Economist

49 posts
On data volume, reliability, uncertainty and confidence bands

This chart from the Economist caught my eye because of the unusual use of color-coded hexagonal tiles. The basic design of the chart is easy to grasp: It relates people's "happiness" to national wealth. The thick black line shows that the average citizen of wealthier countries tends to rate their current life situation better. For readers alert to graphical details, things can get a little confusing. The horizontal "wealth" axis...

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This chart shows why the PR agency for the UK government deserves a Covid-19 bonus

The Economist illustrated some interesting consumer research with this chart (link): The survey by Dalia Research asked people about the satisfaction with their country's response to the coronavirus crisis. The results are reduced to the "Top 2 Boxes", the proportion of people who rated their government response as "very well" or "somewhat well". This dimension is laid out along the horizontal axis. The chart is a combo dot and bubble...

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Coronavirus counts across Europe

Going with the shaded triangle peaks to show case counts and deaths, The Economist visualizes the current status across Europe: To assess how European countries are coping, and to monitor the danger of “second waves”, The Economist has assembled data on covid-19 cases and deaths for 39 countries, and for 173 sub-national areas for which data are available (see map above). We present the total number of deaths per 100,000...

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2020 election forecast

The Economist launched their 2020 elections forecast. Right now a part of my brain is telling me to avoid election forecasts this year, but the other part of me is like, don’t fight it, you know you’re going to look. At least The Economist put their modeling code up on GitHub (implemented in R and Stan) and is publishing their polling data (linked at the bottom of the forecast page...

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Change in foot traffic in outbreak cities

From The Economist, this chart shows the (mostly) decrease in foot traffic in major cities with coronavirus outbreaks. It’s based on data scraped from that section in Google Maps that shows how busy a location is, which I’m kind of surprised the Google limits allowed for. See James Fransham’s thread for more details on their process. Tags: coronavirus, Economist, Google, traffic

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Taking small steps to bring out the message

Happy new year! Good luck and best wishes! *** We'll start 2020 with something lighter. On a recent flight, I saw a chart in The Economist that shows the proportion of operating income derived from overseas markets by major grocery chains - the headline said that some of these chains are withdrawing from international markets. The designer used one color for each grocery chain, and two shades within each color....

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The rule governing which variable to put on which axis, served a la mode

When making a scatter plot, the two variables should not be placed arbitrarily. There is a rule governing this: the outcome variable should be shown on the vertical axis (also called y-axis), and the explanatory variable on the horizontal (or x-) axis. This chart from the archives of the Economist has this reversed: The title of the accompanying article is "Ice Cream and IQ"... In a Trifecta Checkup (link), it's...

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Pulling the multi-national story out, step by step

Reader Aleksander B. found this Economist chart difficult to understand. Given the chart title, the reader is looking for a story about multinationals producing lower return on equity than local firms. The first item displayed indicates that multinationals out-performed local firms in the technology sector. The pie charts on the right column provide additional information about the share of each sector by the type of firms. Is there a correlation...

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Brexit voting divisions

The Economist charted the divisions within political parties using Brexit votes as proxy. I’m here for the bubbles. Tags: Brexit, Economist

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Remaking charts from The Economist, by a journalist at The Economist

Sarah Leo, a visual journalist at The Economist, looked through the archives and found some charts that could use a re-design. After a deep dive into our archive, I found several instructive examples. I grouped our crimes against data visualisation into three categories: charts that are (1) misleading, (2) confusing and (3) failing to make a point. For each, I suggest an improved version that requires a similar amount of...

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