Charting Olympics Participation

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The summer Olympics begin in just over two weeks. The quadrennial event has continued to grow over the years, with more than 200 countries and 10,000 athletes competing in 2008. Here’s how participation has changed over time:

As the event continues to grow, women are being included at higher rates. The last time the Olympics were held in London, about 10 percent of participants were female. In 2008, they made up more than 40 percent. Here’s the trend over time:

Source: Sports Reference LLC

How Common Is Your Birthday?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

UPDATE: I’ve written a clarification about this post here. Please read it

A friend posted an interesting data table on my Facebook wall yesterday, which was my birthday. The data listed each day of the year with a ranking for how many babies were born in the United States on each date from 1973 to 1999. Some interesting trends are evident in the data. Apparently, people like to make babies around the winter holiday season because a large proportion of babies are born in September (ours is due Sept. 24, btw).

Sept. 16 was most common. Feb. 29* was least common. This heatmap is an effort to visualize the trends, with darker shades representing more births:

Data source: NYTimes.com, Amitabh Chandra, Harvard University

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* A previous version of this post incorrectly listed Jan. 1 as the least common birth day. 

Which European Soccer Leagues Have The Most Per-Match Goals?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Has European football gotten increasingly boring over the years? If you like offense, perhaps.

Since the mid-1950s, fewer and fewer goals on average have been scored per match. The trend is evident among the major national leagues (Spain, Italy, England and Germany) and also the Champions League, in which the best teams from each country compete for a European title.

Goals per match in the latter championship, formerly known as the European Cup, are down the most (-39%) since 1955 — followed by Spain’s La Liga (-30%), England’s Premier League (-14%) and Italy’s Serie A (-9%). Per-match goals in Germany’s Bundesliga are down 21% since 1964, the earliest data available.

This chart, made in Adobe Illustrator, attempts to the visualize the trend: 

Data Source: worldfootball.net

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