Friday, December 19, 2014

The Case of Clayton County

As I've written in the last couple of days, I'm looking at changes in full-time undergrad numbers at UGA in terms of Georgia counties. Look back here if you want a summary of the change, and here specifically about Hispanics.

This is about one county.

I was cranking the numbers of percentage of females from all counties in 1998 and 2014 and Clayton County popped out as unusual in a couple of ways. How?
  • In 1998 it was ranked 12th in supplying students to UGA. By 2014 it had dropped to 27th. 
  • In raw numbers, Clayton supplied 137 fewer students in 2014 than it did in 1998. That's a 43.1 percent drop.
  • But ... it's percentage of female students climbed dramatically. About half of the students in 1998 were female. By 2014 it was 66.9 percent female. So, a 16.2 percentage point increase in females while the number of students dropped.
  • And yet, the raw number of females from Clayton dropped from 161 to 121.  Males, though, dropped from 150 to 59.
  • Finally, the percentage of black students from Clayton was18.9 percent in 1998. by 2014 it was 54.7 percent.
Clayton is roughly two-thirds black in the 2010 Census (about half black in the 2000 Census) and, of course, is dominated by the presence of the country's busiest airport. It's fascinating to me that while the county sends fewer students to UGA, females dominate more. Perhaps this says something about the state of black males in society, or the Clayton school system, or -- well -- I dunno. I'm not a sociologist. The raw number of black students from Clayton increased from 60 to 99. The real difference is whites. In 2014, Clayton sent 217 white students to UGA. By 2014, that was down to 16. So black female students appear to be carrying the UGA load in Clayton County.

Hispanic Students at UGA

Back in 1998 there were relatively few full-time undergrad Hispanic students at UGA -- 196 to be exact. In Fall 2014 there were 1,076. That's nearly a five-fold increase.

Again, back in 1998, the most a county sent (Fulton) was 32, followed by Gwinnett (30), Cobb (26), DeKalb (18), and Clarke (14).  By 2014, things had obviously changed. The Top 5 are below, with the number of students listed as being Hispanic and the percent of Hispanics to all students from that county.

1. Gwinnett (227, 6.1%)
2. Fulton (165, 4.4%)
3. Cobb (132, 4.8%)
4. DeKalb (53, 4.1%)
5. Clarke (48, 5.4%)

Nearly a quarter of all UGA full-time undergrads from McIntosh County (on the coast) are Hispanic, and 11.3 percent of Coffee County (south Georgia) students -- the only two in double digits. Yes, we're talking relatively small numbers here, thus two or three students can really bump up the percentages. Among the bigger counties, Gwinnett clearly leads both in raw numbers and percentage. About 80 counties sent no Hispanic students to UGA in 2014.

Obviously we know about the population growth among Hispanics in Georgia, so the numbers above should surprise no one. The real way to do this would be to examine the relative Hispanic or Latino populations for each county and see how well they do given their numbers. Take McIntosh County mentioned in the graf above. The latest Census data has it at 1.9 percent Hispanic, but nearly a quarter of its students sent to UGA are Hispanic. We're talking a handful of students, so it's hard to extend the data in any meaningful way, but the larger counties would be worth looking over. Yes, Gwinnett has increased the number and proportion of Hispanics sent to UGA, but is that in proportion to the number of Hispanics that live in that county? Greater than change in Hispanic population? That's why we take more time to do data analysis, because first blushes -- like this one -- can mislead.

More on Where UGA Students Come From

Where do UGA students come from? Comparing 1998 to 2014 data for full-time undergrads, here are the top Georgia counties in the table below. Notice Cherokee County, which moved  from 16th to 7th thanks to population growth. Bibb County dropped from 9th to 14th. The counties with the greatest percentage growth tended to be those that had both surging population and relatively (by Georgia standards) poverty rates.

Top 10 1998
Top 10 2014

Forsyth County has seen a 481 percent increase in the number of students sent to UGA over the time studied. Wow. Cherokee County, a 145 percent increase.

There are a jillion other ways to cut the data, and I haven't started yet on the fresh state data (as in, what other states lead sending kids to UGA). But let's take one interesting variable -- the percentage of black students from each county that attends UGA. Again looking only at full-time undergrads, and sticking to the biggest counties, we find some interesting results.
  • Gwinnett in 1998 had only 1.8 percent of its students listed as black. By 2014 that was up to 9.3 percent.
  • That up-and-coming Cherokee County? only 1.8 percent of its students in 2014 were black. Oconee County? Just 2.1 percent. Forsyth County? A stunning 0.8 percent. None of these counties have a sizeable black population, but if I had time it'd be interesting to see how well they do if we control statistically for that.
  • In 2014, all of Quitman County's students were black. Then again, it's only one student. That's why we stick to the larger counties, but I thought I'd toss that in as an example of the difference between a statistical and a substantive result. Beware of small numbers.
  • DeKalb sends the greatest proportion of blacks from its students to UGA, nearly 1-in-4 by 2014. Fulton County, less so, with 6.8 percent in 2014.
Another day, gender and Hispanic breakdowns from 1998-2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fresh UGA Data

