Tag: Data

Internet usage by country

By Razib Khan | November 28, 2010 1:14 pm

In my post below on the rise of China, I ran into the data on internet usage by country again. I was online regularly by the spring of 1995, and it’s amazing to think that there are hundreds of millions of Chinese on the internet now! The World Bank estimates that both China and India have exhibited an increase of internet usage by an order of magnitude from 2000-2010, though from different bases. So while there are ~300 million Chinese users of the internet, there are ~50 million Indians. But who would have guessed that Nigeria has more per capita internet users than India? See below.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Data Analysis, Technology
MORE ABOUT: Data, Internet

American human geography in numbers

By Razib Khan | November 14, 2010 4:55 pm

One of the great things about Google Data Explorer is that it allows us to explore the quantitative magnitudes of qualitative differences which we have a general sense of intuitively. I’ve focused on the international data so far, but I thought I’d drill-down to the level of American states and metropolitan areas.

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MORE ABOUT: Data, Data Explorer

Religious people have more children because they're more traditional

By Razib Khan | November 4, 2010 9:05 pm

Tom Rees has a fascinating post up, Why religious Austrians have more children:

On average, the more religious you are, the more kids you’ll have. It’s a widespread phenomenon, seen across pretty much all of the modern world.

The problem is, no-one really knows why this happens.

It could be something about religious beliefs. Maybe they make you more attractive to potential mates, or maybe they drive you to have more kids once you have found your mate.

Or maybe they encourage traditional, rather than modern, approaches to relationships. The traditional role for women is to stay at home and raise children, while hubbie has a career (and the independence and money that goes with it). It works (in theory at least) because divorce is not allowed, meaning that women cannot be left financially adrift.

This post is of interest because of my recent post reviewing Eric Kaufmann’s Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth. Here’s the top line conclusion from Tom’s post:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Data Analysis
MORE ABOUT: Data, Religion

A relationship in attitudes toward Global Warming & evolution?

By Razib Khan | October 24, 2010 1:29 am

In my post earlier in the week I mentioned the possible relationship between attitudes toward evolution and the causes and likelihood of Global Warming. I haven’t seen any survey data myself relating the two, so naturally I wanted to poke into the General Social Survey. Two variables of interest showed up, both from 2006:

1) GWSCI, “Understanding of causes of Global Warming by environmental scientists.” A five-point scale, from understanding “Very well” (1) to “Not at all” (5).

2) SCIAGRGW, “Extent of agreement among environmental scientists.” A five-point scale, from “Near complete agreement” (1) to “No agreement at all” (5).

I paired these up against EVOLVED, which is a simple True vs. False answer in relation the question as to whether “Human beings developed from animals.”

Tables below.

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Borders we forget: Saudi Arabia & Yemen

By Razib Khan | October 21, 2010 1:36 pm

There’s a lot of stuff you stumble upon via Google Public Data Explorer which you kind of knew, but is made all the more stark through quantitative display. For example, consider Saudi Arabia and Yemen. In gross national income per capita the difference between these two nations is one order of magnitude (PPP and nominal). Depending on the measure you use (PPP or nominal) the difference between the USA and Mexico is in the range of a factor of 3.5 to 5. Until recently most Americans did not know much about Yemen. It was famous for being the homeland of Osama bin Laden’s father and the Queen of Sheba.

Let’s do some comparisons.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Geography

Glenn Beck, Evolution, Global Warming & Tea Parties

By Razib Khan | October 20, 2010 2:04 pm

Glenn Beck said some dumb, but unsurprising, things about evolution:

How many people believe in evolution in this country? I’d like to see. I mean, I don’t know why it’s unreasonable to say this. I’m not God so I don’t know how God creates. I don’t think we came from monkeys. I think that’s ridiculous. I haven’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet. Did evolution just stop? Did we all of sudden — there’s no other species that’s developing into half-human?

It’s like global warming. So I don’t know why it is so problematic for people to just so, I don’t know how God creates. I don’t know how we got here. If I get to the other side and God’s like, “You know what, you were a monkey once,” I’ll be shocked, but I’ll be like, “Whatever.”

First, Glenn Beck is an adult convert to the Mormon religion. Therefore if he is exalted to godhood he could create a universe of half-monkeys/half-men for kicks. Second, note the details of Beck’s background. He was raised Roman Catholic, and secular for most of his adulthood, before coming to the Mormon church. None of these affinities entails a rejection of evolution. You are probably well aware that the Roman Catholic church has made its peace, broadly speaking, with evolution. And there’s nothing about secularism which necessitates a rejection of evolution. But what about Mormonism? This is the peculiarity. Mormons are broadly sympathetic to Creationism, but there’s nothing in the religion’s teachings which imply this as being the orthodox position. This is why Mitt Romney can robustly support the teaching of evolution. So what’s going in?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Creationism, Culture, Data Analysis

The "Hispanic Paradox", and others

By Razib Khan | October 18, 2010 1:04 am

journal.pmed.0030260.g001The New York Times has a piece out on the “Hispanic Paradox”. The paradox is that American Hispanics are longer-lived than non-Hispanic whites, despite the relatively lower socioeconomic status of Hispanics (poorer, less educated). The paradox has been around for a while, and these stories tend to emerge whenever there’s a Census or CDC data release, as there is now. You can get the original data on the CDC website.

