Data Viz Done Right

January 15, 2018

Makeover Monday: U.S. Household Income Distribution by State

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The viz this week comes from the Visual Capitalist. I used this data set for the final interviews for DS8 last week; it was quite impressive what people brand new to Tableau can create in just a week.


What works well?

  • The ordering of the states by the highest income level from smallest to largest is easy to see.
  • The colors are all pretty distinct from each other (as I'm not color blind).
  • The colors seem like an intentional choice to go from red (low) to green (high) with steps of color in between.
  • The labels help add context to the stacked bars and they aren't distracting.
  • Including the data source

What could be improved?

  • There's no indication as to which year this represents.
  • As it's not interactive, you can't sort by a different income level, therefore it's not easy to compare different states without reading the labels, which is slow.
  • Are there region differences? I can't tell from this view.

What I did:

  • To be able to see regional trends, I included a tile map.
  • I used bars that represent the change since 2009 so that we could see which income groups grew and shrank the most.
  • I included context in the tooltips that show each income level for 2016 and the change since 2009 for the selected income level.
  • I added some annotations to aid understanding (thanks Eva for the idea).

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