Author Archives: Matt Stiles

I'm a data journalist at The Wall Street Journal. Let me know if you have ideas for future visualizations. Contact me: mattstiles at gmail.

Someday I’ll Say Goodbye to Seoul. I Might Miss the Weather.

I’ve been in Seoul just over a year, and I can’t stay here forever, so I’m starting to think seriously about the next city. For me, a key consideration is weather (and, you know, work and kids’ schools and such).

Seoul’s been pretty great, especially the relatively mild summers. But what can I expect from the next town? Here are the average monthly temperatures for the likely contenders. Some are warmer than others:

weather

Or maybe one of these 269 places?

Data source: NOAA Comparative Climate Data

From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America’s Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850 – 2013


Skip to Content Top country of origin by state and year Top five foreign-born populations by country of origin (in millions) Total U.S. population 23.2 million Total foreign born 2.2 million Percent foreign born 9.7% Note: California Territory became a state in September 1850. Alaska did not become a U.S.

Read more at: www.pewhispanic.org

Charting the Popularity of ‘Hillary’

Despite her big win in New York, trouble looms for Hillary Clinton in the general election, according to a new poll that shows her favorable/unfavorable ratings at dangerously low levels among key demographic groups.

Clinton has seen her fair share of bad polls over the years, yet she’s found ways to rebound. The same can’t really be said about her first name, however.

Perhaps one measure of her favorability — if so, a cruel one — is the frequency with which American parents have decided to call their daughters “Hillary”. The name peaked historically the year her husband, Bill Clinton, won the White House. It then plummeted dramatically, according to Social Security card application data released by the federal government.

This chart shows the proportion of parents who picked “Hillary” since 1947, the presidential candidate’s birth year:

hillary

“Hillary” was most popular in 1992, when about 2,500 girls received the name — roughly .13 percent of those listed in the data that year. Two years later, only about 400 girls received the name, or about .02 percent. (“Hillary”, by the way, made a small but brief comeback in 2008).

The figures in both years seem low, given the size of the country. But remember that Americans get creative with their kids’ names. There were about 1.84 million girls who received Social Security cards in 1992, and their parents picked at least 15,000 different name iterations, from Aaisha to Zykeia. Ashley was most popular with about 38,000 applications (or roughly 2 percent of the listed names).

Perhaps Hillary would be slightly more popular if parents conformed (or could spell). In 1992, for example, a few hundred poor souls got these iterations of Clinton’s name: Hilliary, Hillery, Hillari, Hillarie and Hillaree. Also: Hilary.

My name — Matthew — has taken a roller coaster ride, too. It peaked in 1983, with about 50,000 boys receiving it — roughly 2.8 percent of the 1.8 million boys who received Social Security cards with that birth year. What caused the name’s rise? Perhaps I’ll never know, though my mother picked it not from the New Testament but from a John Denver song.

Thanks, Mom. (At least you spelled it correctly).

matthew

Want to see your name? Tell me in the comments.

“Shifting Parent Work Hours, Mom vs. Dad”


Articles about stay-at-home dads and parents with even work loads might make it seem like dads are putting in a lot of hours in the household these days. Are they? I was at the park with my son, and I overheard a couple of moms venting about how dads get too much credit for doing things that moms have always done.

Read more at: flowingdata.com

“A New Map for America”


THESE days, in the thick of the American presidential primaries, it’s easy to see how the 50 states continue to drive the political system. But increasingly, that’s all they drive – socially and economically, America is reorganizing itself around regional infrastructure lines and metropolitan clusters that ignore state and even national borders.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com

“The dirty little secret that data journalists aren’t telling you”

“Visualizing data is as much an art as a science. And seemingly tiny design decisions — where to set a color threshold, how many thresholds to set, etc. — can radically alter how numbers are displayed and perceived by readers.”


Take a look at the map above. It tells the story of a year’s population change in the United States, according to the latest Census data. It shows where the population is growing, like the coasts, the Sunbelt, and the oil fields of western North Dakota.

Read more at: www.washingtonpost.com

Charting Clinton’s Sizable Lead in Votes

This post has been updated. See correction at the bottom of the page.

To some Bernie Sanders supporters, the Democratic presidential race must seem close. Their candidate, after all, has essentially split victories with Hillary Clinton in the more than 30 election primaries and caucuses since the process began in February — including several in a row recently.

Clinton, their thinking goes, may have a lead in pledged delegates for the nomination, but her sizable and (for now) critical lead among party leaders known as “superdelegates” could crumble if the Vermont senator continues winning.

Anything’s possible. But Clinton has already secured many, many more votes than the Vermont senator and, party rules and delegate grappling aside, is absolutely dominating the race in terms of raw support. This trend is likely to continue with large, Clinton-friendly states coming up, and it could undercut Sanders supporters’ “will of the voters” hypothesis going forward.

Clinton has won roughly 9.4 million votes, compared to Sanders’ 7 million, according to returns from U.S. states. Along the way she’s posted huge victories. Her margin in Florida alone (530,000 votes) is about the same as Sanders’ margin in his victories combined.

Here are a few quick sketches (see correction below) that help illustrate this fact. First, let’s look at their states on a scatter plot to explore not just the number of victories for each candidate but the size of their respective states — and the relative victory margins:

scatter

Here’s a similar view in the form of a bubble chart (or, Alastair Dant would say, “BALLS!”):

bubbles

And, finally, two maps. Again they show the large margins — and geographic differences — evident Clinton’s victories:

maps

UPDATE: A Twitter user suggested I look at the data with time in mind. Not sure it proves his point, but here’s another sketch:

time

The charts were made with Tableau Public, a useful tool for sketching with data. You can see interactive versions of the charts here: Scatter | Bubbles | Maps | Time.

(Correction: Some caucus states — Washington, Nevada, Maine and Wyoming — reported candidates’ proportional number of delegates selected to state conventions, not actual votes. The charts below now reflect margin estimates extrapolated from the total Democratic caucus participation by delegate share, like this. The charts were updated to reflect these estimates. The central idea of the post, and the overall popular vote margin difference between the candidates, remains virtually unchanged, however.)