Data Viz Done Right

November 4, 2018

Makeover Monday: America's Aging Population

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As this week is election week in the United States, I thought it would be fun to give everyone a data set about population projections by race, sex, origin, age and year. It's a fascinating data set to explore.

The original visualization is from the US Census Bureau:


What works well?

  • The title above the charts tells us the insights in the data. This is a very effective technique.
  • The colors work well together.
  • Labels for the ages are well-placed and colored to represent the lines
  • Labeling the start and end of the lines
  • Hiding the axis but still leaving the axis title
  • Including the note about the 2016 data

What could be improved?

  • Remove the title at the very top, the entire blue section
  • Make the footer less prominent; it's competing with the viz for attention when it should be secondary
  • Kill the bar chart; it looks strange have axis labels for every five years, but then only showing the data for a set of years
  • Remove the dots on the lines except for the start, end and where the lines cross
  • Remove the vignette shading behind the charts

What I did

  • I like the idea behind the line chart, so I used that as my starting point.
  • I pivoted the data by age, then created age groups that match the original (under 18 and 65+).
  • I wanted to compare ages and origins for the two age groups to see if the crossing of the populations is consistent (spoiler, it's not).
  • I wanted to add focus to the year the lines cross. I did that by adding a black dot on that year and by including a reference line.
  • I kept the labeling of the start and end of each line.

Overall, I find the patterns in the data really interesting. 
  1. While the population in total gradually shifts towards the older generation, the split between hispanic and non-hispanic does not follow the same pattern. 
  2. Older hispanics will likely outnumber hispanic children between 2070 and 2075, whereas non-hispanic older people will outnumber non-hispanic children much sooner.
  3. The female population is shifting much more quickly to the older generation than males.

With that, here's my Makeover Monday for week 45.

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