Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gay hotspot?

Some maps recently caught my attention. Yes, I like maps.

The first is based on the latest US Census data collected last spring. It shows population change for the country and by state for every census since 1910. Yup, in the 2010 data Michigan is the only state to lose population. There is also data on population density and congressional apportionments. Roll your mouse over a state to see the graph for that state.

The second map can be a real time-waster. The New York Times put together Census data (estimates) from 2005-2009 to show population density and race (at least the categories in the 2000 census). When zoomed way in it has one dot for every 25 people, meaning one can see racial data almost per block (though I'm puzzled about the dots in the park across the street from my parent's house). Sliding the mouse over the map will show racial percentages for census tracts or counties. When zoomed out it has one dot for every 25,000 people. In this view there are large sections of the country with very few dots -- some counties in Wyoming have only 15,000 residents and don't get a dot.

There are also maps showing other kinds of data. Of course, I took a look at the percentage of households with same-sex couples. Amazingly, the hotspot for gay couples in the Detroit area isn't Ferndale (3%) or Royal Oak (4%) but Ecorse (14%). Ecorse? Goodness, the famous Castro district in San Francisco is only 17% gay couples.

And the third is from Facebook. One of the interns at the company drew lines on a global map representing the friend network of it's half billion users. The eastern half of the US and Europe are quite bright, South America and Africa are vague outlines with a few bright spots, only the eastern edge of Australia plus Perth are lit up, and, other than India, Asia is almost completely missing.

The world population is expected to reach 7 billion by the end of the year. National Geographic has started a series of articles about that milestone (one that should be observed, but not commemorated). My dad showed me the first of those when I visited at Christmas. As part of that, National Geographic created a 3 minute video about the growth in population.

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