Data Surfer

Sites you need to see

If you're an international statistics junkie, have I got a source for you.

Today the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development release a huge compendium of fresh data covering a wide range of topics, including population, econonics, education, environment, government, technology, and more. The OECD Factbook contains over 100 indicators that compare conditions in most of the world's nations. The 2010 edition is available free in three formats: as a web site, an online database or as an iPhone application. You can also order a print copy.

The stats in both the web site and database versions are easy to browse and manipulate. You drill down through a hierarchy of topics to specific tables. For example, in the "Population and Migration" section of the web version, there is an interesting table comparing the unemployment status of native-born and foreign-born workers in various countries. In general, immigrants have a tougher time finding work, but underlying factors (such as gender, age, education) vary from country to country. 

As the we head toward California's June Primary, political types will try to guess who will be voting. Perhaps there are clues in the recently released Census report, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008: Population Characterisitics. Of course this was a presidential election with special historic significance. Still, there are some interesting stats on registration and voting broken out by such things as race, education, income, age, gender and the like.

In 2008, 63.6 percent of the voting age population voted. That's not much different than the participation in November 2004, but higher than in earlier presidential elections. (The national registration rate fell slightly from 2004 to 2008, 72.1 to 71.0 percent.) Breaking out the data, non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans showed the highest voting rates (66.1 and 64.7 percent). Women voted at a higher rate than men (72.8 to 69.1 percent). People aged 65-74 beat all other age groups (72.4 percent). Married adults voted more than the non-married categories (69.9 percent). Those with advanced college degrees vote at the highest rate of 82.7 percent.

Looked at geographically, we see California voting at almost the national rate (63.4 percent). Minnesota had the highest (75.0 percent) and Hawaii the lowest (51.0 percent).

The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program has compiled and analyzed a large amount data on the bigger U.S. cities and their surrounding areas. The aim is to illuminate the essential demographic and social trends that are transforming the top 100 metro areas. The statistics cover changes in population, education, ethnicity, age, income, work and immigration. According to the authors, the country faces five "new realities" for the urban centers that are home to two-thirds of the nation's population. Briefly stated these are: growth and outward expansion; population diversification; population aging; uneven educational attainment; income polarization.

Finding specific information in the 172-page report is daunting, but fortunately the Brookings web site allows readers to visualize and browse the stats easily using an interactive map and database. With the national map, you can quickly flip from indicator to indicator and compare the metro areas with color-coded circles. You can also call up the entire dataset for a particular MSA, for example, "Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville," the 25th largest in the United States. These MSA figures are broken down by the region as a whole, by its principal city and by its suburbs.

The California Demographics Unit (the state equivalent of the U.S. Census Bureau) today released fresh estimates of city and county populations. The data is a snapshot of the state as of Jan. 2010 and is organized in four Excel spreadsheets:

City / County Population Estimates -- January 1, 2009 and 2010 (shows 2009 population with provisional 2010 estimate, plus percent change).

Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State, 2001-2010, with 2000 Benchmark (shows annual estimates of population, plus the figures from the 2000 federal census).

Population and Housing Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State, 2001-2010, with 2000 Benchmark (shows annual estimates of households and housing units, plus breakdowns of housing by type: SFRs, apartments, mobile, etc.).

January 2010 City Population Ranked by Size, Numeric, and Percent Change (shows cities ranked by numeric and percent change between 2009-2010 and 2000-2010).

Some highlights: Between 2009-2010 California grew 1.0 percent to 38,648,090. Sacramento County grew 0.9 percent to 1,445,327. Sacramento City grew 1.0 percent to 486,489. The fastest growing county is the state is Sutter, 2.7 percent. The fast growing city is Colfax, 5.67 percent.

If you're a fan of those real-time data monitors like the U.S. National Debt Clock or the World Population Clock, you're going to love this social media tracker:

Today is the last day for U.S. residents to mail in their 2010 census forms without running the risk of being visited by a Census worker next month. The government estimates a savings of "about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the national mail response rate." So the Census Bureau is pushing hard this year to boost participation rates. It even encourages civic leaders and regular people to track participation with an online map showing the current mail rate for places, counties and states.

