Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Americans who were classified as very religious received a score of 66.3 on Gallup's Healthy Behavior Index. The other two categories, moderately religious and nonreligious, scored 60.6 and 58.3 respectively. The numbers are based on over half a million interviews.
Very religious Americans exhibited the healthiest lifestyles demonstrated by many of the indicators that factored into the index. For example, the group has the lowest rates of smoking at 14.9%, the highest percentage of regular exercisers at 53.3%, and the highest percentage of healthy eaters. Compare this with the 27.6% nonreligious Americans who smoke. 47.9% of individuals in this same group were regular exercisers. Nonreligious Americans also have the lowest proportion of healthy eaters.
It is possible that a more committed practice of religion contributes to a healthier lifestyle. For example, some religious groups adhere strictly to vegetarian diets, while others frown upon or even avoid alcohol entirely. On the other hand, it could be that the healthiest individuals may be in a place that allows them to be more committed followers of a religion. For example, those who are already healthier might have the resources to attend religious services weekly. However, the Gallup piece concludes by saying that the most intuitive explanation for the strong association between religiosity and health is this: "Those who capitalize on the social and moral outcomes of religious norms and acts are more likely to lead lives filled with healthier choices."
Gallup has explored religiosity and health in past pieces, including the association between religion and overall wellbeing, and religion and emotional health.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
A more well-known set of indicators is the Human Development Index, which measures the well-being of each country. However, the American Human Development Project applies that concept to each state in the Union. The data used to generate the below map come from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
According to the data, as of April 1, 2010 the resident population of the United States was 308,745,538. This figure is a 9.7% increase over the resident population during the 2000 Census. Of the four regions that comprise the United States, the South saw the greatest population increase with an additional 14,318,924 people, followed by the West with 8,747,621, the Midwest with 2,534,225, and the Northeast with 1,722,862 people.
The most populous state is still California. And although Texas claims the greatest numerical population growth with an increase of 4,293,741 people, Nevada takes the prize for growing the most proportionally. Nevada’s population grew by 35.1% to reach a current population of 2,700,551.
Only one state lost population since the 2000 Census: Michigan. Besides Michigan, Puerto Rico also saw a decrease in population.
The population changes affect the apportioning of seats to each state for the US Congress. Texas will gain four seats, Florida two, and one new seat each will be given to Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. Ohio and New York both lost two seats, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each lost one. This new apportion of congressional seats will also affect the number of seats allocated to each state in the Electoral College, which analysts say will likely modify the strongholds of both the Republicans and the Democrats in the next national elections.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
The results should give hope to those disappointed by a 57-40 Senate vote just this past Thursday, December 9, to delay advancement of a military policy bill that would have repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The findings are consistent with past Gallup findings; since 2005 over 60% of Americans have said they would support repealing the policy.
While "rank-and-file" Republicans are divided on the issue, a majority of conservative Republicans are against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A large majority of Democrats, independents, and moderate and liberal Republicans are in favor of repealing the policy.
As Gallup notes, however, "repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' ranks low on Americans' priority list for the lame-duck Congress."
Nick Haas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A December article in the New York Times reported that job creation patterns will indeed add to alarm about the vitality of America’s economy. This fall season has experienced incalculable fluctuations in job creation as 172,000 jobs were created in October and drastically decreased to 39,000 for jobs created in November. The focus is on spurring job creation as more than 6.3 million Americans have been jobless for at least six consecutive months.
With a stalled economy the prospect of job creation is dim due to the latest increase in national unemployment. The jobless rate hit 9.8%, a near increase of four percentage points since 2008 as reported from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A United States chief economist suggested the reason the economy is stagnant is that business leaders are conserving and unwilling to take an aggressive direction in job expenditures.
Economists cautioned that 100,000-125,000 jobs created a month were necessary in order to keep the jobless rate from rising. The Administration faced with this reality is under intense pressure to revitalize the economy towards safe recovery by extending unemployment benefits and tax cuts for the working class. Currently, President Obama is in the process of a tedious compromise package on tax cuts and unemployment benefits with democrats and republicans to circumvent igniting another major recession. Only time will tell if he can bridge the disagreement for the better of the American people.
Fernando Orozco (email@example.com)
Monday, December 6, 2010
The study was conducted at least in part because of real concerns among television executives that people are abandoning TV in favor of viewing over the internet. The results, confirmed by the Nielsen Company, were encouraging to TV executives, and led to the conclusion that "the cancellations are currently a 'very minor' phenomenon." Others remained unconvinced, warning that cord-cutting will become a real problem of which television should be wary.
Nick Haas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursday, December 2, 2010
A Gallup summary of its findings from a poll conducted November 19-21 of this year reveals that a large majority of Americans want the Bush tax cuts extended in some form, and that this preference extends across individuals' income and party identification. 40% of Americans side with Republicans in Congress who want the Bush tax cuts extended in their current form, with no limit on the wealthy, while 44% agree with President Obama and want the cuts extended but with new limits on wealthy Americans. Only 13% want all tax cuts to expire.
