Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mapping social data

Fig. 1. Household income inequality (US Census 2000 link)

Fig. 2. Poverty rates (US Census Data 2000 link)

Fig. 3. 60 day bank card delinquency -- Q1 2008 (Federal Reserve Bank link)

Fig. 4. 90 day mortgage delinquency -- Q1 2008 (Federal Reserve Bank link)

It's interesting to look at each of these data maps in detail. The comparisons of patterns are very revealing. Figure 4 is the most familiar to us -- it shows the geographical distribution of the mortgage crisis across the country. California and Florida aren't a surprise; but there are other hot spots across the country. For example, the "rust belt" of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana shows a pretty dense set of high mortgage delinquency counties. But then consider the next crisis that may be coming -- consumer credit default. Here again the spatial patterns are interesting. Mississippi and Louisiana jump off the map on the poverty and inequality maps, and on the bank card default map as well. And then you can compare these state-by-state patterns with the top two figures, mapping poverty and inequality across the counties of the United States. And, finally, it's interesting to compare all these patterns of economic distress -- with the pattern of blue and red counties in the 2000 Presidential election.

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