English in America

EnglishLike many Americans, I’m a little hazy on my family tree. However, I’ve always thought of myself as predominately British, and assumed that as a former British colony, English descendents would be heavily represented when I mapped them.

This was not the case.

While America has plenty of English-Americans, they’re much more sparse than, say, German-Americans. This also brings up an interesting question – how much of these census results is attributed to actual lineage, and how much is due to variances in self-reporting? In other words, when you can count German, English, Welsh and Scottish relatives as part of your family tree, how do you choose to describe yourself? Perhaps claiming English descent seems too pedestrian, and loses out to the more “exciting” choices of, say, Scottish. To get true data, you would probably have to turn to genetic testing, and data from genetic testers that release demographic information can’t be trusted as being statistically representative of everyone – getting tested costs money, and requires an interest in such things. That’s going to skew results.

For now, the census is as good as it gets, and I was quite surprised by this one. Here’s hoping I’m not alone – expected results can be awfully boring.

Link to my Tableau tool:


A Very German America

german_americansToday I’m looking at one of the largest demographic groups in America’s ethnic background: The Germans.

German-Americans are extremely prevalent across large portions of the nation. Unlike some of the other maps I’ve done in this series, Germans don’t show up in narrow patches or bands – they fill the map in massive numbers across large swaths of territory.

As you can see from the map, a lot of us list German ancestry. The mid-west, in particular, seems to have held a special attraction for German immigrants.

Here’s a link to my Tableau tool, so you can zoom in, explore, and play:



The Female Edge

The Female Edge

Republicans beware: The women are coming.

Turnout advantage/disadvantage for women since 1964. Red color shows an edge for women, blue an edge for men.

Turnout advantage/disadvantage for women since 1964. Red color shows an edge for women, blue an edge for men.

Given that women vote overwhelmingly democrat, trends in turnout among the genders have serious implications for the  balance of power between the parties.

Data analysis shows that women have gone from a 4 point turnout deficit in the 1964 presidential election to a 4 point advantage in 2012. This advantage shift is even more dramatic if you look at it as a relative difference between the genders — in that case, women started with a 6.82% deficit and now enjoy a 7.54% advantage — roughly a 14 point swing.

To quantify this advantage, a “female edge” figure has been computed. To do so, the turnout rate for women for each election is taken and divided by the turnout rate for men. This gives a relative difference between the genders, rather than what would be arrived at if one simply subtracted the male turnout percentage from the female turnout percentage.

Over time, a clear and distinct trend is visible, showing that women are now going to the polls at a higher rate for men, and that this trend is on a very consistent upward climb. As the years pass, women are coming to dominate turnout figures.

Pundits often discuss the threat posed to the Republican party by increasing numbers of Hispanic voters. This may be a very real danger, but it isn’t the only one the Republicans face. If they continue to lag heavily behind the Democratic party in popularity with women, the female edge means Republicans face an ever-more-difficult path to electoral victory, particularly in national elections.

Using the tool, more information can be examined. For instance, these trends become markedly worse if you break things down by age. The only group where men have a higher turnout rate than women is in the 65-and-over crowd. Given that this group is aging, and dying, and given that the female edge is even greater among the other age brackets, it’s difficult to view these numbers as anything other than great news for Democrats, and a looming danger for the GOP.

Poverty in Asia

GEOG1003I created several visualizations of gross national income (relative affluence of nations), shown by a “temperature” color scheme which runs from a cold aquamarine up to a hot brick red.


The visualization also covers human development index, with human silhouettes. The size of the sillhouette indicates relative HDI for each country.


And, here’s a link to a global version of the map:



I’m sure similar visualizations have been done before, but I believe this is a very effective way to present this particular data.