Archive for the 'Methodology' Category

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Blexting: it’s not what you think

Blexting is short for “blight texting.” It is an app that a Detroit-based start-up (Loveland Technologies) created, which is being used to map all Detroit structures to fight blight. Here’s a bit of the coverage of the software and the amazing progress the blexters have made in mapping Detroit blight:

map

Watch: Battling Blight with “Blexting”
Hell Yeah Detroit | Your Online Guide to Being a Better Detroiter
January 26, 2014

Loveland’s passion: Battle blight
Amy Haimerl | Crain’s Detroit
February 19, 2014
Map tech – aka ‘blexting’ – charts growth

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings
Quinn Klinefelter | National Public Radio
February 18, 2014

A Picture of Detroit Ruin, Street by Forlorn Street
Monica Davey | New York Times
February 17, 2014

Nerd alert: administrative data, paradata, and BYOD

Bob Groves is no longer the Census Bureau director, but the Census Bureau’s plans for the 2020 Census have many of the elements that he wrote about in the Census Bureau’s Director’s blog and presented at professional meetings. He has had a lasting impact at the Census Bureau.

In an historic move, Census Bureau tries electronic outreach
D’Vera Cohn | Pew Research Center
February 18, 2014
Read the post to find out what BYOD means.

A recent memorandum from the White House, encourages the use of administrative data by federal agencies for statistical purposes. This may prove useful to some of the 2020 efforts.

Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes
White House | Office of Management and Budget
February 14, 2014

Finally, the reference to “updated guidance” in the Pew piece sounds quite a bit like paradata used in responsive survey design of the NSFG. The Census enumerates all households so it isn’t a survey, but paradata can guide the data collection process – when to enumerate (weekend or not, evening or not) and when to get data from other sources.

Use of Paradata in a Responsive Design Framework to Manage a Field Data Collection
J. Wagner, et.al. | Journal of Official Statistics

Responsive Survey Design, Demographic Data Collection, and Models of Demographic Behavior
W. Axinn, C. Link, and R. Groves | Demography

County-to-County Migration Flows

The Census Bureau has released county to county migration flow data from the 2007-2011 ACS. This allows researchers to look at outbound, inbound, and net migration flows by selected characteristics (education, household income, and individual income).

Perhaps, Governor Snyder had advance access to these data before his state-of-the-state address as the only positive net value for Wayne County (and Michigan) is “movers from abroad.” Wayne County has a net loss of 28,000 to other Michigan counties and a net loss of approximately 17,000 to out of state counties. It has about one-third of Michigan’s movers from abroad (7,620 out of 24,715).

Check out this spreadsheet for Michigan counties – click on image:

spreadsheet

[Click here for Michigan Data Table]

Data, Guides, and Flows Mapper Interface
2007-2011 County-to-County Migration Flows
Megan Benetsky | US Census Bureau
Very useful working paper, which shows the sorts of analyses possible with the data.

County-to-County Migration Flows Tables

Census Flows Mapper

Additional Press
Many New Educated Entrants to Big U.S. Cities Came from Overseas
Neil Shah | Wall Street Journal
February 6, 2014
This article quotes Bill Frey who notes that many of the higher educated migrants to big cities are foreign born.

A Detailed Map of the Net Migration Flows for Every U.S. County
Emily Badger | Atlantic Cities
February 11, 2014

Stretching the boundaries of population science

Here is a link to Christine Bachrach’s 2013 PAA Presidential Address:

Culture and Demography: From Reluctant Bedfellows to Committed Partners
Christine Bachrach | Demography
Winter 2014
html | pdf

And, here is a link to a neuroscience/population science article co-authored by several PSC researchers:

What is a representative brain? Neuroscience meets population science
Emily Falk, et.al. | PNAS
October 2013
html | pdf

Quiz Time

Can you identify what this graph represents? If no, click on the graph for a link to the article. And, there is a graph for women in the article as well.

graph

[Link to answer]

New PUMA boundaries for the 2012 release of ACS data

The 2012 ACS releases (2012, 2010-2012, and 2008-2012) use new boundaries for PUMAs. These new definitions are based on new guidelines established by the Census Bureau as well as results from the 2010 Census.

PUMA Guidelines

The upshot of the guidelines is that the building blocks for PUMAs must be census tracts or counties. PUMAs can no longer be comprised of places or multiple places, especially as in the case of Michigan these multi-place PUMAs were sometimes comprised of non contiguous places.

The Census Bureau also encourages that the newly constructed PUMAs map to metropolitan areas.

