Monthly Archive for November, 2012

Health at a Glance: Europe 2012

Source: OECD, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs

From publication website:

This second edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents a set of key indicators of health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, health expenditure and financing in 35 European countries, including the 27 European Union member states, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries.

The selection of indicators is based largely on the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI) shortlist, a set of indicators that has been developed to guide the reporting of health statistics in the European Union. It is complemented by additional indicators on health expenditure and quality of care, building on the OECD expertise in these areas.

Each indicator is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, a brief descriptive analysis highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability.

Full text (PDF)

Using Wild Data to Estimate International Migration

A previous post described several studies based on non-survey data, which inform demographic events. The following is another very creative example:

You are where you e-mail: using e-mail data to estimate international migration rates
Emilio Zagheni and Ingmar Weber | Max Planck Institute & Yahoo! Research
Proceedings of the 3rd Annual ACM Web Science Conference [Pages 348-351]
June 22-24, 2012

Wild Data: Expanding Social Science Resources

Most researchers use survey data, but more and more researchers are using “wild” data, which is defined as data not produced for research purposes. In fact, several PSC researchers are part of an NSF/Census project, which explores the usefulness of “wild” data ranging from administrative data (Social Security death index, Social Security earnings data) to data harvested from the web.

Below are several examples of informative posts based on web-based data:

The New Secessionists: Plotting secession petitions
Neal Caren | Big Data blog
November 14, 2012

This post shows the origin of each of the signers of the wave of secession petitions on the website via a county-based map. It also includes an explanation of how this was done. Many of the posts on Caren’s Big Data blog are excellent tutorials for the fundamentals of quantitative text analysis for social scientists.

It is also useful to refer to the history of secession petitions in the US, provided here:

10 facts about Secession
Kevin Robillard | Politico
November 14, 2012

The second example of an application of wild data, comes from a post about ‘mapping racist tweets’ based on content on Twitter immediately after Obama was re-elected to his second term:

Mapping Racist Tweets in Response to President Obama’s Re-election
November 8, 2012

Note that a Harvard Ph.D. student used Google search data to study the under performance of Obama in 2008, which he atttributed to racial animus.

The Effects of Racial Animus on a Black Presidential Candidate: Using Google Search Data to Find What Surveys Miss
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz | Harvard
June 9, 2012

The popular press version of this is here:

Can Google Predict the Impact of Racism on a Presidential Election?
Garance Franke-Ruta | The Atlantic
June 11, 2012

And finally, the Google NGram project has useful data for researchers. Here’s an article from the Economist where the “data is” vs “data are” question is examined. More pertinent to researchers might be the evolution of “Negro man” to “colored man” to “African-American man” in common usage.

Data or datum?
K.N.C. | The Economist
July 13, 2012

And, here’s the link to the Google Ngram Viewer. Of course, you’ll want to have access to the data. Here’s the raw data is available for download link

Re-visiting the Hispanic identity question

The measurement of race in the federal statistical system was last changed just before the 2000 Census. That change allowed respondents to identify with more than one race. While this might have improved the collection of data on multi-race individuals, it did not solve the issue of racial identity among Hispanics or other groups whose identity is not listed as a race, such as Middle Easterners. Back to Hispanics, many chose “other” as race even when the Hispanic origin question comes before the race question. Clearly, the white, African American, etc. choices are not resonating with this population.

So, the Census Bureau is proposing a change in how race and Hispanic origin are collected. OMB will have the final say on this.

Changing the Way U.S. Hispanics are Counted
Carl Haub | Population Reference Bureau
November 2012

A previous PSC Info blog entry, covered the Census Bureau press conference on this:

Census Bureau: Race/Hispanic Origin Experimental Questions
Lisa Neidert | PSC Info Blog
August 8, 2012

A summary of the press conference findings can be found here:
Census Bureau Considers Changing its Race/Hispanic Questions
D’Vera Cohn | Pew Social & Demographic Trends
August 7, 2012

Getting to the Root of Aging

Getting to the Root of Aging by Annette Baudisch and James W. Vaupel
from recent issue of Science

As people live longer, the question arises of how malleable aging is and whether it can be slowed or postponed. The classic evolutionary theories of aging (1—4) provide the theoretical framework that has guided aging research for 60 years. Are the theories consistent with recent evidence?