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.
Ana Swanson of Wonkblog examines the “shocking number of mentally ill Americans…in prison instead of treatment“:
According to a report by the Treatment Advocacy Center…American prisons and jails housed an estimated 356,268 inmates with several mental illness in 2012—on par with the population of Anchorage, Alaska, or Trenton, New Jersey. That figure is more than 10 times the number of mentally ill patients in state psychiatric hospitals in the same year—about 35,000 people.
According to Justin Wolfers, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy of The Upshot, there are roughly 1.5 million black men missing from the 25 to 54 age group due to incarceration and early death. “For every 100 black women in this age group living outside of jail, there are only 83 black men. Among whites, the equivalent number is 99, nearly parity.”
Read the full story and here is the methodology.
The New York Times Upshot looks at the County Health Rankings and Roadmap Project from University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which studies income inequality and health at the county level.
We know that living in a poor community makes you less likely to live a long life. New evidence suggests that living in a community with high income inequality also seems to be bad for your health.
A study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute examined a series of risk factors that help explain the health (or sickness) of counties in the United States. In addition to the suspects you might expect — a high smoking rate, a lot of violent crime — the researchers found that people in unequal communities were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even if the average incomes were the same.
H/T Data Detectives
Danielle Paquette reports on a recent HIV outbreak in Austin, Indiana and what it shows about the mobility of HIV, poverty and the lack of health care in rural areas.
The Connector, the NIH OBSSR’s blog, has a couple of posts examining the links between education and health. The first one, Contextualizing the link between education and health, discusses the results of a partnership between the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies which resulted in two workshops and a special issue of Social Science and Medicine, “Educational Attainment and Adult Health: Contextualizing Causality“.
In the second post, Compulsory schooling and health: What the evidence says, Lauren Fordyce looks at the impact of compulsory education on health outcomes.
Wonkblog highlights four maps created by Seth Kadish of Vizual Statistix.
The maps show … the percentage of a county’s population that receives OASDI benefits; the percentage of OASDI beneficiaries who are retired, rather than disabled; the areas where payments to men most greatly outweigh those given to women; and the average monthly OASDI payment, in hundreds of dollars.
Who knew that the name Violet was such a good example of a bi-modal distribution?
This was drawn from a very fun post:
How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name
Nate Silver and Allison McCann | FiveThirtyEight blog
May 29, 2014
We had a previous post on fun with the Social Security names database.
This age of names example is a great applied demography exercise – calculating the median age of names. For that you’ll need a link to the full names database and cohort life tables:
Beyond the Top 1000 Names
Cohort Life Tables for the Social Security Areas by Calendar Year
Here’s also a nice link to some Big Data exercises via Python. There is a lot of code sharing in this GitHub repository.
Alcohol is an entrenched reality of campus life. Read and share this collection of articles on college drinking to inform colleagues and campus discussions, beginning with “A River of Booze: Inside one college town’s uneasy embrace of drinking” by Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover.