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Numbers tell the story, and we’ve got your numbers.
The News Center work group known as the Data Circle is your guide through the world of what counts. And what can be counted.
We’ll find the figures and show the patterns that explain life here in Tampa Bay-from amusement parks to zoo animals, with government salaries and big water users in between.
If it’s facts you want, we’ll find them for you. Shoot us an email.

Editors


Dennis Joyce

Joyce joined The Tampa Tribune as senior editor for metro in 2005 and later helped launch TBO.com’s continuous news desk. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Arizona, Kentucky, Virginia, Idaho and Stuart, Fla. Email


Jeff Scullin

Scullin has worked for The Tampa Tribune since 2005, directing news coverage in Pasco County and serving as the paper’s Sunday editor. He has worked as an editor and reporter in Lakeland, Sarasota, North Carolina and California. Email


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Janine Dorsey

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Buddy Jaudon

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Mark Douglas
Rich Mullins
Courtney Cairns Pastor
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Opinion

Vouching for vouchers?

I’ll admit it. During my time in the Florida Legislature I was generally supportive of school vouchers. I bought into the argument that vouchers were similar in effect to the GI bill and the Florida Resident Access Grants, better known as FRAG.

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Using cell phone data to track human movements

Posted Aug 31, 2011 by Jeff Scullin

Updated Aug 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM




NPR aired a really interesting story this morning, about how public health researchers tracked cholera victims in Haiti last year using the SIM cards in their cell phones.

“The phone owners remained anonymous, but their whereabouts showed that some 600,000 fled Port-au-Prince within three weeks of the quake,” reporter Christopher Joyce writes. “That relieved pressure on aid groups in the city, but not for long. Soon, the phone maps showed, most of those refugees returned because there was no food in the countryside.”

Tracking cell phone use was a way to see where people leaving the center of the epidemic were going, so medics would know where to go to treat people who might be infected.

Makes sense. And it worked. This is genius.

But even though the identities of the cell phone users were kept anonymous, I wonder that, in the wrong hands, the ability to track large-scale movements of people could be dangerous—even deadly. What if this weren’t Haiti but Syria—or any other regime trying to repress dissent through violent means?
A government would have a lot of leverage to pressure a telecommunications company to turn over that data.

To read more about how this was done, check out the researchers’ academic publication here.




Back to school numbers

Posted Aug 22, 2011 by Jeff Scullin

Updated Aug 22, 2011 at 03:04 PM

Most students in the Tampa Bay area go back to school this week, and even if you don’t have school-age kids living in your house, the rush back to school is a big deal in several ways. Traffic is likely to be a little heavier as parents and buses ferry children to and from school; work schedules will be stretched or changed for some workers, and local stores will get a needed economic boost.


How much? Consider these national figures from the U.S. Census Bureau:


$7.4 billion: Spent at family clothing stores in August 2010

$2.2 billion: Bookstore sales in August 2010

There are an awful lot of students contributing to that economic boom – 77 million, as of October 2009, according to the Census. That encompasses children and adults, from nursery school to college, and accounted for 27 percent of the population 3 and older.

Of those students, here’s how the numbers break down:


55.5 million: Students enrolled in pre-K through high school


19.7 million: College students – up from 14.4 million 20 years ago


Random facts you might find interesting:


• 11 percent of students in pre-K through high school were in private school
• 43 percent of those students were minorities
• 23 percent of those students had at least one parent not born in the United States
11.2 million students between 5 and 17 spoke a language other than English at home. Eight million of those kids spoke Spanish.


Can’t get enough? Go here.




St. Pete America’s third-angriest city?

Posted Jul 13, 2011 by Jeff Scullin

Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 05:01 PM

What’s eating St. Pete? The city ranks as the third-angriest city in America in a new poll by Men’s Health magazine – only slightly better-adjusted than Baltimore and Detroit, which ranked as the country’s angriest city (and for good reason).

Miami (No. 10) joined St. Petersburg among the ranks of the angriest cities. Other Florida cities raging their way on this list include Jacksonville (No. 18), Orlando (No. 22) and Tampa (No. 32).

To determine which cities were angriest, Men’s Health calculated the number of aggravated assaults per capita, using FBI crime data; the number of people with high blood pressure, using Centers for Disease Control numbers; the amount of time spent in traffic during rush hour, based on numbers from the Texas Transportation Institute; and the number of anger-management specialists per capita, based on data from the American Psychological Association.

The list is full of head-scratchers you can ponder the next time you’re manically stalking down Beach Drive at sunset or cursing the best-ever cannolis at Mazzaro’s.

Start with Washington, D.C., at No. 27. Can’t recall the last time I’ve seen two guys from St. Pete yelling each other on TV like that.

Check out the full list here.

 




Tampa metro area among top in population gains

Posted Jul 12, 2011 by Jeff Scullin

Updated Jul 12, 2011 at 05:06 PM

The Tampa-St. Petersburg area added nearly 400,000 people between 2000 and 2010, making it the No. 16 metropolitan area in the country in terms of population gorwth, according to a new study by Rice University.

Based on Census figures, the Tampa-St. Petersburg area added 387,246 in the last decade. That puts Tampa behind two other Florida metropolitan areas for population growth: No. 9 Miami, which added 557,071 in the last decade, and No. 10 Orlando, which added 489,850 people. Jacksonville, which is No. 28 on the list, added 222,846 people.

Of course, those figures reflect the strong growth the Tampa Bay area and other parts of Florida saw in the early- and mid-2000s, though growth has slowed in recent years. Pinellas County has actually been losing population the last few years.

And who’s added more people than any other metropolitan area. Houston—home of Rice University, coincidentally.

Here’s a list of the Top 30 metropolitan areas for population growth from 2000 to 2010:


1. Houston: 1,231,393
2. Dallas-Fort Worth: 1,210,229
3. Atlanta: 1,020,879
4. Riverside, Calif.: 970,030
5. Phoenix: 941,011
6. Washington, D.C.: 785,987
7. Las Vegas: 575,504
8. New York: 574,107
9. Miami: 557,071
10. Orlando: 489,850
11. Austin, Texas: 466,526
12. Los Angeles: 463,210
13. San Antonio: 430,805
14. Charlotte, N.C.: 427,590
15. Seattle: 395,931
16. Tampa/St. Petersburg: 387,246
17. Denver: 364,242
18. Chicago: 362,789
19. Sacramento, Calif.: 352,270
20. Raleigh/Cary, N.C.: 333,419
21. Minneapolis/St. Paul: 311,027
22. Portland, Ore.: 298,128
23. San Diego: 281,480
24. Philadelphia: 278,196
25. Nashville, Tenn.: 278,145
26. Indianapolis: 231,137
27. Columbus, Ohio: 224,217
28. Jacksonville: 222,846
29. San Francisco/Oakland: 211,651
30. McAllen, Texas: 205,306




FSU prof on job since Eisenhower

Posted Jul 5, 2011 by Dennis Joyce

Updated Jul 5, 2011 at 08:39 AM

James P. Jones, a history professor who receives $94,460 in salary per year, has been on the payroll at Florida State University since Sept. 1, 1957.

That’s pushing 54 years, longer than any employee at Florida’s four biggest public universities.

Click here to check salaries, date of hire, gender and race for more than 400,000 government employees in Tampa Bay and across Florida.