Monthly Archive for June, 2017

Missing Data

No not the ‘9’ code in data, but data that no longer exist.

The FiveThirtyEight blog has a nice post on data on drug use that no longer exists.

Data On Drug Use Is Disappearing Just When We Need It Most
Kathryn Casteel | FiveThirtyEight blog
June 29, 2017

The main source researchers use to determine patterns of drug use is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and it doesn’t track very well with heroin mortality statistics. But, it is the best data researchers have:

Several other sources that researchers once relied on are no longer being updated or have become more difficult to access. The lack of data means researchers, policymakers and public health workers are facing the worst U.S. drug epidemic in a generation without essential information about the nature of the problem or its scale.

The rest of the post describes some data sources that no longer exist, which were useful indicators of heroin use:

Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program [ADAM].
Estimates of expenditures on heroin

Expenditures on illicit drug use are nicely summarized in this article:

Cocaine’s fall and marijuana’s rise: questions and insights based on new estimates of consumption and expenditures in US drug markets
Caulkins, J., B. Kilmer, P. Reuter, G. Midgette | Addiction
May 2015

And, not mentioned at all in the FiveThirtyEight post are patterns of drug usage from wastewater analysis – sewage epidemioloogy:

Real-Time Wasterwater Analysis Shows What Drugs are being Used Where
Douglas Main | Popular Science
June 11, 2014

Where does old housing stock dominate?

Here’s a nice map of the US by zip code that shows the time period when the plurality of houses had been built. So, a fast growing area did not have most of its housing stock by 1960. Conversely, there are plenty of areas where most of the housing stock was built by 1940 (think Northeast and lots of the plains states).

age of housing stock

The data source for this is the American Community Survey. The actual map came from the MapPorn site on reddit.

Two final notes:
This map is based on contemporary information so it doesn’t necessarily really reflect the history of housing stock in a zip code. If housing built in the 1920s was demolished during urban renewal in the 1970s, this stock is no longer available to be reported on by the current residents.

And, just by chance, here’s another image from Reddit on the age of the housing stock by districts in Germany. The dark shades represent either the oldest (purple) or the newest (green).

age of German housing stock

Census Bureau is on the radar

The Census Bureau is losing its director at the end of this month and due to the pace of political appointments by the administration it could be a long time before it gets a director. This is serious because the Census Bureau is ramping up to the 2020 Census without enough money and was included in the High Risk Report compiled by the Government Accountability Office.

But, instead of focusing on this, Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI noticed that a subcontract for the media campaign has potential political leanings and wants an investigation:

GOP senator voices concerns about pro-Dem firm working 2020 Census
Will Carr | Fox News
June 5, 2017
Fox News has learned that last summer, a pro-Democratic analytics firm that describes itself as “a platform for hope and change” was included as a subcontractor in a $415 million advertising contract for the 2020 Census.

The editorial team at Bloomberg News is focused on the big picture:

Avoiding the Census Fiasco of 2020
Editorial Board | Bloomberg News
June 5, 2017
More is at stake than you might think.

Here are a few snips from this editorial

The fact that the census of 2020 is shaping up to be a fiasco is no small matter.

The troubles at the Census Bureau aren’t new. Nonetheless it falls to President Donald Trump to fix the problem — and to do this, he’ll need to move quickly.

Soon it will be too late to get back on track. Without delay, Trump must nominate competent people to fill the empty posts, and Congress must allocate money for the necessary tests. The census debacle of 2020 is looming.

So, to the nominations or “help wanted” problem:

white house with help wanted sign

Here’s a tracking database on the status of political appointments for President Trump. There are a lot of open nominations. In spite of a Trump tweet that Congress is obstructing his appointments, the bigger story is how few nominations there are. As of this post, there was no nominee for 441 of the 559 key positions requiring Senate confirmation. See tracking data base below to check on the status of his appointments.

This tracking database is a cooperative project by the Partnership for Public Service and the Washington Post. Click either link for access:

Partnership for Public Service | Washington Post