Tag Archives: demographics

Explaining the Greek Crisis

In today’s post we look at a graphic made by the South China Morning Post to explain the Greek Crisis. The graphic does a nice job anchoring the story in a combined chart and timeline. The reader then continues down the piece learning about additional points from demographics to text-based explanations.

The combined chart and timeline

The combined chart and timeline

Credit for the piece goes to the South China Morning Post graphics department.

What It Means to be Black in the US…Census

As I said yesterday, I’m up in northern Wisconsin. But sometime later today I should be starting a long drive back to Chicago. So let me continue with one more piece of genealogy- and information-related content that is especially relevant given recent events. Vox posted an article a couple of days ago that looked at the definition of black via census options. Of particular interest is the supplemental  or sidebar information: whether you could choose your own race or whether it was chosen for you by the enumerator.

A history of choices

A history of choices

Maybe it’s only a coincidence that the 1890 census records went up in flames.

Credit for the piece goes to the Vox graphics department.

Researching the Family History in Ashland, Wisconsin

I’m presently off in the northern reaches of Wisconsin, Ashland in particular, researching part of my family’s history. To aid me in understanding just how this frontier-following family moved over one century, I put together a crude map and a timeline to give me context (and jog my memory) while searching through files in the courthouse.

The movements of the Spellacy family

The movements of the Spellacy family

I am calling the map a migration map. It shows the locations where family members moved to in 1849: Sheboygan (from New Brunswick, Canada). And then how they quickly began to disperse, but slowly head north to Ashland County, before most ultimately headed to the West Coast. (My direct ancestors are that group near the bottom that move back to the in-laws original home of western Massachusetts.)

What I struggle with keeping in mind is that here we are looking at a perfectly rendered and understood map of modern Wisconsin. But in 1849, the state was but one year old and most of the towns to which this family would be going were only a decade or so old and still very much frontier towns without amenities. (Which is why I imagine the women of the family stayed in Milwaukee until the settlements in the north were, well, settled.)

To the right is a timeline. The details are not terribly important and in fact it is poorly designed. But, it was quick to make and will hopefully help me keep the names straight and the places for which I am looking top-of-mind.

Put the two together and you have an example of how I create visualisations for myself just to help me with my own work and research.

What if the World Were of States with Equal Populations?

Well, thanks to a reddit editor frayuk, via a nice post on Vox, we now can look at what that world would look like. It’s a bit difficult to see some of the details, but click through to the Vox piece to see just those.

A map of equals

A map of equals

Credit for the piece goes to frayuk.

Native Languages of the World

Today’s post looks at an infographic from the South China Morning Post. The graphic in question looks at languages and how many speak them. Specifically, the graphic narrows the focus down to those native languages spoken by 50+ million people, of which there are 23 spoken by a combined 4.1 billion people out of the world’s 7.2 billion inhabitants.

Native language speakers

Native language speakers

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Lucas López.

Does Your Hometown Impact Your Odds of Marriage?

Last week we looked at the New York Times piece on where you grew up’s impact on future income. This week, we look at their follow-on piece, how your hometown impacts your odds of getting married. The piece includes some nice interactive choropleth maps, but my favourite part is the scatter plot correlating politics (as determined by 2012 election votes) to marriage. My hometown (‘s county) is highlighted in the screenshot below.

Chester Co., PA is almost even politically, but slightly less likely to marry

Chester Co., PA is almost even politically, but slightly less likely to marry

Credit for the piece goes to David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy.

A Lifetime at War?

Monday was Memorial Day here in the States. As a millennial, that means I have spent nearly most of my life in wartime. Today’s post looks at a graphic from the Washington Post that explains how anybody born after 2001 has spent the entirety of their life in wartime. Before then, however, and the numbers get fuzzier, because of the subjective nature of when the United States has been at war. But, given the undercounting in the article—as it notes—it is safe to say that the percentages visualised are low.

Lifetimes at war

Lifetimes at war

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post graphics department.

How Your Hometown Impacts Your Future Earnings

Today we have a really interesting piece from the New York Times. In terms of visualisations, we see nothing special nor revolutionary—that is not to say it is not well done. The screenshot below is from the selection of my hometown county, Chester County in Pennsylvania. Where the piece really shines is when you begin looking at different counties. The text of the article appears to be tailored to fit different counties. But with so many counties in the country, clearly it is being done programmatically. You can begin to see where it falls apart when you select rather remote counties out west.

How the poor in Chester County fare

How the poor in Chester County fare

But it does not stop simply with location. Try using the controls in the upper right to compare genders or income quartiles. The text changes for those as well.

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Eric Buth, Matthew Bloch, Amanda Cox, and Kevin Quealy.

VE Day

Friday was Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day for short, which marks the end of World War II in Europe. (The war continued in Japan for a few more months.) Anyway, the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics put together a couple of charts looking at the war’s impact on the structure of the British population. Many know the baby-boom phenomenon. But, did you know about the divorce-boom phenomenon?

Marriage and divorce rates over time

Marriage and divorce rates over time

Credit for the piece goes to the ONS Digital team.

Mapping Migrant Deaths

Yesterday we looked at a map of coal plants, with the dots sized by capacity. Today, we have a similar approach in a much smaller graphic about a much different topic. The BBC published this map yesterday in the context of an article about a report of the EU contacting Australia in regards to its migrant interception programme.

Where the migrants have died

Where the migrants have died

Compared to the maps we saw yesterday, I’m not so keen on this. Not the idea, mind you. I think that the story bears telling in a graphical, visual format. Look at how many of those deaths occur in the waters between Libya and Italy. Not between Tunisia and Italy. Not between countries of the eastern Mediterranean and islands like Cyprus or Crete.

But, the blue-green colour used to identify previous incidents is too close to the blue of the Mediterranean for my taste. Though, in fairness, that does make the purplish colour highlighting the most recent incident stand out a bit more. But even the map of the Mediterranean includes details that are not likely necessary. Do we need to show the topography of the surrounding countries? Do we need to see the topography of the sea floor? Probably not, although in a different piece the argument could be made geography determines the migration routes. Compare that to Bloomberg’s piece, where the United States was presented in flat, grey colours that allowed the capacity story to come to the forefront.

Lastly, a pet peeve of mine with maps and charts like this. Please, please, please provide a scale. I understand that humans are poor at comparing differences in area. And that is a reason why bars and dots are so often a clearer form of communication. But, in this piece, I have no idea whatsoever about the magnitude and scale of these incidents. Again, compared this to the Bloomberg piece, where in the bottom corner we do have two circles presented to offer scale of capacity.

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.