Nationally, 68 percent have returned their questionnaires so far. That's a drop from 72 percent in 2000. Locally, the rates tends to parallel the state (66 percent in 2010, 73 percent in 2000). Urban centers like Sacramento County (69 percent, 74 percent) and Sacramento City (67 percent, 70 percent) run higher than nearby rural areas. For example, Sierra County (42 percent, 49 percent) shows a typically low response rate. Little Alpine County is the lowest in the state with 21 percent (but had 67 percent in 2000, go figure).

Last May Google launched its government data search service. Now the Internet giant has expanded it data offerings with a load of international statistics from the World Bank. These 54 World Development Indicators reflect economic, environmental, demographic and health conditions in countries and regions around the globe.

In addition to expanding its data collections, Google has enhanced its visualization capability with Public Data Explorer, a tool that makes large datasets easy to explore and manipulate. It not only lets you track specific indicators and geographies, Explorer also animates changes in the data over time. Take for example this longitudinal graph correlating fertility rate and life expectancy. The data point are color-coded and sized by region and population. Generally speaking, the more babies the average woman has, the shorter the life expectancy in the country. Click "play" and you see the stats evolve from 1960 to 2007 as fertility decreases and life spans increase in most places.

Attention civic leaders. If you're concerned about low interest in your communities in the upcoming census count, the U.S. Census Bureau suggests you consult 2000 participation data to see what neighborhoods will likely lag behind this time around. The Bureau makes this easy with a national interactive map that quickly displays participation rates for states, counties and census tracts.

"Participation" refers to the percentage of households who voluntarily return their mail-in questionnaires. This matters a lot to officials because Census workers will have to be sent to any address not returning forms. It's estimated that for every one percent of additional mail participation, taxpayers save $85 million in Census costs.

The participation map tool is color-coded to show how various geographies have performed in the past. In northern California, we see fairly low rates in rural counties, such as Lake, Calaveras, Mono, Plumas and Sierra. In Sacramento, most neighborhoods show healthy participation with the exception of a few tracts in poorer neighborhoods.

The popularity of marriage in the United States has been dropping for decades, says the Pew Research Center. According to 2008 Census figures, only 52 percent of males and 48 percent of females (over 15) were married in 2008. The median age at first marriage has also been climbing for many years. Currently, it sits at 28 years old for men and 26 years old for women. California trails the nation in the percentage of adults who are married: 49 percent of males and 46 percent of females. The state's first marriage age is little higher than the national median: 29 for men, 27 for women.

The Bee has prepared a color-coded interactive map showing the 2008 marital status of Californians in the more populous counties. With it you can see the number and percentages of married and divorced indivuals broken out by gender.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has released its latest annual estimates of "unauthorized immigrants" living in the nation. This is a snapshot of this population as of January 2009 with data broken down by time period of entry, country of origin, state of residence, age and sex.

DHS believes the number of undocumented immigrants actually fell 11.6 to 10.8 million between 2008 and 2009. (In 2000 there were 8.5 million.) The large majority of these individuals (62 percent) came from Mexico. Many of the undocumented live in California (24 percent), Texas (16 percent) and Florida (7 percent). The population is skewed toward males (58 percent) and adults aged 25 to 44 (61 percent).

The Brookings Institution yesterday released a report analyzing the overall shift of poverty from urban to suburban areas. Two recessions in the past decade have increased the number of poor people by 5.2 million, says Brookings, and almost half of that growth occured in the suburbs of the nation's biggest cities. Nationally, poverty in suburbs grew five times faster than in primary cities during the period 2000 to 2008.  

The Brookings study examined economic data from years 2000, 2007 and 2008 for the 95 largest MSAs. Not surprisingly, the biggest jump in poverty rate (2000 to 2008) was seen in the Midwest -- especially in the struggling auto manufacturing regions. Here in the Sacramento metro area, the number people living under the poverty rate increased a total of 22,678. But the number actually fell in the city proper by 2,755 and increased in the suburbs by 25,433. In terms of percentages, the city's poverty rate dropped from 17.5 to 14.3 percent and increased 11.0 to 11.1 percent in the burbs.

