Data Viz Done Right

October 27, 2010

Poverty in America - A Visualization

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I first saw the visualization below on the Chart Porn blog, which linked to the original article on The Huffington Post. This is an excellent visualization that effectively uses colors to emphasizes the highest poverty rates and provides information in a user-friendly format when you mouse over the map. The only thing I wish it would do is allow you to click on a state and drill down into the county-level data.

Immediately popping out to me are the poverty rates around the lower Mississippi River and Eastern Kentucky/Central Appalachia regions. A quick Google search turned up a documentary by Diane Sawyer that aired on ABC's 20/20 in February 2009.
    The oldest mountains in America are rich in natural beauty with their raging creeks, steep hollows and old pines. They are also one of the poorest, most disadvantaged regions in America. Central Appalachia has up to three times the national poverty rate, an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the shortest life span in the nation, toothlessness, cancer and chronic depression.

From The Huffington Post:
    In 2009, poverty among Americans reached its highest level in 51 years. The states hardest hit include Louisiana, Mississippi and District of Columbia. States with the lowest poverty statistics include, Wyoming, Hawaii, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Roll over each state to see its poverty rate.

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