Citizenship Question on the Census (Part 2)

This is a followup to my April 17th post regarding the Citizenship Question on the Census. In that post I cited the several federal court lawsuits, and the accompanying correspondence from the US Department of Justice and US Department of Commerce.

My key takeaway from all of this is that adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census would yield highly precise (city block level), yet inaccurate (biased) data.

The “highly precise” data would be made available for over 11 million “blocks”  — the finest level that the US Census Bureau releases “short form” census data.

The “inaccurate (biased)” data is due to what we call “non-sampling error” — the results are biased towards an under-count of non-citizens due to respondent’s intentional or unintentional inaccurate (wrong) responses to the citizenship question. It is clear that there is a bias in the citizenship data from the Census, as expressed in the 3/26/18 memo from the US Secretary of Commerce. The Census Bureau estimates that the non-citizen population is under-estimated by 30 percent at the national level. This is important.

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Citizenship Question on the Census (Part 1)

The current census kerfuffle about adding the citizenship question to the 2020 decennial Census is a big issue. There are now three (maybe more) lawsuits in the federal courts seeking to stop the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce from adding this controversial question.

There is apparently a hearing scheduled for May 8, 2018 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (see this NPR article.) I’ll be following this with great interest. I’m not sure if anything will be happening between now and May 8th.

The “dress rehearsal” test for the 2020 Census is currently underway in Providence, Rhode Island. This Providence “dress rehearsal” test does not include the citizenship question.

Here is the citizenship question as currently used by the Census Bureau for the American Community Survey:

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Gimme (Affordable) Shelter (Part 5)

My past few posts on housing affordability focused on ranking places (cities) and congressional districts by one or two statistics, usually the proportion of households with a high or severe housing cost burden (30.0 to 49.9%, or +50.0%).

But there are many other characteristics about the housing units and the householders that paint a more complete picture of the nature of housing affordability.

I stepped back, and decided to produce a “housing affordability profile” based on the 2012-2016 American Community Survey, for places/cities in the USA.

A “profile” is a collection of various characteristics about one (perhaps two) geographic area stuffed onto one (or more) pages, or HTML pages. If I get really good at this, I could add some exciting infographics to spice it up a bit.

I re-learned the “VLOOKUP” function in Excel, and cobbled together a one-page “housing affordability profile” that can be adapted to EVERY place in the USA. But there are 29,231 places in the United States, and I don’t feel like producing a document for 29, 231 geographic areas!

I did create this housing affordability profile for the 15 most populous cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here is part of the one-page profile for San Jose, California:

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Income Inequality in Major US Metro Areas (I Dream of Gini)

I read a tweet this morning from Planetizen about a recent study by the Brookings Institution. Here are links to the Planetizen post and the Brookings post.

The Brookings Institute study is a clever bit of work. It uses data from the 2014 and 2016 American Community Survey data on household income distribution, for the 100 largest metropolitan areas (Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs), and their principal (largest) cities.

The measure of “income inequality” in the Brookings study is the ratio of the area’s household income at the 95th percentile (only 5% of the households make more than the 95th), to the household income at the area’s 20th percentile (20% of the household make less than that.)

This data is available from Table B19080 in the Census Bureau’s American FactFinder (AFF). What makes the Brookings study an extra chore (for them, at least) is that the Census Bureau puts a $250,000 cap on the 95th percentile for all data reported in the standard AFF tables. So, the Brookings people examined data from the 2016 ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) to calculate a better estimate for about a dozen or so metro areas and their principal cities. That seems like a lot of work!

What puzzles me is why the Brookings Institute researchers didn’t use the most direct index of income inequality in use in the world, and as provided by the Census Bureau, the Gini Coefficient?

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Gimme (Affordable) Shelter (Part 4)

Continuing from yesterday’s blog post, today I look at the opposite extreme: the least housing cost burdened (“most affordable”) large cities in the USA in 2016.

To repeat from yesterday’s post, housing cost burden is calculated as the ratio of rent or mortgage/utilities paid relative to household income. Data is from the one-year 2016 American Community Survey, Tables B25070 and B25091. Here are the four categories of housing cost burden used in this analysis:

  • Low Burden: less than 15 percent of income spent on housing costs;
  • Moderate Burden: 15 to 29.9 percent of income spent on housing costs;
  • High Burden: 30.0 to 49.9 percent of income spent on housing costs; and
  • Severe Burden: 50.0 or more percent of income spend on housing costs.

For this blog post, I’ve further collapsed the burden categories into two:

  • Low-to-Moderate Burden (<30.0%); and
  • High-to-Severe Burden (>= 30.0%).

Low-to-Moderate Housing Cost Burden,  Large Cities, Population 65,000+ (2016)

The three largest cities with the highest high-to-severe housing cost burden are in the midwest:

  1. Carmel, Indiana (82.7% of household with low-to-moderate housing cost burden);
  2. Maple Grove, Minnesota (81.7%); and
  3. Troy, Michigan (81.6%).

Thirty (30) large places in the United States have a low-to-moderate housing cost burden for at least seventy-five percent (75%+) of their households.

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Gimme (Affordable) Shelter (Part 3)

I’m back after a few months respite from blogging!

Today I want to examine the year 2016 housing cost burden by large (65,000+ population) places in the United States. That’s data for 600 of the largest cities/places in the USA and Puerto Rico.

Housing cost burden is calculated as the ratio of rent or mortgage/utilities paid relative to household income. Data is from the one-year 2016 American Community Survey, Tables B25070 and B25091. Here are the four categories of housing cost burden used in this analysis:

  • Low Burden: less than 15 percent of income spent on housing costs;
  • Moderate Burden: 15 to 29.9 percent of income spent on housing costs;
  • High Burden: 30.0 to 49.9 percent of income spent on housing costs; and
  • Severe Burden: 50.0 or more percent of income spend on housing costs.

For this blog post, I’ve further collapsed the burden categories into two:

  • Low-to-Moderate Burden (<30.0%); and
  • High-to-Severe Burden (>= 30.0%).

High-to-Severe Housing Cost Burden,  Large Cities, Population 65,000+ (2016)

The three largest cities with the highest high-to-severe housing cost burden are in northeast New Jersey:

  1. Passaic, NJ (58.3% of households with high-to-severe housing cost burden);
  2. Newark, NJ (56.6%); and
  3. Elizabeth, NJ (55.6%)

Twenty one large places in the United States have a high-to-severe housing cost burden for at least fifty percent of their households.

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Gimme (Affordable) Shelter (Part 2)

Today’s question: What US congressional districts have the highest share of households with a severe housing cost burden? By “severe housing cost burden” I’m using the 50 percent-plus share of household income spent on monthly ownership or rental costs.

In the United States, 14.3 percent of households have a severe housing cost burden, as of 2016. The median household income in the United States was $57,617 in 2016. And the median monthly housing costs in the United States was $1,022 in 2016. The median annual housing costs (the monthly multiplied by 12!) is $12,264. (Data on median household income and median housing costs is from the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder, Table S25003.)

The top ten congressional districts with the highest share of households with severe housing cost burdens are all in New York City and Los Angeles City.

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