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Paulie D

The undulations correspond to the rank contribution by the state, so each ribbon is larger than the one before. And it's on a per/state basis, so when the designer has aggregated the states into regional blocks, they stay at the bottom, in their own rank ordering. In the Nevada example, most of the immigration has come from California, except in 30s where Utah overtook it. I think it adds a level of story to the graphics


Paulie: Thanks for the note. It does complicate reading the chart if one wants to get to that story. You'd have to compartmentalize the states into (a) same state (b) individual states that deserve their own pieces (c) aggregated "others" and (d) outside U.S. Then within (b) and (c), the pieces are fluctuating according to rank. This is a case of an innovative feature fighting with the aggregation scheme. I do like the aesthetics but wonder if it's worth it.

Adam Schwartz

It seems like it'd be helpful if the "outside the US" segment was further subdivided into at least continents. Using California as an example, migrants to CA from external has remained relatively consistent since 1900, but given the timing of these charts and the larger discussion regarding immigration reform, it sort of seems like the design seeks to avoid the more immediate question. In fairness, the NY Times is clear about the question they're trying to answer "how have Americans migrated" and thus the segment they're highlighting makes sense in the graphic. But I do wonder whether the question they posed in the first place is really "interesting."

Andrew Gelman

I like the graphs but I'm not sure how to interpret the white spaces between the colored bands.


Andrew: The whitespace at first glance made me uncomfortable. They feel like extra-thick boundary lines. Eventually I came to terms with them. It allows me to ignore the details of those colored lines and read the chart in three large groups, the local born, the migrants from within the US and the migrants from outside the US. I am not sure if that was their intention but it's functional that way.

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