Maybe just a nothing burger, but. . .

Funding for fetal tissue research in jeopardy & funding for teen pregnancy prevention axed.

NIH fetal tissue research would be barred under House panel’s spending plan
Lev Facher | STAT News
July 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee’s draft 2018 spending plan would prohibit federal funds from being spent on research that uses fetal tissue, a symbolic win for conservatives who are also taking aim at money for family planning and public health programs around the country.

Trump administration suddenly pulls plug on teen pregnancy programs
Jane Kay | Reveal: Center for Investigative Reporting
July 14, 2017

The Trump administration has quietly axed $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs and research at more than 80 institutions around the country, including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University.

. . .

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other top Trump appointees are outspoken opponents of federal funding for birth control, advocating abstinence rather than contraceptives to control teen pregnancies.

. . .

The elimination of two years of funding for the five-year projects shocked the professors and community health officials around the country who run them.

An economist’s best friend: a natural experiment

Male Earnings, Marriageable Men, and non-marital fertility:
Evidence from the Fracking boom

Melissa Kearney and Riley Wilson | NBER Working Paper [23408]
May 2017

This paper takes advantage of the fracking boom to see if an influx of high paying jobs would increase the likelihood of marriage among men without college degrees.

You have to read the paper to find the answer.
Abstract | Paper

Another option is to read the transcript from an interview with one of the authors (Kearney) in Freakonomics Radio link. The last half discusses the findings. This link also goes to a podcast of the interview.

The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat from Marriage
Stephen J. Dubner | Freakonomics Radio
July 5, 2017

Search terms as data

The Digital Footprint of Europe’s Refugees
Phillip Connor | Pew Global
June 8, 2017

This post from Pew Global shows how Arabic-language Google searches for the term for “Greece” by users in Turkey very closely match the migrant flows into Greece during the summer of 2016. The volume even has daily peaks after midnight, when most migrants made the journey.
Executive Summary | Complete Report

And, just for fun, here are two of the figure from the post:

Google search volume figures

Google search volume figures

Pre-emption Laws

The title says it all:

Blue cities want to make their own rules. Red states won’t let them
Emily Badger | New York Times
July 6, 2017

[Note that the article makes use of the geography-based data visualization previously covered here]

Here’s a report from the National League of Cities that provides a state by state look at this issue:

City rights in an era of pre-emption: A state-by-state analysis
N. DuPuis, T. Langan, C. McFarland, A. Panettieri, & B. Rainwater | National League of Cities
2017

And, here’s a book that came up when I searched for “ripper laws.” The link is just to a snippet of the text.

Contemporary American Federalism
Joseph Zimmerman
2009

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

New Data Visualization Technique

Here are several examples of data visualizations that show the results by state, but order the data by the geographic location of the state. Note that these are also good sources for geographically referenced data:

Higher Education Spending by State
The Assault on Colleges – and the American Dream
David Leonhardt | New York Times
May 25, 2017

higher ed funding by state

Data Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Coal Consumption
States’ Appetite for Coal Shrinks, Except in Nebraska
Yvette Romero | Bloomberg
May 30, 2017

coal consumption by state

Data Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Here is one more example from Bloomberg on the availability of Planned Parenthood clinics across states

Planned Parenthood Closings Leave Some Patients With No Options
Yvette Romero | Bloomberg
June 1, 2017

planned parenthood clinics by states

Census Bureau director resigns

The Census Bureau director has just given notice that he’ll be resigning on June 30, 2017. His term officially ended in December 2016, but he has continued his role as director. This is a crucial time for the Census Bureau as it is ramping up for the 2020 Census without enough funds – at least in historical terms.

funding graph

[Link to FiveThirtyEight post on Census Bureau funding]

Here’s the coverage of John Thompson’s resignation in reverse chronological order:

The U.S. census is in trouble. This is why it’s crucial to what the nation knows about itself
Henry Farrell | Monkey Cage Blog, Washington Post
May 15, 2017

Excellent synopsis of an interview with Ken Prewitt, former Census Bureau director. And, a nice conclusion as well:

President Trump must now step in, name a high-quality director and insist that Congress provide the Census Bureau the money it needs. The 2020 Census will begin in April of that year — right in the middle of primary season. The bureau’s troubles pre-date Mr. Trump’s ascension, but the census is happening on his watch. If it fails, he will own it.

Is the census heading for a crisis?
Danny Vinik | Politico
May 13, 2017

The director resigns just as the $1.5 billion agency heads into its biggest test. Next in command may be a weather forecaster.

The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey
Haley Sweetland Edwards | Time
May 12, 2017

In a week dominated by President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, you could be forgiven for missing the imminent departure of another, less prominent federal official.

Yet the news this week that John H. Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau, has abruptly resigned is arguably as consequential to the future of our democracy. That’s because the Census Bureau, while less flashy than the FBI, plays a staggeringly important role in both U.S. elections and an array of state and federal government functions.

Census Director to Resign Amid Worries Over 2020 Head Count
Jonah Bromwich | New York Times
May 10, 2017

Census Bureau Director Resigns As Agency Faces Funding Debate
Doreen McCallister | NPR
May 10, 2017

US Census Bureau director abruptly resigns
Brooke Seipel | The Hill
May 9, 2017

U.S. Census director resigns amid turmoil over funding of 2020 count
Tara Bahrampour | Washington Post
May 9, 2017

Census director quits as census ramps up
Michael McAuliff | Huffington Post
May 9, 2017
Facing a major budget crunch, the man who was counting the U.S. population for Trump is resigning

[Bonus content]
Census2020 Oversight Hearing
May 3, 2017

Census Bureau director stepping down amid watchdog concerns
Jory Heckman | Federal News Radio
May 9, 2017

Detroit’s Home Lending Market

This recent article in Crain’s Detroit shows how far Detroit’s comeback has to go to be successful. Only 19% of home sales were via mortgages; however, that is an improvement.

Home mortgages remain a Detroit rarity
Joel Kurth and Mike Wilkinson | Crain’s Detroit
March 30, 2017
Can you call it a comeback if home loans are written only in a few neighborhoods?

The article has an interactive graphic that allows one to get more information on home sales – cash/mortgage, year built, and price. And, you can zero in on specific neighborhoods and streets. The data are from Real Comp II

detroit home sales

[Click to explore home sales data]