Tuesday, May 20, 2014

PUMS Data: A Regional Look at Single Parenting

One of the more interesting tools available to look at census data is the Public Use Microdata Sample. These cover what are called the PUMAs, or Public Use Microdata Areas. For our region, there are two PUMAs that cover 90% of the two county region - all but the lower five towns in Oneida County and the lower four southwestern towns of Herkimer County.

The cool thing about PUMS data is that you can access the actual sample and then manipulate the data to crosstab items that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Without going into a lot of discussion about the methodology of gathering PUMS data (a full description of what PUMS and PUMAs are is found here), suffice it to say that you do need to exercise some caution in viewing it. The margins of error can be quite large and the data should be viewed with some caution. However, it nonetheless provides a very unique opportunity to look at special populations with any of the PUMAs.

As an example of what you might find through PUMS, I've put together the following graphs and graphics concerning single parenting in our region. The graphics are largely based on the 2012 PUMS data and in some cases the 2012 ACS 1 Year data, as noted. Single Parents face a variety of challenges and some of this data provides views of their experiences we may not have been aware of looking at only the ACS data on American FactFinder.



A) The Basics: Family Types, Racial/Hispanic Composition. and the Presence of Children


       1. Family Types

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        2. Race and Hispanic Origin

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        3. Presence of Children
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B) Home Life: Language, Education, Disabilities and Marital Status

       1) Language Spoken At Home

Couples (Click to Enlarge)
Single Moms (Click to Enlarge)
Single Dads (Click to Enlarge)

       2) Attended School in Last 3 Months

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        3) Families With Disabilities

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       4) Marital Status for Single Moms

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C) Employment: Prior Years Work, and Job Sector

       1) Employment in Past 12 Months

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       2) Employment Sector

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D) Poverty Rates, Presence of Infants, and Accessing Social Services

       1) Poverty for Families, and Families with Young Children

       2) Presence of Infants: Families with a Child Born in Past 12 Months

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       3) Accessing Medicaid and Food Stamps

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