Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Summing up 2014

A brief summary of 2014 at data insights...

If you could sum up your year in a word, what would it be?


In 2014 I published and presented more than I could have expected, given that I was still on maternity leave for a quarter of the year.

I authored two entries in the Sage Encyclopedia of Transportation (Regional Transportation Plans and Regional Transportation Planning Organizations)

My essay on sexual health in the 1700s, as illustrated by details drawn from Casanova's memoir, was published by Hektoen International.

Best read

Of all of the non-fiction I read in 2014 a couple of books stand out...

Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis
Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet

Best conference experience?

My talk on comparing administrative records data to census counts at PAA 2014 in Boston would have been infinitely more enjoyable if I hadn't also come down with the flu...

But the food (ahem... I mean the content) at the CIC Impact Summit more than made up for any other 2014 conference catastrophes.

Most popular post?

My summary of time use and parenting (comparing the work of moms and dads, and comparing pre- and post-baby time use) generated the most traffic of any single 2014 post, but my geek joke posts reigned supreme overall.

Thank you all for sticking around in 2014!

Monday, December 29, 2014

A demographer, a statistician, and an economist walk into a bar...

If you follow me on Twitter (@DataGeekB) you know that I post a geek joke almost every Friday afternoon. Here are a few of my favorite demographer jokes, sociology jokes, and economist jokes (in no particular order):

Q: Why are demographers exhausted?
A: They're broken down by age and sex.

If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.

Birthdays are good for you – the more you have, the longer you live.

Demographers are people who wanted to be accountants but lacked the personality for the job.

Old demographers never die. They just get broken down by age and sex.

A demographer is just a mathematician broken down by age and sex.

Statistics prove that number of offspring is an inherited trait. If your parent didn't have any kids, odds are you won't either.

Demographer pickup line fail: I asked a demographer for her phone number. She gave me an estimate.

Demographers are people who wanted to be accountants but lacked the personality for the job.

A musicologist says to her sociologist friend, “Our studies really aren't that different.”
“How so?” asks the sociologist.
Musicologist: “We both study cymbalic interaction.”

Q: How do sociologists know what to drink at Cheers?
A: They follow Norm.

Q: How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. If the light bulb needed changing the market would've done it.

The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.

If all economists were laid end-to-end they would reach... no conclusion.

Mathematician: "4."
Statistician: "3.9 +/-.5 with a 95% confidence interval"
Economist: (closes door) "What do you want it to equal?"

Friday, December 26, 2014

Florida now more populous than New York

Earlier this week the US Census Bureau released the 2014 population estimates.

A few highlights:

Florida passed New York in population size.

North Carolina also passed Michigan, and North Dakota passed Alaska.

California still largest state in the US, but #2 Texas is adding 40,000-80,000 more people per year than California is. (Still, at that rate it will take nearly 150 years for Texas to overtake California).

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday geek jokes

If you follow me on Twitter (@DataGeekB) you know that I post a geek joke almost every Friday afternoon. Here are a few of my favorite holiday geeky jokes (in no particular order)

Q: What do you get when you take the circumference of your jack-o-lantern and divide it by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin π.

Geek joke: Q: What's the inverse operation to Christmas^x?
A: Yule log.

Q: Why do economists have to stay away from the toys in Santa's workshop?
A: Because they regress so easily.

Q: How is an artificial christmas tree like √(-3)?
A: Neither has real roots

Why isn’t every man in a red suit with a beard Santa?
A: Because correlation doesn’t imply Claus-ality.

Q: How many seconds are there in a year?
A: 12! (January second, February second, March second,...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The demography of Thanksgiving

While we acknowledge that the first harvest feast (what we now call Thanksgiving*) in Plymouth came at the end of a hard year, we have few modern references to highlight just how difficult conditions were for those early English settlers.

