I’ve had the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s take on the theme running periodically through my mind for a few days now, but looking at this map posted on the Bangor Daily News yesterday – describing county-level changes in female mortality – made me want to see even more maps:

For women, the scariest health map - Bangor Daily News - May 6, 2013

Since political and socio-economic variables are often describing social conditions as much as they are describing atomized, individual preferences, maps are an excellent, intuitive way to convey information about them. I have spent a lot of time looking at election maps and income maps. Let me link a couple in here so that you can see why they occurred to me.


I tried to make a map for median county income in the blue-red spectrum for these data using American Fact Finder, but kept getting timed out. You can still see the regional connections, fairly well, however.

The third map concerns Obama’s county-level performance in 2012.

obama 2012

There are both broad-stroke and more finely-grained points to observe across these three maps. The consistency of the coasts is what jumped out at me first, as a Northeasterner. However, I also find the relative diversity in wealth and health outcomes across the Midwest just fascinating.  I also had never paid such attention to the relatively urban band across the Southeast, which seems to track more strongly with health than with income. (I’m looking for the data right now to do a proper analysis, but I haven’t been able to get it yet. Will update when I do!)

What do you see in these maps?

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2 Responses to Maps

  1. And as long as I’m on your blog, here’s something interesting about that 3rd map you posted:

    • Emily Shaw says:

      That is an AWESOME post. I am 100% in agreement that maps reveal important social patterns and histories that get completely lost without the spatial representation. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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