Archive for the 'Population Dynamics' Category

White House suggests adding Middle Eastern & North African race category to Census

If approved, the new category would appear on the 2020 Census and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws and health research. Currently, people from the Middle East are categorized as white: this was the result of a ruling a century ago in which Syrian Americans argued against being in the Asian category and therefore denied citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Read more from USA Today: White House wants to add new racial category for Middle Eastern people.

Student Diversity at Postsecondary Institutions

The Chronicle of Education has gathered race and ethnicity information on more than 4,600 postsecondary institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and presented it in a searchable and sortable table. Note that the search function is very basic: searching for “Michigan” turns up only schools which start with Michigan (e.g. Michigan State U.), and searching for “University of Michigan” gives no results since it is listed as U. of Michigan. Results can be filtered by state.

H/T Flowing Data

Data Sleuths at the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau gathered fertility by asking a “children ever born” question from 1940 to 1990 in the decennial census. The 2000 Census did not ask a fertility question at all. With the advent of the American Community Survey, fertility was covered but with a different question. It asked if a woman had given birth to a child in the past year. This allows researchers to compute a total fertility rate. It performs reasonably well against the measure produced from the vital statistics system. And, given that geography is not readily available with the natality detail files anymore, this is a welcome solution. The main drawback to the ACS question is that the reference year will not span the calendar year that the vital statistics system is based on. Only the December respondents are referencing a calendar year. See the Background section below for a further discussion of this.

However, recently, the Census Bureau noticed some anomalies in the data for selected areas and determined that some interviewers had been sloppy and asked “Have you given birth” rather than “Have you given birth in the last year.” Many more women will answer yes to the former and inflate the numerator. This is a good illustration of how much effort the Census Bureau goes to for producing accurate and robust statistics.

Data Sleuthing
Addressing Data Collection Errors in the Fertility Question in the American Community Survey
Tavia Simmons | Census Bureau
August 2016

In recent years, a few geographic areas in the American Community Survey (ACS) data had unusually high percentages of women reported as giving birth in the past year, quite unlike what was seen in previous years for those areas. This paper describes the issue that was discovered, and the measures taken to address it.

Indicators of Marriage and Fertility in the United States from the American Community Survey: 2000 to 2004
T. Johnson and J. Dye | Census Bureau
May 2005

Slides 23 to 26 discuss and illustrate how the ACS and Vital Statistics estimates diverge from each other.

IRS Migration Data Report Tool

IRS map

This is a nice tool for getting net migration reports based on IRS tax return data. Note that because these data are based on tax returns, one can also tell whether, on average, a state is losing/gaining wealthier residents. One can generate reports for counties by state or for states. The former is really tedious because one has to generate the county reports one by one.

Tool Link
Counties | States

And here’s the link to raw data for those who find widgets tedious. Note that the site has nice explanations for the methodology, including changes over time in how these files are created: SOI Tax Stats – Migration Data

And, do you want to know how to make something like the map above? Here’s a link from Flowing Data on how to make a similar map based on 5-years of county-to-county IRS data:
Article | How To Guide

The Geography of Prisons Is Changing

Prison populations from big cities have been dropping since 2006, while those from small rural counties have been rising. The New York Times Upshot examines this trend:

Just a decade ago, people in rural, suburban and urban areas were all about equally likely to go to prison. But now people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than people in populous counties.

The stark disparities in how counties punish crime show the limits of recent state and federal changes to reduce the number of inmates. Far from Washington and state capitals, county prosecutors and judges continue to wield great power over who goes to prison and for how long. And many of them have no interest in reducing the prison population.

Creating Residential Histories

This is a report on the NCI/SEERS web portal on a way to create residential histories of respondents/decadents for epidemiological research. The report (below) details how three commercial vendors were able to match the residential history of a small sample of federal government employees. Also available are the algorithms and software to reconcile conflicting addresses. Interested folks might want to browse other tools/papers in the NCI Geographical Information Systems and Science for Cancer Control webiste.

NCI/SEER Residential History Project
David Stinchcomb and Allison Roeser | Westat
May 2016

SAS residential history generation programs [3 programs]
[Summary] [Link to programs]

Immigration by Year and Country of Origin

This animated map shows immigration to the United States by year and country of origin:

From 1820 to 2013, 79 million people obtained lawful permanent resident status in the United States. The interactive map below visualizes all of them based on their prior country of residence. The brightness of a country corresponds to its total migration to the U.S. at the given time.

What Is “Normal America”?

Jed Kolko looked the demographics of each U.S. metropolitan area and measured how demographically similar they are to the U.S. as a whole, based on age, educational attainment, and race and ethnicity: “But that sense that the normal America is out there somewhere in a hamlet where they can’t pronounce “Acela” is misplaced. In fact, it’s not in a small town at all.”

Older Women Living Alone

Philip Cohen of the Family Inequality blog highlights a new Pew Research Center report on the share of U.S. women aged 65 and older living alone. The main finding of the report is that the number of women in this age group living alone has been trending downward since 1990. Pew attributes this to longer life expectancy for men, but Cohen thinks something more may be going on:

The tricky thing about this is the changing age distribution of the old population (the Pew report breaks the group down into 65-84 versus 85+, but doesn’t dwell on the changing relative size of those two groups).

Public Opinion on Abortion

The Pew Research Center recently did a survey on abortion. Views have remained quite stable for the last 20 years: in 1995, 60% of Americans believed abortion should be legal in most cases and 38% believed it should be illegal, and in 2016, 56% believe it should be legal and 41% believe it should be illegal.