Thursday, February 18, 2016

Educational Attainment in the States

In case the coverage of the 2016 presidential election didn't convince you, this might help you see why people in the rest of the country seem different somehow.

The data are from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, in 2012; this shows the educational attainment of adults 25-34 in that year.  Use the control at top right to pick a value to display on the map, and the states (represented by hex boxes here) change color to show the value you've chosen.  The bar chart also updates.

There are seven values:

  • Less than a HS Diploma shows the percentage of the population in that state aged 25-34 that did not complete high school
  • HS Diploma or Less shows the number above plus the percentage of people who have just a high school diploma
  • Exactly a HS Diploma shows just that: Everyone who graduated from high school but did not continue
  • HS Diploma or Higher is the percentage with at least a high school diploma, including everyone who went beyond that
  • Bachelor's Degree shows people who have just a BA or a BS
  • Bachelor's Degree or Higher and Graduate Degree should be self explanatory
Once you make a selection, the map and the bar chart update; both are color-coded with blue numbers lower and orange numbers higher.  Be careful with this: With low attainment rates, blue is presumably better (at least if you work in higher education); with higher attainment rates, orange is better.  Hover over a state to see the value, or look at the bar chart at the bottom, which displays the same data in a different format.

You may notice the map style; this is the first time I've used it, and I like it a lot.  It allows you to see values on small states that would otherwise get lost on traditional maps; and it allows Alaska and Hawaii to display just off the coasts without a lot of effort.  But I'd like to know what you think about them, too.