Scatter plot

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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Visualizing black unemployment in the U.S.

In a prior post, I explained how the aggregate unemployment rate paints a misleading picture of the employment situation in the United States. Even though the U3 unemployment rate in 2019 has returned to the lowest level we have seen in decades, the aggregate statistic hides some concerning trends. There is an alarming rise in the proportion of people considered "not in labor force" by the Bureau of Labor Statistics...

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How the pandemic affected employment of men and women

In the last post, I looked at the overall employment situation in the U.S. Here is the trend of the "official" unemployment rate since 1990. I was talking about the missing 100 million. These are people who are neither employed nor unemployed in the eyes of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They are simply unrepresented in the numbers shown in the chart above. This group is visualized in my...

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The missing 100 million: how the pandemic reveals the fallacy of not in labor force

Last Friday, the U.S. published the long-feared employment situation report. It should come as no surprise to anyone since U.S. businesses were quick to lay off employees since much of the economy was shut down to abate the spread of the coronavirus. I've been following employment statistics for a while. Chapter 6 of Numbersense (link) addresses the statistical aspects of how the unemployment rate is computed. The title of the...

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How to read this chart about coronavirus risk

In my just-published Long Read article at DataJournalism.com, I touched upon the subject of "How to Read this Chart". Most data graphics do not come with directions of use because dataviz designers follow certain conventions. We do not need to tell you, for example, that time runs left to right on the horizontal axis (substitute right to left for those living in right-to-left countries). It's when we deviate from the...

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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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Wayward legend takes sides in a chart of two sides, plus data woes

Reader Chris P. submitted the following graph, found on Axios: From a Trifecta Checkup perspective, the chart has a clear question: are consumers getting what they wanted to read in the news they are reading? Nevertheless, the chart is a visual mess, and the underlying data analytics fail to convince. So, it’s a Type DV chart. (See this overview of the Trifecta Checkup for the taxonomy.) *** The designer did...

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Clearing a forest of labels

This chart by the Financial Times has a strong message, and I like a lot about it: The countries are by and large aligned along a diagonal, with the poorer countries growing strongly between 2007-2019 while the richer countries suffered negative growth. A small issue with the chart is the thick forest of text - redundant text. The sub-title, the axis titles, the quadrant labels, and the left-right-half labels all...

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Clearing a forest of labels

This chart by the Financial Times has a strong message, and I like a lot about it: The countries are by and large aligned along a diagonal, with the poorer countries growing strongly between 2007-2019 while the richer countries suffered negative growth. A small issue with the chart is the thick forest of text - redundant text. The sub-title, the axis titles, the quadrant labels, and the left-right-half labels all...

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