“Seeing” Virginia’s Workforce

FlowingData_ScreenShot_Virginia_MedIncWhen it comes to interactive data visualizations, I am a junky. I don’t mean the dime-a-dozen country maps showing the favorite baby name/band/movie/current fad for each state. I mean the kind that present information in a way that surprises me, even when I am relatively familiar with the data.

The Demographics Research Group has created some really illuminating data visualizations highlighting residential segregation by race, educational division in Washington, D.C., and this older one on electoral changes in Virginia.

Today I spent quite a bit of time exploring this interactive chart of Jobs by State and Salary, created by Dr. Nathan Yau over at FlowingData. In this chart, Yau shows the number of people employed and the median income for all jobs in a state. The top image shows the occupations in Virginia with a median annual salary of roughly $33,000 or more highlighted in green.

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Demographics and Infographics

I read quite a few blogs about demographics and statistics.  One of my favorites is FlowingData, which is written by Nathan Yau, a PhD candidate in statistics at UCLA.  He focuses mainly on how researchers use data visualization to convey their results to non-experts.  Nathan recently posted links to two really neat infographics.

1) Pay gap between men and women – this tool plots the weekly median salary for women vs. the weekly median salary for men.  You can scroll through the displayed year and watch how the data changed from 2003 through 2011.  You can turn occupation groups on and off and click on the dots to see the more detailed occupation and where exactly it falls on the graph.  Over the nine year period, there were only a handful of computers and mathematics, professional, and sales and office occupations for which the median salaries for women went briefly and slightly above the median salaries for men.

2) Population densities around the world – this interactive map was developed by Derek Watkins, a graduate student in Geography at the University of Oregon.  He calls the map “a squinty-eyed look at population densities.”   Users can move the slider to display areas with population densities of 5 – 500 people per square kilometer.  The underlying data come from the Gridded Population of the World project at Columbia University.

Population Density Map

This image is a screen capture of the map showing areas of the world with at least 15 people per square kilometer.  Nathan Yau added the labels for reference.  On the interactive map, it’s interesting to scroll and see how dense India and China are compared with the rest of the world.

I highly recommend following the FlowingData blog; it’s a fun read.  Nathan finds and shares a lot of great data visualization tools on a variety of topics.