This data set was presented first in Symons, Grimson, and Yuan (1983), analysed with reference to the spatial nature of the data in Cressie and Read (1985), expanded in Cressie and Chan (1989), and used in detail in Cressie (1991). It is for the 100 counties of North Carolina, and includes counts of numbers of live births (also non-white live births) and numbers of sudden infant deaths, for the July 1, 1974 to June 30, 1978 and July 1, 1979 to June 30, 1984 periods. In Cressie and Read (1985), a listing of county neighbours based on shared boundaries (contiguity) is given, and in Cressie and Chan (1989), and in Cressie (1991, 386–89), a different listing based on the criterion of distance between county seats, with a cutoff at 30 miles. The county seat location coordinates are given in miles in a local (unknown) coordinate reference system. The data are also used to exemplify a range of functions in the spatial statistics module user’s manual (Kaluzny et al. 1996).

Getting the data into R

We will be using the spdep and spreg packages, here version: spdep, version 1.2-8, 2023-02-27, the sf package and the tmap package. The data from the sources referred to above is documented in the help page for the nc.sids data set in spData. The actual data, included in a shapefile of the county boundaries for North Carolina were made available in the maptools package.1 These data are known to be geographical coordinates (longitude-latitude in decimal degrees) and are assumed to use the NAD27 datum.

nc <- st_read(system.file("shapes/sids.shp", package="spData")[1], quiet=TRUE)
st_crs(nc) <- "+proj=longlat +datum=NAD27"