops the list for boys and the second year for Sophia. There is a new couple in the top 10 this year--Elizabeth and Liam replace Chloe and Daniel. Elizabeth has been here before, but this is the first time Liam breaks into the top 10. Perhaps Liam’s new found success can be attributed to Liam Neeson’s recent major roles in “Battleship” and the popular “Taken,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Clash of the Titans” franchises.

Fastest-rising baby names for girls in 2012

1. Arya
2. Perla
3. Catalina
4. Elisa
5. Raelynn
6. Rosalie
7. Haven
8. Raelyn
9. Briella
10. Marilyn

Fastest-rising names for boys

1. Major
2. Gael
3. Jase
4. Messiah
5. Brantley
6. Iker
7. King
8. Rory
9. Ari
10. Maverick

For all the top baby names of 2012, go to Social Security’s website

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blacks Voted at a Higher Rate than Whites in 2012 Election

About two in three eligible blacks (66.2 percent) voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites who did so, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. This marks the first time that blacks have voted at a higher rate than whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996.

These findings come from The Diversifying Electorate — Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections), which provides analysis of the likelihood of voting by demographic factors, such as race, Hispanic origin, sex, age and geography (specifically, census divisions). The report draws upon data from the November 2012 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement and looks at presidential elections back to 1996. Using the race definitions from 1968 and the total voting-age population, whites voted at higher rates than blacks in every presidential election between 1968, when the Census Bureau began publishing voting data by race, and 1992.

Blacks were the only race or ethnic group to show a significant increase between the 2008 and 2012 elections in the likelihood of voting (from 64.7 percent to 66.2 percent). The 2012 increase in voting among blacks continues what has been a long-term trend: since 1996, turnout rates have risen 13 percentage points to the highest levels of any recent presidential election. In contrast, after reaching a high in 2004, non-Hispanic white voting rates have dropped in two consecutive elections. Between 2008 and 2012, rates for non-Hispanic whites dropped from 66.1 percent to 64.1 percent. As recently as 1996, blacks had turnout rates 8 percentage points lower than non-Hispanic whites.

Overall, the percentage of eligible citizens who voted declined from 63.6 percent in 2008 to 61.8 percent in 2012.

Both blacks and non-Hispanic whites had voting rates higher than Hispanics and Asians in the 2012 election (about 48 percent each).

“Blacks have been voting at higher rates, and the Hispanic and Asian populations are growing rapidly, yielding a more diverse electorate,” said Thom File, a sociologist in the Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch and the report’s author. “Over the last five presidential elections, the share of voters who were racial or ethnic minorities rose from just over one in six in 1996 to more than one in four in 2012.”

Between 1996 and 2012, blacks, Asians and Hispanics all had an increase in their shares of the voting population, with the Hispanic share increasing by about 4 percentage points and the black share by about 3 points.

The number of blacks who voted rose by about 1.7 million between the 2008 and 2012 elections. Likewise, the number of Hispanics who voted increased by 1.4 million and the number of Asians by 550,000. At the same time, the number of non-Hispanic white voters declined by about 2 million ─ the only such drop for any single-race group between elections since 1996. The figures for blacks and Hispanics are not significantly different from each other.

Gender and Age Differences

The report also shows that the “gender gap” in voting persists. In every presidential election since 1996, women have voted at higher rates than men. In 2012, the spread was about 4 percentage points. The gap was especially wide among black voters, among whom it reached 9 percentage points in 2012. Asians are the only race or Hispanic-origin group that showed no significant gender gap.

There were large declines in youth voting among all race groups and Hispanics in 2012. Non-Hispanic whites age 18 to 24 and 25 to 44 showed statistically significant voting rate decreases, as did young Hispanics 18 to 24 years of age. The only race/Hispanic-origin/age combinations showing voting rate increases in 2012 were blacks ages 45 to 64 and 65 and older.

Other highlights:
--Voting rates increase with age: in 2012, the percentage of eligible adults who voted ranged from 41.2 percent for 18- to 24-year-olds, to a high of 71.9 percent for those 65 and older.

