The In-State Tuition Break Is in Decline

The New York Times Upshot examines the rise of college tuition and fees and the restriction of in-state tuition breaks and what it means for the affordability of higher education.

Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place.

A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.

See also: Readers’ Turn: The ‘Rat Race’ of College Competition.

10 U.S. Cities Now Have 1 Million or More People

The U.S. Census Bureau released it’s Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More. Read highlights here.

FiveThirtyEight: How Suburban Are Big American Cities?

Using Grid Maps to Visualize Data

Danny DeBelius of NPR’s Visuals Team discusses how geographic data is represented on maps and ways to make the visualization more accurate. The visualization they have landed on is the Hex-Tile map.

image of Hexagon Map

H/T Flowing Data, which shows other ways of producing this kind of map, including sheep and Darth Vaders.


Emily Oster of FiveThirtyEight examines various claims about the benefits of breastfeeding:

If one takes the claims seriously, it is not difficult to conclude that breastfed babies are all thin, rich geniuses who love their mothers and are never sick a day in their lives while formula-fed babies become overweight, low-IQ adults who hate their parents and spend most of their lives in the hospital.

The truth is complicated.

New Journal: Sociology of Development

The University of Michigan has obtained access to the journal Sociology of Development, published by the University of California Press.

Sociology of Development is an international journal addressing issues of development, broadly considered. With basic as well as policy-oriented research, topics explored include economic development and well-being, gender, health, inequality, poverty, environment and sustainability, political economy, conflict, social movements, and more.

Sociology of Development promotes and encourages intellectual diversity within the study of development, with articles from all scholars of development sociology, regardless of theoretical orientation, methodological preference, region of investigation, or historical period of study, and from fields not limited to sociology, and including political science, economics, geography, anthropology, and health sciences.

Voter Turnout in OECD Countries

Drew DeSilver of Pew Research Center analyzed voter data for OECD countries and found that the U.S. voter turnout ranks near the bottom among the voting-age population (53.5% in 2012), but much higher among registered voters (84.3%).

Mapping Race in the U.S.

Nathan Yau of Flowing Data created an interactive map showing the concentrations of Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders at the county level.

The map above shows the most prevalent race in each county, based on data from the 2013 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Select and deselect to make various comparisons. Or, select just one race to see distribution. Low, medium, and high saturation indicates whether the prevalent race percentage is below or about the same, higher (greater than the national average plus-minus interval), or much higher than the national average (at least 50% higher), respectively.

How to Ask for Datasets

Christian Kreibich at provides some helpful tips for asking other researchers to share their data.

I’m a systems researcher. I work with data, plenty of it. Over the past decade I have sent lots of data inquiries, and have received dozens. Judging by the latter it’s safe to say that people often go about this poorly, so I’d like to give a bit of advice regarding how to formulate inquiries to other researchers. But before we start, a few clarifications. This article is dataset-centric, but the concerns apply similarly to resources such as algorithms, methods, or code. Also, I assume you have done your background research and already know whom to ask. This is not a guide for finding useful stuff. Finally, the following is by no means a complete guide on how to collaborate with other researchers, but it might provide some tips regarding how to start such a collaboration.

H/T Flowing Data

Transportation Alternatives by Census Region

The U.S. Census American Housing Survey began gathering data on household public transportation use. A new infographic summarizes the results. Click on the image for a larger view.

Transportation Alternatives by Census Region

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Moving to Opportunity Update

Both the New York Times Upshot and NPR’s Planet Money have stories this morning about Raj Chetty’s Equality of Opportunity Project (previous posted about here).