This Week in Data: Global Health, Classic Car Collections, and Faulty Lightsabers


This week, we're looking at three broad topics: health, American car habits, and consumer protection in the U.S.

Global health. From the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the findings of the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study. This table covers over 200 health conditions and how they affect people in over 20 different regions. Where does tuberculosis have the highest death rate? What about pancreatic cancer, or contact with a venomous animal?

Research grants. Speaking of health: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is meant to study and improve the quality of healthcare services in the U.S. Here are all the research grants AHRQ has awarded since 2002, with the name of the institution receiving the grant, the start and end dates of each project, as well as who the principal investigator is. Over the past few years, Johns Hopkins University has received more AHRQ research grants than any other institution.

What sort of cars do Americans have? The most recent National Household Travel Survey, conducted in 2009 by the Federal Highway Administration, asked over 100,000 households about their vehicles and driving habits: how many drivers there were in each household, the make and model of each vehicle owned, and how rural the area is. Somewhere in Virginia is a single-person household with 20 classic American cars from the 1970s.

Another car-related dataset: from the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2015 Green Vehicles Guide. Over a thousand different car models, all scored based on air pollution, city and highway miles per gallon, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Bugatti Veyron has a combined city/highway MPG of 10, and the lowest possible greenhouse gas score (1/10) but has the same air pollution score as the Ford Fusion.

Originally proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was authorized in 2010 and is meant to defend consumers from any abuses in the financial sector. People who've experienced a problem with a financial service can submit a complaint. Here's a table of complaints submitted since 2011, with information about the nature of the issue—e.g. billing disputes, identity theft—the company involved, and how that company responded to the problem. The most common complaints have to do with loan modification, collection, and foreclosure.

A more literal form of consumer protection: the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates a vast array of products, establishing safety requirements and issuing recalls when necessary. These tables list the products recalled from 1973 to 2015, complete with product descriptions, manufacturer names, and recall dates. Which manufacturers are responsible for the most recalls? What do these hazards tend to be? In 1999, Hasbro saw a recall of its Star Wars lightsaber toys because of the hazard of "burn - not fire-related"—which sounds as though the toys may have been a little too realistic.