Of 137 people who made landfall and stayed on in Plymouth (102 from the Mayflower and 35 more from the Fortune), 54 died during the first year. The mortality rate for settlers arriving that first year was nearly 40 percent.**

Population Dynamics for the Plymouth Pilgrims November 1620 - November 1621

Atlantic Voyage Docked off Cape Cod Dec 1620 - Mar 1621 Apr 1621 - Oct 1621 Nov

Crude Rate
Births 1 1 0 0 0 2 21
Deaths -1 -4 -44 -5 0 -54 -578
In Migrants 102 0 0 0 35 137 --
Total Pilgrims 102 99 55 50 85 -- --

What's perhaps even less well known is that an epidemic of plague, which decimated the Wampanoag tribe between 1616 and 1619 may have been responsible for the tribe's willingness to assist the settlers.

The epidemic wiped out an estimated three quarters of the Wampanoags who lived near Plymouth in the early 1600s. The tribe was estimated to be approximately 8,000 people in 1600, but fewer than 2,000 survived by 1620.

Without help from the Wampanoag, there is little doubt that the mortality rate for the Plymouth Pilgrims would have been much higher.

University of Illinois, Department of Anthropology. "Population Of Plymouth Town, Colony & County, 1620-1690."
Edward T. O'Donnell. "Of Plague and Pilgrims: How a Devastating Epidemic Shaped the First Thanksgiving."

*Declared a national holiday in 1863.
**If we use current techniques to estimate crude mortality rates - taking the number of deaths and dividing by a reference population estimated as the average of the beginning and ending date populations, the crude death rate was a whopping 577 deaths per 1,000 population.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Popular Halloween Costumes

NPR ranks the most popular adult Halloween costumes sold from 2009 to 2013.

Zombies have grown in popularity while clowns have fallen.

Witches, however, have topped the charts five years in a row. And given their dominance in the rankings, it's entirely possible they've been the most popular costume for much longer. (Although witch costumes certainly were unpopular in Salem back in, say, the late 1600s...)

Note: The rankings do not include all costumes, just those sold in retail stores and reported by the National Retail Federation.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Freaky facts and scary stats for Halloween 2014


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 4 candy bars, per week, per person. The volume of candy consumed, much like home prices, peaked in the middle of the decade, dipped at the start of the recession in 2008, and increased slowly each year since then. Another scary fact is that 2010 is the last year for which we'll have this data. Budget cuts led to the termination of the Current Industrial Reporting program.

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.

For Halloween itself, Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy, spending nearly $2 billion for treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2010National Confectioners AssociationDaily Infographic 2011 and 2012


According to Redfin (and contrary to what one might guess) homes near cemeteries sell for more, per square foot, than homes not near cemeteries.
"Redfin analyzed the price of homes less than 50 feet from a cemetery, and compared those to the price of homes less than 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 yards away. The numbers indicate that on average, homes near cemeteries are slightly smaller, but sell for more per square foot. On average, homes closest to cemeteries sold for $162 dollars per square foot, whereas the homes located more than 500 yards away sold for $145 per square foot."
But these homes were on the market for longer than their non-cemetery peers...


There were an estimated 41.2 million potential trick-or-treaters (children age 5-14*) in the United States in 2013, and 3.7 million in Canada.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features and Statistics Canada Hallowe’en... by the numbers
*Note: Of course, many other children - older than 14, and younger than 5 - also go trick-or-treating.


U.S. pumpkin production totaled 1.1 billion pounds, in 2013, with a value of $150 million. In that year 50,900 acres of farmland were harvested for pumpkins.

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.

In Canada, there were 7,027 acres of pumpkins patch in 2012, for production of more than 63,700 tonnes valued at $17.6 million.

Sources: USDA National Agricultural Statistics and Statistics Canada Hallowe’en... by the numbers


The average American adult will spend nearly $78 on decorations, costumes and candy, up a bit from $75 last year, but down from the peak of $80 per person in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.

Total Halloween spending is projected to be nearly $7 billion.
Source: National Retail Federation

Monday, August 25, 2014

Is August now the best month for births?

For the past few years, I've been updating data about birth seasonality and noting that September is the most common birth month of the year.

