Deep dive
The trouble with maps


From Bernard L., another exemplary effort by the Times.  This one really got me excited.  


The set of line graphs shows how demographics of students in American schools have evolved in the last two decades.  Here, I selected New York City schools, and the tool sensibly decided to compare those with New York State schools (gray line).

There is so much to learn from one simple chart:
  • The blue and gray lines are almost parallel everywhere, which tells us that in terms of the change in demographic composition, New York City pretty much resembled New York State during this entire period.
  • However, in terms of demographic composition, rather than the change in composition, New York City schools are very different from the rest of the state, in that the proportion of white is lower by a third while that of minorities are much higher, especially black and Hispanic students.
  • State-wide (as well as city-wide), black and white students have been declining as a proportion while Hispanics and Asians have increased. 
  • The extent of the change is immediately visible, Asians have jumped from 7% to 14% for example.  
From a graph design perspective, the execution is very clean.  Data labels are limited to the first and last values.  A small multiples concept is used with the ethnic groups placed side by side.  A great awareness of foreground and background as well.  And imagine how much data has been visualized here, and be impressed.  You can look at any county in the country.

Here's one where the county change does not exactly mirror the state change (Napa in California):


Reference: "Diversity in the classroom", New York Times, March 12 2009.


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Thanks for slipping in a non-junk chart. This is excellent.


Dave - yes, I'd like to write more about good charts but they are not easy to find.


I have a chart that someone made for me. It sucks!! How do i submit it to junk charts for some help?


Isaac: My email is listed under the "About" section on the right.


would love to see an xls version of this. very crisp

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