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’s 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.

Screenshot 2016-06-30 09.04.23

Charting New York City’s Changing Borough Population, Over Time

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

I woke one recent morning at 5 a.m. obsessing about, of all things, the people of New York City — specifically how the population is distributed among the five boroughs: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. And how that’s changed over time.

I had a general idea. But my nerd brain needed to know for sure. So I went to Wikipedia for data. These charts show the total population, by borough, since 1790.

This chart shows how the proportion of New York City residents in each borough has shifted over time. Decades ago, Manhattan was the center of population. Not anymore, of course:

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Editing O.J. Simpson: Charting Changes to His Wikipedia Page

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, News, Sports

I’ve just finished watching ESPN’s fabulous O.J.: Made in America, a five-part documentary about the Hall of Fame football player.

Somewhere in the process of digesting this latest — and, perhaps, best — telling of O.J.’s story, I scoured Wikipedia for details about his life. I discovered that the page has been edited more than 4,000 times since it went up in 2003, back when Wikipedia user “Vera Cruz” posted the first biographical snippet.

Since then, users have slowly edited — and vandalized — the current bio’s 5,000 words, a process I’ve charted below.

Charting Baby Gender, Birth Date

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

My wife and I had friends over last night, and we asked 20* of them to guess a few critical stats about our impending baby (among the reasons this blog hasn’t exactly been “daily” lately).

Here’s how they guessed on birth date (the official due date is Sept. 24):

They were split on gender (we’re waiting for the surprise):

The average guess on weight was 7 lbs, 7 ounces, btw.

We removed one friend’s entry because, frankly, 27 pounds is an outlier.

Charting SCOTUS Decisions Over Time

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release rulings on key cases over the next week, including the much-awaited decision on the Affordable Care Act.

The court has seen its workload decrease over the last 50 years. Last year, for example, the court issued just 71 rulings, the fewest since at least 1946, the earliest date in the Supreme Court Database. (It decided 197 cases in 1967). This chart shows the trend over time:

 

Charting Post Offices

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

The U.S. Postal Service is still struggling to compete in an era of declining paper mail, and as private industry and Congress have resisted its efforts to reform, according to this story in today’s The New York Times.

The agency’s troubles, which could result in the closing of thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail processing centers as early as next month, have many sources. Some are the inevitable result of technological changes, and others are the result of missteps by the Postal Service.

But top Postal Service officials and outside experts say that another, underappreciated factor has been an insistence by Congress that the service not compete directly with private companies, even as companies like FedEx and U.P.S. have encroached on the Postal Service’s turf.

This chart shows the historic growth, and recent decline, in the number of post offices:

See larger version | Data source: USPS

Tiger’s Worst Masters

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The Associated Press captures the performance well:

Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National as a favorite to win his fifth green jacket. Instead, he left with his worst score as a pro.

This chart, made with data from the Augusta Chronicle, shows his four-round average scores at the Masters since he turned pro in 1997. This year was the highest (which, in golf, if a bad thing):

It should be noted that weather conditions vary each year. Tiger finished second in 2007 when low temperatures and wind made scoring difficult, for example. Still, it’s a general indicator of performance. Another measure is the leader board position: Tiger finished 41st this year, by far his worst effort.

Tiger’s Tee Troubles

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Tiger Woods struggled off the tee yesterday at the Masters, a key reason he’s tied for 29th in a tournament in which many picked him as the favorite.

Tiger’s driving accuracy has also contributed to the general decline in his performance since its peak in 2000. He’s looked better this season, though, leading to his first PGA Tour win since 2009 two weeks ago. 

This chart shows his driving accuracy over time, according to tour statistics

Here’s how Woods’ performance yesterday compares to his career — and the rest of the field at the Masters: 

See driving accuracy for all players on tour since 1980. 

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NFC vs. AFC: Charting Four Decades of ‘Pro Bowl’ Scores

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The two NFL conferences have split victories almost evenly in their annual Hawaii showdown/snoozefest known as the Pro Bowl, with the NFC holding a 21-20 record against the AFC. This chart, perhaps as interesting as the game itself, shows how the two sides have scored over the years: 

Larger version | Data source: Wikipedia