The definition for the composition of PUMAs from the Census Bureau’s site is not all that informative. It is an Excel spreadsheet with the geographic identifier and Name of the PUMA, e.g., Northwest Detroit for PUMA 263208.

2010 Census Gazetteer Files: PUMAs

To know which census tracts are “Northwest Detroit” one needs to map census tracts to PUMAs. One can do this via the MableGeocorr site [Source: census tract; Target: PUMA2012].

Of course many PUMAs are comprised of multiple counties or a single county, so that sort of detail is not necessary for them. I will update this post later this week with a crosswalk, which includes “census tracts” for multi-PUMA counties and counties for single/combined county PUMAs.

Economists in a Blizzard

Economists are at their annual meeting in the teeth of a big snowstorm. In case you missed the conference, here’s the presidential address by Claudia Golden on the cause of the remaining gender gap:

A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter
Claudia Goldin | Harvard University
American Economic Association Presidential Address [draft version]
January 4, 2014

More relevant to PSC is that Martha Bailey and Brad Hershbein were awarded the IZA Young Labor Economist Award for their paper The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception, Fertility Timing and the Gender Gap in Wages.

And via Twitter, Justin Wolfers points to some job openings for economists – internet economist.

tweet

[Link to Internet Economist article]

Human Behavior Trove Lures Economists to U.S. Tech Titans
By Aki Ito | Bloomberg
January 03, 2014

Death at the Summit: The story of Intrade

Death at the Summit
Graeme Wood | Pacific Standard Magazine
November 4, 2013

We have posted on prediction markets before, but this is a very nice, if long summary of the theory of prediction markets; use by scientists, mostly economists; the reaction to them by pundits; and the death of Intrade (and its founder).

Project Tycho: Historical Disease Data

Project Tycho is funded by NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken historical data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and created count data for diseases by location for the 125 year history of the surveillance system. Three levels of data have been made available to users from the Project Tycho website.

Other useful resources:

  • Materials and Methods: Digitication of US Weekly Surveillance Reports between 1888 and 2011
  • Preliminary State Reports (scroll down for access – here’s an example for Michigan)
  • What does Tycho stand for?
  • And, here is a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine based on these data. It estimates that over 100 million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented in the U.S. since 1924 by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

    Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present
    New England Journal of Medicine
    November 28, 2013
    html | pdf

    Do You Still Trust the Census Bureau?

    The New York Daily News had a typically provacative headline “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report” two nights ago. This is a serious charge and even more, it contributes fodder to those who do not trust or support the federal data infrastructure in the first place. The following is the banner above the comments section for the New York Post article – and this sentiment probably represents the early coverage of this story.

    trust census bureau logo

    The following is the coverage of this in chronological order (as much as possible). Note that there are some references to Jack Welch. He famously tweeted his disbelief of this particular jobs report back in 2012 [See previous coverage.]

    Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report
    John Crudele | New York Post
    November 18, 2013

    If these claims by ‘reliable sources’ are proven true, the Obama administration will be dealing with another huge scandal
    Becket Adams | The Blaze (founded by Glenn Beck)
    November 18, 2013

    Census Bureau Statement on Collection of Survey Data
    November 19, 2013

    Here Are Some Issues With That Report About How The Unemployment Rate Was Faked Before The 2012 Election
    Joe Weisenthal | Business Insider
    November 19, 2013

    Was Jack Welch right? Jobs numbers under fire
    Jeff Cox | CNN
    November 19, 2013

    Did the Census Bureau Really Fake the Jobs Report?
    Jordan Weissmann | The Atlantic
    November 19, 2013

    Five questions about the New York Post’s unemployment story
    Erik Wemple | Washington Post
    November 19, 2013

    Census Sees No ‘Systemic Manipulation’ of U.S. Jobs Data
    Michelle Jamrisko | Bloomberg News
    Nov 19, 2013

    House panel to investigate unemployment data
    Annalyn Kurtz | CNN Money
    November 19, 2013

    House probes Census over ‘fake’ results
    John Crudele | New York Post
    November 19, 2013

    Rep. Issa gets involved in alleged Census data fabrication, demands documents: ‘These allegations are shocking’
    Becket Adams | The Blaze
    November 19, 2013

    Monthly jobs numbers from Census Bureau may have been manipulated since ‘10 – report
    RT USA
    November 19, 2013

    Republican House leaders to look into report on faked jobs data
    Reuters News Service
    November 20, 2013

    Political Questions About the Jobs Report
    Nelson Schwartz | New York Times
    November 20, 2013

    Census Bureau: No systematic manipulation of jobs data
    Paul Davidson | USA Today
    November 20, 2013