Charting Border Agents, Apprehensions

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

The U.S. Border Patrol told Congress on Tuesday that the number of apprehensions along the Mexican border was at a 40-year low. The trend prompted the agency to propose a new national strategy, the Associated Press reports:

For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again…. The new approach is more nuanced. Outlined in a 32-page document that took more than two years to develop, agents will now draw on intelligence to identify repeat crossers and others perceived as security threats, said Fisher.

This chart shows how the number of apprehensions has changed each year since 1925. The last time agents apprehended fewer people, Richard Nixon was in the White House (view larger version):

The number of apprehensions is down, experts believe, thanks in part to aggressive enforcement in recent years. This chart shows how the number of agents has increased substantially in the last 20 years (view larger version):

Data source: Border Patrol | Download

Visualizing Gas Prices by State, Income and Time

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance

Gas prices risen for the eighth straight day, part of a trend that’s driven the cost up 17% this year, according to AAA data reported by CNN Money:

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose for the eighth straight day on Saturday to $3.835. That is now only about 7% below the record high of $4.11 from July 2008.

CNN mapped the gas prices data by state: 

CNN also created a map illustrating the percentage of residents’ income spent on gas by state. Mississippi residents spend almost 12 percent of their income on gas, for example:  

This line chart uses Bureau of Labor Statistics data (not adjusted for inflation) to show the trend over my lifetime:

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Visualizing Foursquare

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Social Media

I’m generally obsessed with Foursquare, the location-based service that allows users to broadcast their travels to friends. I’ve checked in more at more than 1,100 places since joining the service in February 2010, apparently more often on weekends:

But not so much in May:

And on three continents:

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Charting ‘Mass Layoffs’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Economy & Finance

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that employers in December conducted roughly 1,380 “mass layoffs,” incidents in which more than 50 workers lose their jobs. That happened to about 145,000 Americans last month, according to new filings for unemployment benefits. 

That figure seems high, but compare it to February 2009, the height of the recession. Back then more than twice as many mass layoffs occurred, affecting 326,000 employees — including 145,000 in the manufacturing sector alone. 

This quick chart, made with Google Docs, shows how these incidents have slowly declined over the months since (see larger, interactive version): 

This chart shows how such incidents spiked in 2001 and 2009 — years in which the U.S. economy struggled (see larger, interactive version): 

Download data

Gallup: Cain Up. Perry Down.

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I’m a bit shocked by this latest polling detail from Gallup about the GOP presidential field: 

The upward trend continues in Republicans’ ratings of presidential candidate Herman Cain, as does the downward trend in their ratings of Rick Perry. Cain’s Positive Intensity Score has increased to 34 among Republicans familiar with him, while Perry’s has dropped to 7 in Gallup’s latest update. Cain’s score is the best any candidate has registered during the campaign this year.

This chart shows how that score — the percentage of survey respondents with strongly favorable opinions of the candidates minus those with strongly negative opinions — has changed over time. Perry has dropped dramatically among Republicans who recognize him since Gallup began tracking him in July:

Meanwhile, Cain has steadily increased his name recognition among the GOP surveyed by Gallup: 

Download the data