This Martin Luther King Day The Bee published a story on local students who refuse to identify their race and ethnicity for purposes of state and federal data collection. Statewide, the number of K-12 students who listed their race as "multiple/no response" jumped from 124,324 in 2006 to 210,501 in 2009. In Sacramento County, the number rose from 3,463 to 10,375 in that same period.

If you're curious about the demographic trend at your school district or school, browse on over to the California Education Department's DataQuest page. Here you'll find an easy-to-navigate database of statistics on school performance, staffing and student characteristics. Pick the "level" (state, county, district or school). Then "enrollment" under the "student demographics" under the "subject" drop-down list. After choosing the year and name of your district/school, you'll be given the option to view "enrollment by ethnicity" which displays figures for major race and ethnic classifications, plus "multiple or no response".

In response to Tuesday's devastating earthquake in the Caribbean, the U.S. Census Bureau has aggregated statistics on Haiti and Haitians living in the United States. According to Census figures, an estimated 1.3 million people (14 percent of the nation's population) live in the 10 communes (a geographic unit) experiencing the quake's greatest intensity. Another 14 communes with 2.5 million people are located in a zone of lesser, but still substantial intensity (see accompanying map).

The 2008 American Community Survey includes data on the number of U.S. residents who were born in Haiti and who are of Haitian ancestry. Here are the population stats for the nation, state and region:

  Haitian Ancestry Born in Haiti
United States 805,691 534,969
California 9,102 3,386
Sacramento MSA 45 97

Americans are moving less because of the economic downturn, according to a new Brookings analysis of Census and IRS migration data. In the period 2007-09, U.S. migration fell to its lowest level since the 1940s. Twenty-three states, mostly in the West and Southeast, saw a decline in the number of people moving in or even a net loss of people moving out. California has had net domestic out-migration for more than ten years (attributed to the high cost of living along the coast). But the rate of loss has slowed in the last two years. The state's out-migration peaked in 2005-06 at -285,494 and dropped to -144,061 in 2007-08.

In the Sacramento metropolitian area, migration has remained on the plus side, falling from 37,274 in 2000-01 to 1,779 in 2005-06. In the latest year available, 2007-08, the region welcomed 4,524 newcomers.

Last week as local officials scrambled to find temporary shelter for the homeless contending with the cold, the U.S. Conference of Mayors issued a new analysis of hunger and homelessness in 27 American cities -- including Sacramento. This is the 23rd annual report documenting these problems and how cities are addressing them.

On average, the need for food assistance increased 26 percent from last year in the reporting cities. Nineteen of the 26 cities reported an increase in family homelessness, while individual homelessness declined or stayed the same in 16 towns.

Sacramento (p. 42) reported a 31 percent fall in the number of homeless individuals, but saw a 14 percent hike in homeless families during the same period. City officials cited unemployment, foreclosures and social service cuts as factors contributing to the increase. (Sacramento did not report any data on local hunger for this report.)

In case you're really bored this day after Thanksgiving, try out a free online tool for posting and visualizing your own data sets. Many Eyes is IBM's experimental web site intended to help the public easily share, analyze and illustrate statistics. The data ranges widely in topic and seriousness. You'll find everything from football, song lyrics and restaurant ratings to homicide rates, layoffs and global oil consumption.

If you have information to share, just register as a Many Eyes member and upload your data in a tabular form. Once uploaded, your dataset can be "visualized" in one of several interactive formats, such as bar or pie charts, maps, scatterplots or word clouds. As an example, I posted recent California county poverty rates illustrated as a bar chart.

Speaking of word clouds, there's another free site that allows users to transform text into a visualization that displays the relative prominence of individual words. Like Many Eyes, Wordle contributions range from the silly to the serious. To create your "wordle," just paste the text into this box and click "Go". (No registration is necessary.) Check out this word cloud derived from the the Governor's 2009-2010 California Budget Summary.

Hunger in the United States is measured by the U.S. Agriculture Department in terms of "food insecurity," i.e. the percentage of households which--at some time during the year--"were uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food". In a recent report the USDA annouced that 14.6 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2008. That's up from 11.1 percent in 2007 and is the highest level of food insecurity since 1995 when the national survey began.

The USDA analyzed the households experiencing food insecurity along several factors, including age, race, gender, marriage status, poverty status and presence of children. California's 3-year (2006-08) average for food insecurity--12.0 percent--was close to the national average of 12.2. Among the states, Mississippi was highest with 17.4 percent, North Dakota lowest with 6.9. 

