Tuesday, June 29, 2010
A week ago, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a poll asking Americans to predict life in 2050. The results reveled a mix of optimism, pessimism and an overwhelming belief that things will change -- both for the better and for the worse -- over the course of the next forty years. Overall, an impressive 61% describe themselves as optimistic about the future of the United States, though that is down substantially from 70% eleven years ago. Similarly 64% are optimistic about the future of themselves and their families, down from 81% in 1999.
Different media outlets have focused on different aspects of the poll, with a bemused international media noting that 41% of Americans expect the Second Coming in the near future. The Associated Press sees general optimism, but also notes that it is much reduced from the heady days of the late 1990s. On many issues, the young are the most pessimistic, predicting a warmer future, and one threatened by World War.
Monday, June 28, 2010
John Gallagher from Detroit Free Press reports that a recent landmark survey has found that a third of Detroit’s residential parcels are either vacant lots or abandoned homes. However, more than 90% of the city’s occupied houses remain in decent condition.
Detroit Free Press reports that the results portray a city of contrasts: deep in distress in many areas, but surprisingly strong in others, results provided by the Detroit Data Collaborative. The survey, (not including business sites or apartment buildings) found more than 30,000 vacant residential structures, with more than 10,000 of them open to trespass and in dangerous condition.
Leading the Census-Participation Pack. Livonia, Michighan, had the highest census participation rate...
"Livonia, Michigan, had the highest census participation rate not because of what it did – but because of what it is."
How, you ask? The answer is nothing unusual. Livonia did the same things that other cities did. Livonia coordinated its census efforts with schools, the media and business groups; it reached out to snowbirds, who might miss the arrival of census forms; it had census posters, signs and public service announcements. "We're pretty proud of the work that was done," says Dave Varga, Livonia's director of administrative services, "and more proud of the response of the community."
"The bedroom community near Detroit scored an 87 percent mail participation rate in the census this spring--the highest of any city of at least 50,000 people."
"Many of the findings regarding income, poverty and migration are likely to be affected by the recession, which began about the same time that the latest survey was completed, in December 2007. Demographers said that some of the survey’s brighter spots might well be remembered as the high-water marks of the Wall Street boom."
In addition, map series including selected countries of birth that met a national threshold of 500,000 persons or more are available! In total, fourteen countries of birth were selected: Mexico, China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea, Canada, El Salvador, Germany, Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Colombia.
According to a new Pew report based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, nearly one-in-five American women between forty and forty-forty has no children. About half of these women are unable to have children while half are childless by choice. Pew suggests that decreasing social pressures to have children along a trend toward delaying marriage could contribute to the increase.
Women with post-college degrees are the most likely to be childless, but they are becoming more likely to have children even as the rest of the nation becomes less likely to do so. The USA Today suggests that this could be because educated women have more access to expensive fertility treatments that extend their child-bearing years.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
"Did you know that filling out your census card will help computer scientists model how diseases spread in the United States?"
The RTI International in North Carolina have been transforming data from the 2000 census for the past several years in hopes to describe the country's 281 million people and 116 million households—into a virtual U.S. population. They plan to continue this process and update the "synthetic population" with the results of the 2010 census as well.
The researchers have developed this "synthetic population" as part of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences' Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) at the National Institutes of Health. Click here to read more about the goals of this study.
*The Data Sheet also includes a series of indicators on population growth, urbanization, family planning use, teenage motherhood, HIV/AIDS, and gross national income per capita for African countries.
PRB's Population Bulletin, "U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000," by Linda A. Jacobsen and Mark Mather, is a wide-ranging analysis of how the U.S. population has changed since 2000 an appropriate time to compare the United States today with its demographic makeup at the last census in 2000. The report investigates various issues: income, educational attainment, homeownership, commuting, fertility, marriage, migration trends and race. Also, accompanying the report, please find audio commentaries on backgrounds and other factors influencing these trends from both authors!
