Source: NYT Archive:

Very nice interactive chart of the history of Guantanamo prisoners, based on some excellent research by the New York Times and NPR. I could point out all the thoughtful design elements going on here, but you’ll figure it out (hint: move the slider on the timeline at the top).


This graphic illustrates how a “size 8” differs across designers. You might recall this similar chart on men’s pants sizes from last fall. (related article)


The NYT lays out the charts and explains why simple aggregate comparisons are not valid.


Gallup surveyed Americans on 20 different quality of life indicators (stress, depression, health problems, job satisfaction, exercise, etc), and the New York Times threw them all on a map for contemplation. Below is the composite “Well-Being index”. Thanks to Allison Stanfill for the link! (related article)


Gallup’s website compares the indicators over time:

A similar Gallup index of “US Satisfaction”  was also recently visualized by Good:

This is from 2010, but I wanted to post it because it’s an excellent way to visualize the quality of economic projections. The New York Times refers to it as a “porcupine” chart.


How America compares to other industrial countries based on a variety of basic indicators (income inequality, life expectancy, education) as well as some uncommon ones (prison population, level of democracy, and “wellbeing”). Conclusion: America is not #1! Can anyone think of indicators that WOULD make us look good in this crowd?

heat table of advanced countries performace on a variety of indicators

Sure, inflation in January was only 1.6%:


but there’s a lot of variation in the products that make up the CPI (butter was up 19.6% y-y, for example), which this tool from the WSJ lets you explore:


Want to know how the CPI weights all of these goods? Check out this oldie but goodie:


We hear the big unemployment number each month (currently 9.4%), and we all know someone who’s been unemployed for a while. But how bad is it really? Let’s say I lost my job tomorrow – how bad is it out there for someone just like me? (note: if you click on the links you can enter your own attributes)

Geography?: Washington DC traditionally has higher unemployment, but it looks like that trend might soon reverse?


Age?: That’s good news. Someone my age has a slight advantage.


Sex?: Wow. I didn’t see that coming. Men have been disproportionately affected by this recession.


If you don’t mind that the data is from 2009, you can select all of the above and also add in education using the NYT visualization below.  So all together, someone like me only faces a 3.9% unemployment rate – versus, say, a 15-24 yr old black male with no college, who faces a 48.5% unemployment rate. image

Another piece of the unemployment picture that doesn’t get much coverage is how different sectors are performing. Let’s take a look at jobs gained and lost since 2000 (note: this is in millions of jobs, not percent)

Manufacturing, construction, and retail have gotten clobbered, while government, health care, and education are about the only professions showing growth.

Well, I hope you found these tools enlightening and helped you understand that the one number they spend so much time talking about in the media doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story. If you want to dig further yourself, all of the raw data is available for download from the BLS.

Charts of carbon dioxide levels evidence

The New York Times has an excellent article and accompanying charts about the scientist who first discovered rising CO2 levels. I came across the article via Barry Ritholtz’s blog, where he delivered this lovely bit of snark:

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, lack of scientific knowledge, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for empirical data. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are anonymous after all.


10 states will lose congressional districts (mostly in the northeast) ; 8 will gain (mostly in the south and southwest), and the other 32 will stay the same. The tables below the map show the change in state populations since 2000. You can also use the timeline to view the re-apportionments back to 1920. (related article; related NYT political blog; Census press release)

And the official total? There are 308,745,538 people in the United States.

Map of congress seats won and lost due to 2010 census from NYT

The NYT’s has created a huge variety of interactive maps based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Click on “view more maps” to see different breakdowns (income, race, housing, education). Roll-overs popup details at the county or census area level. Related article.

Here’s the percentage of foreign born population in Washington DC:

Heat map of washington DC showing percent of foreign born population

Change in income level since 2000:

Map of United States showing income level change since 2000

This one shows how racially divided DC still is (green vs blue)”:

Interactive map showing washington DC race geographically

They also used the data for some more detailed analysis, such as “How NYC’s Racial Makeup has changed since 2000” (clockwise from upper left: white, hipanic, asian, black). Related article.

image image

image image

Contrary to my expectations, the use of slaves across the pre-civil war South was pretty diverse – as this map and accompanying article in the NYT shows. There is also an interactive version with annotated popups. (via)