Datasets on American Cities

Here are four datasets that contain city-level data on crime, income, poverty, education, race, and mayoral party affiliation of U.S. cities. These datasets draw on data from the Census’s American Communities Survey (ACS) and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR).

The first dataset contains 2014 data on ~300 U.S. cities with the following variables: city name, total population, percent of 24-35 year olds with a high school diploma or Bachelor’s degree, median income, poverty rate, racial makeup, and violent crime rate.

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Reanalysis of Sabrina Vieira Lima’s Data – with Updated Data

In my post Has Feminism Made Women Happier? A Comprehensive Review I summarized the results of several studies on the cross-country and regional association between feminism and female life satisfaction. One of the studies was a study published in 2011 by Sabrina Vieira Lima. I found that study through the citations of another study that I also used in the article. The citations was a URL, but has since gone dead. Thankfully, I saved the Vieira Lima study as a .pdf, because there doesn’t seem to be another copy of the study available online. So I’ve reupoloaded the study onto Scribd and it can be found here.

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High Black Populations – Not Democratic Mayors – Explain Poverty and Crime in Large American Cities

Conservatives have made the argument that large American cities with high crime and high poverty rates (such as Detroit or Chicago) are suffering from the effects of rule by Democratic mayors. This argument will be tested against the hypothesis that it is, in fact, large black populations that are the cause of high crime and poverty in large American cities rather than their Democratic mayors. To do this, several regression analyses are run that compare how well outcomes such as poverty and crime are predicted by a city’s black population versus the party affiliation of its mayor. Results strongly favour the argument that large black populations, and not Democratic mayors, are a feature of high crime and high poverty cities.

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Feminism and Happiness: Findings from the General Social Survey

In previous posts to this blog I have explored the relationship between feminism and female happiness by summarizing findings from studies that examine this relationship on the national level and longitudinal level, as well as how various feminist practices (such as holding non-traditional beliefs about marriage, earning more than one’s husband, working full-time, etc.) impact women’s psychological well-being.

Part of this general topic of feminism and happiness was the direct association between a woman being a feminist and being happy. When we last left off this issue was unresolved with different studies coming to different conclusion and none of them containing a representative sample of females or employing controls for confounding variables.

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The Demographics of Bernie Sanders Primary Voters

Based on exit/entrance polling data provided by CNN, primary voters for Bernie Sanders are more likely to be white, male, and have incomes below $50,000 per year.

The graph below shows the unweighted average percent of votes for Bernie Sanders by various demographic groups. The data comes from available exit/entrance polling of 12 State primaries/caucus (no data was available for Colorado or Minnesota) as of March 4th. The total sample size is 15,883.

sanders demo

Has Feminism Made Women Happier? A Comprehensive Review

When seriously arguing for or against the validity of feminism or about the value of feminist movements we often narrow our focus to particular issues or hot topics such as the wage gap, rape on college campuses, or sexual harassment of women. While discussion and debate of these issues can be fruitful it can also be limiting – attention to detail sometimes means missing the bigger picture. In this post I will review the available academic literature relevant to the direct effects of feminist ideology and practice on women’s quality of life in various domains: societal, marital, and individual.

The Psychology and Philosophy of Quality of Life 

The study of human quality of life came together from many different areas of research all interested in scientifically measuring this universal concept. From sociologists looking to identify the effects of demographic factors on people’s quality of life, to psychiatrists who wanted a metric of mental well-being that went beyond just the absence of symptoms, the latter half of the twentieth century saw many strands come together to create a unified field of research on quality of life that suits the many different goals of the sciences, from economics to neuroscience (Diener, Oishi, Lucas, 2003).

But despite its prominence in the social sciences many people have doubts about our ability to define the quality of a person’s life, let alone measure it. After all, there are many different conceptions of happiness, such as simple hedonic pleasure as extolled by Utilitarians like Jeremy Bentham, or the Aristotelian conception of eudaimonia wherein happiness is a matter of leading a virtuous and excellent life. Of course it’s good to have a open mind when considering a topic like the evaluation of the quality of human life, but in this article we will be focusing on a specific subset of quality of life known as subjective well-being, or life satisfaction. While scientific measures of hedonic feelings and eudaimonia do exist and have been well-studied, focusing on subjective well-being possesses certain advantages for the kinds of questions we’ll be exploring: subjective well-being is fundamentally a measure of how favourably people consciously rate the quality of their own lives and so it comes closer to what we would normally consider a good and satisfying life than would hedonic pleasure. While at the same time, subjective well-being avoids the issue of value-loaded judgments of what constitutes virtue and excellence (Sirgy, 2012).

