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Cultural Choropleth: The Power of “AND”



Some pretty cool pictures of Americana can be created by combining various demographic data.  We made a viewer that lets users push and pull various measures to see which counties fit the bill.  There are five categories: Population, Age, Ethnicity, Polictical, and drum roll…Income.  This composite application lets users create super-specific queries because they can refine US counties based on any combination of these data categories.  The power of AND.


Here are all of the counties of the United States color-shaded by Population Density (how crowded).  As you would expect, counties with big cities in or near them tend to have lots of people living there.  I have set the data-range handles to include all counties and have chosen Population as the coloring method.

Here I have isolated counties with an average family size of three or more.  Right away I can see cultural patterns emerge across the US.  Counties in Utah and southern California tend to have larger families.  See for yourself.

Right away, you can get a sense for the fun of pushing and pulling demographic data and seeing the affected counties pop into the map.

But honestly, don’t we all really want to see how people vote and how much they make?  The answer is yes…


In this image, the counties are being color shaded by the election results of 2004 along a color range of red to blue.  As you might guess, redder counties are more Republican, bluer counties are more Democrat. 

Here I have set the range handles to only show the counties that went Republican in 2004.  The redder the county, the more Republican it is.

The Midwest is friendly territory for Republicans.  Not so in New England, along the Mississippi, or coastal California.

Note, however, how many counties are Republican.  It was a pretty close race, so what is the deal?  Many of the counties have relatively small population densities.  The overall number of Republican counties is much much more than Democrat, but the Democrat counties tend to have more people in them.  There is a strong correlation between population density (above) and Democrats.

Here are the counties that went to the Democrats in 2004.  If you live next to a large body of water (except the Great Salt Lake), your county probably voted for John Kerry in 2004. 



Here, all counties are included but the thematic shading is set to Average Income in the year 2000.  Greener counties have greater average incomes.

These counties average $50,000 or greater.

These average $25,000 and less.

These counties earn an average income of greater than $60,000 and voted Republican.

Here are $60,000 or greater that voted Democrat.

Now those $60,000 counties that also have a relatively older population…

If I am selling retirement plans, I might consider targeting my advertising dollars in these counties.

Are you kidding?

Which county is largely urban, relatively multi-ethnic, moderately wealthy and left-leaning?

Try it out here: http://demo.idvsolutions.com/apps/censusdemo/flash/index.html

John Nelson / IDV Solutions / john.nelson@idvsolutions.com



5 responses

  1. Unknown

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    August 25, 2008 at 7:52 am

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