Sunday, April 03, 2011

Des Moines | Behind a headline-grabbing abuse case, data analysis pinpoints income as a culprit

Iowans were shaken last month after a 55-year-old man and his 20-year-old son were accused of molesting two girls in their family in Centerville, an hour and a half's drive south of Des Moines.

Now, a Des Moines Register story this morning offers a case study of the value in hard data over solely anecdotal reporting.

More than four in every 100 Centerville children under age 18 were subjected to abuse in 2009, the newspaper found in an analysis of the latest state child-welfare statistics. The ratio was greater than for any other city, large or small, in Iowa.

"While raw numbers of abuse cases are highest in Iowa's largest counties," reports Lee Rood, "rates of abuse track closely with income levels, the Register's analysis found. The highest rates tend to be in areas with the lowest incomes."

The Register's circulation: Monday-Friday, 109,095; Saturday, 118,059; Sunday, 205,662.

Earlier: My data-driven analysis of GCI's Jennings college scholarships

Got Gannett work -- both inside and outside newsrooms -- worth recommending? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

[Image: Newseum]

1 comment:

  1. I am extremely dismayed that The Register would choose to run a stock photo of a child to represent an abuse victim. The girl pictured has nothing to do with abuse and you chose to depict her as such. Saying that it is a stock photo or illustration in the credit does not make it ethical.
    Naomi Halperin
    Director of Photography
    The News Journal


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