Author Archive for ljridley

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Teen Smoking and Cigarette Price

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight examines recent studies on teen smoking and reports that the link between the cost of cigarettes and the teen smoking rate has weakened in recent years. Flowers discusses theories about why this happened and what it could mean for policy.

U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base

The U.S. Census Bureau released revised estimates and projections for 24 countries, including China, Iraq, Malawi, South Africa and United States. See the release note tab for a full list of revised countries.

Big data and smart cities

Urban Demographics posted a presentation by Rob Kitchin based on his paper “The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism” (gated version; working paper version).

Abstract:

‘Smart cities’ is a term that has gained traction in academia, business and government to describe cities that, on the one hand, are increasingly composed of and monitored by pervasive and ubiquitous computing and, on the other, whose economy and governance is being driven by innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, enacted by smart people. This paper focuses on the former and, drawing on a number of examples, details how cities are being instrumented with digital devices and infrastructure that produce ‘big data’. Such data, smart city advocates argue enables real-time analysis of city life, new modes of urban governance, and provides the raw material for envisioning and enacting more efficient, sustainable, competitive, productive, open and transparent cities. The final section of the paper provides a critical reflection on the implications of big data and smart urbanism, examining five emerging concerns: the politics of big urban data, technocratic governance and city development, corporatisation of city governance and technological lock-ins, buggy, brittle and hackable cities, and the panoptic city.

Global Middle Class

The Pew Research Center released a report on the promise and reality of a global middle class.

In 2011, a majority of the world’s population (56%) continued to live a low-income existence, compared with just 13% that could be considered middle income by a global standard, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the most recently available data.

And though there was growth in the middle-income population from 2001 to 2011, the rise in prosperity was concentrated in certain regions of the globe, namely China, South America and Eastern Europe. The middle class barely expanded in India and Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.

See also:

Sage Stats

The University of Michigan Library has just acquired access to Sage Stats, a resource for local area statistics:

Sage Stats features data series on U.S. states, counties, cities, and metropolitan areas. Topics covered include the economy, education, crime, government finance, health, population, religion, social welfare, and transportation. Some series go back more than 20 years. Sage Stats makes it easy to download data, compare indicators or create simple visualizations of local area data.

Access is available to the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses at
http://www.lib.umich.edu/database/link/33391

Marriage Chances by County

The NY Times’ Upshot analyzed data from the Equality of Opportunity group and found that where you grow up affects your chances marrying by age 26.

The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado.

Measuring Abortion

Amelia Thomson-Deveaux and Hayley Munguia of FiveThirtyEight examine the different ways abortion is measured in the United States and how difficult it is to gain a deep understanding of abortion trends based on these measures.

See also: The Abortion Rate Is Falling Because Fewer Women Are Getting Pregnant.

Federal Reserve’s New Survey of Households

The Federal Reserve released the 2014 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking on May 27, 2015.

From the press release:

The Federal Reserve Board’s latest survey of the financial and economic conditions of American households released Wednesday finds that individuals’ overall perceptions of financial well-being improved modestly between 2013 and 2014 but their optimism about future financial prospects increased significantly.

Download full report (PDF)

America’s Changing Religious Landscape

The Pew Research Center released a report earlier this month examining religion in the United States. Overall, they find that Christianity is in decline among Americans of all ages, races and ethnicities, and education levels.

Download the complete report (PDF)
Interactive database tool

See also: Q&A: A look at what’s driving the changes seen in our Religious Landscape Study and a study from last year, How Americans Feel About Religious Groups.

Family Support in Graying Societies

The Pew Research Center released a report exploring how the United States, Germany and Italy are coping with an increasing population of people aged 65 and older.

The United States is turning gray, with the number of people ages 65 and older expected to nearly double by 2050. This major demographic transition has implications for the economy, government programs such as Social Security and families across the U.S….

Germany and Italy, two of the “oldest” nations in the world, after only Japan, are already where the U.S. will be in 2050: a fifth of the population in each country is age 65 or older.

See also: Americans are aging, but not as fast as people in Germany, Italy and Japan (also from Pew) and Why the Oldest Person in the World Keeps Dying (from FiveThirtyEight).