California's Central Valley continues to be the bread basket of the nation, but lags behind the rest of the state and nation in the economic recovery. That's the conclusion of a new report just released by the nonprofit think tank Great Valley Center. State of the Great Central Valley: The Economy (Third Edition) provides a statistical snapshop of the 19-county region stretching from Bakersfield to Redding. The report examines the Central Valley's economic health with 21 indicators organized under five general categories: population, income, and housing; business vitality; agriculture; transportation; and Federal and nonprofit spending. Based on these updated numbers, the GVC offers five broad strategies for improving conditions in the state's inland counties.

census.jpgThe U.S. Census Bureau is promoting the upcoming decennial survey of the nation with the launch of a new web site. Census2010 is a slick, multimedia resource directly mostly at average Americans to encourage them to fill out the census questionnaire that will be mailed to every residence next year. Part of the web site is intended to address some of the myths and concerns circulating about the survey process. But the overall aim is to remind people of the political, social and economic importance of an accurate count for communities, states and country as a whole.

The 2010 census will depart from prior ones in that the Bureau will distribute only one short survey form with 10 questions. In the past there have been two questionnaires: the so-called "short form," that everyone received, and the "long form," that went to a sampling of households. The long form has been replaced by the annual American Community Survey that asks many of the same questions about income, education, ancestry, marriage status, commuting, etc. The 2010 abbreviated form is restricted to a few basic demographic factors: age, race, gender, children and whether the residence is owned or rented.

school.JPGThe California Demographics Unit (the state equivalent of the U.S. Census Bureau) just unveiled their annual Public K-12 Graded Enrollment and High School Projections by County -- 2009 Series. This is a useful set of spreadsheets tracking elementary and high school student populations out to 2018. The main table breaks down past and future enrollment numbers by county and grade for the school years 1974-75 through 2018-19.

For most counties you see the K-12 population dropping slightly in the early 1980s and then steadily growing from that point on. Statewide the student demographic is expected to expand only 3.5 percent in the next 10 years. But on the county level the 10-year percent change varies widely from -14.3 percent in Nevada County to 39.9 percent in Riverside County. Placer County comes in second with a projected change of 32.0 percent. El Dorado, Yolo and Sacramento will grow moderately at 11.0, 9.8 and 9.4 percent, respectively.

[First grade class at Heron Elementary School in North Natomas reads a poem. Sacramento Bee / Renee C. Byer]

The Modern Language Association created a nifty interactive map that displays the number or percentage of foreign language speakers in the country. The map is color-coded to to show density of speakers of a particular language in a geographic area. You choose the language from a drop-down list and zoom down to the state, county and Zip code level. The data behind the map is derived from the 2000 Census that asked respondents about languages spoken at home other than English.

These stats are also accessible through MLA's interactive database that allows you to choose a geography and call up a list of languages and number of speakers (over the age of five). In Sacramento County, for example, the top languages beyond English are Spanish, Hmong, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalong, Russian, Ukranian and Hindi, reflecting our diverse immigrant population.

Among the Census reports derived form the recent American Community Survey is a look at 2007 earnings by men and women. Nationally, full-time male workers earned median wages of $45,556. Female full-time workers earned $35,471, or 77.9 percent of men's earnings. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, women's median earnings is less than men's. The wage gap varies from 64.3 percent (Wyoming) to 88.0 percent (DC). California has the smallest gap of the 50 states with 84.9 percent.

In the Sacramento region, median earnings for males is $37,258; for females, $28,379. That's a wage gap of 76.1 percent.

The Census Bureau today released a report on parents who stay home with children under 18. Most stay-at-home parents are women who tend to be younger and are more likely Hispanic or foreign-born. In 2007 (the year of the study) some 61.5 percent of households with children under 18 had both parents in the labor force. (Stay-at-home fathers numbered 165,000 in that year.)

The report has state-by-state breakdowns. South Dakota and Vermont lead the states with the percentage of family households in which both parents work -- 77.9 and 77.3 percent, respectively. Arizona and Utah are at the bottom with 53.0 and 53.4 percent. California was fourth from the bottom with 55.4 percent.