But I think one thing about the Hispanic Paradox that needs to be contextualized is that Hispanics are not special in manifesting this paradox. Throwing all non-Hispanic whites into one big pot aggregates real variation. The map on the left is from the paper Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States. It shows the life expectancy by county for whites, Hispanic and non-Hispanic. You can see the Hispanic Paradox along the border; most Hispanics in Texas list their race as white, and so show up in these data. But you can also see what I’m talking about in terms of aggregation of non-Hispanic whites for Texas as well. See the counties in the center of Texas with elevated life expectancies? Take a look at this map on the distribution of German ancestry in the USA, and focus on Texas.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Data Analysis
MORE ABOUT: Data, Hispanic Paradox

Support for bans on interracial marriage by sex

By Razib Khan | October 16, 2010 8:07 pm

A quick follow-up to my previous post which points to the data that women tend to be more race-conscious in dating than men. There’s a variable in the GSS which asks if you support a ban on interracial marriage, RACMAR. Here’s the question itself:

Do you think there should be laws against marriages between (Negroes/Blacks/African-Americans) and whites?

There isn’t much surprising in the results for this variable. It was asked between 1972 and 2002, and support for a ban on interracial marriages dropped over time. Whites, old people, conservatives, and less educated people, tended to support these bans, as well as Southerners. But what about men vs. women? I’ve never actually looked at that. I limited the sample to whites; the number of blacks in the sample is small and wouldn’t alter the result, but I figured I’d control for race anyway. Support for such laws is in the 35-40% range for whites in 1972, before dropping off to 5-15% in 2002.

Here’s the trendline broken down by sex:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, GSS, Social Science

Mormons are average

By Razib Khan | September 30, 2010 11:07 am

Clark of Mormon Metaphysics says below:

My impression is that atheists, Mormons and Jews did best simply because all three groups tend to be well educated. (Someone mentioned stats adjusted for education but I couldn’t see where that was noted although maybe I just missed the obvious)

This is not an unfounded assertion, as it is “common knowledge” in the Zeitgeist that Mormons are high achievers. Ergo, posts such as The Latter Day Ruling Class. There’s one problem here: it’s not really true in a full-throated sense. The sample size for Mormons in the GSS is very small, so that’s not what we need to look at. First, American Religious Identification Survey 2008:


As you can see Mormons have about the average proportion of college graduates for an American ethno-religious group. We can drill-down further with the Religious Landscape Survey. First, comparisons of various religious groups by educational attainment class as proportions:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, Religion

Religious illiteracy is the norm

By Razib Khan | September 29, 2010 12:01 am

By now you probably know that:

Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

On average, Americans correctly answer 16 of the 32 religious knowledge questions on the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics average 20.9 correct answers. Jews and Mormons do about as well, averaging 20.5 and 20.3 correct answers, respectively. Protestants as a whole average 16 correct answers; Catholics as a whole, 14.7. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Religion
MORE ABOUT: Data, Religion

Which American racial group has the lowest fertility?

By Razib Khan | September 2, 2010 1:43 am

Update: Also see breakdowns among non-Hispanic white ancestry groups.

The really sad events around the Discovery Channel hostage situation, and the subsequent death of James Lee, made me wonder a little bit about total fertility rates. Lee seems to have had sentiments very similar to some of the anti-humanists within the Deep Ecology movement. Unlike the mainstream Left these elements of Deep Ecology are greatly concerned about the high fertility rates of non-developed societies and of the immigrants from those societies in a proximate sense (that is, the fertility is of a concern foremost because of the direct immediate environmental footprint, rather than a symptom of broader societal underdevelopment). I’ve probed the international differences in total fertility rates before, but what about in the United States? You probably won’t be surprised which segment of the population has the highest fertility, but what about the lowest? The US Census Bureau tracks these sorts of things in detail. So according to the Census Bureau the TFR’s in 2008 were:

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Data Analysis
MORE ABOUT: Data, Total Fertility

Pakistan ~10 years on

By Razib Khan | August 18, 2010 3:21 am

Long time readers of this weblog will recognize Zachary Latif. Zachary and I have been having exchanges on various topics on and off since 2002 on the blogs. His early opinionated musings on cultural and historical topics were a definite prod for me to venture out more vigorously into this domain. As a Pakistani Baha’i educated and resident in the West he offered me a window into a very different perspective from what I’d ever encountered before. In particular he challenged me in 2002 when I blithely repeated conventional wisdom about the economic rise of India and the stagnation of Pakistan. He had numbers at his finger tips. I did not.

