economics

23 posts
Crazy rich Asians inspire some rich graphics

On the occasion of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, the New York Times did a very nice report on Asian immigration in the U.S. The first two graphics will be of great interest to those who have attended my free dataviz seminar (coming to Lyon, France in October, by the way. Register here.), as it deals with a related issue. The first chart shows an income gap widening between...

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Big Macs in Switzerland are amazing, according to my friend

Note for those in or near Zurich: I'm giving a Keynote Speech tomorrow morning at the Swiss Statistics Meeting (link). Here is the abstract: The best and the worst of data visualization share something in common: these graphics provoke emotions. In this talk, I connect the emotional response of readers of data graphics to the design choices made by their creators. Using a plethora of examples, collected over a dozen...

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Two good charts can use better titles

NPR has this chart, which I like: It's a small multiples of bumps charts. Nice, clear labels. No unnecessary things like axis labels. Intuitive organization by Major Factor, Minor Factor, and Not a Factor. Above all, the data convey a strong, surprising, message - despite many high-profile gun violence incidents this year, some Democratic voters are actually much less likely to see guns as a "major factor" in deciding their...

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The downside of discouraging pie charts

It's no secret most dataviz experts do not like pie charts. Our disdain for pie charts causes people to look for alternatives. Sometimes, the alternative is worse. Witness: This chart comes from the Spring 2018 issue of On Investing, the magazine for Charles Schwab customers. It's not a pie chart. I'm forced to say the pie chart is preferred. The original chart fails the self-sufficiency test. Here is the 2007...

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Two thousand five hundred ways to say the same thing

Wallethub published a credit card debt study, which includes the following map: Let's describe what's going on here. The map plots cities (N = 2,562) in the U.S. Each city is represented by a bubble. The color of the bubble ranges from purple to green, encoding the percentile ranking based on the amount of credit card debt that was paid down by consumers. Purple represents 1st percentile, the lowest amount...

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Digital revolution in China: two visual takes

The following map accompanied an article in the Economist about China's drive to create a "digital silkroad," roughly defined as making a Silicon Valley.  The two variables plotted are the wealth of each province (measured by GDP per capita) and the level of Internet penetration. The designer made the following choices: GDP per capita is presented with less precision than Internet penetration. The former is grouped into five large categories...

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Hog wild about dot maps

Reader Chris P. sent me this chart. This was meant to be "light entertainment." See the Twitter discussion below. *** Let's think a bit about the dot map as a data graphic. Dot maps are one dimensional. The dot's location is used to indicate the latitude and longitude and therefore the x,y coordinates cannot encode any other data. If we have basically a black/white chart, as in this hog map,...

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Steel tariffs, and my new dataviz seminar

I am developing a new seminar aimed at business professionals who want to improve their ability to communicate using charts. I want any guidance to be tool-agnostic, so that attendees can implement them using Excel if that’s their main charting software. Over the 12+ years that I’ve been blogging, certain ideas keep popping up; and I have collected these motifs and organized them for the seminar. This post is about...

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The tech world in which everyone is below average

Laura pointed me to an infographic about tech worker salaries in major tech hubs (link). What's wrong with this map? The box "Global average" is doubly false. It is not global, and it is not the average! The only non-American cities included in this survey are Toronto, Paris and London. The only city with average salary above the "Global average" is San Francisco Bay Area. Since the Bay Area does...

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Why line charts are better than area charts

I saw this chart on Business Insider recently: This links to Market Insider, where there is a tool to make different types of charts. Despite the huge drop depicted above, by last week, the Dow Jones index has recovered to the level at the start of 2018: The same chart can be made as an area chart (called a "mountain chart" by Market Insider). The painting of the area serves...

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