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Friday, May 20, 2022

Undercount and Overcount

Many posts have discussed the census and population trends.

From the Census Bureau:

The U.S. Census Bureau today released the 2020 Census estimated undercount and overcount rates by state and the District of Columbia from the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES). Also released today are estimated coverage rates by census operation. This includes coverage rates by mode of self-response, and by respondent type in the Nonresponse Followup operation.

“The release of these PES estimates assists us in understanding how well we did this decade, state by state, in our efforts to count everyone living in the United States,” Census Bureau Director Robert L. Santos said. “Transparency is a critical aspect of scientific integrity. That is why we are releasing these results to the public. Our assessments – including the 2020 Census quality indicators, the PES, and the Demographic Analysis released earlier this year – offer valuable insights into the quality of the 2020 Census counts. Although none of the assessments alone can be considered definitive since no “true count” of the population exists, today’s PES results suggest that some states experienced undercounts or overcounts.”

The PES estimates show how well the 2020 Census counted everyone in the nation by creating an independent estimate of the number of people living in the United States on April 1, 2020 (excluding people in group quarters, such as nursing homes or college dorms, and people in Remote Alaska areas), surveying a sample of people in households in the United States and matching those responses to their records in the 2020 Census.

“Achieving an accurate count for all 50 states and DC is always a difficult endeavor, and these results suggest it was difficult again in 2020, particularly given the unprecedented challenges we faced,” Santos added. “It is important to remember that the quality of the 2020 Census total population count is robust and consistent with that of recent censuses. However, we know there is still more work to do in planning future censuses to ensure equitable coverage across the United States and we are working to overcome any and all obstacles to achieve that goal.”

This release includes:Undercount and overcount estimates for states, the District of Columbia (a state equivalent) and regions.
Components of coverage by state and the District of Columbia to estimate the proportions of census records that are correct, wrong, or we don’t have enough information to be sure one way or the other. They include correct enumerations, erroneous enumerations, whole-person imputations, and omissions.
National components of census coverage: Correct or erroneous enumerations and whole-person imputations by census operation and mode, including self-response by mode (internet, telephone, paper) and Nonresponse Followup by type of enumeration.

Key findings: 
  • 37 states (or state equivalent) did not have estimated statistically significant undercounts or overcounts.
  • 14 states (or state equivalent) are estimated to have had an undercount or overcount – a net coverage error statistically different from zero – meaning they were either undercounted or overcounted.Undercount: Arkansas (-5.04%), Florida (-3.48%), Illinois (-1.97%), Mississippi (-4.11%), Tennessee (-4.78%) and Texas (-1.92%).
  • Overcount: Delaware (+5.45%), Hawaii (+6.79%), Massachusetts (+2.24%), Minnesota (+3.84%), New York (+3.44%), Ohio (+1.49%), Rhode Island (+5.05%) and Utah (+2.59%).
Visit the data visualization for a look at coverage for all states and the District of Columbia.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Erosion of Tenure

Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed:
The loss of tenure lines is accelerating. So is the erosion of tenure, by extension, according to a new institutional survey of tenure policies by the American Association of University Professors.

The last such survey of college and university tenure practices, in the U.S. Education Department’s National Study of Postsecondary Faculty, was in 2004. At that time, 17 percent of institutions said they’d replaced tenure lines with contingent appointments in the previous five years.

Today, that figure is 54 percent, according to the AAUP survey, which paints a picture of what’s happened since 2004, when the federal government stopped funding the national survey. The AAUP report notes that there are some problems with this comparison, such as that it’s unknown how many institutions added tenure lines over the same period. The group is nevertheless alarmed by the threefold increase in institutions reporting cutting tenure lines and replacing them with tenure-ineligible appointments, and multiple other studies have tracked the long-term shift away from tenured faculty appointments to contingent academic labor. (Based on federal data from 2019 cited by the AAUP, about 10 percent of faculty appointments are tenure track, 27 percent are tenured, 20 percent are full-time contingent and 43 percent are part-time contingent.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Biden on Natural Rights

 President Biden  yesterday in Buffalo:

White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison — (applause) — running through — it really is — running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes.

No more. I mean, no more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. (Applause.) None.

And, look, failure for us to not say that — failure in saying that is going to be complicity. Silence is complicity. It’s complicity. We cannot remain silent.

Our nation’s strength has always come from the idea — it’s going to sound corny, but think about it: What’s the idea of our nation? That we’re all children of God. All chil- — life, liberty, our universal goods — gifts of God. We didn’t get it from the government, we got it from — because we exist, and we’re called upon to defend them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Domestic Terrorism

 From CSIS:

To better understand the trends in U.S. domestic terrorism, CSIS compiled a data set of 1,040 terrorist attacks and plots in the United States between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 2021. The 2021 data are new, and they yield several main findings.

First, there was a significant increase in the number and percentage of domestic terrorist incidents at demonstrations in cities in 2020 and 2021. In 2019, only 2 percent of all U.S. terrorist attacks and plots occurred at demonstrations, but this portion rose to 47 percent in 2020 and 53 percent in 2021. The result is that some metropolitan areas of the United States—such as Portland, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.—are becoming focal points of domestic terrorism, where extremists from opposing sides square off against each other and against law enforcement agencies. This development has created a “security dilemma” in metropolitan areas, where attempts by one side to improve its own security threatens the security of others, leading to further escalation.

Second, U.S. law enforcement agencies have increasingly become a target of domestic terrorists from all sides of the political spectrum. The government, military, and especially law enforcement were the primary targets of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in 2021, composing 43 percent of all attacks. They were most likely to be targeted regardless of perpetrator ideology: they were selected in 48 percent of violent far-left events, 37 percent of violent far-right events, and all Salafi-jihadist events in 2021. This development indicates that U.S. security agencies—particularly law enforcement—are increasingly at risk from domestic terrorism.

