Monday’s Supreme Court case centered on data. The case, Evenwell v Abbot, argues that representation in Texas legislative districts ought to be based on voters rather than the total population. Currently, most states use total population for re-districting purposes and this comes from the decennial census. The decennial census does not have a citizenship question. But, the replacement for the Census long-form, the American Community Survey (ACS) does.
The former directors of the Census Bureau filed an amicus brief against the idea of using the eligible voter population (e.g., citizens 18+ years of age). A group of applied demographers also filed an amicus brief, noting that this was quite possible using the ACS. Note that Sonia Sotomayor does not think the ACS is adequate, but that is because she misunderstands the data:
As is typical with cases involving data and social science research, there are lots of supplementary links:
The Washington Post [10 or so opinions from the Opinion | In Theory section]
‘One Person One Vote’: A Primer
Washington Post | Opinion : In Theory
[10 or so opinions and comments]
Argument preview: How to measure “one person, one vote”
Lyle Dunston | ScotusBlog
December 1, 2015
The Threat to Representation for Children and Non-Citizens: An Analysis of the Potential Impact of Evenwel v. Abbott on Redistricting
Andrew Beveridge | Social Explorer
December 2, 2015
Supreme Court is skeptical of challenge to Texas district lines
Maria Recio | Sacramento Bee
December 8, 2015
This is the source of the Sotomayor quote
“. . . Dueling Affirmative Action Empiricism” [this is actually from Fisher vs Texas, but is included here as evidence of the Supreme Court using social science research.
The FiveThirtyEight blog has a podcast called What’s the Point: “A show about our data age. Each week, Jody Avirgan brings you stories and interviews on how data is changing our lives.”
The most recent episode is about polling and religion in America.
The Pew Research Center released a report detailing the unique challenges of surveying Latinos in the United States.
As the U.S. Hispanic population grows, reaching nearly 57 million in 2015 and making up 18% of the nation’s population, it is becoming increasingly important to represent Hispanics in surveys of the U.S. population and to understand their opinions and behavior. But surveying Hispanics is complicated for many reasons – language barriers, sampling issues and cultural differences – that are the subject of a growing field of inquiry. This report explores some the unique challenges currently facing survey researchers in reaching Hispanics and offers considerations on how to meet those challenges based on the research literature and our experiences in fielding the Pew Research Center’s National Survey of Latinos.
Download the full report (PDF)
The U.S. Census Bureau released a new interactive visualization which shows how race and ethnicity categories have changed since the first census.
From the Random Samplings blog post:
Over the years, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected information on race and ethnicity. The census form has always reflected changes in society, and shifts have occurred in the way the Census Bureau classifies race and ethnicity. Historically, the changes have been influenced by social, political and economic factors including emancipation, immigration and civil rights. Today, the Census Bureau collects race and ethnic data according to U.S. Office of Management and Budget guidelines, and these data are based on self-identification.
H/T: Data Detectives
Nathan Yau at Flowing Data gives a quick review of Trifecta Wrangler, which is free software for PC and Mac and aimed at streamlining the process of formatting and cleaning data.
The Internal Revenue Service released migration data based on year-to-year address changes based on income tax returns filed with the IRS.
They present migration patterns by State or by county for the entire United States and are available for inflows—the number of new residents who moved to a State or county and where they migrated from, and outflows—the number of residents leaving a State or county and where they went.
H/T Data Detectives
The U.S. Department of Education released the data it used for the College Scorecard, along with data on completion rates, financial aid, debt and earnings.
Via Flowing Data: “And it doesn’t look and work like an outdated government site. With all of my frustrations with government sites, the education release feels pretty great. It’s as if the department actually wants us to look at the data. Imagine that.”
OHRP has release its notice of proposed rule making that makes significant changes to the Common Rule.
Federal Register: Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
Comments are accepted up until 12/07/2015 at 11:59 PM EST
If you need to get up to speed, The National Academy of Sciences published a book in 2014 on the first release of changes to the common rule. It is available on-line, as a pdf or as a book.
The Canadian election campaign period is much shorter than the US. The Canadian election will take place on October 19, 2015 and the campaigning started on August 2nd of this year.
Another difference with the US is the types of issues that candidates are discussing – specifically science policy and the long-form census. Will these be issues in the US? Doubtful, but let’s watch the debates and see.
Below is recent coverage in the Canadian press about the long-form census and science policy being issues, at least among the NDP and Liberals:
Reviving the Census Debate
Donovan Vincent | The Star
September 12, 2015
The Liberals and the NDP have said they want to bring back the long-form census the Conservatives killed in 2010. Could it become an election issue?
Researchers try to make science a federal election issue
Julie Ireton | CBC News
September 3, 2015
Here is a running list of organizations that were against/in favor of the Harper government’s cancellation of the mandatory long-form census.
Here is previous coverage in this blog about Canada’s war on science and follies with their census.
The Census Bureau has updated their U.S. and World Population Clock with new visualizations and data:
From the Director’s Blog:
Today, I’m excited to showcase the addition of several new features to the World Population Clock. For the first time, basic population facts and visualizations are available for 228 countries and areas around the world, just as they are for U.S. states.
In addition, World Population Clock users can now get Census Bureau data on international trade in goods by country. It’s amazing to see the range and value of goods that states export to countries around the world – and it’s easy to download, share and embed the data in social media.