Straight to the Source: A KIDS COUNT Demographer Talks All Things Data

Posted September 28, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

This episode of CaseyCast covers all things data with veteran demographer Linda Jacobsen. As vice president of U.S. programs at the Population Reference Bureau, Jacobsen oversees the development and analysis of child well-being statistics included in the KIDS COUNT Data Book.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has produced the Data Book annually since 1989, and it has grown into a leading source of trusted, nonpartisan data that depicts how America’s families and children are faring.

Listen as the Foundation’s Lisa Hamilton talks with Jacobsen about a wide range of statistics-themed topics, including the importance of disaggregating data by race, the limitations of current surveys and the dangers of agenda-driven information sources.

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What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Where the KIDS COUNT Data Book numbers come from.
  • What we’re not learning from current surveys.
  • Why the timeliness of data matters.
  • Why the source of the data matters.
  • Why collecting data on an annual basis matters.
  • Why disaggregating data by race matters.
  • Key challenges with the 2020 census.

Conversation Clips

In Linda Jacobsen’s own words

  • “There are no sources of data that provide estimates of the number of children who've ever been incarcerated, or committed or detained.”
  • “We obviously can't understand the challenges that children of color are facing if we can't disaggregate data.”
  • “The simple observation is that where you live matters.”
  • “With respect to education, we see that the 10 states with the highest share of eighth graders who are not proficient in mathematics are in south or southwestern states.”
  • “Very accurate data can always be selectively chosen and presented out of context to further political viewpoint.”
  • “One of the most important challenges for the 2020 census is reversing the under count of children, which has been documented going back to 1980.

About the Podcast

CaseyCast is a podcast produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and hosted by its executive vice president and chief program officer, Lisa Hamilton. Each episode features Hamilton talking with a new expert about how we can build a brighter future for kids, families and communities.

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