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2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report

March 30, 2015 Comments off

2015 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The County Health Rankings are an easy-to-use snapshot of the health of nearly every county in the nation. The Rankings make it clear that good health includes many factors beyond medical care, including education, jobs, smoking, access to healthy foods and parks, and more. Now in its sixth year, the Rankings use factors that communities have the ability to do something about.

Key Findings

  • For 60 percent of the nation’s counties, rates of premature death (death before age 75) have declined, some dramatically; for 40 percent no progress has been made.
  • One out of four children in the United States lives in poverty; rates of poverty are more than twice as high in the unhealthiest counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • Unemployment rates are 1.5 times higher in the least healthy counties in each state compared to the healthiest ones.
  • The healthiest counties have higher college attendance rates, fewer preventable hospital stays, and better access to exercise opportunities. The least healthy counties have more smokers, more teen births, and more alcohol-related car accidents.

New Census Bureau Population Estimates Reveal Metro Areas and Counties that Propelled Growth in Florida and the Nation

March 26, 2015 Comments off

New Census Bureau Population Estimates Reveal Metro Areas and Counties that Propelled Growth in Florida and the Nation
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Florida was home to the nation’s fastest growing metro area from 2013 to 2014, according to new U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates released today.

The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, to reach a population of about 114,000. State population estimates released in December revealed that Florida had become the nation’s third most populous state. Today’s estimates show Florida’s growth to reach this milestone was propelled by numerous metro areas and counties within the state.

Comparing LGBT Rankings by Metro Area: 1990-2014

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Comparing LGBT Rankings by Metro Area: 1990-2014
Source: Williams Institute (UCLA School of Law)

For two decades, San Francisco, Austin and Seattle residents have been among the most likely in the country to report that they are part of a same-sex couple or are LGBT. But growing social acceptance of LGBT people, even in conservative Utah, may explain why Salt Lake City now ranks among metro areas with the highest proportion of residents who identify as LGBT.

This report analyzes data from a Gallup ranking of the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas based on their percentage of residents who identified as LGBT in surveys conducted from 2012 to 2014 and 1990 Census data to rank the same metro areas by the number of same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

San Francisco, Austin and Seattle came in the top five on both rankings. Salt Lake City ranked 39th for its proportion of same-sex couples in 1990, and now ranks 7th in the proportion of LGBT adults today.

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2015

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2015
Source: Scholarly Open Access (Jeffrey Beall)

Each year at this time I formally release my updated list of predatory publishers. Because the list is now very large, and because I now publish four, continuously-updated lists, this year’s release does not include the actual lists but instead includes statistical and explanatory data about the lists and links to them. Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers: This year, 2015, marks the fifth annual release of this list, which is also continuously updated. The list this year includes 693 publishers, an increase of 241 over 2014.

Complaints data show which credit cards pay refunds most, least often

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Complaints data show which cards pay refunds most, least often
Source: CreditCards.com

Synchrony Financial, the big store-card issuer behind Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Amazon cards, among others, gets more complaints at the federal government’s complaint window than its peers.

But it also pays refunds more often when customers grumble, 2014 data show.

CreditCards.com looked at the nearly 14,000 complaints people made about credit cards last year to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — up 6 percent from 2013. Rather than look at what causes complaints, we examined how companies dealt with them — an insight that is unavailable from other sources.

Looking at 12 major card issuers, we found big differences in the way they handle beefs:

  • Per dollar of card balances, Synchrony, formerly GE Capital, was about twice as likely to get a complaint than average among 12 large card issuers. However, it also paid refunds most often, issuing “monetary relief” — refunds or waivers — to more than one-third of grouches. The dollar value of companies’ refunds wasn’t available.
  • American Express, a frequent leader in card satisfaction surveys, shined less brightly in the complaint data. About one in four of its customers was still unhappy after AmEx dealt with their gripe. That was the highest rate of disputed solutions among the group, although TD Bank, Chase and Bank of America had dispute rates almost as high.
  • People in some states are substantially more likely to get refunds than others. More than one-third of complainers in Wyoming and South Dakota got credits, double the rate in West Virginia and Mississippi (see state refund rate chart).

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2011 Federal Income Tax Return

March 20, 2015 Comments off

IRS Has Refunds Totaling $1 Billion for People Who Have Not Filed a 2011 Federal Income Tax Return
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Federal income tax refunds totaling $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated one million taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2011, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. To collect the money, these taxpayers must file a 2011 tax return with the IRS no later than Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

“Time is running out for people who didn’t file a 2011 federal income tax return to claim their refund,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People could be missing out on a substantial refund, especially students or part-time workers. Some people may not have filed because they didn’t make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund.”

The IRS estimates half of the potential refunds for 2011 are more than $698.

Status of Women in the States

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Status of Women in the States
Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

IWPR’s Status of Women reports are a unique source of comprehensive information on women. Since 1996, IWPR has analyzed data on a wide range of indicators at the local, state, national, and international levels, including demographics, economic security, education, reproductive rights, political participation, civic engagement, and access to health care and work supports. IWPR has released reports on each U.S. state and the District of Columbia, several city/area reports, and a series of reports and a toolkit on women in the Middle East and North Africa. Each report offers policy recommendations shaped by the research findings for that state or city/area. Recent state-level reports include The Status of Women & Girls in Colorado, The Status of Women in North Carolina, The Status of Women & Girls in West Virginia, The Status of Women in Connecticut’s Workforce, and “The Well-Being of Women in Utah.” State and federal policymakers, journalists, advocates, and community leaders have used the reports for nearly two decades to make the case for improved public policies for women and families.

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