Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2016.06.01 edition

American veterans, African farmers, global inequality, spelling bees, and the LEGO-verse.

Veterans in America. In 2014, approximately 22 million U.S. military veterans were still alive, including 1 million who served in World War II, 7.2 million who served during the Vietnam War era, and 3.9 million who have served in post-9/11 wars. Those numbers come from the VA’s National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, which publishes estimates and future-projections of the country’s veteran population. You can explore the data by age, race, ethnicity, gender, military branch, state, county, era of service, and more. (To see the files, click on the “Population Tables” header.) [h/t Charles Worthington]

Farmers in Africa. Between 2002 and 2004, researchers surveyed more than 9,500 farming households in 11 African countries to better understand how climate change might affect agricultural practices. Last month, they published the detailed results and documentation in Scientific Data. The dataset includes responses to questions about plantings, harvests, yields, water sources, animal purchases, taxes paid, and much more.

Income inequality, country-by-country. The United Nations University’s World Income Inequality Database contains historical Gini coefficients for more than 170 countries — in some instances stretching back to the 1930s or ’40s. The latest version of the database was released in October 2015 and includes key details about each estimate, such as the name of the primary source and the quality of data collection.

Speling chellange. The Scripps National Spelling Bee publishes the competition’s results online, but not in any analysis-friendly format. Thankfully, statistician Christopher Long has scraped and spreadsheet-ified the Scripps results going back to 1996 – including last week’s finals. Related: FiveThirtyEight uses the data to ask, “Where Do Spelling Bee Words Come From?

The LEGO-verse. BrickLink is a website for buying and selling LEGOs. It also happens to publish a (nearly?) complete inventory of every LEGO set and piece produced since 1949. Related: LEGO sets have become increasingly violent, according to a recent study. [h/t Lindsey Cook]