This week the U.S. Census Bureau released its American Community Survey for 2008. These estimates of population and other demographic, economic and social categories supplements the main Census survey conducted every ten years. News stories have noted the apparent depressive effect of the recession on such things as health insurance coverage, mobility, commuting, immigration and marriage.

The ACS covers only geographies of 65,000 or greater, so it does not include the smaller cities, ZIP codes and census tracts within the Sacramento region. The four-county metro area grew from 2,091,120 to 2,109,832 between 2007 and 2008. Sacramento city grew from 451,404 to 457,849.

On the Internet a mashup is the marriage of data and some sort of visualization, typically a map. DataMasher is relatively new site that collects data produced by the federal government (much of it pulled from and makes it available as a downloadable spreadsheet or interactive map. Typically these data sets are broken down by state, so you can click on a state to see individual state data or look at state rankings in a table. DataMasher currently hosts 375 mashups, which cover the gamut of topics: health, economy, environment, crime, transportation, etc. You can browse these by "the latest," "highest rated" and "most discussed". Right this moment, the mosted discussed mashup is "Hate Crimes vs Population" (California is 15th). 

You can customize your own mashup on the site by choosing two data categories -- say total campaign contributions and population -- to generate your own map and table of campaign funding per capita. It's fun and fairly easy to do.

The National Center for Health Statistics today released fresh numbers on childbearing -- in particular the age at which U.S. women have their first babies. The study looked at the period 1970-2006 and found the average age increasing from 21.4 to 25.0 over that time. Generally, the biggest jump in age occured in the northeast and northwest United States. California comes in around the middle with a 3.8 year absolute change in average age (21.8 to 25.6).
The economic slump that began in 2008 is apparently depressing parents decisions to have more children. Nationwide, the number of births fell from 2007 to 2008 by nearly 2 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control figures. California's 2.6 percent drop in births exceeded the national average. A CDC table puts California 11th in a list of state declines in births. Nevada leads with a 4.6 percent drop.
The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. Census Bureau plans to count same-sex marriages in the 2010 decennial census. Up to now a same-sex partner that identified him/herself as a husband/wife was counted as an "unmarried partner". The policy change follows a recent legal opinion by Commerce Department lawyers that the Defense of Marriage Act does not prohibit the Bureau from publicly releasing such data.

The immediate budget crisis tends to keep most of us from thinking about California's future problems. But at least one group, the Public Policy Institute of California, wants policymakers to remember the state's long-term planning challenges. They've prepared California 2025, a briefing kit summarizing data projections in eight key areas (budget, climate change, economy, education, population, transportation, water and workforce).

On the population front, California is projected to grow to nearly 50 million by 2025. The interior portions of the state will grow faster than coastal ones. The citizenry will continue to diversify with Latinos becoming the largest ethnic group. And the percentage of people over 65 will jump from 11 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2025.  

In the interests of blog transparency, I ought to acknowledge one of the top sources I use to write these I-Tool Tips. Docuticker is a comprehensive daily update of new research reports from government agencies, universities, NGOs, think tanks, and other public interest groups." Every day the blog provides summaries and links to an average of ten reports typicaly covering a broad range of subject matter (economy, government, health, public opinion, crime, transportation, and much more). It's is a terrific tool for keeping abreast of the latest research with a heavy emphasis on statistical data.

Docuticker was founded by Gary Price, a librarian and a prominent writer/lecturer on Internet research, search engines and the so-called "Invisible Web." He manages a companion blog site, Resource Shelf, which aggregates interesting and important information collections librarians discover online.

Today's Bee story about a summer camp that caters to children of atheists and other nonbelievers has gotten a lot of attention. Religion writer Jennifer Garza notes that only 1.6 percent of the adult population consider themselves atheists (and 2.4 percent agnostic). Those stats come from the 2007 Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey, which is based on interviews with over 35,000 Americans, 18 and over. A summary table shows religious affiliation is diverse in the United States, though 78.4 pecent of adults are Christian (including 51.3 percent Protestant and 23.9 percent Catholic). The full 143-page report breaks out the affiliation data by such things as gender, age, geography, education, income, race, ethnicity, marital status, offspring, etc. The survey also tracks people who have changed affiliations and calculates "winners" and "losers" among the faiths.

