Commerce.gov is getting a facelift soon. See the new design.
Syndicate content

Blog Category: Bureau of the Census

Spotlight on Commerce: Tommy Wright, Chief, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Tommy Wright, Chief, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

Guest blog post by Tommy Wright, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Since joining the U. S. Census Bureau in January 1996 as a research mathematical statistician, I have provided the overall technical leadership for the Center for Statistical Research & Methodology (formerly Statistical Research Division). The Center for Statistical Research & Methodology is the Census Bureau's statistical and methodological research and consulting facility.  CSRM researchers are engaged in collaborative work applying known statistical methods and in research for new and better statistical  methods motivated by practical problems using tools from two key areas: mathematical statistics and statistical computing. Our statistical methods include: (1) methods that can link hundreds of millions of records in one data set with hundreds of millions of records in another; methods to bring better modeling to the internal processing of data from sample surveys and censuses, including data visualization; methods to compensate for missing data when respondents do not answer all questions on a questionnaire; methods to make inferences about finite populations (e.g., of people or of businesses) using data from probability samples; methods to produce reliable estimates of characteristics for small levels of geography or small subpopulations when the sample sizes for these areas are very small or zero; methods to seasonally adjust economic time series; and methods to test new or improved operations using computer simulations or designed experiments.

A key aspect of my role is helping the Census Bureau define statistical problems and finding excellent researchers  to work on them.  My colleagues and I work in collaboration with other Census Bureau staff as well as through interaction with academic, industrial, government, and other researchers. I recruit, develop, and maintain a core staff of researchers with expertise in statistics, statistical computing, and mathematics. The problems and collaborations in my work are a constant source of stimulating challenges that are especially rewarding when research results are used and published.

Between 1979 and 1996, I was a research staff member of the Mathematical Sciences Section at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where my research focused on probability sampling and estimation, the design of sample surveys, and elementary applied probability and combinatorics.

Secretary Pritzker Discusses Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address

Secretary Pritzker Discusses Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address

Last week, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks on the leadership of the Commerce Department and the entire Obama Administration in promoting entrepreneurship across the United States at the 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation. Her remarks were delivered to various business leaders, policy experts, non-profits, and government officials to address the impact and importance of America’s entrepreneurs in our country’s economy. 

Secretary Pritzker highlighted the Commerce Department’s role in ensuring there is an infrastructure of opportunity to support entrepreneurship domestically and internationally. As the driving force behind the Administration’s focus on entrepreneurship, the Commerce Department partners with businesses to set the conditions for innovators and new businesses to test new ideas, take risks, find financing and customers, and ultimately thrive. Many of the Department’s core responsibilities help create the essential infrastructure of opportunity for entrepreneurs – whether issuing patents that protect intellectual property, making investments in local economic development, collecting and disseminating data to inform better decision making, expanding access to broadband, or protecting a free and open internet. 

Specifically, since the launch of the Department’s Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative in collaboration with the White House, Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, 11 entrepreneurs serve in an ongoing dialogue with policy makers globally to create an environment where creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive. In the coming months, PAGE will expand so more business leaders can share their experiences as CEOs and share recommendations to better support the business community both at home and abroad. The Commerce Department has also re-established the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), which brings together top academics, business and non-profit leaders to advise the Department on innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry-driven skills training to support the current and next generation of entrepreneurs. 

In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker discussed the launch of the Startup Global pilot program, an initiative that will begin in the next few months and feature a series of incubators in Cincinnati, Nashville, Arlington, and Washington, D.C., where entrepreneurs can get technical assistance and information on how to export. 

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Valentine's Day

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Valentine's Day

Expressing one’s love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s. The spirit continues today with even young children exchanging valentine’s cards with their fellow classmates. Following are some key statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in recognition of Valentine's Day.

Candy

1,379

Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate products in 2012, employing 37,998 people. California led the nation with 152 of these establishments, followed by New York, with 119.

Flowers

14,344

The total number of florist establishments nationwide in 2012. These businesses employed 62,397 people.

Giving Love a Second Chance

19.2%

Among people 15 and older who have been married, the percentage of men and women in 2013 who have been married twice, and 5.3 percent have been married three or more times. By comparison, 75.5 percent of people who have been married have done so just once.

“Please Be Mine”

 29.0 and 26.6 years 

Median age at first marriage in 2013 for men and women, respectively.

For more more key statistics, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau's Facts for Features.

