Ok, I misspoke, in a way. The U.S. economy, as seen by large corporations and financial institutions, is growing at an exponential rate, thanks to “increased productivity“. That same $15 trillion-dollar economy, from the eyes of the millions of unemployed, is shrinking to a distant memory – a time when they could afford groceries without food stamps, a time when they could afford to take vacations.
Reports from the labor department and employment firms like ADP show that new jobs are being created, but as the blog Calculated Risk points out, it’s not enough. Actually, far from it. Accounting for population growth, we need millions more new jobs.
You would think that based on my posts that the world of serious data visualization (which excludes cutesy infographics) is all about mapping metadata. Here’s yet another example that this might really be the trend: Like the Average Commute Times project, Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks uses public data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey to map median household incomes per census tract. Thanks to this simple tool, it’ll be a lot easier to convince my wife to get a job when she sees that we make less than our neighbors.
Data science and analysis is fascinating because it provides the tools to describe the world around us in a measurable way. The other reason the field is so appealing to me is its power to shed light on the injustices and inequalities that continue to plague us – something that many of us already know but don’t realize to what degree.
A video called Wealth Inequality in America provides a startling look at the huge disparity between the haves and everyone else.
Of course, like a good “liberal”, the creators of the video have provided links to source references:
- It’s the Inequality, Stupid [Mother Jones, March/April 2011 issue]
- Building a Better America: One Wealth Quintile at a Time [Dan Ariely & Mike Norton, Jan. 2011]
- How Unequal We Are: The Top 5 Facts You Should Know About The Wealthiest One Percent Of Americans [Think Progress, Oct.3, 2011]
- CEO pay is 380 times average worker’s – AFL-CIO [CNN Money, April 19, 2012]