Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chart of the week: Halloween inspiration

According to the National Retail Federation:
"Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $28.65 on costumes this year, up slightly from $26.52 in 2011."
And nearly two thirds of costumed revelers get their inspiration online, using blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and other online searches to help them find the perfect disguise.

Chart: Where People Get Costume Ideas Description: Source: iCharts

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Freaky facts and scary stats for Halloween

Terrifying treats:
America's candy consumption in 2010 was nearly 25 pounds per person. If this candy were entirely Snickers bars, it would be the equivalent of nearly candy 4 bars, per week, per person.
Candy consumption, much like home price, peaked in the middle of the decade, dipped at the start of the recession in 2008, and has been increasing slowly each year since then.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2010

Sweet tooth:
American confectionery manufacturers produce about 35 million pounds of candy corn each year. That adds up to 9 billion candy corns - or about 30 kernels per person in the U.S.
Source: National Confectioners Association

Little ghouls and goblins:
There were an estimated 41 million potential trick-or-treaters (children age 5-14*) in the United States in 2011.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features
*Note: Of course, many other children - older than 14, and younger than 5 - also go trick-or-treating.

Pumpkin patch:
U.S. pumpkin production totaled 1.1 billion pounds, in 2010, with a value of $113 million. Six states are pumpkin hotspots: Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan each accounted for more than 100 million pounds of pumpkins grown in 2010.
Sources: USDA National Agricultural Statistics

A BOOming industry:
According to the 2012 BIGinsight survey, the average American adult will spend nearly $80 on decorations, costumes and candy, this Halloween, up from $72 last year. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach $8.0 billion.
Source: National Retail Federation

Monday, October 8, 2012

New paper: What counts as a house?

New applied demography research presented at the Southern Demographic Association Conference. Here is a sample...


As a tool for fulfilling data needs for small area (subcounty) analysis, demographers are increasingly turning to administrative records such as building permits and tax assessor records as a source of data. While Census counts are considered to be the “gold standard,” administrative records provide a fine level of spatial detail and a valuable source of information for intercensal years. This analysis builds upon earlier research by comparing administrative records-based housing unit estimates developed during the 2000s decade with housing counts from the 2010 Census in San Diego County. Results show that both administrative records and Census counts have strengths and weaknesses that should be understood by the data user.


Increasingly sophisticated simulation modeling, used in infrastructure planning (e.g. transportation, water, sewer, energy), disaster response and emergency management, land use planning and resource conservation, requires increasing levels of detail for demographic and housing estimates.
For many years, population estimates and projections were made primarily at the national and state/provincial levels. In recent decades, they have been carried out at progressively lower levels of geography and are now routinely made for very small areas in the United States – census tracts, block groups, and traffic analysis zones. Methods are already designed for extremely small areas such as blocks and grid cells… We also note a growing demand for estimates and projections for even smaller areas such as tax assessor parcels, block faces, and street segments.
(Swanson and Pol 2005)
The housing unit method ...may hold a strong advantage in subcounty population estimates. Other techniques of small area estimation require data, such as school enrollment, auto registration, and vital events records that are often unavailable at a subcounty level, and are delayed by a year or more in cases where the data are available. Therefore the housing unit method has the advantages of both availability and timeliness as compared with other data sources.

The method consists of a very basic premise and a series of simple equations:
Population = Household Population + Group Quarters Population
Household Population = Occupied Housing Units x Average Household Size
Occupied Housing Units = Total Housing Units x Occupancy Rate
Thus, if four basic variables are known with certainty (total housing units, occupancy rate, average household size, and group quarters population) the total population of any given area can be known with certainty.

This research focuses on the housing part of the equation...


The map, below, is part of a much larger presentation. The map shows over/under counts of housing by census tract in San Diego County, and was developed by comparing administrative records estimates to Census 2010

Full paper available upon request...