Data Viz Done Right

November 25, 2010

STDs in the USA: Who should you avoid and where?

3 comments

The CDC publishes an annual report on Health in the United States and included in the report is a “Chartbook”.  It’s 574 pages long, but you can skip to page 32 for the start of the charts.  There are some quite horrendous charts, especially the pie charts, that you will get a kick out of. 

You can download the data on CDC Wonder.  Once you create your query, you get a spreadsheet of the results, a map, and a bar chart.  The bar chart is particularly poor and only allows you to pick two dimensions.

I have downloaded the data and produced an interactive dashboard via Tableau Public.  Within this dashboard you can filter by Gender, Age, State and Disease.  In the end, I have included all of the views from CDC Wonder, plus much more. 

Some observations:

  • The infection rate for the total US has continued to climb for all diseases combined.  This is largely due to Chlamydia.
  • Syphilis infection rates declined from 1996-2001, but have continued to climb since.  Particularly concerning is the rate in Washington, DC.
  • In fact, Washington, DC has the highest infection rate for all three diseases.
  • Alaska’s overall infection rate in twice the national average, with the Chlamydia rate 86% higher than the national average.  This is definitely worth looking into.
  • The overall infection rate for females is more than double that for males.
  • Females between the ages of 15-24 are most likely to get infection, while males are most likely between the ages of 20-24.

There are many more observations and insights to be gleaned from this dashboard.  It is considerably quicker to identify outliers and trends with a simple dashboard like this than with CDC Wonder.  Imagine how much more useful the “Chartbook” would be if the CDC used Tableau.

What other observations can you make?

3 comments :

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think it makes sense to compare DC to states, From my understanding, DC is more of a MSA than a State, hence it will be an outlier.

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  2. nice viz, Andy - it's a well designed dashboard.

    And I love that About box!

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  3. Joe, I included DC since it's included in the CDC report. Plus, since the measure is an infection rate (STDs/100,000 people) the data is relative to all of the "states".

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