Apr 22, 2014 11:37 am

Data Feed: World’s richest middle class, first-term senators at risk, when the workday begins

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

As GOP chances decline, Senate control now a tossupmethodology, The Upshot/NYT
Not many swing voters in midterm elections, The Upshot/NYT
Independents more likely to back anti-Obamacare candidates, Fox News
History shows first-term senators likely most at risk for reelection, U. of Minnesota
In NY, wide Cuomo lead over Astorino would be cut by liberal 3rd party, topline, Siena

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Category: Data Feed

Apr 22, 2014 7:00 am

Census may change some questions after pushback from public

The U.S. Census Bureau is considering whether to drop some questions that it has used for decades from its largest household survey of Americans. First under review are four of the touchiest topics: Plumbing, commuting, income and disability.

Census questions in the American Community Survey on income that may be changedThe questions being rethought number more than a dozen that fall under those four topics, including: Does your house have a flush toilet? What time did you usually leave home to go to work last week? What was your total income during the past 12 months? Do you have trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions because of a physical, mental and emotional condition?

Three million households a year are asked these questions—and dozens of others—on the bureau’s American Community Survey. The survey’s annually updated data help guide the distribution of more than $416 billion in federal funds. Its data provide demographic, social, economic and housing estimates that are widely used by state and local officials, businesses, researchers and advocacy organizations. It is the only source of local and neighborhood-level data on these topics.

But some Americans who receive the survey are so angry about these questions and others that they complain to members of Congress.They say that they will refuse to answer, even though response is mandatory. They believe some questions are too nosy, or that the bureau should not collect more than basic data, or both. Some call their local TV station to ask whether the survey is a scam.

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Topics: U.S. Census

Apr 21, 2014 2:54 pm

Men more optimistic than women about future technological changes

Our recent survey with Smithsonian magazine on Americans’ attitudes toward the future of science and technology found some striking differences between women and men in their hopes and fears about the future. Here are a few key themes:

1Men, especially those who are high-income and highly educated, are generally more optimistic than women are about the long-term impact of technological change.

Men, Women and Tech OptimismOverall, men have a more positive outlook than women have when it comes to the impact of future technological and scientific developments. Fully 67% of men (compared with 51% of women) said that technological changes will lead to a future where people’s lives are mostly better. Meanwhile, 36% of women (compared with 25% of men) expect those changes to make society worse.

These gender differences are especially pronounced among Americans with high levels of income and education. For example, men with an annual household income of $75,000 or more are overwhelmingly positive—80% expect changes in technology to make life better, while just 9% expect them to make life worse. Conversely, women in this same income group are much more divided on this question—just over half (55%) expect a better future thanks to technology, but a third (32%) envision a negative impact.  Read More

Topics: Gender, Technology Adoption

Apr 21, 2014 12:56 pm

Majority in U.S. back trade treaty Obama likely to discuss on Japan trip

Americans believe U.S. trade with Japan is a good thingPresident Obama heads to Tokyo on Wednesday for the first state visit to Japan by an American president since Bill Clinton in 1996. As the initial stop on a weeklong tour of Asia that has long been in the making, the three day trip will provide the president and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with a crucial opportunity to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While trade officials from the two countries have already met in Washington in an attempt to resolve some of the thornier details of the free trade pact, publics in both nations have expressed support for the deal to go forward.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans (55%) believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a good thing, while just 25% think the agreement will be bad for the country and 19% don’t have an opinion. While more Democrats (59%) and independents (56%) support the trade pact, roughly half of Republicans (49%) also see U.S. membership in the TPP as positive. Americans ages 18-29 are also more likely than their older counterparts to view the agreement favorably.

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Barack Obama, Economic and Business News, Globalization and Trade

Apr 21, 2014 11:14 am

Data Feed: Online sales taxes, interstate migration and the labor market, skepticism about the Big Bang

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

62% of Americans say they enjoy saving more than spending, continuing trend, Gallup
Current expansion long-lasting yet lackluster, The Wall Street Journal
At $680 billion, 2013 federal deficit was still larger than in 2008, CBO
Declining interstate migration in U.S. tied to fewer job transitions, NBER
When states tax online sales, people buy less from Amazon, more from competitors, NBER

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Apr 21, 2014 7:00 am

Why is the teen birth rate falling?


The teen birth rate in the U.S. is at a record low, dropping below 30 births per 1,000 teen females for the first time since the government began collecting consistent data on births to teens ages 15-19, according to National Center for Health Statistics data.

The all-time peak for teen births was 96.3 per 1,000 in 1957 in the midst of the “Baby Boom,” after having risen dramatically following the end of World War II. But the composition of teen mothers has changed drastically since then. Back in 1960, most teen mothers were married—an estimated 15% of births to mothers ages 15-19 were to unmarried teens. Today, it has flipped:  89% of births are to unmarried mothers in that age group.  Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Teens and Youth

Apr 18, 2014 2:30 pm

Generational equity and the ‘Next America’

In the week since we published The Next America data essay, a few critics have portrayed our report as an effort to foment a “generational war” over Social Security and Medicare. Let me respond.

While the essay (and companion book) is mainly about the sweeping demographic changes now underway in America, it also addresses the financial burdens that those entitlement programs will place on future generations as our population ages.

Is this an effort to start a Battle of the Ages? I certainly hope not. To the contrary, one of the goals of the essay and book is to highlight the trove of demographic and attitudinal research my colleagues and I have conducted which show that young and old in America aren’t spoiling for a generational war – not over entitlements, nor any other realm of their increasingly interdependent lives. For example: Read More

Topics: Demographics, Entitlements, Generations and Age, Millennials, Wealth

Apr 18, 2014 1:18 pm

When Easter and Christmas near, more Americans search online for “church”

Priests and ministers have long noted a sharp increase in church attendance around the two most significant Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter. Some have given those who attend services only at those times of year a name — “Chreasters” — and churches have launched campaigns to get them to attend more regularly.

Google searches for "church" spike during Easter and Christmas seasons

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Topics: Internet Activities, Online Search, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Apr 18, 2014 12:43 pm

Chart of the Week: How Americans die, by the numbers

How Americans Die

Americans aren’t dying like they used to. They’re living longer, and more are dying of natural causes. In 2010, nearly one-third of all deaths (31%) came from people ages 85 and older – a big improvement from 1968, when the 85+ age cohort made up just 12.6% of deaths.

But the downside of living longer is the higher rates of dementia, senility and Alzheimer’s in the population, which are also more costly. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 180,021 such cases compared with just 293 such cases in 1968.

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Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Death and Dying

Apr 18, 2014 11:03 am

Data Feed: More twins, the rich die old, Crimean public opinion

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Why a plan to circumvent the Electoral College is doomed, 538
Sortable stats for 14 states with competitive Senate races,  WSJ
The many paths to ending a career in the House of Representatives, Sabato’s Crystal Ball
Americans more confident in business, state leaders than in federal political leaders, Gallup
49% of voters believe White House had IRS target conservatives, topline, Fox News
On expanding pre-K, Americans are divided by party, race, National Journal
California voters support expanding pre-K, despite its costs, The Field Poll
Less is more: American views on Ukraine, Running Numbers

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Category: Data Feed