The Changing Face of the United States

When it comes to data, some demographic trends are more easily captured than others. The country’s shifting racial and ethnic makeup is perhaps towards the top of this list. The fact that the US is an increasingly multiracial country has been discussed in many forums, such as the Smithsonian, the New York Times, and other news outlets. Last October, National Geographic published an interesting article called “The Changing Face of America” in which the article’s author, Lise Funderburg, and photographer, Martin Schoeller, attempt to put a human face on the country’s increasingly multiracial nature. Funderburg is a lecturer at Rutgers-Camden’s MFA program, where PolicyMap’s own Bernie Langer is currently attending.

While there is no doubt that the multiracial population is growing quickly, this has proven a tough phenomenon to adequately capture with data. One reason for this is that individuals choose to self-identify in different ways. As Funderburg points out, for most multiracial Americans, “identity is a highly nuanced concept, influenced by politics, religion, history, and geography, as well as by how the person believes the answer will be used.” President Obama offers an example of the complexity of self-identification. Since he is the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, it’s notable that he selected the “Black, African Am., or Negro” option on the 2010 Census (as opposed to other options of checking “white” as well, “some other race” or writing in “multiracial”).

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Use the Data Loader and upload your data today!


PolicyMap’s data loader lets subscribers easily load their own address level files to view on top of any of the over 15,000 indicators available in PolicyMap. Choose to keep your data private, share it confidentially within your organization or post it for the public to access.

Watch our video to see just how easy it is to use!

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Take a Virtual Historic Tax Credit Road Trip

The Historic Tax Credit program brings history to life, providing a 20% tax credit for the restoration of a certified historic structure that complies with rehabilitation guidelines. Good news for those of us who are both historic preservation nerds and PolicyMap users: historic tax credit sites have recently been updated to include projects approved during the 2013 fiscal year, making it easy to plan your next road trip from the comfort of your home or office.

Historic Tax Credits and Route 66If you travel along Route 66, for example, you’ll pass through a great deal of history. Although many iconic Route 66 buildings have been lost along with the road itself (after being bypassed by many major highways, the road was officially decommissioned in 1985), there are plenty of places leveraging this history as an economic engine. There are thousands of buildings that have received the historic tax credit, but only a handful have been completed along Route 66 since its designation as an official historic corridor in 1999. However, many more Route 66 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places – meaning they could be eligible for rehab funds.
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PolicyMap attends Unveiling of Open Data 500

PolicyMap attended a panel discussion on The Economic Impact of Open Data today, hosted by the Center for Data Innovation in Washington D.C.  Speakers focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with making government data more accessible and useful, and the potential gain to the private sector in leveraging data resources from federal, state and local government.

GovLab, the Governance Lab at NYU, unveiled a website which allows you to see what kinds of companies leverage data from each agency of the federal government. As an organization dedicated to bringing you the most up-to-date data from various federal and statistical sources, PolicyMap is happy to be a part of the OpenData500 project!

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PolicyMap Infographic and April 2014 Data Updates


Infographic from PolicyMap Shows Impact of Census Tract Boundary Changes


Drive into any US town and you’ll see the famous population sign. Whether it’s a metropolitan city with a population in the millions or a small farming community populated with more animals than people, the numbers we see on those signs are merely a suggestion.

Census boundaries change all the time — people move in and out of areas, businesses close or open, redevelopment takes place — and these changes make it nearly impossible to accurately compare a region over time. To make this easier, we built translation tables for ever census tract in the nation to make it simpler to see how places have changed over time. And we made this table available for FREE on PolicyMap. Check out today’s blog posting to see how this works in a place like the West Bronx, NY.