Mark Mather explores the enduring impact of the U.S. Baby Boom on Race and Ethnicity. According to new population estimates from the Census Bureau, racial and ethnic minorities make up a growing share of the U.S. population—35 percent in 2009, up from 31 percent in 2000. However, one group —young adults ages 20 to 24—stand out because the proportion of minorities has stayed about the same, only increasing a single percentage point from 38 percent to 39 percent since 2000. Mather suggests that this anomaly may be partially explained by the recession, which has reduced the net inflow of young Latino immigrants to the United States.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Pew Research Center has released a report on the rate of interracial and interethnic marriages. Socially taboo and even illegal not long ago, they now account for one-in-seven new marriages. The media coverage of this report has been illustrative of the ways in which data can be interpreted to suit divergent arguments. Most of the mainstream media focus on the fact that interracial/interethnic marriages have doubled since 1980 and reached a new record. Yet some notice contradictory trends; recent Census figures noted interracial/interethnic marriages are actually declining among Hispanic and Asian Americans, and many note that while mixed marriages are still increasing, they are increasing at a slower pace than they once were. One CNN contributor notes that less than 5% of married whites are married to a non-white spouse and says that "love may be blind but it is not color blind."
See the data for yourself here.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Conversely, the industrial Midwest, hit by job loss, is declining. The three largest population declines came in Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan and Flint, Michigan. Florida is also struggling after a decade of growth, with retirement committees hit hardest. The recession has slowed, stopped or even reversed the flow of retirees from the Northeast.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Steve Kolowich fron Inside Higher Ed finds that data from a new survey suggests that 80 percent of professors, with little variance by age, have at least one account with either Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, Slideshare, or Google Wave. Nearly 60 percent kept accounts with more than one, and a quarter used at least four.
Designed by the Babson Survey Research Group, with support from New Marketing Labs and the publishing giant Pearson, the survey netted responses from 939 professors from colleges in Pearson’s network of two- and four-year colleges. Most said they teach in undergraduate programs, and more than a third reported teaching online or blended courses. Demographically, the respondents did not skew strongly to a particular sex, discipline, professional rank, or age, says Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson group, a research organization that also does work with the Sloan Consortium.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
MSNBC and Bloomberg analyze a host of lesser known economic indicators which suggest that the economic recovery may be stronger than expected. Many of the lesser known indicators focus on transported material as an effort to predict future economic activity. One for instance, predicts future manufacturing by the amount of diesel fuel (used for fueling semi-trucks) on interstate highways. Another uses shipments of waste and scrap metal to estimate the service sector. Another round-about way of measuring focuses on electric usage -- since businesses use more when they are working more. Other non-traditional indicators are more straightforward, an increase in temp-hiring and hours worked suggests businesses are ramping up production and may be looking to hire soon. But despite the general good news, consumer and state spending data suggest non-traditional indicators, just like more traditional ones, paint an ambiguous picture of economic growth.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A New York Times article written by David Streitfeld on May 19, 2010, addresses the confounding effect of seasonal differences on Mortgage Data. Such seasonal adjustments are used to smooth out data in ordinary times, but in extraordinary times -- for example, an economic crisis -- the Mortgage Bankers Association said they were not sure how much they could be trusted. In the first quarter the seasonal adjustments showed the delinquency rate worsened considerably. The raw data, on the other hand, indicated a market improvement.
"Questions about the reliability of seasonal data in measuring the housing crisis extend beyond the mortgage industry. A widely watched indicator on housing prices, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index, last month announced that its unadjusted numbers were a more reliable indicator than its seasonally adjusted numbers. Other than delinquencies, the housing data released Wednesday clearly showed a market changing for the worse."
Click here to read more.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Pew Research Center for the People & Press offers an interactive graphic feature that displays public trust in government based on several issues. The interactive feature uses data from Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls.Click here to read more.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
In an unusually formatted New York Times op-ed entitled The States of War, Ian Livingston, Heather Messera, and Michael O'Hanlon, all of the Brookings Institution, chart progress, or lack there of in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq through data on troop levels, coalition and civilian death totals, GDP growth rates, school enrollment and other measures of standard of living as well as local support for the United States, number of local forces trained and Afghan resistance leaders captured or killed. The bulk of the op-ed is made of a chart which, rather crudely, tracks progress over the past two years by noting numbers from April 2008, April 2009 and April 2010. The data, which are color coded to show progress, demonstrate, according to the authors, "gradual progress in Iraq, some headway in Pakistan and uncertainty in Afghanistan." While both civilian and coalition deaths are up in Afghanistan, the economy is growing rapidly and the Kabul government enjoys wide support.