President Obama has made a big deal recently about income inequality. The story in short is that the rich in the country are getting rich; the poor are getting poorer; and the people in the middle are fewer in number. Here in Chicago, this has meant that over the last few decades, many of the former middle-class neighbourhoods have been gutted of, well, the middle class. Daniel Kay Hertz has created a series of maps to show just how drastic the change has been since 1970.
Today’s piece comes from the New York Times. It fits within a broader article about smoking in the United States. The map is a choropleth that compares the smoking rate across counties and states in 1996 and 2012. However, as the article talks about how difficult it has been to decrease the smoking rates among the poor, I wonder if even just a third map would be useful. This map could have shown the actual decline, perhaps in percentage points, of counties between 1996 and 2012. Or another related graphic could have tried to correlate income and said change.
Map of Smoking in 2012
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.
Today’s post comes via the New York Times. It’s a simple concept, but shown clearly in this collection of scatter plots. Growth in income for many counties has meant a growth in life expectancy. Unfortunately, not all counties are prospering and so the gap between rich and poor, and therefore the long-lived and shorter-lived, has grown.
Household income vs. life expectancy for men
Perhaps the only criticism I have about this piece is that for the highlighting of Fairfax County, Virginia and McDowell Country, West Virginia, an additional component could have summarised the growing gap between the two. For example, a bar chart along the axes of each could measure the growth in income disparity and the growth in life expectancy disparity.
So Ukraine is even more of a mess and in less than a week’s time, the Crimean people will vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain a part of Ukraine or rejoin Russia. This graphic of mine is an attempt to answer some questions—though hardly all I wanted—about Ukraine, Crimea, and about what the Russians have been doing. (To be fair, the Russians still don’t admit that the troops and soldiers are theirs. But really, I mean come on, we all know they are.)
A lot of things happened in Ukraine this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was not able to quite capture all of the events and the background I wanted. So, until I do, this quick graphic will have to suffice. In short, Ukraine is a big European country, one of the largest prizes remaining in the struggle between the West/EU and the East/Russia. I took a look at the forecast for Ukraine in 2050 for both number of people and the size of the economy and put that in the context of Europe. And while forecasting that far out clearly has risks, one can see with a grain of salt that Ukraine is set to be an important middle-sized European nation.
A quick introduction to Ukraine
But, like I said, there is more to do. I just was not able to do it.
Not “the Ukraine” as it is (admittedly) fun to do in pop-culture references to Seinfeld. This comes from the Washington Post and the article tries to show that the protests in Kiev are not necessarily a vast majority against the government. Certainly the opposition is strong, but there is also a very strong pro-government movement. Why? Because in the broadest of senses, Ukraine is where the West, i.e. the European Union, meets the East, i.e. Russia.
A divided Ukraine
Credit for putting this all together goes to Max Fisher. Credit for each of the original graphics is to their respective designers whom I cannot identify.
Last week the New York Times published a nice interactive about the minimum wage and just how difficult it is to live on it. (We will for now spare the charts that show how the actual purchasing power has declined over the years.) First you pick your state because not every state pays the same minimum wage. Then as you begin to enter figures for your expenses, or a hypothetical person as in this screenshot, you find how quickly a minimum wage earner runs out of money. And then how much debt they owe and how much more they have to work to pay it off.
This piece from the Washington Post examines the idea of economic mobility. That is, what is the likelihood that children born and raised in an impoverished family will surpass their parents’ standard of living.
Credit for the piece goes to Darla Cameron and Ted Mellnik.