Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My Neighborhood

We've lived in the same Athens, Georgia, house since May 1992. Above is our small neighborhood with our place circled for you budding stalkers out there. Nice little house that got small as our kids grew into their teens but now is again the perfect size. Plus we back up to a park.

So why am I blogging about this?

No reason, other than I downloaded the historical data for my neighborhood, with special attention to sales (I just discovered how to do it). In other words, it's Hollander yet again messing with data. And I found something I didn't realize, how often some houses in my neighborhood have sold from 1989 to 2015 (no sales yet this year).
  • Two houses have sold six times, one across the street from another (not my street).
  • Three houses have sold five times, two on my street.
  • Three houses have sold four times.
  • The rest are two sales except for five houses (including ours) with only one sale. We're the original owners.
The average (mean) sales price of houses over all this time is $108,359 (median, $104K). The range is from $68,500 to $169,000. Here's an interesting factoid: the house that sold for the most is also the most expensive in the neighborhood, though unfortunately for the most recent buyer that sales price is some $30K more than its present valuation. Ouch. Yes, it was bought just five months before the September 2008 crash. Dumb bad luck.

Another day, I download the Athens downtown data.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Drinkingest Counties

When I get a few free moments I toy around with these health data of all U.S. counties, looking for neat stuff. Here's one of my favorite topics -- drinking -- and in this case the percent in a county who drank to excess (according to health survey data). I ranked the Georgia counties here. So lemme give you the lede right up front -- people in Wisconsin and the North Dakota drink a lot. Why? Because they live in Wisconsin and North Dakota, I suppose. Here are the top counties:

1. Mountrail, N.D.,
2. Outagamie, Wisc.
3. Pierce, Wisc.
4. Portage, Wisc.
5. Winnebago, Wisc.
6. (tie) Cass, N.D., and 3 from Wisc: Grant, Brown, & Washington,
10. (tie) Dodge and St. Croix, Wisc.

You have to go all the way to #22 to get one that isn't Wisconsin or North Dakota, and that's Washington D.C., making us feel all the more comfortable about our federal government. Then we return to the same two states again all the way to Story, Iowa, in a tie for #35 with, yes, counties from Wisconsin.

By the way, Georgia makes an appearance at #40 (Chattahoochee, Georgia). It's the best excessive drinking county in the South. Congrats.

Now for the methodological caveats. The differences between these counties in percent who report excessive drinking can be small, so small that the margin of error makes it hard to truly rank based on these data. In our best boozing county, for example, 27.3 percent of respondents reported drinking to excess. In #2, it's 27.1 percent. By the time you get to #100 out of several thousand counties, it's only 22.7 percent.

But still. Wisconsin.

Least Drinking Counties

I know, you're thinking Utah. And you'd be right. Piute County, Utah, is the winner at #3140. Only 8.4 percent there said they drank to excess. But the other counties might surprise you. Below I rank the Bottom Ten with #1 being the least boozing of the bunch.

1. Piute, Utah
2. Greene, Ala.
3. Haywood, Tenn.
4. Clay, Georgia
5. Utah, Utah (redundant, much?)
6. McDowell, W.V.
7. Humphreys, Miss.
8. Wolfe, Ky.
9. Wilcox, Ala.
10. Jefferson, Miss.

A lot of Deep South above and the same if you track upward in the data. So in other words, the South leads in obesity but trails in drinking. There's a lesson there, somewhere.

Oh, my Clarke County, Georgia, ranks only 1,599th in the U.S. in excessive drinking.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Georgia's Biggest Drinking Counties

As I mess with the 2016 county health data, I wondered (me, being me) which of the Georgia counties do the best (or worest) in excessive drinking. Of course my county, home of UGA, would score highest. Right? Nope. Not even close. Indeed there's a surprise or two in the data.

Below are the Top Ten Georgia counties in terms of percent who engaged in excessive drinking.