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Western Attitudes Towards Immigration

In light of the recent migrant crisis in Europe and the ascendance of the anti-immigration Republican candidate Donald Trump in the United States public attitudes towards immigration will likely be a critical determining factor for the future of immigration policy in the Western world. Reactions to the influx of refugees in Europe have manifested in many different ways, from arson attacks on refugee centers in Germany [1] to the election of an anti-immigration party in Switzerland [2]. But unfortunately, quantitative and systematic data on public opinion towards immigration since the migrant crisis began is scarce and because the crisis is ongoing, most likely volatile as well. In this case polling data on the migrant crisis will supplement pre-crisis polling data to gauge Western attitudes towards immigration.

A 2015 report published by the Global Migration Data Analysis Center used data from Gallup’s World Poll to gain insight into people’s attitudes towards the level of immigration into their country and whether they think it should be increased, decreased, or remain at present levels [3]. Most of the responses were gathered between 2012 and 2013 so given the large shifts in immigration due to the recent refugee crisis this data should not be taken as precisely reflecting current attitudes but rather general differences between countries.

In Europe as a whole anti-immigration attitudes are the generally very prevalent, with 52% of respondents favoring decreased immigration, 30% favoring present levels, and only 8% favoring increased immigration. By region we see that Eastern, Southern, and Norther Europe (which is made up of Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the British Isles) are all relatively equal in their desire for decreased immigration while in Western European attitudes are more mixed with 35% favoring decreased levels of immigration, 45% favoring present levels, and 11% favoring increased immigration.

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Race, Religion, and Crime in the UK

According to a report on prison population statistics published by the Ministry of Justice, in 2013 blacks made up 13.2% of the prison population and 2.8% of the general population. Given that whites make up 88.3% of the total population but only 73.8% of the prison population, it follows that blacks are 5.6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Similarly, in 2013 Muslims made up 13.1% of the prison population but just 4% of the general population meaning that they are 3.3 times more likely to be incarcerated than a member of the general population [1].

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DEBUNKED: The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

The popular YouTube channel “In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt” has recently posted an animated video titled “The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained” [1] wherein they present a biased and dishonest overview of the current migrant crisis and the effects it will have on European society. In this post I will be focusing on the part of the video that addresses four concerns that people may have about the arrival of these migrants into Europe which are concerns about “Islam, high birth rates, crime, and the collapse of the social systems”.

Addressing the concern about Islam, the video states, “Even if the EU alone were to accept all four million Syrian refugees and 100% of them were Muslims, the percentage of Muslims in the European Union would only rise from about 4% to about 5%. This is not a drastic change and will certainly not make it a Muslim continent. A Muslim minority is neither new nor reason to be afraid”.

The first thing to note is that while the video is correct that there are currently a little over four million registered Syrian refugees this figure does not include unregistered refugees and people currently in Syria who could become refugees in the future. And it is highly unlikely there won’t be any more Syrians leaving considering that the civil war is still ongoing and that there are no signs of slowing migration out of Syria. Given this, there is no reason to believe that four million Syrian refugees is the upper limit like the video implies. Secondly, the video states that four million refugees entering the EU would only increase the percentage of Muslims from 4% to 5%. But this is not a very relevant number because the migrants would not be evenly distributed across EU countries. For instance, Germany has announced that it expects to take in one million migrants in 2015 [2]. Although they will not all be Syrian this will increase Germany’s Muslim population from 5% to 6.25% in one year alone, and if Germany stayed at this level of acceptance for another three years it would become a 10% Muslim country by refugees alone. So although these recent migrants will not make Europe a Muslim continent they still represent a substantial increase in the prevalence of Islam for certain countries.

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Immigration and Crime in Scandinavia

*The sources for all of these figures are the original government reports (when applicable) published in that country’s language so if you cannot read Swedish, Norwegian, or Danish you can use Google Translate to translate the pdf files* 


A report studying 4.4 million Swedes between the ages of 15 and 51 during the period 1997-2001 found that 25% of crimes were committed by foreign-born individuals while and additional 20% were committed by individuals born to foreign-born parents. In particular, immigrants from Africa and South & Western Asian were more likely to be charged of a crime than individuals born to two Swedish parents by a factor of 4.5 and 3.5 respectively. In regard to rape, the report revealed that immigrants were 5.5 times more likely to be charged of rape than individuals born in Sweden to two Swedish parent, although the category of immigrant was not broken down by country of origin in this report [1].

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