Data Is Plural

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

2024.04.10 edition

Opioid settlement payouts, groundwater wells, work-injury laws, colonial empire timelines, and objects launched into outer space.

Opioid settlement payouts. KFF Health News has been following the slew of legal settlements by companies accused of exacerbating the opioid crisis. Last week, they published an interactive and downloadable database of payouts to state and local governments so far (and expected in the future) from the largest national settlement, “a $26 billion deal with four companies that will be paid out over nearly two decades.” The data, gathered from the court-appointed firm administering the settlement, include overall numbers for 48 states and DC, plus locality-level data for 35 states. (Los Angeles County, for instance, received $47 million in 2022 and 2023, with another $210 million expected in years to come.) Learn more: A webinar scheduled for tomorrow, in which reporter Aneri Pattani “will discuss the data and how it can help you launch into coverage of the historic opioid settlement story.”

Groundwater wells. Despite the infrastructural importance of groundwater wells, “a unified database collecting and standardizing information on the characteristics and locations of these wells across the United States has been lacking,” Chung-Yi Lin et al. write. “To bridge this gap, we have created a comprehensive database of groundwater well records collected from state and federal agencies.” Their United States Groundwater Well Database contains ~14 million records, each indicating a well equipped for monitoring or extracting water. Where available, each row lists the well’s coordinates, county, aquifer, watershed, depth, capacity, water use category, water potability, and more. [h/t Derek M. Jones]

Work-injury laws. Nate Breznau and Felix Lanver’s Global Work-Injury Policy Database tracks the history of work-injury laws (also known as workers’ compensation laws) in 186 “independent nation states.” For each, the database lists the year of its first such law, the year a law first provided insurance for work-related injuries, the type of program it established, and more. It also incorporates data on current laws’ coverage and payment rates from Kenneth Nelson et al.’s Social Insurance Entitlements dataset.

Colonial empire timelines. The Colonial Dates Dataset, compiled by political scientist Bastian Becker, “aggregates information on the reach and duration of European colonial empires from renowned secondary sources.” Producing the dataset from its four main sources “is largely automated, relying on predefined coding rules.” The dataset indicates the first and last years each contemporary country was colonized, disaggregated by eight colonizing countries (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain). [h/t Erik Gahner Larsen]

Things flung spaceward. The UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs maintains an Online Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space, based on a similarly-named register, itself mandated by a similarly-named convention, which went into force in 1976. Presented as an HTML table, the index lists 17,000+ satellites, spacecraft, probes, and other objects’ names, launching countries, statuses, launch dates, and more. As seen in: Our World In Data’s chart of the annual number of objects launched. [h/t Chartr]