This is a nice data essay by former PSC trainee Michael Bader. He discusses multiple sources of data that one might use to understand population health. I especially like his point about the need to archive neighborhood conditions – after all neighborhoods change. But he also touches on the range of data available for analysis from focus groups to big data.
Linking, Exploring and Understanding Population Health Data
Michael Bader | Human Capital Blog (RWJ)
June 25 2012
The opening paragraph deserves a highlight, but read the entire entry. It is worth it:
Data are the sustenance of population health research, and like the food that sustains us, it comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. Also like food, it’s best appreciated in combination. A single data source in the absence of context is unfulfilling; but combining datasets that are rich with information and contours — now that’s a meal!
The potential demography: a tool for evaluating differences among countries in the European Union
Gian Carlo Blangiardo and Stefania M. L. Rimoldi
Genus: Journal of Population Sciences*
*This journal has just become an open access journal: http://www.genus-journal.org/
The source for this entry comes from “The Option of Ignorance: Gutting the ACS Puts Democracy at Risk” from The Census Project Blog. http://bit.ly/YGHp86
The funding for the American Community Survey (ACS) will be covered by the 2013 Continuing Resolution, H.R. 933. However, two bills have been introduced in the House (H.R. 1078) and the Senate (S.530) to make the ACS voluntary.
The House Bill provides a Constitutional Statement of Authority, e.g., Fourth Amendment. Note that one of the co-sponsors of this bill is Tim Walburg from the 7th Congressional District, e.g., just west of Ann Arbor.
We have multiple links in this blog on the shortsighted reasoning of this proposition. And, the Census Bureau has researched the issue. A voluntary ACS will be more expensive and will produce less reliable data.
The links are highlighted below:
SENATE: The Census Bureau has already written the reports; read them.
Oh Canada! Look Before you Leap
More on the Idea of a Voluntary ACS
Small Government Folks and the Federal Statistical System
New Congress, Old Attacks on the Census
By Jason Jordan | APA Director of Policy and Government Affairs
March 15, 2013
The House and Senate are working in earnest now to pass a new Continuing Resolution to provide funding for the rest of the fiscal year and avoid a potential government shutdown. Fortunately, neither the House nor the Senate versions of the extension include language on ACS. However, the Senate version does ask the Census Bureau to submit a report on ACS, including an analysis of the costs and benefits of a voluntary ACS.
The Census Bureau has evaluated a voluntary American Community Survey (ACS). This was done at the behest of Congress back in 2003. New reports were posted on the Census Bureau website in 2011. The Senate (and House) needs to read them.
Comparison of the American Community Survey Voluntary versus Mandatory Estimates
Alfredo Navarro, Karen King, and Michael Starsinic | Census Bureau
Quality Measures Associated with a Voluntary American Community Survey
Deborah H. Griffin and David Raglin | Census Bureau
Cost and Workload Implications of a Voluntary American Community Survey
Deborah Griffin | Census Bureau
The popular election website Intrade has ceased operations, but below are links to archives of Intrade trades as well as a few articles discussing the site and its history. Intrade was on shaky legs when US residents were prohibited from placing bets after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused the company of offering contracts outside of traditional exchanges with no regulatory oversight.
Archived Trades via Twitter
Intrade Archive via Panos Ipeirotis (@ipeirotis) [stopped collecting Financials in 2012]
Intrade Archive Archive Team at Internet Archive via
Online Betting Site Intrade Is Shut After Audit Queries
Mark Scott | NY Times
March 12, 2013
RIP Intrade: The last, best hope for pundit accountability
Neil Irwin | Wonkblog, Washington Post
March 11, 2013
Even without Intrade, Billions will be Bet on 2016 Race
Nate Silver | FiveThirtyEight Blog, NY Times
March 11, 2013
Canada has led the way in North America on gathering data on non-traditional living arrangements. The following is a report based on the Canadian General Social Survey on the living apart together population. Unlike the US, the Canadian GSS is collected by a federal entity, Statistics Canada.
Living Apart Together
Martin Turcotte | Statistics Canada
Short version | Full report
Synopsis: A number of people are in a stable relationship but do not live together, and are known as non-cohabiting or ‘living apart together’ (LAT) couples. How many people are in such a situation? Are they transitioning towards a different kind of life together or making a deliberate lifestyle choice?
The following is a link to the items in the questionnaire that are used to determine LAT status. Warning, the link is pretty slow:
[LAT items from GSS (Canadian) questionnaire]
The Sister Study
From 2004 to 2009, more than 50,000 women across the US and Puerto Rico, who were between ages 35–74 and whose sister had breast cancer, joined this landmark research effort to find causes of breast cancer. Because of their shared environment, genes, and experiences, studying sisters provides a greater chance of identifying risk factors that may help us find ways to prevent breast cancer.
The Sister Study is currently tracking the health of women in the cohort. Participants complete health updates each year, as well as detailed questionnaires about health and experiences every two-to-three years. Research in the Sister Study focuses on causes of breast cancer and other health issues in women, as well as on factors that influence quality of life and outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Access to the data is not completely open, but there is a process for access. Click on the above link for instructions.
How is alcohol consumption affected if we account for under-reporting? A hypothetical scenario
Sadie Boniface, Nicola Shelton | European Journal of Public Health
February 26, 2013
These researchers compared reported alcohol consumption from survey data with published reports of alcohol sales and determined there is under-reporting of alcohol consumption in England, which is comparable to other studies.
This was mostly posted as an impetus to others to think of additional ways to get at this under-reporting problem. And, luckily the time period does not include the Olympics, which might have involved lots of tourists.
The first paper is by former PSC post-doc, Trevon Logan, which shows that blacks had distinctive names in the early 20th Century – that this is not new. He and his co-authors used historical census data as well as data from death certificates. The second paper explores whether searches involving ‘black’ names results in different ads being displayed via a Google search. Interestingly, one of the black names is ‘Trevon.’ Likewise, one of the female black names is ‘Latanya’ which is the author’s first name. The final paper is probably a familiar paper to most – does having a black name make a difference in interview call backs.
Distinctively Black Names in the American Past
Lisa Cook, Trevon Logan, and John Parman | NBER (Working paper 18802)
Discrimination in Online Ad Delivery
Latanya Sweeney | Harvard University [working paper posted on arcxiv.org]
Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination
Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan | NBER (working paper 9873)
Sunday’s Washington Post had an article on the divergent amounts spent on the elderly versus children. This was the theme of Sam Preston’s 1984 PAA Presidential address:
Feds spend $7 on elderly for every $1 on kids
Ezra Klein | Washington Post (WonkBlog)
February 15, 2013
The bulk of this article is based on a report from the Urban Institute.
Kids’ Share 2012: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2011
Julia Isaacs, et.al. | The Urban Institute
Children and the Elderly: Divergent Paths for America’s Dependents
Sam Preston | Demography