The U.S. Census today released its latest place-level population estimates. New Orleans is the fastest growing town, increasing by 8.24 percent between from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008. Though increasing at a good clip, the Big Easy is nowhere near pre-Katrina levels.

Roseville, the sixth fastest in the nation, leads the state with 3.84 percent growth. Two other California towns are in the top 25 U.S. cities: Irvine (3.83 percent) and Victorville (3.30 percent).

The California Demographics Unit (the state equivalent of the U.S. Census) recently updated its state and county estimates of population broken out by gender, race and age. These 2007 figures are especially valuable because they reveal the number of people in each minority group for each year of life (0 to 100 years old). That allows you to compile any data range -- say the number of black females, aged 55-58, in Plumas County. The data comes in an Excel spreadsheet format and is available year-by-year back to 2000. The Demographics Unit also provides similar gender/race/age population data projected out year-by-year to 2050. Projections like these are terrific for forecasting the need for local schools and senior services pretty far into the future.

Nothing earth-shattering in the July 1, 2008 estimates of population just released by the U.S. Census. The headline is "Nearly half of children under age 5 are minorities. Nation's population is growing older, more diverse".

The Bee posted an interactive database with which you can easily call up a demographic profile for any U.S. county with breakdowns for age, race and gender. Taking a look at population growth between 2007 and 2008, one finds two New Orleans parishes (St. Bernard [12.91 percent] and Orleans [8.24 percent]) occupying the no. 1 and no. 3 spots for percent change. That's likely due to the return of residents who left because of Hurriance Katrina. No. 2 on that list is Pinal County, Ariz. (8.78 percent), whose growth is fueled by the expansion of metropolitan Phoenix. In California the fastest growing county continues to be Placer with 2.96 percent.

Thumbnail image for jobless.jpgGoogle has debuted a new service to help users find and visualize authoritative data provided by government sources. Essentially Google aggregates statistics from public web sites and presents them an interactive chart. They've begun modestly, starting with just state and county population and unemployment figures. (The company promises to add other datasets in the near future.) 

Even so, the data Google has already charted is interesting to play with. The unemployment chart allows you to compare monthly jobless figures (1990 to March 2009) for any state and county in the country. You can easily see, for example, that Sacramento County has trailed behind California in its unemployment rate until just the past few months when the county caught up with the state. On the population side, the Google chart shows Sacramento not growing as fast as the state (on a percentage basis) for the period, 1980 to 2008.

Federal demographers have released their latest (July 1, 2008) estimates of population for the nation's counties and metropolitan regions (MSAs). Caspio, a software company which hosts many of The Bee's online databases, has made this information easily searchable. Check out the 2007 and 2008 county and MSA figures. Sacramento County grew by almost 14,000 people, or one percent from 2007-2008. The region grew by almost 28,000, an increase of 1.3 percent during that same period.

With Jesse Jackson looking on yesterday, Mayor Kevin Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg launched a new campaign to encourage local citizens to donate their time for the betterment of the community. Of course, volunteerism is nothing new; it's as old as the country. But how many people already volunteer?

Surprisingly (at least to me) the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts regular surveys to determine the extent and nature of non-paid work in the nation. Its latest study revealed that 61.8 million Americans (26.4 percent) volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2007 and September 2008. Continuing a trend, women -- regardless of education, age and other demographics -- volunteer more than men by 29.4 to 23.2 percent. Adults 35-44 continued to volunteer more than any other age group (31.3 percent). The dominant activity for volunteers is fundraising (or selling items to raise money), followed by tutoring or teaching.

The most recent BLS figures aren't broken down by geography, but older statistics for cities and states are available from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The group compiled BLS data for a three year period, 2005-2007, and found the average national volunteer rate was 27.2 percent per year. Average volunteer rates for states ranged from 18 percent to 44 percent during that time. California ranked 42nd with 24.3 percent. (Number one was Nebraska with 43.9 percent.) Among the largest 50 U.S. urban areas, the Sacramento region ranked 36th in the rate of volunteering (25.7 percent). (Minneapolis lead them all with 39.3 percent.)     

