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What strange things do people search for on Google? How does income tax affect migration patterns? What features are popular in which type of homes?

At the City-Data Blog, our writers utilize data to answer questions you never knew you had. From silly, light-hearted investigations to powerful economic examinations, we cover a range of topics that anyone can enjoy! Our writers, many of them Ph.D. graduates or candidates, create easy-to-read articles on a wide variety of topics.

Occupational standing through time

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

One’s occupation is often associated with a certain level or group in society. This “general standing” or prestige of an occupation is often studied by sociologists. There is a significant debate about whether it can be broken down to individual characteristics like expected salary and education level or training to perform the job or if it requires an analysis of much more complex characteristics.

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Crowfunding is a fast-increasing market

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The number of international crowdfunding platforms is increasing every year. Crowdfunding is defined as a collective effort by a large number of individuals who network and pool small amounts of capital to finance a new or pre-existing business venture. Each project has a set amount of money to raise and a fixed timeframe; each day is counted down and the money raised is tallied up for visitors to follow the project’s success. Some sources suggest that the current financial climate has given a trigger to the culture of crowdfunding.

The United States houses the leading crowdfunding market with 191 crowdfunding platforms in the country, according to information published at Statista.com in 2012. In comparison, the second-largest market in the world, the United Kingdom, had 44 crowdfunding platforms in the same year.

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Taxes in different states

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In a previous post, we explored effective income tax rates. However, federal tax is not the only income-related burden on American citizens. Many states impose their own income tax upon their residents. Usually, they use the same bracket-based progressive taxation principle.

The Tax Foundation prepared a combined overview of state income tax brackets, and we organized it here into an interactive map. You can enter total income and specify filing status and number of dependents. You can also choose to map the dollar tax amount or effective tax rate (tax amount as a percentage of income). Please note that these numbers are only approximations of the actual tax since there are many specific details in tax calculation for some of the states that we left behind (e.g. age-based calculations, veteran status, disability and health status, among others). For this map, we only considered wage income.

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What is your effective tax rate?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

The United States uses a progressive income tax structure, which means that the more you earn, the higher tax rate you pay. The tax system was designed this way following the assumption that wealthier people can afford to pay more, while those struggling to afford basic necessities should be relieved and given a lower tax rate. This scheme is pretty straightforward, however, the actual relationship between your income and effective tax rate is a bit more complicated.

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Coffee consumption in the United States

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the United States. The most common form consumed in the U.S. is roasted coffee. Back in 2011, Americans consumed about 20,837 million bags of roasted coffee, while soluble coffee and coffee pods were less popular among Americans. The consumption of soluble coffee in 2011 amounted to 1,206 million bags, while the consumption of coffee pods approximated to 358,000 units. In the United States, coffee consumption has remained quite stable in recent years. In 2010, people in America consumed 20,519 million bags of roasted coffee, 1,264 million bags of soluble coffee and 260,000 units of coffee pods.  The average American adult worker spent about $21.32 on coffee per week in 2013. In 2012, the average weekly spending on coffee was slightly lower: $21.

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Top furniture stores in the United States

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Ikea is the global leader in the furniture market, and the United States is no exception. The invasion began when the Swedish furniture-selling powerhouse landed on American soil in 1985. Since then, Ikea has become the top-ranked specialty furniture store in the country. In 2013, the Swedish retailer’s sales amounted to about $2.7 billion in the U.S., up from $2.5 billion in 2012. The American company Williams-Sonoma took second place with sales of approximately $2.2 billion in 2013.

The year before, Williams-Sonoma generated about $1.9 billion in U.S. sales. Mattress Firm ranked third among the leading furniture stores with $1.4 billion in 2013 and $1.1 billion in 2012. Pier 1 Imports generated about $1.2 billion in sales in 2013, while La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries saw a bit over $1 billion.

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Young adults living with parents: Education

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

As we have seen previously, the number of young adults living with parents has been steadily increasing in the past decades. In this post, we will examine how this trend relates to education. As before, we used IPUMS to get ACS data for multiple years and restricted our scope to people 18 to 34 years old.

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Young adults living with parents: Employment

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

As we have previously seen, the number of young adults living with their parents has been steadily increasing in the past decades.

In this post, we will explore their employment, income and occupation. Again, we used IPUMS to get ACS data for multiple years. As before, we restricted our scope to people 18 to 34 years old.

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Personal savings in the United States

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

According to statistics representing gross private savings in the United States, residents saved approximately $3.5 trillion as of the fourth quarter of 2015. In comparison, gross private savings in the country amounted to $3.63 trillion in 2014. In 2013 and 2012, gross private savings amounted to $3.35 trillion and $3.75 trillion respectively.

The personal savings rate amounted to 5.5 percent in 2015 (in the previous year, the rate approximated to 5 percent). In 2013, the rate of personal savings in the United States was 4.1 percent, while in 2012 the rate amounted to more than 10 percent. In 2011, people saved approximately 6.4 percent.

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Exercise or sleep: which is more important for your health?

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

A lot of people exercise first thing in the morning. With many of them leading quite busy lives, this often means getting less sleep. And while nearly everyone understands the benefits of regular exercise for their health, the sleep aspect is also quite important.

But is it actually more important? We are not talking about people who don’t get enough sleep even without trying to fit gym sessions into their schedule, but maybe you should ditch that morning workout if it puts you under the coveted seven hours of sleep?

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