First-time buyer Lorenz curves

Taking a look at affordability for first-time buyers, and what useful metrics can be constructed to measure this.

Keith Stewart Jens von Bergmann

13 minute read

At the end of this odd COVID-19 summer we launched a reading group to bring together people interested in diving into papers and books looking at housing issues. Geoffrey Meen and Christine Whitehead’s recently released book Understanding Affordability: The Economics of Housing Markets has been the group’s first read. We highly recommend the book, it’s a good read for anyone looking for a practical understanding of how housing markets work and ways to think about supply and demand and what they mean for housing affordability.

Income mixing and segregation

Taking a look at the new StatCan D-index and related income mixing metrics

Jens von Bergmann

20 minute read

At the end of June StatCan released an interesting census tract level metric, dubbed the D-index, measuring how much the income distribution in each census tract differs from the metro-wide distribution, and we decided to take it for a test drive. We are a bit of a sucker for this kind of fine-geography index. Condensing our wealth of information into a single number is an interesting exercise that involves lots of attention to detail.

Behaviour change in response to COVID-19

Looking into real-time metrics to measure behaviour change.

Jens von Bergmann

10 minute read

With COVID-19 cases growing exponentially, Canada has introduced sweeping restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. People are asked to practice social distancing, work from home if possible, keep shopping trips to a minimum, keep a distance of at least 6 feet to people outside of their household, universities and schools have been closed, and travel has been restricted. Why social distancing? Just in case it’s not clear what the problem is, let’s take a look at the trajectory we are currently on.

Overnight Visitors and Crude Travel Vectors

Checking in on Vancouver travel data. And the novel corona virus.

Jens von Bergmann

8 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) The spread of Coronavirus is reminding us of just how often people travel around, especially as various locations become quarantined and international travel corridors get shut down. So let’s take a look at some basic data on travel patterns here of relevance to us here in Vancouver. Then we’ll put them back in the context of Coronavirus. TLDR: travel data is really interesting, don’t be frightened of travellers, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about coronavirus

Wealth vs income

Wealth and income are not the same thing. And it matters. Especially in BC.

Nathan Lauster Jens von Bergmann

5 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) Wealth and income are different things. Wealth is measured in terms of assets minus debts at any given point in time. It can accumulate or deplete over a lifetime and across generations. By contrast, income represents some variation of how much money one makes over a given time period (usually a year). Most people get this on some level. But since both income and wealth deal with people and their money, the terms are also often used interchangeably.