As a postscript to my recent blog about the Census report on foreign-born people, take a look at the recent Department of Homeland Security estimate of the population of unauthorized immigrants living in the nation as of January 2008. The unauthorised resident number "is the remainder or 'residual' after estimates of the legally resident foreign born population -- legal permanent residents (LPRs), asylees, refugees, and nonimmigrants --are subtracted from estimates of the total foreign-born population".

The 2008 national estimate is 11.6 million unauthorized immigrants (an increase of 390,000 since 2000). DHS breaks out this figure by period of entry, country of origin, state of residence, age and gender.  Approximately 7.03 million (or 61 percent) of the group come from Mexico. And California is the top resident state with 2.58 million (or 25 percent) of the total unauthorized immigrants. Texas follows with 1.68 million (or 14 percent).

Last Thursday the U.S. Census Bureau released 2007 demographic data on foreign-born people in the nation, states and cities. Its analysis includes breakdowns by country of origin, age, educational attainment, employment, occupation, income, poverty, English language ability and year of entry.

A couple factoids about the foreign-born in the United States:
*From which country do people with the most bachelor or higher degrees come from? (India)
*From which countries are newcomers most likely to come from? (Somalia and Kenya)

Here are the top ten countries of origin for the foreign-born in the nation, state and region:

United States Population
Total Foreign Born 38,059,555
Mexico 11,738,537
Philippines 1,701,126
India 1,501,782
China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) 1,363,645
El Salvador 1,104,390
Vietnam 1,100,833
Korea 1,042,580
Cuba 983,454
Canada 830,388
Dominican Republic 755,539
California Population
Total Foreign Born 10,024,352
Mexico 4,427,671
Philippines 797,452
Vietnam 441,589
El Salvador 428,127
China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) 421,192
Korea 322,628
India 294,202
Guatemala 237,703
Iran 192,202
Taiwan 164,170
Canada 129,372
Sacramento MSA Population
Total Foreign Born 361,231
Mexico 108,289
Philippines 31,987
India 20,179
China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) 18,163
Vietnam 16,810
Ukraine 15,661
Laos 12,582
Thailand 7,930
El Salvador 7,343
Korea 6,558

statab.jpgIf a demographer had to choose one book to take on a desert island, it would be the Statistical Abstract of the United States. Well, maybe not. But it is the best general compilation of data about the nation, and the release of the new annual edition is always welcomed by data wonks.

The U.S. Census Bureau began publishing the Abstract in 1878 and makes most of the prior editions available free on the Internet. These web versions are essentially PDF copies of the printed volumes. The latest editions are arranged in thirty sections covering a variety of subjects including demographics, geography, education, health, government, business, economy, transportation and national security. There's also a section for comparative international statistics. Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other federal agencies and private organizations

Three days after the election, the Prop. 8 battle rages on with opponents vowing to challenge the gay marriage ban in the state Supreme Court. (The Bee recently posted a slick interactive map breaking down the Prop. 8 vote by Sacramento-area neighborhood.)

The approval of this constitutional amendment prompts the question: how many gay and lesbian couples are there? The U.S. Census Bureau provides rough estimates in its 2007 American Community Survey. The Bureau doesn't directly ask the sexual orientation of individuals, but it does track the number of households that include an unmarried same-sex partner. (The Census defines an unmarried partner as having a "close personal relationship" with the householder -- they are not just roommates.) Below is a table of estimates of the number of gay and lesbian households in the nation, state, region and Sacramento city areas. Bear in mind these figures do not count same-sex couples who are not living together.


Household type (2007)

United States


Sacramento MSA

Sacramento city

Total households -- all types





Male householder and male partner





Female householder and female partner





Total same sex households





About Data Surfer

It's all about information -- statistics, documents and data of all types that help us understand the world, make informed decisions and monitor government. It's about empowering citizens with tools and sources so they can conduct their own investigative research. This blog is a place to discuss information that's available on the Internet. What's relevant, useful, valid and accurate -- and what's not.

We know the Sacramento region is home to knowledgeable people who use online information in their respective fields. We want to hear from you. Please tell us what you think of the data we use in stories and post on The Bee's website. And share tips about online resources you think are valuable to this blog's readers. Post comments on this blog or contact Pete Basofin directly at

June 2010

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