Skip navigation

Data Is Plural

From Government Contracting to TV Shows Cut Short

This week’s roundup of notable datasets

Illustration of an open envelope, with arrows coming out from within. The arrows are pointing to various spreadsheets. Behind the spreadsheets are data visualizations, clouds and strings of numbers.
Gabriel Hongsdusit

Data Is Plural is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets. This edition, dated March 8, 2023, has been republished with permission of the author.

Government contracting data, cataloged. The nonprofit Open Contracting Partnership has launched a registry of government procurement datasets that use its Open Contracting Data Standard (featured in DIP 2020.02.26). The registry contains 100-plus entries so far, across 50-plus countries—from Argentina’s national roads authority and the city of Buenos Aires to Zambia’s Public Procurement Authority. You can filter the listings by dataset recency, update frequency, and the data types included (parties, awards, documents, amendments, et cetera). [h/t Georg Neumann]

Debt-to-income ratios. The U.S. Federal Reserve generates quarterly statistics estimating the median ratio of household debt to income in each state, county, and metro area. The published maps and datasets, which go back to 1999, don’t include precise figures but rather place each geographic unit into one of 10 ranges. The income calculations come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the debt estimates (which do not include student loans) come from the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, “an anonymized 5 percent random sample of Americans with credit files at the credit reporting bureau Equifax.” As seen in: “Debt and Inequality” (American Inequality).

Changes of address. In the “Frequently Requested Records” section of its online FOIA library, the U.S. Postal Service provides datasets counting how many individuals, families, and businesses have registered for the agency’s change-of-address service, by month and zip code. The datasets tally the moves originating from a given zip code separately from those destined for it, although moves within the same zip code are counted on both sides of the ledger. Related: The companies to which USPS sells mover-level data. [h/t Tim Henderson]

Decades of U.K. prices. In January 2023, the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics collected 139,000-plus price quotes from thousands of stores and across hundreds of products, from “a4 printer paper (500 ream)” to “Yorkshire pudding frozen.” The agency has collected this kind of price-quote data for decades, using it to calculate inflation and price indices. Economist Richard Davies has aggregated the data going back to 1988 and standardized it, correcting misrecorded prices and offsetting measurement changes, among other efforts described in a 2021 working paper.

Shows cut short. provides a searchable list of television shows that were canceled (e.g., Knight Rider), ended on a cliffhanger (The Sopranos), or both (Rubicon). The database provides each series’ title, cliffhanger and cancellation status, IMDB identifier, and occasional extra notes. A handful of the 130-plus entries fit another category: shows that “ended without a cliffhanger, but more show content exists outside the show itself.” [h/t Dan Brady]

Notice: Unlike most of our content, this edition of Data Is Plural by Jeremy Singer-Vine is not available for republication under a Creative Commons license.

How did we do that? It was thanks to you.

Reader support is an essential piece of The Markup equation. Your gift lets us report the stories that help to build a better future. Give today.

Donate Now