Hack Housing Spurs Private Sector Innovation through Open Data

Hack Housing Spurs Private Sector Innovation through Open Data (Photo Credit: Zillow)

Guest blog post by Shula Markland, Senior Data Architect, Office of the Chief Information Office, HUD and Jeff Meisel, Presidential Innovation Fellow, U.S. Census Bureau 

On February 6-8, over 200 software developers, designers and makers gathered at the Zillow headquarters in downtown Seattle for “Hack Housing”, a hackathon co-hosted by Zillow and the University of Washington. Teams of programmers spent the weekend using open data to build apps that help people find affordable, accessible places to live – and pitching their products in competition for a $10,000 top prize. Zillow Co-Founder Rich Barton, former White House Deputy CTO Nick Sinai, and Lisa Wolters from the Seattle Housing Authority kicked off the event on Friday. The 72-hour jam session also featured an inspiring video message from Nani Coloretti, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Zillow uses open data from multiple federal agencies including HUD, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Census Bureau, to deliver insights and information on housing, schools, and communities as part of their living database of more than 110 million homes. 

“The Hack Housing event is a blueprint for how government can use our valuable open data assets to help bring private sector innovation to tackle key policy challenges, such as helping seniors age in their homes and connecting low income renters and first time home buyers to housing opportunities,” according to Lynn Overmann, Deputy Chief Data Officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce. “Bringing together thought-leaders from industry, academia and local, state, and federal government can generate really compelling product ideas to help solve some of our most difficult housing issues and also drive economic impact.” 

The teams at Hack Housing focused on user-centered design to address the needs of specific sets of users, including first-time homebuyers, older Americans and lower-income families. The White House, U.S. Department of Commerce, HUD, Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Census Bureau supported the event by providing know-how and open datasets. 

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Super Bowl XLIX

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX will be played Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This will be the second time the NFL’s championship game will be held in Glendale and the third time in the Phoenix metropolitan area. To commemorate this event, the U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts examining the demographics of the host metropolitan area, as well as the metro areas represented by the two participants — the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

New England (Patriots)

10th                             

Where Boston ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 4,684,299. The Boston metro area gained 42,204 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. At the time of the Patriots’ first season in 1960, the 1960 Census population for the city of Boston was 697,197.

Seattle (Seahawks)

15th                             

Where Seattle ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 3,610,105. The Seattle area gained 57,514 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. At the time of the Seahawks’ first season in 1976, the 1970 Census population for the city of Seattle was 530,831.

Host Site

12th

Where Phoenix ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 4,398,762. The Phoenix area gained 71,130 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013.

For more information, please go to the Census Bureau's Facts for Features or go to <http://quickfacts.census.gov> for more statistics about the cities involved. 

How trade stats can help US businesses expand abroad

Guest blog post by Dale Kelly, Chief of the International Trade Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau

International markets provide an opportunity for U.S. businesses to increase sales and overall competitiveness, but knowing how to get started and learning about foreign markets can be daunting. The U.S. Census Bureau can help.

Although known most widely as the home of the decennial Census of U.S. households, the Census Bureau also is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing monthly trade statistics on all goods imported and exported from the United States. Every month, the Census Bureau releases information on the import and export of commodities such as soybeans, corn, rice, chemicals, steel, aircraft, and lumber. Together with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which collects similar data on services imports and exports, the Census Bureau releases the  “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report. This report provides detailed information on import and export of merchandise by commodity and end-use category as well as by the multitude of countries and areas with which the U.S. conducts international trade. All of these reports are available at the Census Bureau’s foreign trade web page.

How can this information help U.S. businesses? The Census Bureau provides detailed information on more than 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities. Easily accessible online, this information assists U.S. businesses in making informed decision by tracking the global marketplace for their product and identifying possible opportunities to expand to new markets.

In addition to data, the Census Bureau provides resources and tools to help businesses export. The Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division conducts outreach and training around the country. Training includes webinars, seminars, workshops, and blog posts on using trade data, understanding foreign trade regulations and utilizing the Automated Export System, which allows the electronic filing of export information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These same data are the source of the Census Bureau’s merchandise export and import statistics. The next two-day training on the Automated Export System begins on January 21 in Houston, Texas.  Trade is a vital part of our economy, and the Census Bureau plays an important role in providing detailed timely information to U.S. businesses to make informed decisions.

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day

As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the United States population will be 320,090,857 on Jan. 1, 2015. This represents an increase of 2,334,187, or 0.73 percent, from New Year’s Day 2014, and 11,345,319, or 3.67 percent, since Census Day (April 1) 2010.

In January 2015, the U.S. is expected to experience a birth every eight seconds and one death every 12 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 33 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration increases the U.S. population by one person every 16 seconds.

The projected world population on Jan. 1, is 7,214,958,996, an increase of 77,381,246, or 1.08 percent, from New Year’s Day 2014. During January 2015, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second.

