Data Is Plural

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

2023.02.15 edition

Fair market rents, humanitarian groups, diplomatic visits, bog bodies, and Open Data Day events.

Fair market rents. Every year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development recalculates what it calls “fair market rents” for every county in the US and for individual ZIP codes in metropolitan counties. The results, which factor into various housing subsidy programs, represent the 40th percentile cost of monthly rent and (basic) utilities for “recent movers” in “standard quality” units, adjusted for the number of bedrooms. HUD’s annual spreadsheets go back to the early 2000s; you can also browse the estimates online and query them via an API. As seen in: “Where are rents rising post COVID-19?” (USAFacts).

Humanitarian groups. “Based on clear and reproducible criteria,” Clara Egger and Doris Schopper have compiled the Humanitarian Organizations Dataset, which describes 2,500+ groups active in the sector. It includes the organizations’ founding years, structures, countries headquartered, regional scopes, types of activities, targets for assistance, and more. You can also explore a version of the dataset online. Related: The Global Database of Humanitarian Organisations, from Humanitarian Outcomes, “a team of specialist consultants providing research and policy advice for humanitarian aid agencies and donor governments.”

Diplomatic visits. The US Department of State’s Office of the Historian maintains a dataset and online directory of every visit by a foreign leader from 1874 to 2020. The details include each visit’s starting and ending date, the visitor’s name, their country, and a brief description. The office publishes similar data on the travels of US presidents and secretaries of state. Related: Matt Malis and Alastair Smith have expanded the data for 1946–2019, adding fields that indicate the type of visit, whether it involved a presidential meeting, the names of agreements signed, and more. Previously: Diplomatic gifts (DIP 2022.08.03).

Bog bodies. Roy van Beek et al. “present the first large-scale overview of well-dated human remains from northern European mires, based on a database of 266 sites and more than 1000 bog mummies, bog skeletons and disarticulated/partial skeletal remains.” The database, which can be found in the study’s supplementary materials tab, indicates the bog bodies’ location, year found, preservation level, sex, estimated age, assumed cause of death, and much more. [h/t Miriam Posner + Robin Sloan]

Open Data Day events. Open Data Day(s), scheduled for March 4–10 this year, “is an annual celebration of open data all over the world.” The Open Knowledge Foundation, which helps to coordinate the locally-organized gatherings, hosts a searchable list of registered events, plus datasets of each year’s events since 2014.