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Nationwide Census Tract Comparisons on PolicyMap

Apples to Apples

(click onto image for full size)

Drive into any US town and you’ll see the famous population sign. Whether it’s a metropolitan city with a population in the millions or a small farming community populated with more animals than people, the numbers we see on those signs are merely a suggestion. Census boundaries change all the time — people move in and out of areas, businesses close or open, redevelopment takes place — and these changes make it nearly impossible to accurately compare a region over time. However, a lot of people depend on this information – politicians look at census tracts to better understand where their party is more or less represented, and federal agencies use census tracts to determine funding for numerous programs.
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2013Q2 Home Sale Data Now Available

News sources are reporting large-scale increases in home sale prices nationwide. Here at PolicyMap our local home sale data has been updated to 2013Q2. The news is good. Here below you’ll see two maps showing the percent change in median sales price in California counties. The first shows the change from 2010Q2-2011Q2, and the second shows 2012Q2-2013Q2. The maps have identical ranges, allowing you to see that the declines (oranges) from two years ago are now replaced with increases (purples).


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Revolutionary 3-D PolicyMap is here!

While we are still working out the kinks to our 3-D technology and find a better way to distribute our 3-D glasses, we hope you take a look at our 3-Layer Maps feature which allows you to overlay data.

We hope you enjoyed the 1st of April. Please contact our team for any suggestions or feedback you might have ( Who knows, maybe you could spark the next technological revolution at PolicyMap.

As you’ve probably noticed, PolicyMap underwent a little facelift recently, making it easier and more intuitive to use. Now that the upgrade is released, we’ve been trying to come up with even better ways to give our users the best experience possible. So we took the next logical step.

The future of mapping technology is here and it’s 3-D PolicyMap™.

We’ve always had the problem that we have over 15,000 indicators, but only one plane to view them on. By utilizing 3-D technology, we can better leverage the data we have to create maps that truly pop out at you.

Download our trademarked 3-D glasses to see 3-D PolicyMap on your computer: 3-D Glasses

BernieSee what our current users are saying about this great new feature!

“I can almost touch the data!” – Kavita Vijayan

“I’ve never seen demographic data like this before!” – Ira Goldstein

“Wow. So this is what you’ve been doing for the past five months.” – CEO Don Hinkle-Brown

But we’re not stopping here. Currently in beta is the new 4-D geo-aroma technology.

(Please note, 3-D PolicyMap works best with the Netscape Navigator v10 browser)

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Small Business Development Centers Now on PolicyMap

Let’s say you’ve just come up with a great new kind of ice cream. You’ve bought the ingredients in bulk, you have the ice cream maker, and you have cartons with an attractive design that will make people want to buy your ice cream. Everyone who tastes it says it’s great, and it’ll surely be a hit. The problem is, your skill is making ice cream, not running a small business.

One of the challenges with starting and running a small business is that a lack of guidance and business experience can hinder the business’s ability to succeed. Often, small businesses are run by people whose skills are specific to the service they offer or products they manufacture, and not by savvy businesspeople.

To help these businesses, the Small Business Administration runs Small Business Development Centers. SBDCs help small business and entrepreneurs with free business consulting and low-cost training services including business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance. SBDCs are hosted by universities and state economic development agencies, and funded through a partnership with SBA.

Now on PolicyMap, you can see where these SBDCs are. For policymakers, it might be helpful to see where these SBDC services are being offered, as they might create clusters of successful small businesses. Alternatively, it might be useful to see what places lack easy access to an SBDC, as these areas might be good candidates for some sort of assistance for small businesses.

These points are free for all users and are in the “Federal Guidelines” menu on PolicyMap.

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Visualize Access to Health Care: Hospital Referral Regions

Much of PolicyMap’s health care data is mapped to states and counties. The use of health care, however, does not usually conform to these political boundaries. PolicyMap has added Hospital Referral Region and Hospital Service Areas to our mapping arsenal, so that users can paint a more accurate picture of health resources and care. These boundaries, developed by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, were created using Medicare records. Hospital Service Areas are groups of zip codes from which local hospitals draw patients. Hospital Referral Regions, displayed with a black border on the map below, represent the areas where hospitals draw referrals for major procedures, such as cardiovascular surgery and neurosurgery.

Many Georgia residents travel to nearby Jacksonville and Tallahassee in Florida for medical care. The quality of care at the hospitals in these areas has an impact on health outcomes far beyond the counties where the hospitals are located. Add HRR and/or HSA boundaries to your map by clicking “map boundaries” on PolicyMap, and look for data mapped to these boundaries in the future.

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