Archive for the 'Methodology' Category

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Changing Race From One Census to the Next

Via D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center, FactTank

Millions of Americans counted in the 2000 census changed their race or Hispanic-origin categories when they filled out their 2010 census forms, according to new research presented at the annual Population Association of America meeting last week. Hispanics, Americans of mixed race, American Indians and Pacific Islanders were among those most likely to check different boxes from one census to the next.

A questionnaire change: politics or not?

The Census Bureau has changed how it will measure insurance coverage in the Current Population Survey – Census Bureau announcement.

Many on both the left and right are unhappy with this change because of the discontinuity with the insurance measure over time – in other words, before Obamacare and after Obamacare.

Many of the comments reflect ignorance on how much research goes into changing, adding, deleting questions or that OMB always reviews questionnaire changes (even under Republican presidents). Also this change is to the questionnaire in the CPS, not the American Community Survey (or long-form census).

But, this quote probably reflects the view of many health analysts: “Getting worked up into an increasingly heated health nerd rage about the Census changes. We’re losing our best data source on Obamacare.” via Twitter. [See tweet and comments]

Here is a compilation of articles in the order they were published:

Census Bureau: Sorry, We’re Going to Have a Hard Time Measuring . .
Patrick Brennan | National Review Online
April 15, 2014

Obama Hijacks Census to Whitewash ObamaCare’s Failure
B. Christopher Agee | Western Journalism
April 15, 2014

Both Sides in Obamacare Fight Slam Census Bureau
Rob Garver | Fiscal Times
April 15, 2014

Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects
Robert Pear | New York Times
April 15, 2014

Want Useful Data on Obamacare? The Census Bureau Won’t Help
Peter Suderman | Reason (blog)
April 15, 2014

Manipulating Obamacare Stats: The Census Bureau’s Suspect Timing
Guy Benson | Town Hall (blog)
April 15, 2014

Obama’s cooking the Census for Obamacare?
Megan McArdle | Newsday
April 15, 2014

“You Had One Job” [Federal Health Insurance Statistics Edition]
Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
April 15, 2014

Republicans Accuse Census Bureau of Trying to ‘Hide the Effects of Obamacare’
Michael McAuliff | Huffington Post
April 15, 2014

Census Bureau is considering adding a new Middle East/North Africa ethnic category

Source: Pew Research Center, Fact Tank
By: Jens Manuel Grogstad

From the FactTank story:

The new category would be broader than the Arab ancestry data collected by the Census Bureau since 1980. The Arab-American population is small but growing, and its exact size is disputed. The Census Bureau estimates there are 1.8 million Arab-Americans in the U.S., up 51% since 2000. But the Arab American Institute Foundation estimates there are nearly 3.7 million Arab Americans living in the country. The Arab-American population is also diverse, with people claiming ties to 22 countries and various religious backgrounds.

Read the full story
A story from earlier in the month about other Census form race and ethnicity changes

Treasure Trove: US Congressional District Shapefiles, 1789-2012

Why should NSF fund political science? Here’s a great reason:

United States Congressional District Shapefiles
Jeffrey B. Lewis, Brandon DeVine, and Lincoln Pritcher with Kenneth C. Martis

This site provides digital boundary definitions for every U.S. Congressional District in use between 1789 and 2012. These were produced as part of NSF grant SBE-SES-0241647 between 2009 and 2013.

The current release of these data is experimental. We have had done a good deal of work to validate all of the shapes. However, it is quite likely that some irregularities remain. Please email jblewis@ucla.edu with questions or suggestions for improvement. We hope to have a ticketing system for bugs and a versioning system up soon. The district definitions currently available should be considered an initial-release version.

BLS: Budget cut casualties

The FY2014 budget for BLS has cut two important data programs: The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and the International Price Program. The latter is a principal economic indicator.

2014 Budget Enacted for Bureau of Labor Statistics
BLS Information Press Release | Bureau of Labor Statistics
February 25, 2014

The following document describes the U.S. Import and Export Price indexes, which clarifies what other government agencies and the business community are losing.

Get to Know a Principal Economic Indicator: U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes
Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics | www.copafs.org

U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes
This is the data/information link for the February 14, 2014 release
Data tables for the U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes
Downloadable tables | html version | Archival releases

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]