An Old Wives Tale from the 2000 Census

October 19, 2010

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

With the data from the 2010 US Census to be published early next year, here's a cautionary tale from the 2000 Census. If you take a look at the ratio of numbers of men to women in the 5-Percent "PUMS" sample from the 2000 census over various ages, you'll see an odd spike near age 65:

Age ratio
What causes this strange anomaly in the data? In the video below, Sue Ranney (VP of Product Management at Revolution Analytics) visualizes facets of the data and explores how this anomaly came to be. (Watch on YouTube for a larger, high-def version.)


You can download a report on this analysis, including the R script files, from the link below. The R script makes use of the RevoScaleR package for big-data analysis in R, available to Revolution R Enterprise subscribers and free to academics.

Update: Reader Charlie in the comments points out this Freakonomics post, with more details about the problems with over-65s in the 2000 census data.

Revolution Analytics White Papers: Visualizing Huge Data Sets with R: An Old Wives Tale from the U.S. Census 

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Revolutions. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: Data science, Big Data, R jobs, visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more...

If you got this far, why not subscribe for updates from the site? Choose your flavor: e-mail, twitter, RSS, or facebook...

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Search R-bloggers


Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)