Data Is Plural

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

2018.09.26 edition

Urban archaeology, local lobbying, family life, social assistance programs, and avocados.

Urban archaeology. When Amsterdam began excavating parts of the Amstel River in 2003 to construct a new metro line, the city gave archaeologists access to two large sections of the riverbed. Over time, these archaeologists unearthed “a deluge of finds, some 700,000 in all: a vast array of objects, some broken, some whole, all jumbled together.” To showcase the work, the city has published Below the Surface, a website that lets you explore the 20,000 of the objects online, download detailed data on more than 130,000 of the artifacts, read the backstory, and watch a documentary about it. Among the discoveries: Thousands of tobacco pipes, hundreds of teapots, dozens of gin bottles, and one “miniature wind mill.” [h/t Adam J Calhoun + Manoj Mallela]

Local lobbying. Some cities — including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin — provide downloadable databases of lobbyists who’ve officially registered to influence their administrations. Chicago has gone one step further, publishing data on lobbyists’ compensation, expenditures, gifts, and more. Previously: Lobbying data from the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and European Union (DIP 2017.05.31 + DIP 2017.08.02). [h/t Alisha Green and Laurenellen McCann]

Family life. The National Survey of Family Growth, run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “gathers information on family life, marriage and divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of contraception, and men’s and women’s health.” Versions of the survey have been conducted nine times, dating back to 1973. The most recent results come from interviews of more than 10,205 people between September 2013 and September 2015. Related: The Pudding’s Amber Thomas used the data to explore trends in birth control. Bonus: Thomas also published the code and data behind her analysis. [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]

Social assistance programs. The Social Assistance, Politics and Institutions database, developed at an United Nations University research center, “provides a synthesis of longitudinal and harmonized comparable information on social assistance programmes in developing countries, covering the period 2000-2015.” For each program, such as Brazil’s “Bolsa Familia,” the database describes its basic characteristics, budget and financing, and population coverage. [h/t Erik Gahner Larsen]

Avocado prices. The Hass Avocado Board publishes weekly data on the retail volume and average price of Hass avocados sold in the United States, based on information collected “directly from retailers’ cash registers.”The data is available at the national and city level going back to 2015, distinguishes between conventional and organic avocados of various sizes. Related: Justin Kiggins has aggregated the historical spreadsheets for 2015 through March 2018 into a single file.