This year I was updating the data to show 2012 and 2013 births, and discovered that...

August edged out September for the most popular birth month of the year!

There is a long-standing and clear pattern of "birth seasonality" resulting from a "seasonal cycle in fecundability" documented in the scientific literature. Holidays and long winter nights are partly to blame for more birthdays in the late summer and early fall, but human biology is at work as well.

In short, in the northern hemisphere, women are more likely to get pregnant in late fall and early winter than at other times of the year. As a result more births occur late summer and early autumn, a trend displayed clearly in the chart below. (In the southern hemisphere, the seasonal peak occurs about 6 months earlier.)

What's new in the past three years is that the peak seems to have shifted a few weeks from September into August.

In the chart below, blue represents lower numbers and red highlights peaks. The left panel is total births in a given month, and the right (as explained below) shows births per day in each month.

In the chart above, you may notice that March 2010 births appear high, but consider that February is a short month, and March is a 31-day month. August also has more days than neighboring month, September.

To correct for this, we can estimate the average number of births per day of the month. With this adjustment the seasonal pattern becomes even more pronounced. (See panel to the right, above.)

Correcting for the number of days per month shows September as the clear leader for births in 2008, 2009, and 2010, as it is in most years. But 2011 shows a slightly different pattern - August leads September by about 75 births per day.

And the August trend continued in 2012 and 2013! In fact, the August peak in 2012 is quite pronounced - more than 300 births per day higher than September.

The lower number of births in September 2011 may, or may not, be a consequence of a massive blizzard that shut down transportation along much of the east coast in December 2010... but the continuation of the pattern bears watching.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Population pyramids (interactive)

They're not quite ready for prime-time yet, but I've been working on interactive population pyramids that allow a user to compare across regions and points in time.

Stay tuned for their official launch later this year as part of PRB's World Population Data Sheet.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Casanova: Patient Zero

Sometimes historical demography requires overturning some unusual stones to get a sense of fertility patterns, family structure, public health, and other population dynamics in the past. My recent essay, published in Hektoen International Journal of Medical Humanities dives into a very unlikely source for demographic and public health information: Casanova's diary.
Giacomo Casanova, the infamous rake, is responsible for providing historians and anthropologists with a veritable treasure trove of historical health information. His life spanned from 1725 to 1798, and his memoir, Histoire de Ma Vie, recounts nearly every day of his life with meticulous detail, from the most basic breakfast (usually chocolate) to the most convoluted course of treatment for venereal disease (usually mercury). Far from being merely a smut-filled account of Casanova’s sexual conquests, the memoir provides modern readers with extraordinary insight into the world of public health, family planning, and the transmission and treatment of sexually transmitted disease in Europe in the eighteenth century... [continue reading]

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 hurricane season begins

The 2014 north Atlantic hurricane season has begun...

More than 83 million people in the U.S. live in states, from Texas to North Carolina, that are at high risk for hurricanes, according to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Within those states, nearly 37 million people live in coastal communities at high risk of hurricanes, an area covering 179,000 square miles. Hurricanes occasionally strike farther north, but despite hurricane Sandy's damage in 2012, such events are considerably less common than hurricanes in the southern states.


Source: Huffington Post
Early estimates place the damage from Hurricane Sandy at about 400,000 housing units damaged or destroyed, the majority of which were in New York (more than 300,000), New Jersey (approximately 70,000), and Connecticut (approximately 3,000).

While Sandy was more recent, and turned the lights off for more people, hurricane Katrina left more fatalities and damaged homes in her wake.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that in the summer of 2005 hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma damaged "more than one million housing units across five states." Of the damaged homes 515,000 were in Louisiana, 220,000 in Mississippi, and nearly 140,000 in Texas.

By 2010, according to the HUD study, three quarters of the 2005 hurricane-damaged properties on "significantly affected" blocks were in good condition (at least on the outside*), but nearly 15 percent of the properties still had substantial visible repair needs, and 11 percent no longer contained a permanent residential structure. Louisiana homes, of the state affected, are most likely to still have unrepaired damage. Mississippi homes were most likely to be either repaired or entirely demolished and left vacant.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time use and parenting

I came across two great links showing data on time use and parenting.

