Monthly Archive for April, 2012

Census Bureau joins the 21st Century: Internet Option

Census Bureau Pushes Online Survey Response Option
by D’Vera Cohn | Pew Social and Demographic Trends
April 26, 2012
The Census Bureau did not have an internet option for the 2010 Census; it did for the 2000 Census, but it was not widely advertised. Ren Farley, was one of only 60,000 households to use that mode in 2000. After much research the Census Bureau is scheduled to have an internet option for the 2020 Census as well as the ongoing collection of data for the American Community Survey.

An Overview of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Source: Congressional Budget Office

From the Director’s Blog:

In fiscal year 2011, federal expenditures for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps)—$78 billion—and participation in the program were the highest they have ever been. In an average month that year, about one in seven U.S. residents received SNAP benefits.

In a report issued today, CBO describes the program, its beneficiaries, recent trends in participation and spending, and some possible approaches to changing how it operates. To provide a handy summary of some of the most pertinent information about SNAP, CBO also published an infographic on SNAP.

Report (PDF)
Infographic (PDF)

Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals

Source: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

From Press Release:

The developing world’s progress is seriously lagging on global targets related to food and nutrition, with rates of child and maternal mortality still unacceptably high, says the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2012, released today by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Recent spikes in international food prices have stalled progress across several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the report says.

GMR 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition and the Millennium Development Goals reports good progress across some MDGs, with targets related to reducing extreme poverty and providing access to safe drinking water already achieved, several years ahead of the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs. Also, targets on education and ratio of girls to boys in schools are within reach.

In contrast, the world is significantly off-track on the MDGs to reduce mortality rates of children under five and mothers. As a result, these goals will not be met in any developing region by 2015. Progress is slowest on maternal mortality, with only one-third of the targeted reduction achieved thus far. Progress on reducing infant and child mortality is similarly dismal, with only 50 per cent of the targeted decline achieved.

Full report (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
See publication website for related materials

World Development Indicators, 2012

Source: The World Bank

From publication website:

World Development Indicators 2012 is a compilation of relevant, high-quality, and internationally comparable statistics about development and the quality of people’s lives. Organized around six themes—world view, people, the environment, the economy, states and markets, and global links—it aims to put data into the hands of policy makers, development specialists, students, and the public. We encourage and applaud the use of the data presented here to help reduce poverty and to solve the world’s most pressing development challenges. The full dataset used to produce World Development Indicators contains more than 1,000 indicators for 216 economies, with many time series extending back to 1960.

Full report (PDF)
Regional highlights (PDF)
The publication web page includes other publications, data and applications.

The Older Population in the US: Census 2010 & Projections

Census 2010 Brief: The Older Population, 2010
Executive Summary
Census 2010 News Brief

And some projections to 2050

THE NEXT FOUR DECADES: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050
Population Estimates and Projections | Census Bureau
May 2010

Demographic Methods

Here’s a nice article that compares the demographic future of China and the US. It would be nice reading in a demographic methods course:

Demography: China’s Achilles Heel
The Economist
April 21, 2012

Elsevier Boycott, Open Access, University Responses, etc.

Earlier this year, Congress tried to pass legislation that would have ended the NIH Pub Med Central repository [link]. This legislation failed, but Elsevier was a big backer of it. There is an active boycott – mostly among mathematicians – of Elsevier journals (publishing, reviewing, etc.). In addition, both Harvard and MIT professors have written letters in protest of some of Elsevier’s policies:

Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing: Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot be Sustained
Faculty Advisory Council | Harvard University
April 17, 2012

New Open Access Working Group Formed: Formulating Response to Elsevier’s Policy Change
Richard Holton | MIT Facultly Newsletter
March/April 2012

And, a blast from the past. This has been simmering for some time:

Libraries take a stand
Harvard University Gazette
February 5, 2004

Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero – and Perhaps Less

Mexican Immigration to U.S. Slowed Significantly, Report Says
Julia Preston | New York Times
April 23, 2012
The Pew Hispanic Center [see below for full report] said that not only did immigration come to a near halt after years of growth but also the number of Mexicans leaving rose sharply.

Tide Turns on Border Crossing
Miriam Jordan | Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2012

Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero – and Perhaps Less
Jeffrey Passel, D’Vera Cohn and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera | Pew Hispanic Center
April 23, 2012
[Executive Summary] | [Full Report]

Robert Groves to Leave Census Bureau

Robert Groves, former SRC Director, will be leaving the Census Bureau to become provost at Georgetown University. This collection of articles has some nice quotes about his tenure at the Census Bureau.

Do we know Groves’ religious affiliation? If not a Catholic, he will be only the second provost at Georgetown that is not a Catholic.