More specifically, beyond the 40% who want to maintain tax cuts for all Americans regardless of income, 5% said they want an income limit for those who earn $1 million or more and 12% want the limit set at $500,000 or more. All together, this means that 57% of Americans believe the tax cuts should apply to all Americans with incomes under $500,000. A whopping 83% believe cuts should apply to all individuals earning under $250,000 when the 26% in favor of setting the limit at that number are added to the others. 45% of Americans think the tax cuts should be extended as a temporary measure, 37% believe they should be extended permanently and as mentioned previously, 13% believe they should be permitted to expire now.
No income group in the survey had more than 15% of its members want the cuts to expire; the vast majority were roughly divided between whether they want income limits on the tax cuts or not. Within each income group between 50% and 57% hope the tax cuts are extended only temporarily.
And although there were noticeable differences among idividuals of different party identifications concerning whether or not there should be an income limit on the extended tax cuts, a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike want the tax cuts extended in at least some form.
As Congress plans to vote on the tax cuts soon (the House just has), the polls give a clear answer as to where the American people stand. Gallup concludes: "As the two sides [of Congress, Republicans and Democrats] continue to work toward a compromise, they should bear in mind that the least popular outome would be doing nothing, thus letting the tax breaks expire altogether."
Nick Haas (email@example.com)
“It’s not something that can be learned by reading a book,” he said. “The student needs to get his or her hands into the data and work with them.”
To that end, he and Carmine Scavo of East Carolina University created “Voting Behavior: The 2004 Election,” one of the Supplementary Empirical Teaching Units in Political Science (SETUPS), a series sponsored by the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). This SETUPS module is an interactive Web site for teaching social science methodology and voting behavior research. In recognition, the team won the 2006 Rowman & Littlefield Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science from the APSA and the 2006 Best Instructional Web Site from the Information Technology and Political Section of the APSA.
This SETUPS offers students the opportunity to analyze an accessible dataset drawn from the 2004 American National Election Study (ANES) online. The site presents a discussion of the 2004 election and voting behavior in national elections, and it includes exercises that teach students how to analyze the data and understand the results. It includes about 160 variables, including the party affiliation of voters, basic demographics, voter perceptions of candidates, and voter attitudes on issues such as foreign policy and civil rights. The resource is available through ICPSR at http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/SETUPS/.
The first SETUPS was created in 1974 with the support of the APSA and ICPSR. Prior to 2004, the Voting Behavior SETUPS involved the development of a dataset archived by the ICPSR and a monograph published by the APSA. The interested faculty member would have the university bookstore obtain the monographs from APSA, and ICPSR would provide the faculty member with the appropriate data files. Depending on the era, the data were provided on tape, floppy disk, diskette, or CD-rom. Over time, SETUPS has become one of the most popular teaching tools used by professors to introduce university students to the methodology of social science and the topic of voting behavior.
Professor Prysby is one of the founding authors of the SETUPS series. As such, he is among the first to create a data-related teaching tool for use in the undergraduate classroom. Prysby and Scavo have co-authored the SETUPS series since 1984, and the most recent version of the module, “SETUPS: Voting Behavior: The 2008 Election,” is also available on the ICPSR Web site, http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/SETUPS2008 . In 1994, Prysby and Scavo created a SETUPS module that examined voting behavior over time, from 1972 to 1992, which is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06572 .
With a long career in teaching undergraduates and graduate students at the University level, Professor Prysby brings data into his classroom at all levels. Familiarity with data analysis is crucial to academic success, he said.
“Students need to develop the skills to use data to check findings of others as well as to create their own findings,” Prysby said. One of the objectives of SETUPS was to provide faculty with a reliable data source to teach these data skills to their students.
Prysby uses SETUPS in his Voting Behavior and Research Methods courses. “It was intended to help faculty illustrate concepts and introduce students to working with data,” he said. “Students need practice with creating and reading tables, charts and graphs.” These data give them a reliable source for doing that and for testing their hypotheses.
Prysby holds a PhD from Michigan State University, and has taught at University of North Carolina, Greensboro since 1971.
ICPSR is offering two research paper competitions for undergraduates and one for master's students in 2011. ICPSR invites undergraduate and master's papers analyzing any dataset(s) in the ICPSR archive or its Thematic Collections. The other competition, sponsored by the Research Center for Minority Data (RCMD), solicits papers addressing issues relevant to minorities in the United States, including immigrants. These papers must draw on data in the RCMD archive.
The awards are:
ICPSR Competition for Undergraduates - First prize - $1,000 and Second prize - $750
ICPSR Competition for Master's students - First prize - $1,000 and Second prize - $750
RCMD Competition for Undergraduates - First prize - $1,000 and Second prize - $750
For eligibility and submission requirements, please see the paper competition Web site: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/prize/index.jsp
Please share this information with interested faculty and students. A printable flyer is available on the Web site for posting at your institution.