First, Nathan Yau (of compared his time use, activity space, and daily activity patterns pre- and post-baby. The results are striking.

Second, Wendy Wang crunched time use numbers for moms and dads, and working moms compared with stay-at-home moms, to compare activity patterns during the week with those on weekends. Some highlights:
  • Dads, on average, do an hour more housework on weekends than during the week
  • Working moms use the weekends to catch up on housework
  • Working moms have less weekend leisure time than stay-at-home moms or dads

Friday, April 18, 2014

A demographer, a statistician, and a sociologist walk into a bar...

I'm busy preparing for an upcoming conference, so posts have been few and far between lately. For up-to-date information on data releases, trends, insights, cool infographics, and more: follow me on Twitter (@DataGeekB)

A few of my favorite demographer jokes, sociology jokes, statistics jokes, and programming jokes (in no particular order):

Q: Why are demographers exhausted?
A: They're broken down by age and sex.

There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, those who don’t understand binary, and those who didn’t expect this joke to be in base 3.

If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.

Birthdays are good for you – the more you have, the longer you live.

Did you hear about the programmer who got stuck in shower for a week? Blamed shampoo instructions: Lather, rinse, repeat.

There are 2 types of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data...

Demographers are people who wanted to be accountants but lacked the personality for the job.

A musicologist says to her sociologist friend, “Our studies really aren't that different.”
“How so?” asks the sociologist.
Musicologist: “We both study cymbalic interaction.”

Old demographers never die. They just get broken down by age and sex.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stats for Shrove Tuesday

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Carnaval... by whatever name you chose, today is "the largest street fair on the planet," with an estimated 6 million revelers at Carnaval in Brazil:
"There will be 14,454 policemen and 985 traffic guards on duty this Carnaval. 1,050 urban cleaning workers will collect over 600 tons of trash... 'Operation Dry Law' ticketed 786 drunk drivers; and the 'Shock of Order' seized 3,700 cans of beer, 1,100 bottles of water, 71 coolers, costumes, spray foam and cigarettes from unlicensed street vendors."

Meanwhile, in the United States, New Orleans gets all the media attention for its Mardi Gras madness, but the entire Gulf Coast goes crazy for this holiday. In fact Mobile, AL is credited with the first Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (or 1699 - depends on who you ask).

Mardi Gras revelry was suspended during the Civil War, but was revived (again) in Mobile in 1866. Legend has it that that one man, Joe Cain, rode through the streets on a coal cart, dressed in Chickasaw Indian regalia. Obviously, Joe was also drunk as a skunk (which explains a lot about Mardi Gras parades...) When Joe passed on, his second funeral procession (it's a long story) was the precursor to the big Sunday parades. Now the Sunday before Mardi Gras is now known in Mobile as "Joe Cain Day," with celebrations rivaling Fat Tuesday.

Still, New Orleans boasts the largest of U.S. celebrations. An estimated 1.4 million revelers converge on the city each year for the holiday, and guests and locals consume an estimated 500,000 king cakes between Epiphany (January 6th) and Mardi Gras. And at the two largest parades in the city, Endymion and Bacchus, krewes will distribute nearly 30 million strands of beads.

For more information...
Sociological Images has a series of several intriguing posts about Mardi Gras from a social and cultural perspective. Here is a sample of their posts:

Friday, February 14, 2014

The data we love: Fun facts for Valentine's Day


Facebook tries to figure out where people are falling in love. Their latest data show that people in Colorado Springs, CO are most likely to transition from a "Single" status to "In a relationship." El Paso, Louisville, Fort Worth, and San Antonio round out the top 5.