1. Chattahoochee (south of Columbus)
2. Liberty (south of Savannah)
3. Camden (on the coast)
4. Forsyth (exurb of Atlanta)
5. Bryan (also south of Savannah)
6. Oconee and Fulton (tie, Athens burb and ATL)
8. Effingham and Cherokee (tie, outside Savannah and Atlanta)
10. Chatham and Cobb (tie, Savannah and Atlanta)

What can we tell from the list above? There's a helluva lot of drinking in and around Savannah, perhaps because people live in and around Savannah. Keep in mind the percentages differences above are small. Chattahoochee clings to #1 based on 24 percent engaging in excessive drinking, while #2 comes in at 19 percent. All of the others range around 17 and 18 percent and you have to get to rank #30 before it gets down to 16 percent, so we're talking about minor differences likely within the margin of error.

Let's face it. If you had to live in some of the counties above, you'd drink too. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Forsyth and Oconee. White exurbs do well on this list. Drinking is all ya got, I suppose.

The least drinking is found in Clay County, with only 9 percent drinking to excess. That's down in the southwest corner and is the fifth-least populous county in the state. And maybe no liquor stories. Or they have better things to do down there.

And yet, and yet. Athens-Clarke County, home of UGA, only comes in tied at #26 in terms of excessive drinking, which is both shameful and a relief. Other nearby counties of note are Barrow (#18), Jackson (#30), and Oglethorpe (#40).

Health Data, First Blush

I'm playing with the 2016 county health data. You can too, if you like. Just visit here. I have data for every county in the U.S. and another file of just Georgia.

A few quick Georgia findings:
  • The same counties, usually white and well off, do best in these measures. Forsyth and Oconee both often top the lists of good measures, or at the bottom on bad measures.
  • The number of mentally unhealthy days is almost perfectly correlated with the number of physically unhealthy days (r = .97). 
  • Also correlated, but less perfectly, is obesity and smoking (r = .55).
On another day I'll do some fun rankings of the counties. Gotta dull academic meeting to attend this afternoon. But before I do, given I didn't have a good night of sleep last evening, I'll report the results of percent who do not get sufficient sleep. The worst off are (rank, with percent in parentheses):

1. Clayton (47%)
2. Calhoun (46%)
3. Hancock, Dougherty, and Clay (45%)
6. Taliaferro, Burke, Mitchell, and Macon (44%).

OK, bored now. My own Clarke County (home of UGA) doesn't rate high in this, which is surprising.  The best counties for snoozing are Towns, Union, and Forsyth counties, with only 32 percent reporting insufficient sleep. 

If I lived there, I'd sleep too.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

School Board Inconsistency

There's a new twist in the ongoing Athens-Clarke County schools saga, this one a teacher who has requested a hearing and charges the district with overlooking disciplinary problems among black students. Read it yourself here. She wants an independent investigation into the school system.

I'm not getting into the right and wrong of her accusations. I'm more interested for the moment in this. According to my local paper, the school district says it's "very unfortunate that a teacher would bring a personnel matter to local media.” 

Let that sentence above sink in for a moment. The district is complaining about her bring to the public the public's business, that is, how schools are conducted. But it specially thinks it's "unfortunate" a teacher would bring "a personnel matter" to the media. Hold that thought, and read below.

How did the district respond? By doing the very same thing. See this graph from the story:
In a Thursday statement on Dean’s request for a hearing, the school district says Dean has been the subject of “severe and ongoing personnel concerns, as well as multiple parent complaints, regarding her professionalism, interactions with students and instructional practices.” 
Hypocritical, much? The school district bitches about her making public a personnel matter, and then it makes public a personnel matter. Well played, school district. Sleazy, almost Trumpesque, but clever on a very sleazy level. Lemme be clear, I don't know the teacher, my kids did not go to her school, but I have a long-running journalistic experience with school boards and school systems, and this hypocritical attitude fits the misfiring PR aspect of ACC schools in the latest batch of problems, especially the Cedar Shoals rape case.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Campaign Giving

So, you ask, who's winning the prez campaign dollars from faculty or employees at various Georgia universities? Sure, you asked that. You just don't remember it.

  • Georgia Southern ($200 from 1 person, to Clinton)
  • Georgia State ($500 from 1 person, to Rubio)
  • Georgia Tech (a lot more here, a couple of $250 to Sanders, a $2,700 to Clinton)
  • UGA (a single $200 to Clinton)