Data Is Plural

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

2016.10.26 edition

Congress’s think-tank, school testing, city culture, airport connections, and TSA confiscations.

Congressional Research Service reports, in bulk. The website provides unprecedented public access to reports from the Congressional Research Service — essentially the national legislature’s think-tank. The website, which launched last week by Demand Progress and Congressional Data Coalition, also lets you download metadata and text for each report. [h/t Daniel Schuman]

School testing. The Department of Education’s EDFacts data tracks public grade schools’ participation and proficiency rates on standardized math and reading/language exams. The files provide data on all students who took the tests, broken down by race/ethnicity, sex, disability status, homelessness, and more. A related set of data files, available on the same page, tracks high-school graduation rates.

Cities and culture. The World Cities Culture Forum, a convening of 32 major cities on six continents, has assembled a series of mini-datasets on 70+ “cultural indicators”. Those indicators range from the number of art galleries in each city (Paris had 1,151 in 2012) to the number of international tourists each city sees per year (Istanbul had 11.8 million in 2014) to the value of cinema ticket sales (Shanghai sold $563 million in 2014). Note: The data points draw on various sources — at least one just says “Google” — and aren’t necessarily directly comparable. [h/t Camilo Moreno]

Airborne. has collected data on more than 60,000 flight routes, including 915 itineraries departing Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport. (That airport was recently named the world’s busiest, for the 18th year in a row.) For each route, the dataset indicates the airline, the departing airport, the arriving airport, the number of stops, and what type of plane is typically used. The website also provides datasets on thousands of airports and airlines. Important caveat: “This data is not suitable for navigation.”

TSA confiscations. Between October 2014 and September 2015, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration confiscated 22,196 “dangerous” items at airports, including 156 times at New York’s JFK. (Twice there, someone had placed fireworks in checked baggage.) That’s according to data obtained from the government by FOIA enthusiast Max Galka, who has also built an interactive map of the confiscations.