Big cities rank poorly on the Facebook relationship scale: New York and Los Angeles are in the top five least lovey-dovey cities, surpassed only by San Francisco and the District of Columbia.
Source: Wall Street Journal
And an interactive map allows users to explore Valentine's customs around the world.
Interactive Valentines Map


Valentine's Day spending in the United States is expected to top $17.3 billion, according to new survey results released by the National Retail Federation. Spending is expected to be highest on jewelry ($3.9 billion) followed by $3.5 billion on an "evening out."

That works out to $134 per person celebrating the holiday. This is only a 2 percent increase over spending in 2013, and the highest in the survey's decade-long history.

And Americans will exchange 180 million Valentine cards.


U.S. producers sold more than $16 million in cut roses in 2012 (estimated wholesale value for all operations with $100,000 or more in sales) according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Floriculture Crops 2012 Summary.

To support holiday spending, shoppers can choose from more than 23,000 jewelry stores and more than 15,000 florists nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau County Business Patterns survey.


To satisfy millions of sweet-toothed customers, the NECCO candy company produces approximately 100,000 pounds of Sweethearts conversation hearts each day for 11 months of the year.

This adds up more than 8 billion heart-shaped candies annually.

Data from the Census Bureau show that U.S. chocolate companies produced $13.5 billion worth of chocolate in 2011, and a 2009 study from Nielsen research showed that Valentines week accounts for more than 5 percent of annual chocolate sales.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love, marriage, and a baby carriage

In honor of St. Valentine...(an update of last year's popular post "Love and Marriage" )

Some startling observations about love and marriage in the U.S.:

  • Marriages are lasting longer
  • People are getting married older but "sooner"
  • Condom sales are highest in February
  • Home pregnancy test kit sales are highest in March


According to recent news, the longest-married couple in the United States tied the knot 82 years ago.

Valentine image source
While this may be an unusual feat, marriage duration has (on average) increased in recent years. 80 percent of marriages last at least 5 years, and 68 percent last 10 years or more, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on the National Survey of Family Growth (2006-2010). This is an increase from the 2002 survey, in which 78 percent of marriages last at least 5 years and two thirds last 10 years or more.

While average age at first marriage has been increasing, divorce rates have also fallen, from 4 divorces per 1,000 population in 2000 to 3.6 per 1,000 in 2011. Divorce rates peaked in the years changes in divorce laws that occurred in the mid 1970s, but then leveled off and fell slightly. Some of this trend can be attributed to lower marriage rates (fewer marriages lead to fewer divorces), but some is likely a result of people waiting longer to get married in the first place.

But perhaps most interesting is new analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau which shows that while age at first marriage has risen, life expectancy has increased more rapidly, so people are getting married "sooner" even though they get married older.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau


According to many news sources, condom sales are highest in February (in the US and in India, for example). However, a National Institutes of Health study shows that increased condom sales do not necessarily translate to increased condom usage, which might explain the next phenomenon...

Nielsen research notes that sales of home pregnancy tests are higher March than any other time of the year:
Perhaps as a result of Valentine’s Day romance, more pregnancy and infertility test kits are sold approximately six weeks after Valentine’s Day than at any other time of the year. Consumers spend more than $15 million*on pregnancy and infertility test kits during the second, third and fourth weeks of March, with the third week of March ranking number one** in sales.
Notes: *Three weeks ending March 24, 2007 showed total sales of $15.4 million for pregnancy and infertility test kits in U.S. food, drug and mass merchandiser stores, including Wal-Mart. **One week ending March 24, 2007 showed total sales of $5.2 million for pregnancy and infertility test kits in U.S. food, drug and mass merchandiser stores, including Wal-Mart.
Despite the sales data, births are actually highest in late summer and early autumn, as a result of pregnancies in late autumn and early winter of the prior calendar year. This trend, known as a "seasonal cycle in fecundability" is well documented in the scientific literature.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Pondering parental leave

In this week's State of the Union address, in discussing fair pay and family leave, President Obama said:
"...You know, she deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship. And you know what, a father does too. It is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a "Mad Men" episode. "
As my own maternity leave comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on this concept of gender and family equity in the workplace.

