Sunday, October 19, 2014



The Equality State of Wyoming, the first state to allow women to legally vote, on Friday became the 32nd state to legalize civil marriage for same sex couples.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Empty Homes in America's Cities

This map shows the percentages of vacant housing units in the 363 metros in the Lower 48 states.  It appears to highlight vacation homes.  Popular beach destinations such as Fort Myers (FL), Naples (FL), Panama Beach (FL), and Wilmington (NC) all show 25-50% of their housing units as vacation.  In one oceanside metro (Ocean City, NJ), 58% of housing units were recorded as vacant in April 2010.

Friday, October 17, 2014

And Marriages Are Back in Alaska


The US Supreme Court lifted the stay on marriages in Alaska today so it goes back to blue.

The Rapidly Changing Marriage Map


As expected, the various states in the 9th, 10th, and 4th appellate circuits are catching up this week to those courts' rulings striking down bans on same sex marriage:

  • Civil marriage for same sex couples is now legal in North Carolina.  South Carolina continues to fight the ruling, but the law is fairly clear that South Carolina must also abide by the 4th circuit's ruling.  
  • In the 10th circuit a Wyoming judge has said he will rule by Monday on whether to strike down Wyoming's ban.  I'm not quite sure what is going on in Kansas.
  • In the 9th an Alaskan judge struck down that state's ban. Couples began marrying but the state was able to get a temporary stay.  So it has gone from blue back to pink.  And in Arizona a judge ruled today there to strike down that state's ban and marriages are starting there.  Plaintiffs in Montana are seeking the court to affirm the 9th's decision applies to Montana too.  
And while court watchers have been waiting eagerly for the ruling from the 6th, we are still waiting.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Longevity and Urban America?

This map is somewhat challenging to decipher.  It shows the percentage of the population who are 85 years of age or older for each of the lower 48 state's 363 metro areas.  The purple areas have in some cases nearly double the senior populations of the orange metros.  These purple areas have 2-4% of their population consisting of Americans who have lived 5-10 years longer than the average life expectancy of about 75.  Some areas popular with retirees like Florida's metro, Prescott (AZ), Santa Barbara (CA), and Asheville (NC) show up as purple.  So do wealthier areas in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut where health care may be more accessible.  There is also a fair sprinkling of old Rust Belt and upper Plains metros where there has been a large out-migration of younger workers.  So, while intriguing to ponder whether residents of some cities live longer than their peers in other cities, this map has too many possible variables to show a clear pattern.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Urban Native America

For at least 15 millennia Native Americans made up all or the vast majorities of peoples living in the area that is now the United States.  Today all the metro areas in the eastern US and Hawaii have fewer than 5% of their populations who identify as Native American on the US Census.  In Oklahoma (the former Indian Territory), New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and South Dakota there are 9 metro areas where Native Americans make up 5% or more of the population.  In Flagstaff (AZ) and Farmington (NM) at least 1 in 4 residents are Native American.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Marriage Comes to Alaska


After a court ruling yesterday, civil marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples in Alaska today.  With Alaska there are now 30 states where same-sex couples can legally marry including now most of the West and 11 of the 13 original colonies.  Based on appellate decisions, 5 more states may have marriage soon.