Data Is Plural

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

2023.11.01 edition

Opioid settlements, financial offshoring, minority-serving colleges, childcare inspections, and two Zurich buses.

Opioid settlements., run by lawyer Christine Minhee, asks: “Will opioid settlements be spent in ways that bolster the public health response to drug use?” Minhee has compiled a series of spreadsheets to help answer that question. They track the status and reported values of settlements between 14 companies (opioid manufacturers, distributors, and others) and US states (plus DC and Puerto Rico), states’ plans for spending those settlements, and their promises to publicly report such spending. Read more: “$50 Billion in Opioid Settlement Cash Is on the Way. We’re Tracking How It’s Spent,” a KFF Health News article using Minhee’s data, part of a broader project on the topic.

Financial offshoring. The Atlas of the Offshore World — “a new effort by the EU Tax Observatory,” a research group based at the Paris School of Economics — aims “to inform the global debate around international tax evasion and avoidance.” Its four main datasets provide country-level estimates of international profit shifting, offshore financial wealth, offshore real estate ownership, and 50+ years of effective tax rates. Read more: The team’s “Global Tax Evasion Report 2024” and “The History Behind the Atlas of the Offshore World.” [h/t Matt Collin]

Minority-serving colleges. The MSI Data Project provides a dashboard and dataset focused on colleges and universities that qualify federally as minority-serving institutions either through their mission (e.g., HBCUs) or through enrollment. The project examines institutions’ funding status, location, student body, and degree granting for 2017–2021. It draws on records from the Department of Education’s “eligibility matrices” for each MSI designation and the agency’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). As seen in: “Beyond the Rankings: The College Welcome Guide,” by The Hechinger Report’s Fazil Khan, incorporating data from both IPEDS and the MSI Data Project. [h/t Sarah Butrymowicz]

Childcare inspections. “Across 41 states, one in ten licensed daycare facilities is overdue for an inspection,” according to an analysis by USAFacts, which gathered inspection-timing data for 148,000 facilities. The analysis’s downloadable datasets indicate the number of facilities overdue (versus on-time or unknown) in each state and county, as well as the distribution of days-since-last-inspection in each state. Most of the inspection data had to be programmatically collected from state portals, according to Amber Thomas, except for California, which publishes bulk data (including inspection dates) about all childcare facilities.

Two Zurich buses. Fabio Widmer et al.’s ZTBus dataset provides detailed data from 1,409 “driving missions” of two electric public transit buses in Zurich, Switzerland. Each mission typically represents a full day’s operation. The records, which span early 2019 to late 2022, include “time series that represent the power demand, propulsion system, odometry, global position, ambient temperature, door openings, number of passengers, and the dispatch patterns within the public transportation network of the two vehicles.”