--Although blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites nationally in 2012, this result was not uniform across the country. In the East North Central, East South Central, Middle Atlantic, and South Atlantic divisions, blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites. In the Mountain and Pacific divisions, non-Hispanic whites voted at higher rates than blacks. In the New England, West North Central and West South Central divisions, voting rates for the two groups were not significantly different from each other.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

North American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns

There are 8 major English dialect areas in North America... The first 6 of these begin at the eastern seaboard and proceed west, reflecting western settlement patterns.

For many of the cities or towns on the map, you can listen to an audio or video sample of speech of a native (more specifically, someone who was raised there, though not necessarily born there, and whose dialect clearly represents that place).

A VERY extensive hobby!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ZIP Code Definitions of New York City Neighborhoods

Knowing well that ZIP Codes are NOT geographic markers, nevertheless, here's a list of NYC neighborhoods by ZIP Code, from the NYS Department of Health.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women with a Recent Birth: 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau announced the release of Social and Economic Characteristics of Currently Unmarried Women with a Recent Birth: 2011. This report incorporates American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. As of 2011, 62 percent of women age 20 to 24 who gave birth in the previous 12 months were unmarried, this compares with 17 percent among women age 35 to 39.

The ACS asks the question on fertility for a variety of reasons, including to help project the future size of the population and to carry out various programs required by law, such as researching matters on child welfare. The analysis is based on separate survey questions on whether women have given birth to any children in the past 12 months and what their marital status is. The statistics in the report are presented at the national and state levels, with a separate table and map containing metropolitan area data.

"This is the first report from the Census Bureau showing geographic variation in recent births to unmarried women, as well as characteristics of the women such as educational attainment," said Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the Census Bureau and one of the report's authors. "The American Community Survey is the nation's exclusive source of data on the demographic characteristics of mothers with this level of geographic detail."

The ACS provides reliable statistics that are indispensable to anyone who has to make informed decisions about the future. These statistics are required by all levels of government to manage or evaluate a wide range of programs, but are also useful for research, education, journalism, business and advocacy. If you have questions about this survey, please call our Customer Services Center on 1 (800) 923-8282.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

America's Health Care Cost Crisis and What to Do About It

The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, after much deliberation and debate, has set the framework for how health care coverage is discussed in the United States. According to Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Richard Nathan, the real challenge, however, lies ahead as lawmakers attempt to implement the law in the face of many uncertainties. Nathan argues that, in the politicized and frenetic current budget process, expert opinion and deliberation are often lost.

Nathan advocates the creation of a new institutional mechanism to "monitor and react to changing conditions" and to provide valuable feedback to the president and Congress on what legislative changes are necessary to adapt the health care law to the unclear political and economic landscape. He proposes the creation of an entity ---- similar to the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission ---- to recommend gradual reform that is informed by expertise and research. The commission will not completely remove politics from the process, but will provide the government with valuable input on what course corrections are needed to meet the goals of the new law.

Nathan also examines five major players in the health care economy and the evolving role that intermediary organizations can play for consumers in counterbalancing the power of providers.

For a full copy of the report, visit

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Open Book New York

Where do your tax dollars go?

New Yorkers should know where their tax dollars are going. Open Book New York is part of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s effort to promote more openness in government and give taxpayers better access to the financial workings of government.

Track how the State is spending federal stimulus money. Data last updated March 30, 2012.

Find out what State agencies spend on salaries, travel and more. Data last updated March 30, 2012.

Look at active State contracts and see who is doing business with the State. Data is updated daily.

See how your county, city, town, village, fire or school district gets and spends your money. Data is updated annually.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Order Your Free 2013 Consumer Action Handbook

The Consumer Action Handbook is your go-to guide for practical information to help you plan a purchase, know your consumer rights, and file a consumer complaint. The Handbook features new content in areas that matter to you, such as banking, housing, and protecting your privacy, as well as tips to alert you of the latest frauds and scams.

Use the updated Consumer Assistance Directory to contact corporate consumer affairs departments, national consumer organizations, and local, state, and federal government offices. The Handbook also includes a sample complaint letter for when you need to file a complaint about a product you purchased.

Order your free copies of the Handbook or the Spanish language version, Guía del Consumidor.

Prefer an electronic version? You can download the PDF or try the new interactive version, with links to related videos and downloadable resources