What's New - July 2003
Our site of the month for July is the EasiDemographics "Right Site." Here you'll find a powerful array of free web-based tools for analyzing the geography of key Census 2000 data series. One of the most interesting features is an interactive "ring study" tool that lets you pick any address in the U.S., determine its latitude and longitude, and count the population and households within a 1-, 3-, and 5-mile radius of that point. You get not only a statistical tabulation of the results, but a color coded map of as well; also, data can be broken out by race and ethnicity. Ring studies can be customized to a user-chosen radius.
Right Site also contains a number of other tools, including a handy "Top 100 Rank Analysis" that lets you rank counties, zip code areas, cities, metropolitan areas and TV markets by any one of several hundred census demographic measures (mostly population by age and ethnicity).
"Right Site" is a promotional introduction to
EasiDemographics commercial offerings, and a free one-time
registration is required to access the site. (Subscribers get
updated 2002 estimates).
Take a look at:
Effective June 6, an important set of sub-national boundaries changed. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either a long overdue step to re-align reported statistics with the way Americans really live or yet another step in the never-ending effort to baffle and confuse data analysts everywhere. Either way, the Office of Management and Budget has re-written the metropolitan area definitions that federal agencies will use to report statistical data. A few years after each decennial census, OMB, in consultation with statistical agencies, reconsiders the appropriate geographic units for analyzing sub-state regions. This time around, the changes are substantial.
First, we get a whole new category called "micropolitan areas", counties or groups of counties too small to qualify as a metropolitan area, but which have an urban core population of 10,000 (but less than the 50,000 threshold for being a metropolitan area). There are 565 of these micropolitan areas nationwide.
Second, there are a bunch of new metropolitan areas, 49 in all, so that now the US has a total of 370 metropolitan areas. Many metro areas now have new names because of a policy of naming metro areas after their two or three largest constituent jurisdictions. Some are quite a mouthful: Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, New York-Newark-Edison, Las Vegas-Paradise, etc. Some old associations are dissolved, for example, Raleigh, NC and Durham, NC now are separate MSAs.
Third, say goodbye to "Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas"--CMSA's (groups of adjacent and economically connected primary metropolitan statistical areas) are no more. In their place are "consolidated statistical areas" (CSAs), which are two or more adjacent and economically linked metropolitan areas OR micropolitan areas. Eleven large metropolitan areas are further subdivided into a new unit "metropolitan division".
As in the past, the building blocks for this classification system are counties (and townships and similar geographic entities in New England). Many metro areas have been slightly or substantially redefined under this measure, especially those regions that were once part of a Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.
These metro definitions are widely used in describing and measuring
economic activity, and in rankings and comparisons. But OMB is
blunt about trying to do too much with this framework--they explicitly
warn users against applying these definitions to "non-statistical
purposes (i.e. program eligibility standards, etc), and also against
using the definitions to separate urban and rural areas--"The
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards do not equate
to an urban-rural classification; many counties included in
Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and many other
counties, contain both urban and rural territory and populations."
For July, we're highlighting a number of new links related to housing, all from the various websites of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
American Housing Survey, metropolitan data sets
Fair Market Rents
50th Percentile Rent Estimates
Our friends at the State Science and Technology Institute have been hard at work again, analyzing data from the National Science Foundation on industrial research and development. They've compiled state-by-state industrial R&D data for the period 1997-2000, and computed growth rates for overall R&D, as well as measures of R&D intensity (research and development expenditures divided by gross state product) and per capita research and development spending. Their work is summarized in a series of tables on their website, with pointers to the underlying NSF data.
Industrial R&D Expenditures: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/Tables/061303t.htm