“A Gulf Between Red and Blue”

Ranking the states by social and economic indicators…


We identify blue states as the 18 that supported the Democratic candidate in the last four presidential elections, and red states as the 22 that backed the Republican candidate (alternative definitions yield similar results). If you compare averages, blue states are substantially richer (even adjusting for cost of living) and their residents are better educated.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com

Charting Taiwan’s Sea of Scooters

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Taiwan

Scooters at a Taipei intersection. Credit: Quatro Valvole/Wikimieda

Scooters at a Taipei intersection. Credit: Quatro Valvole/Wikimieda

I’m in Taiwan this month to study Mandarin. During breaks, I’ll be posting occasionally about the island nation’s demographics, politics and (sticky) weather.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the streets of Taiwan — other than the excellent food, sweet people and formidable humidity, of course — is the constant buzz of scooters. They are everywhere — and loud and perhaps a little unsafe.

That’s true even in Taipei, the capitol region, which has a world-class subway system and yet about 1 million motorcycles on the roads (as opposed to roughly 800,000 cars and trucks).

It turns out there’s a proportionally startling number of motorcycles, as the government classifies them, on the roads across this country: More than 13 million in nation of just 23 million.

Most homes have them, for example:

And there are nearly twice as many motorcycles on the roads than cars and trucks, according to the government:

Though the rate of motorcycles per 1,000 population is declining:

Charting Taiwan’s Low Birth Rate, Aging Population

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

I’m in Taiwan this month to study Mandarin. During breaks, I’ll be posting occasionally about the island nation’s demographics, politics and (sticky) weather.

Like other East Asian democracies, such as South Korea and Japan, Taiwan has a rapidly aging population, posing demographic and economic challenges for policy makers.

One reason for the age increase is that Taiwan has among the lowest birth rates in the world. These charts highlight the trend.

“If You Can’t Follow Directions, You’ll End Up on Null Island”

“People talk about it as a mythological place—being banished to Null Island,” said cartographer Tim St. Onge at the U.S. Library of Congress, which houses eight million maps in its collection. “It is a recognized location in geographic information systems where errors end up.”


Every day, countless people seeking digital directions on their computers and smartphones are diverted to an isolated spot on the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 miles or so off the coast of Africa, where the Prime Meridian and the equator intersect. It’s called Null Island.

Read more at: www.wsj.com

“Gun Deaths In America”

“The U.S. gun homicide rate is less than 4 per 100,000. For young black men, it is 73.5…”


The data in this interactive graphic comes primarily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Multiple Cause of Death database, which is derived from death certificates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is widely considered the most comprehensive estimate of firearm deaths.

Read more at: fivethirtyeight.com