I am in a minority - lucky enough to have an employer with family friendly policies (not to mention an impressive history of gender equity). But during my years teaching at a community college, I was bombarded by stories of students who were demoted or fired by their employer while pregnant or passed over for promotion while caring for a family member. And these were not tall tales told by slackers. These were hardships related to me by my A+, always-in-class-early students. But these anecdotes are hardly surprising when we consider the data...

Selected employers notwithstanding, the United States has the weakest family leave policies of all 34 OECD member nations. In fact, U.S. family leave law is among the weakest in the world.
Source: Huffington Post with data from the International Labor Organization
The United States is the only nation that lacks a mandate for paid parental leave among 120 nations analyzed by the International Labor Organization and the U.S. is one of three countries in the world* with no paid parental leave.

I hardly think this is the type of American Exceptionalism we strive for.


According to OECD analysis reported by The Atlantic Bulgaria offers more than a year's worth of paid maternity leave (56 weeks) to women, while only the United States, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland completely lack a national mandate for paid leave.

Among OECD countries, the average is 19 weeks of paid leave. In the United States mothers are now protected for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But even that protection only applies to mothers who have been at their job for at least one year and who work at a large-enough company. Approximately 1 in 6 workers is employed by a company of fewer than 20 people, according to employer size statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Source: The Atlantic with data from OECD

But even if that hurdle is surmounted, maternity leave is only one piece of the puzzle. Many nations mandate both maternity and paternity leave (or some flexible combination of both) to families, to allow both mothers and fathers an opportunity to bond with their newborn.
Among OECD countries, Bulgaria offers more than 56 paid weeks of maternity leave to women. But others, like Norway, offer generous paternity leave, and some countries allow parents to divide up leave between the two parents however they choose.
While an argument can be made that paid parental leave can be a financial strain on small companies, there is compelling evidence that generous family leave policies are a major draw for employee recruitment and retention. In fact, after California passed a law mandating paid leave, many employers found a net positive result from improved family leave policies. As reported by the research group CEPR:
"Despite fears expressed by opponents of the program that PFL would create a heavy burden on the state’s employers the vast majority of employers we surveyed reported positive effects or no effect at all on their productivity, profitability, or performance."
Unfortunately, while three states (California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) have mandated paid family leave, most states have not. And voluntary paid family leave is becoming increasingly rare. According to Bloomberg News:
"The share of employers offering time off with full pay after childbirth dropped to 5.2 percent in 2012 from 6.1 percent in 2005, according to a survey by the Family and Work Institute... Some 41.1 percent offered unpaid leave in 2012, while 15.5 percent said their policy depended on the situation, which often means it varies by job level."
Mad Men episode, indeed.

*Note: The ILO analysis was published in 1998. At that time Australia and New Zealand also had no mandated paid parental leave. 2012 analysis by the OECD shows that Australia and New Zealand now both mandate paid parental leave, but Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland do not.

Data roundup (week of January 31, 2014)

This week I'm catching up on things that happened while I was away...

The sequester cuts will result in less data from BEA, including important statistics like county-level information by industry on the number of people employed and average wage.

The U.S. Census Bureau released 2012 population estimates, 2008-2012 ACS data, ACS PUMS, and launched the new Census Explorer. revamped their website (webinar on the new interface scheduled for Tuesday, February 25, 2014).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Data roundup (week of January 24, 2014)

The week's top data analysis links...


New population estimates from the Census Bureau show a slow rebound in state-to-state migration flows.


The popular press has a bias toward reporting on bad medical research. New analysis by researchers at Brigham and Women's hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess, and the National Institutes of Health find that:
Newspapers were more likely to cover observational studies and less likely to cover RCTs than high impact journals. Additionally, when the media does cover observational studies, they select articles of inferior quality.

I had been on maternity leave for several weeks, and missed fun things like the release of 5-year ACS data while I was doing other fun things like bonding with my bouncing baby boy. But my family's "vital event" also gives me renewed focus on providing good data for sound public policy decision-making. (If that focus has shifted more toward vaccination rates than transportation mode shares, you'll know why...)