Since that time it is arguable that Pakistan has become more, not less, important to Americans. How is Pakistan doing? To look into this I decided to use Google Data Explorer, focusing on trend lines comparing the various South Asian nations.

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The socioeconomic status of white ethnics

By Razib Khan | August 15, 2010 7:31 pm

In the post below on the prolific nature of the Kennedy clan some commenters were curious as to the general socioeconomic slant of Irish Catholics. The GSS has a variable ETHNIC which asks which nation an individual’s ancestors came from. Combine that with RELIG, and you can figure out how Irish Catholics stack up nationally. While I was looking at Irish Catholics I thought I would look at whites from various nations. I decided to exclude Jews from the analysis because I think there’s a big difference between Polish Catholics and Polish Jews socioeconomically and we’d lose information aggregating. Further, I constrained the sample to non-Hispanic whites. To look at socioeconomic index I focused on the SEI variable. Here’s how SEI is calculated:

SEI scores were originally calculated by Otis Dudley Duncan based on NORC’s 1947 North-Hatt prestige study and the 1950 U.S. Census. Duncan regressed prestige scores for 45 occupational titles on education and income to produce weights that would predict prestige. This algorithm was then used to calculate SEI scores for all occupational categories employed in the 1950 Census classification of occupations. Similar procedures have been used to produce SEI scores based on later NORC prestige studies and censuses.

Here are some values for reference:

Jewish = 62
White non-Hispanic = 51
Hispanic = 43
Black = 42
Only High School Education = 43
Bachelor’s Degree = 63

I’ve crossed the ethnic groups with religion & region (RELIG & REGION):

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Positive change in the world

By Razib Khan | August 13, 2010 12:50 pm

Just want to cheer you up a bit. Click play and watch how things are getting better….

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Republicans, the middle class party

By Razib Khan | August 6, 2010 11:14 am

In my post below I refuted the contention that the Democrats are the party of the rich. As I noted there is some evidence that the super-rich may tilt Democrat. There are some economic and social sectors which lean Democratic because of their social liberalism, but there is no preponderance that I have seen in the data for the rich identified with that party. As I have observed, even in New York City, one of the citadels of cultural liberalism, the wealthy tend to be more Republican. The only precinct in Manhattan with more Republicans than Democrats is in the Upper East Side across from Central Park.

But there is more granular nuance here. In Andrew Gelman’s Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State he reports data which shows that though Democratic leaning states tend to be wealthier, on average within those states the wealthy tend to vote Republican. Another detail is that the correlation between income and voting Republican is weaker within Democratic leaning states, but very stark in Republican states. Even when you control for race in states like Mississippi this remains the case. Gelman’s data and analysis tends to rebut the argument in What’s the Matter with Kansas?.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Data Analysis, Politics
MORE ABOUT: Data, GSS, Politics

The girls are all right, they accept human evolution

By Razib Khan | July 14, 2010 1:00 am

One of the trends that makes me less pessimistic about the inevitability of an idiocratic end-point to technological civilization is that it seems young Americans are more likely to accept evolution than earlier age cohorts.  The EVOLVED variable asks whether one believes that “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animal.” It was asked in 2004 and 2008, and its response is dichotomous between true and false. The favorable age trend I was aware of, but almost randomly I decided to control for some demographic variables, and I stumbled onto something which surprised me a bit, but in hindsight shouldn’t have: much of the greater acceptance of evolution among the youth has to do with a closing of the sex gap between men and women. Traditionally women have been more religious and Creationist in their inclinations, but far less so in Gen Y. Chart below of EVOLVED.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Creationism, Data Analysis, GSS
MORE ABOUT: Creationism, Data, GSS

Daily Data Dump – Friday

By Razib Khan | June 25, 2010 11:52 am

23andMe research article finally published. Dr. Dan MacArthur offers his take on a new PLoS Genetics paper which was published using 23andMe’s user base. Of course there’s already information coming out of 23andMe’s user community not getting into the academic literature, see this comment below.

Group Solidarity and Survival. For what it’s worth, I think group solidarity was critical for human survival and flourishing. I suspect it was responsible for the secular increase in cranial capacity for most of hominin history.

Adverse drug reactions from psychotropic medicines in the paediatric population: analysis of reports to the Danish Medicines Agency over a decade. This looks like a correlation, so there might be the issue of the type of woman who is prescribed psychotropic medicines being more prone to have children with birth defects for other reasons. But something to think about.

