Data Is Plural

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

2023.03.08 edition

Government contracting data, debt-to-income ratios, changes of address, decades of UK prices, and shows cut short.

Government contracting data, cataloged. The nonprofit Open Contracting Partnership has launched a registry of government procurement datasets that use its Open Contracting Data Standard (featured in DIP 2020.02.26). The registry contains 100+ entries so far, across 50+ countries — from Argentina’s national roads authority and the city of Buenos Aires to Zambia’s Public Procurement Authority. You can filter the listings by dataset recency, update frequency, and the data types included (parties, awards, documents, amendments, et cetera). [h/t Georg Neumann]

Debt-to-income ratios. The US Federal Reserve generates quarterly statistics estimating the median ratio of household debt to income in each state, county, and metro area. The published maps and datasets, which go back to 1999, don’t include precise figures, but rather place each geographic unit into one of ten ranges. The income calculations come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the debt estimates (which do not include student loans) come from the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, “an anonymized 5 percent random sample of Americans with credit files at the credit reporting bureau Equifax.” As seen in: “Debt and Inequality” (American Inequality).

Changes of address. In the “Frequently Requested Records” section of its online FOIA library, the US Postal Service provides datasets counting how many individuals, families, and businesses have registered for the agency’s change-of-address service, by month and ZIP code. The datasets tally the moves originating from a given ZIP code separately from those destined for it, although moves within the same ZIP code are counted on both sides of the ledger. Related: The companies to which USPS sells mover-level data. [h/t Tim Henderson]

Decades of UK prices. In January 2023, the UK’s Office for National Statistics collected 139,000+ price quotes from thousands of stores and across hundreds of products, from “A4 PRINTER PAPER (500 REAM)” to “YORKSHIRE PUDDING FROZEN”. The agency has collected this kind of price-quote data for decades, using it to calculate inflation and price indices. Economist Richard Davies has aggregated the data going back to 1988 and standardized it, correcting misrecorded prices, offsetting measurement changes, among other efforts described in a 2021 working paper.

Shows cut short. provides a searchable list of television shows that were canceled (e.g., Knight Rider), ended on a cliffhanger (The Sopranos), or both (Rubicon). The database provides each series’s title, cliffhanger and cancellation status, IMDB identifier, and occasional extra notes. A handful of the 130+ entries fit another category: shows that “ended without a cliffhanger, but more show content exists outside the show itself.” [h/t Dan Brady]