Third, there was an increase in the percentage of attacks and plots by anarchists, anti-fascists, and other likeminded extremists in 2021. While white supremacists, anti-government militias, and likeminded extremists conducted the most attacks and plots in 2021 (49 percent), the percentage of attacks and plots by anarchists, anti-fascists, and likeminded extremists grew from 23 percent in 2020 to 40 percent in 2021. This rise has occurred alongside an increase in violence at demonstrations. However, although there was a historically high level of both far-right and far-left terrorist attacks in 2021, violent far-right incidents were significantly more likely to be lethal, both in terms of weapon choice and number of resulting fatalities.

Monday, May 16, 2022

One Million COVID Deaths in the US

 Carla K. Johnson at AP:

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 reached 1 million Monday, a once-unimaginable figure that only hints at the multitudes of loved ones and friends staggered by grief and frustration.

The number of dead, as tallied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, is equivalent to that of a 9/11 attack every day for 336 days. It is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined. It’s as if Boston and Pittsburgh were wiped out.

“It is hard to imagine a million people plucked from this Earth,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, who leads a new pandemic center at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, R.I. “It’s still happening and we are letting it happen.”

Three out of every four deaths were people 65 and older. More men died than women. White people made up most of the deaths overall, but Black, Latino and Native American people have been roughly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their white counterparts.

Australia's death rate is only one-tenth as great.  Damien Cave at NYT:

In global surveys, Australians were more likely than Americans to agree that “most people can be trusted” — a major factor, researchers found, in getting people to change their behavior for the common good to combat Covid, by reducing their movements, wearing masks and getting vaccinated. Partly because of that compliance, which kept the virus more in check, Australia’s economy has grown faster than America’s through the pandemic.

But of greater import, interpersonal trust — a belief that others would do what was right not just for the individual but for the community — saved lives. Trust mattered more than smoking prevalence, health spending or form of government, a study of 177 countries in The Lancet recently found. And in Australia, the process of turning trust into action began early.

During the toughest of Covid times, Australians showed that the national trait of “mateship” — defined as the bond between equal partners or close friends — was still alive and well. They saw Covid spiral out of control in the United States and Britain, and chose a different path.

Compliance rates with social distancing guidelines, along with Covid testing, contact tracing and isolation, held steady at around 90 percent during the worst early outbreaks, according to modeling from the University of Sydney. In the United States, reductions in mobility — a key measure of social distancing — were less stark, shorter and more inconsistent, based in part on location, political identity or wealth.

In Australia, rule-following was the social norm. It was Mick Fanning, a surfing superstar, who did not question the need to stay with his American wife and infant in a small hotel room for 14 days of quarantine after a trip to California. It was border officials canceling the visa of Novak Djokovic, the top male tennis player in the world, for failing to follow a Covid vaccine mandate, leading to his eventual deportation.

It was also all the Australians who lined up to get tested, who wore masks without question, who turned their phones into virus trackers with check-in apps, who set up food services for the old, infirm or poor in lockdowns, or who offered a place to stay to women who had been trapped in their homes with abusive husbands.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Religion and Abortion Opinion

Survey Center on American Life:
.The Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old ruling that legalized the right to abortion in the U.S. But Americans consistently show support for legal abortion in at least some circumstances. A majority (56 percent) of the public says abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Approximately four in 10 (41 percent) say it should be illegal. Notably only one in 10 (11 percent) Americans say abortion should be illegal without any exception.

Views differ significantly across religious traditions, but few religious groups oppose the legal right to an abortion. White evangelical Protestants register the strongest opposition to legal abortion. Seventy-eight percent of White evangelical Protestants say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Only 20 percent say abortion should be legal. A majority (55 percent) of Hispanic Catholics also believe abortion should be illegal. In contrast, a majority of White Catholics (56 percent), White mainline Protestants (59 percent), and Black Protestants (65 percent) say abortion should be legal. No group more strongly supports the legal right to abortion than religiously unaffiliated Americans—86 percent say it should be legal in at least most cases.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Tariffs and Regs Helped Create the Baby Formula Shortage

 WSJ Editorial:

Last year Abbott accounted for 42% of the U.S. formula market, about 95% of which is produced domestically. There are only four major manufacturers of formula in the U.S. today: Mead Johnson, Abbott, Nestle, and Perrigo. One reason the market is so concentrated is tariffs up to 17.5% on imports, which protect domestic producers from foreign competition. Non-trade barriers such as FDA labeling and ingredient requirements also limit imports even during shortages.

Canada’s strong dairy industry has attracted investment in formula production. But the Trump Administration sought to protect domestic producers by imposing quotas and tariffs on Canadian imports in the USMCA trade deal. The FDA can inspect foreign plants so the U.S. import restrictions aren’t essential for product safety. They merely raise prices for consumers and limit choice.

Further limiting competition is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for low-income mothers. By the Department of Agriculture’s estimate, WIC accounted for between 57% and 68% of all infant formula sold in the U.S. Under the welfare program, each state awards an exclusive formula contract to a manufacturer.

Companies compete for the contracts by offering states huge rebates on the formula women can buy. The rebates equal about 85% of the wholesale cost, according to a 2011 USDA study. Women can only use WIC vouchers to purchase formula from the winning manufacturer. These rebates reduce state spending, but there’s no such thing as free baby formula.

Why would manufacturers give states an enormous discount? Because the contracts effectively give them a state monopoly. Stores give WIC brands more shelf space. Physicians may also be more likely to recommend WIC brands. After 30 states switched their WIC contracts between 2005 and 2008, the new provider’s market share increased on average by 84 percentage points.