Upshot

109 posts
Tracking the mail

With mail-in ballots looking to be more common than ever this year, NYT’s The Upshot is tracking the mail: The data here, covering more than 28 million pieces of first-class letters tracked by SnailWorks, shows how on-time delivery declined noticeably in July after the arrival of Louis DeJoy, the Trump-aligned postmaster general, and the start of policies to trim transportation costs. That drop in national performance was more abrupt than...

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Vote-by-mail volume compared against years past

The volume of mail-in ballots will likely be higher than usual this year, but relative to the Postal Service’s usual volumes from years past, the bump doesn’t seem unfathomable. The chart above, which shows average weekly volume over the years, from Quoctrung Bui and Margot Sanger-Katz for NYT’s The Upshot, shows the scale. Of course, if certain administrations continue to hamper USPS operations, that’s a different story. Tags: mail, Upshot,...

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Distribution of unemployment at the tract level

We’ve been hearing a lot about national unemployment rate, but it’s not uniformly distributed across the country. Some areas are a lot higher, some places are a lot lower, and there are places in between. To see the variation across the United States, Yair Ghitza and Mark Steitz estimated unemployment at the tract level. Quoctrung Bui and Emily Badger for NYT’s The Upshot have the maps and histograms zooming in...

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Where people are wearing masks

NYT’s The Upshot ran a survey through the data firm Dynata asking people how often they wear a mask in public. The Upshot then mapped the likelihood that a random group of five people are all wearing masks: These variations reflect differences in disease risk and politics, but they also may reflect some local idiosyncrasies. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, an assistant professor of communications at Michigan State University, said mask behavior...

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Flow of prison population

In a collaboration between The Marshall Project and The Upshot, Anna Flagg and Joseph Neff look at the flow in and out of jails and what that means during these times of social distancing: Preventing the spread of the virus in jails is challenging. Social distancing is crucial, but it’s virtually impossible in dormitories with rows of beds in a common room. The same is true of two people in...

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Hospital bed occupancy

Using estimates from the Harvard Global Health Institute, The Upshot mapped what hospital bed occupancy might look like across the country if we don’t make changes now: “If we don’t make substantial changes, both in spreading the disease over time and expanding capacity, we’re going to run out of hospital beds,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, which produced the estimates. “And in that...

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Possible coronavirus deaths compared against other causes

Based on estimates from public health researcher James Lawler, The Upshot shows the range of coronavirus deaths, given variable infection and fatality rate. Adjust with the sliders and see how the death count (over a year) compares against other major causes of death: Dr. Lawler’s estimate, 480,000 deaths, is higher than the number who die in a year from dementia, emphysema, stroke or diabetes. There are only two causes of...

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Federal budget scaled to per person dollars

For The Upshot, Alicia Parlapiano and Quoctrung Bui scaled down the federal budget to something more relatable: To better understand how federal spending has changed since Mr. Trump has taken office, we looked at the actual budget amounts for the 2020 fiscal year. We divided them by the U.S. population and sized the numbers proportionally to make their scale easier to visualize. Then we compared the numbers to the actual...

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Data problems in Iowa caucus results

It wasn’t just issues with an app. There appears to be many more problems with the Iowa caucus results. The Upshot broke it down with a closer look at the data: Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning...

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Urban growth via satellite imagery

For The Upshot, Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui looked for major urban developments in the United States by comparing satellite imagery of past to present: To grasp the scale of this decade of change, The Upshot worked with Tim Wallace and Krishna Karra from Descartes Labs, a geospatial analytics company, using a tool that has itself evolved significantly over this time: satellite imagery. With its growing power and precision, we...

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