Georgetown Picks Census Director as Next Provost
Carol Morello | Washington Post
April 10, 2012

Interesting quotations:
Robert Groves:

“I’m an academic at heart. This was the kind of position that’s kind of hard to pass up.”

Darrell Issa (R-Calif), Chair of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

“His tenure is proof that appointing good people makes a big difference, and I urge the president to look for another servant of Robert’s caliber when naming his replacement.”

Terri Ann Lowenthal, consultant to the Census Project

“He has been straightforward and transparent, and I think he earned the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. He also has taken bold steps to help the agency face difficult challenges in a time of severe fiscal constraints, rapidly evolving communications avenues and increasing public skepticism about the role of government and the privacy of their personal information.”

Robert Groves Stepping Down as Census Director
Jolie Lee |
April 10, 2012
More quotations:
Rebecca Blank, Deputy Secretary of the Commerce Department

“This is a significant and highly deserved honor for him — and a major capstone to his notable academic career”

[from blog post link below]

Tom Carper (D-Del)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee on federal financial management, said Groves joined Census when the agency “faced many operational and management challenges” but confronted them head-on.

“Through his impressive skill set and background in issues related to the Census and to statistics, he helped right the ship, ensuring the successful completion of the 2010 Decennial Census,” Carper said in a release.

Robert Groves on federal workers

“We all read in the papers each day some commentary on how federal employees are unmotivated, unproductive, and wasteful. I’ve met many who defy that stereotype. They do, however, need leaders who listen to their ideas, leaders who will support them when they trip attempting stretch goals, leaders who believe that government agencies can be as efficient as any other organization.”

Census Director Robert Groves to Leave the Commerce Department this Fall
Rebecca Blank | Random Samplings
April 10, 2012

Census Bureau director resigns
Andrew Lapin | Government Executive
April 10, 2012
Robert Groves commending Census employees for the successful 2010 Census

“This is hard work. It takes complete commitment to ongoing innovation. It’s not flashy. Indeed, public service is rarely sexy. It is, however, noble.”

[from his farewell blogpost link below].

Looking Forward, Looking Back
Robert Groves | Director’s Blog
April 10, 2012

U.S. Census Bureau director Robert Groves to be next Provost
Jackson Perry | Vox Populi
April 10, 2012

The choice highlights the priorities of the search process. At a town hall in January, the head of the search committee declared a commitment to Georgetown’s Jesuit identity as one of the committee’s three priorities in their considerations. Indeed, prior to Groves’ appointment, only one provost in University history was neither a Jesuit nor a Catholic. However, DeGioia’s email to the community making the announcement does not mention the University’s religious identity or Groves’ commitment to it. At the time of publication, Groves’ religious affiliation was not immediately known.

New Working Papers from the NBER

Posterior Predictive Analysis for Evaluating DSGE Models
by Jon Faust, Abhishek Gupta
Abstract; PDF

Housing Booms and City Centers
by Edward L. Glaeser, Joshua D. Gottlieb, Kristina Tobio
Abstract; PDF

Estimating the Relationship between Alcohol Policies and Criminal Violence and Victimization
by Sara Markowitz, Erik Nesson, Eileen Poe-Yamagata, Curtis Florence, Partha Deb, Tracy Andrews, Sarah Beth L. Barnett
Abstract; PDF

Do High-Cost Hospitals Deliver Better Care? Evidence from Ambulance Referral Patterns
by Joseph J. Doyle, Jr., John A. Graves, Jonathan Gruber, Samuel Kleiner
Abstract; PDF

Is There “Too Much” Inequality in Health Spending Across Income Groups?
by Laurence Ales, Roozbeh Hosseini, Larry E. Jones
Abstract; PDF

School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil-Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools
by Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer
Abstract; PDF

Price Subsidies, Diagnostic Tests, and Targeting of Malaria Treatment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

by Jessica Cohen, Pascaline Dupas, Simone G. Schaner
Abstract; PDF

Costly Labor Adjustment: Effects of China’s Employment Regulations
by Russell Cooper, Guan Gong, Ping Yan
Abstract; PDF

Education, Cognition, Health Knowledge, and Health Behavior
by Naci H. Mocan, Duha Tore Altindag
Abstract; PDF

Who Suffers During Recessions?
by Hilary W. Hoynes, Douglas L. Miller, Jessamyn Schaller
Abstract; PDF

On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics
by Omar Al-Ubaydli, John A. List
Abstract; PDF

The Evolution of the Black-White Test Score Gap in Grades K-3: The Fragility of Results
by Timothy N. Bond, Kevin Lang
Abstract; PDF

Explaining Recent Trends in the U.S. Teen Birth Rate
by Melissa Schettini Kearney, Phillip B. Levine
Abstract; PDF

Why is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States so High and Why Does it Matter?
by Melissa Schettini Kearney, Phillip B. Levine
Abstract; PDF