Finally got around to looking at fresh Fall 2014 data from UGA. This is only fulltime undergrads, and a first quick hit. I'll write more tomorrow. A few points:
  • In Fall 1998, Gwinnett County sent the most students to UGA of any other county. It's the same in Fall 2014.
  • The other top counties look little different. Some jostling here and there, but basically the big Atlanta metro counties dominate (Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb).
  • Forsyth County is 6th in the latest data. It was 20th in 1998. Credit population growth.
  • Clarke County (Athens) was 6th in 1998. It's 7th now. No real change.
  • But next door Oconee County has climbed from 11th to 10th.
  • Bibb County was 10th. Now it's 15th.
Back in 1998, DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, Clarke, and Clayton counties sent the most black students to UGA. Today it's Gwinnett, DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, and Clayton counties. Clarke is 8th. Oconee County used to be ranked 17th in terms of number of black students sent. It's now 27th.

I'll play more with this as time allows, maybe do some mapping. Also, it's fun to look at gender breakdowns by county over time.

Twitter Reaction to Best Journalism School Poll

The RTDNA survey to rank the top journalism programs, has generated some reaction via Twitter, most of it is from Mizzou folks noting they're "far and away" #1, and rightly so. Even if it's a methodologically flawed poll, you have to admit Mizzou is a helluva program. So ya get tweets like:
All well and good. As I mentioned in my post from the link above, UGA (where I teach) finished 2nd (Go Dawgs). Setting aside our own congratulatory tweets, others wondered about why their school didn't finish higher. For example:

I can answer that last one. You probably didn't have someone go out of their way to recruit people to vote. Look hard at the list. Many names you expect to see, one or two are -- let's be honest -- kinda surprising. Troy University? Lyndon State College? Fine schools, I'm sure, but nowhere near as good as many of the programs beneath them. Read my earlier post above for my methodological critique, or see the graf below.

Let me put my PhDweeb hat on for a second. It's damn near impossible to define what makes a program "top" or "best," and it's even more difficult to objectively craft a way to measure what you mean by "top" or "best" and you certainly don't turn it into a beauty contest by having people vote in a way in which they can be recruited. Now, you sputter, if everyone recruits then that all comes out in the wash. No, I reply, you can't assume some systematic bias in that. Some schools are likely to recruit more, take it more seriously, and I suspect that is seen in some of the results.

What makes a program the best? The one that works for you, the student. Finally, I leave you with this tweet, which I think gets at the heart of the matter:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top 20 Journalism Schools

UGA is #2 with a bullet.

Okay, not much of a bullet, up from #3 to #2 in the methodologically challenged RTDNA survey of the "top 20 journalism schools."
A bit about the survey from the site:
The survey was distributed on and to members of the Radio Television Digital News Association, with 673 respondents participating. A total of 607 of those respondents answered the question about their professional status; of those, 260 (42.8%) said they were news professionals. Additionally, 169 (27.8%) answered non-news professionals, 104 (17.1%) identi†fied as students, and 74 (12.2%) said they were educators.
I'm not sure why over a quarter are "non-news professionals" but I find that kinda interesting. PR people? Broadcast folks not directly involved in news? Keep in mind, as I emphasize on my earlier blog post, these 673 respondents are not representative. This is not a random sample, but ratger rather a convenience sample, a SLOP (self-selected opinion poll), and again as my earlier post points out you could with a little effort to vote again and again, or recruit your students or alumni to vote -- which of course biases the results toward larger programs.

Finally, from the story, I leave you with this quote from a UGA student (or faculty, or alumnus, or digital passerby) who managed to misspell a kinda key word (I boldfaced it for ya):
“University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has well-trained professors who truly care about giving students experience in all areas of telecommuncations. It shows with the wide range of Grady students involved in the journalism industry around the country.”

Yeah, I misspelled "rather" above. This is what happens when you write in a hurry between one doc visit about surgery for your kid and another about your own friggin cancer. Bite me.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dream College List

So here's the hed from a site:

The Official List Of Dream Colleges
High School Students
Wish They Could Attend 

And you think, wow, that's some list. Wouldn't Ivy schools be at the top? Or maybe Hawaii? You'd be wrong. The list itself, such as it is, can be found here, but lemme discuss my favorite topic -- methodology.

First, what's the school people dream they could attend?

1. University of Michigan

Don't get me wrong, Michigan is a helluva school, maybe the best public university in the country, but does anyone actually dream of being in Michigan? Especially in, say, February?

2. San Diego State University

Okay, terrific weather, an okay school, but ya dream about it? Really? There are some other oddities on the list, as in #7 being University of Alabama. Other than football, there's no real reason to dream of being there. Ole Miss is #18. Okay, maybe. It is a pretty place, though no academic powerhouse. And UGA comes in at #25. I can buy that.

Important note -- not a single Ivy is on the list. I'm fairly sure people dream about Harvard more than they do about Ole Miss.

Okay, so exactly how did they come up with this "dream" list? You tell me, because I can't find any mention of methodology. There is a funny comment at the bottom of the piece, basically a WTF response. If you find the method to this madness, lemme know. Best I can tell, a lot of this site's stuff is generated by one guy in a kinda sorta Buzzfeed ripoff style with lots of silly (some funny) lists.