The Census Bureau’s Pop Clock displays real-time growth of the U.S. and world populations.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Honor the Holiday Season

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Honor the Holiday Season

This festive season, or simply the holidays, is a time for gathering and celebrating with family and friends, gift giving, reflection and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.

$24.4 billion

Estimated retail sales by the nation’s department stores (including leased departments) in December 2013. This represents an estimated 40.9 percent jump from the previous month when retail sales were estimated at 17.3 billion. No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large. 

13.9%

The estimated percentage of total 2013 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the estimated percentage was 19.1 percent.

$44.5 billion

Estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2013 — the highest total for any month last year.

$1.0 billion

The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2014. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($137.5 million worth) during the same period.

563

The number of locations that primarily produced dolls, toys, and games in 2012; they employed 7,481 workers in the pay period including March 12.  California led the nation with 95 establishments.

For more information and other key statistics on the holidays, please go to the latest issue of the Census Bureau's Facts for Features.

Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation’s Third Most Populous State, Census Bureau Reports

Categories:
Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation’s Third Most Populous State, Census Bureau Reports

By adding an average of 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014, Florida passed New York to become the nation’s third most populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau state population estimates released today. Florida’s population grew by 293,000 over this period, reaching 19.9 million. The population of New York increased by 51,000 to 19.7 million.

California remained the nation’s most populous state in 2014, with 38.8 million residents, followed by Texas, at 27.0 million. Although the list of the 10 most populous states overall was unchanged, two other states did change positions, as North Carolina moved past Michigan to take the ninth spot.

Another milestone took place in Georgia (ranked 8th), which saw its population surpass 10 million for the first time.

North Dakota was the nation’s fastest-growing state over the last year. Its population increased 2.2 percent, followed by the 1.7 percent growth in Nevada and Texas. Each of the 10 fastest-growing states was in the South or West with the exception of North Dakota. 

Six states lost population between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014: Illinois (9,972 or -0.08 percent), West Virginia (3,269 or -0.18 percent), Connecticut (2,664 or -0.07 percent), New Mexico (1,323 or -0.06 percent, Alaska (527 or -0.07 percent) and Vermont (293 or -0.05 percent).

The United States as a whole saw its population increase by 2.4 million to 318.9 million, or 0.75 percent.

In addition to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the new statistics also include estimates for Puerto Rico. On July 1, 2014, Puerto Rico had an estimated population of 3.5 million, a decline of 47,000, or 1.3 percent, from one year earlier.

The Census Bureau produces population estimates each year, allowing the public to gauge the growth and demographic composition of the nationstates and communities. These statistics use administrative data to estimate population change between census years, using the decennial census count as a starting point. Local governments use estimates to locate services, and estimates are used by the private sector to locate businesses.

The Census Bureau also released today estimates of the number of people 18 and older in the U.S., states and Puerto Rico. The downloadable file also includes total population and the percentage of people 18 and older. Internet address: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/datasets.html.

During 2015, the Census Bureau will release estimates of the 2014 population of counties, cities and towns, and metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

Increasing the Reach of Census Bureau Data

Increasing the Reach of Census Bureau Data

Guest blog post by Raul Cisneros, director, Center for New Media and Promotion and Rebecca Blash, chief, Center for Enterprise Dissemination Services and Consumer Innovation (CEDSCI), U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to operational excellence by making the statistics that define our growing, changing nation more accessible than ever before. In an age of instant communication and 24/7 information sharing, the needs and expectations of the Census Bureau’s data users have changed. We have listened to our customers, and this is what we have heard: Our users want easy access to timely, relevant statistics. They want access anywhere and anytime.  And, they want their data to be shareable, embeddable, downloadable and customizable.

In response, the Census Bureau has undertaken a comprehensive digital transformation effort, developing new tools using the latest technologies.  Almost 50 million people visit Census.gov annually, and we’ve made major improvements to the site so that they can more easily find the information they want. We also created an application programming interface (API) to increase the accessibility and usability of our data. The API gives developers quick and easy access to an ever-increasing pool of publicly available data, allowing them to create Web or mobile apps. More than 7,000 developers have requested access to the API, and the databases have been queried more than 600 million times. Because these apps subsequently reach new users, they have the added benefit of increasing the circulation of our demographic, socioeconomic and housing statistics even more.

We also want to make our data accessible and appealing to as wide an audience as possible. Our three mobile apps are a good example of this. America’s Economy provides real-time updates of 20 key economic indicators, making it easy for casual or serious followers of the U.S. economy to see the latest trends. Our two other tools, dwellr (an app that helps users discover cities and towns that fit their lifestyle) and Census PoP Quiz (a population challenge quiz), tap into statistical information from the American Community Survey for casual data users.