Trust and Prosperity. This issue is not salient unless you move. There is a difference in trust even within the United States; rural Vermont vs. downtown Boston. The explanation for this difference is straightforward, but there are probably more subtle differences between societies. On an individual level I wonder at the aggregate decrement in productivity and energy due to having to “track” very vigilantly whenever you’re in a public place in a low-trust situation or society.

China’s Export Economy Begins Turning Inward. Remember that China’s population is about the same as the whole world in 1850.

MORE ABOUT: Daily Data Dump, Data

Fundamentalists have a smaller vocabulary

By Razib Khan | May 19, 2010 2:15 pm

In the comments below a question was asked in regards to “fundamentalist” vs. agnostic Jews. I put the quotations around fundamentalist because the term means different things in different religions. As for the idea of an agnostic Jew, remember that Jews are a nation (ethnicity) as well as a religion, and that religious belief has traditionally been less explicitly emphasized than religious practice.

It wasn’t too hard to find some answers in the GSS. I used the somewhat crude “BIBLE” variable again. Remember that BIBLE asks if the respondent believes that the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God, the inspired Word of God, or a book of fables. I reclassified these as Fundamentalist, Moderate, and Liberal, respectively. There are two variables I used in the first chart, JEW and RELIG. The former looks just as Jews, and breaks down by Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. The latter I combined with BIBLE to bracket out Fundamentalists, Moderates and Liberals of each religious group. The vocabulary test scores are from WORDSUM. Remember that they correlate 0.71 with adult IQ. Because the sample size for Jews was so small I included 95% intervals so you can modulate confidence appropriately. I limited the sample to whites.

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WORDSUM & IQ & the correlation

By Razib Khan | May 4, 2010 3:08 pm

Every time I use the WORDSUM variable from the GSS people will complain that a score on a 10-question vocabulary test is not a good measure of intelligence. The reality is that “good” is too imprecise a term. The correlation between adult IQ and WORDSUM = 0.71. The source for this number is a 1980 paper, The Enduring Effects of Education on Verbal Skills. I’ve reproduced the relevant table…
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Religious people who don't believe in god

By Razib Khan | April 15, 2010 5:20 am

In American society the connection between religion and belief in god(s) is very close. This of course is not a universal. In Indian and Chinese religion there isn’t a necessary connection, though as a matter of operational reality most religious adherents in India and China do seem to believe in god. In the Abrahamic tradition the issue seems clear cut, but both Judaism and Islam are strongly orthopraxic, and somewhat less fixed on theological orthodoxy, so there is perhaps more wiggle room than one might think. Additionally, Jews are a nation, an ethnicity, as well as a people, and so those who are not particularly religious observant or believers in the God of Abraham, the God Isaac and the God of Jacob, may still identify with Judaism as their religion. The ‘cultural’ aspect of religion has even crept into Christianity, which was originally rather particular as to the content of one’s beliefs. In much of Europe the proportion of self-identified Christians exceeds the proportion of those who avow Christian theism.

In the comment below Amos Zeeberg guesses that many Jewish scientists are also atheists. This seems plausible, and ERV confirms it thanks to Amazon search, 75% of self-identified eminent Jewish scientists are atheists in Elaine Ecklund’s data set. And this tendency may not be limited to Jewish scientists, consider Freeman Dyson, a self-identified Protestant who admits to not confessing beliefs which one would expect from a Protestant.

I wanted to dig deeper. So again, the GSS. I wanted to look at the variable GOD and see how intelligence and education affected it across various religious categories. God has six responses:

– Don’t believe
– No way to find out
– Some higher power [I omitted this by mistake in an earlier version of the post, it was in the data analysis]
– Believe sometimes
– Believe, but doubts
– Know God exists

I clustered the first three into the category “non-theists,” and the middle two as “theist with doubts.” This is mostly because the sample sizes for religious groups crossed with the GOD variable aren’t that big on the secular end of the range. My question was how response on GOD related to intelligence controlled for religion and denomination. For religion I looked at Protestants, Catholics, Jews and “Nones.” For denominations only the Southern Baptists, United Methodists and Episcopalians had decent sample sizes.

To measure education was easy, and I divided them into two classes, those with at least a college degree and those without; the variable DEGREE. To measure intelligence I used WORDSUM, a vocabulary test. I constructed two categories, “average” and “smart,” the former ranging from 0-7 and the latter 8-10 correct.

I’ve included the results in the whole GSS data set without controlling for religion so you have a reference point. The rows add up to 100%. Additionally, if the numbers are bold that means that that point is outside of the 95% interval of its equivalent in the other category. For example, for the general population there’s a difference in proportion between non-theists between the smart and average whereby the 95% interval still does not overlap. Not so with theists with doubts.
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