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Seoul’s Steamy Summer (Updated)

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Korea, Weather

Note: I followed my wife, a foreign correspondent for NPR News, to Seoul last year. This is one of a series of posts exploring our adopted country’s demographics, politics and other nerdy data stuff. Let me know if you have ideas for future posts.

I’ve been away from Seoul for much of the summer, but now that I’m back it’s impossible not to hear all the complaining — among expats and locals alike — about the heat.

They have a point, at least in terms of their expectations. This summer has indeed been hotter than usual, especially this month, when the daily low temperature on one recent day actually exceeded the average high. (I updated the chart on Aug. 24).

Historically, the air begins cooling slightly in August. Not so this year…

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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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How Immigration is Animating the ‘Brexit’ Vote, in Four Charts

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, News, Policy & Politics

Immigration to the United Kingdom has risen sharply in recent years, and it’s fueling the debate about Britain’s looming “Brexit” vote on whether to leave the European Union.

Many supporters advocating a “leave” vote on June 23 believe it’s best the best way to control Britain’s borders, which under E.U. rules have been opened to workers from other member nations.

The Brussels-based union has in recent years expanded to Eastern European nations, and residents from the those countries have flooded the U.K., population 64 million, newly released data shows. That’s stoked fears that the its traditions and values are changing. Others say the influx of outside residents keeps Britain’s economy relatively strong.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics tracks the ebb and flow of people each year. I’ve charted the figures ahead of the vote.

Air Quality in Seoul, China, U.S.

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Korea, News

The view from our apartment in Seoul. Some days are better than others.

The view from our apartment in Seoul. Some days are better than others.

The air quality in Seoul — a mega city home to 70,000 taxis and 10 million residents — can get rough at times, especially for people already sensitive to pollution. It’s been an adjustment for my family, though it could be worse.

We could live in Beijing or Shanghai.

This chart, from a recent work collaboration with my wife, shows the number of days in 2015 that the pollutant PM2.5 reached certain health thresholds in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality index. It compares Seoul to Beijing and Shanghai in China and New York and Los Angeles in the U.S.

Seoul isn’t terrible — but it isn’t great, either:

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Charting a Sky-High Electricity Bill

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Korea, Weather

What of the biggest surprises about moving to Seoul, South Korea — aside from the impenetrable language and other cultural adjustments — was the pricey cost of electricity.

The monthly power bills in our high-rise apartment, which doesn’t have western-style central air conditioning, have been shockingly expensive — and not just in the summer months.

In the past year the bills have totaled nearly 8 million won, or about $6,500, for power. The building also adds on a host of fees, from common-area electricity charges to trash collection. Those have totaled an additional 5 million won, or $4,000. Ouch.

Seoul is relatively mild during the summer, much like Washington, D.C., but it still gets sticky from June through August. So we ran the ceiling air units in each room a lot. Way too much, apparently.

Here’s a chart for the energy portion of bill, which spiked markedly as summer temperatures last year began to rise.

A Century Of Global Plane Crashes

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: News

Investigators still want to know what caused a civilian airliner to crash Tuesday morning in the French Alps. The incident, which likely killed 144 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320 destined for Germany, is one of at least 17 major crashes this year, according to the Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives.

The group maintains a detailed database of each crash back to 1918, the early days of flight, allowing users to search 22,000 cases by year, operator, plane type and cause, among several other variables. This one is at least the 18th involving an Airbus A320, according to the database.

The chart below shows the number of crashes catalogued by the group during that time. You can see a spike in 1944, during World War II, when many military aircraft went down in battle, resulting in more than 4,300 casualties:

Since then, the number of crashes peaked in 1978 and has declined over time. There were about 120 crashes last year, according to the bureau’s records.

Charting Partisan Polarization in Congress

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

The Fix today has a post about the newly released digital version of Vital Statistics on Congress, a partnership between between a few think tanks that contains reams of enlightening data about the institution.

Among the more interesting examples is a table showing the partisan polarization over the years. Chris Cillizza’s take:

There is, really, only one thing you need to understand if you want to see why Congress doesn’t do much of anything these days. And that one thing is this: We are living in a time of historic polarization between the two parties.

It’s clear from the chart in the report that the parties are as far apart as they’ve been in the modern era:

Birthday Heatmap Born Again

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

Last year on my birthday I created a quick heatmap visualizing birthdays by their rank on the calendar. Despite its flaws, the graphic went viral by The Daily Viz standards, receiving a quarter million views.

Most of the attention came in the month of May 2012. But what’s been interesting is its long-tail appeal. Every few months or so my traffic spikes — and I always know why. It has been viewed 100,000 times in the last year. This chart from Google Analytics shows the spikes, including one in recent days thanks to links from Radiolab and io9.

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Last fall, around the time that birthdays are most common, my wife and I had a baby, Eva, and I’ve found it difficult to keep this blog “daily” while also focusing on my day job. I’m using this most recent traffic spike as inspiration to get blogging again.

I hope, someday soon, to create something that’s more popular than that silly heatmap. Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter for updates.

Charting NFL Injuries

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The Washington Post has a fascinating story today about NFL players and injuries, with the local peg being Robert Griffin III’s knee injury. The gist:

Interviews with more than 50 doctors, players, agents, owners and medical ethicists suggest that what the NFL Physicians Society calls the game’s “unique clinical challenges” can result in inconsistent standards in treating players and cause some doctors to depart from best medical practices and safety norms.

These charts, which visualize the league’s injury reports over time, accompanied the story:

NFL injuries: 2010

U.S. Breastfeeding Rates By Duration, Race/Ethnicity Over Time

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

Early this month, the Centers for Disease Control released a study analyzing breastfeeding in America, noting that the percentage of babies who were breastfed increased by four points from 2000 to 2008.

But the study showed that less than half of women were still breastfeeding after six months, the period recommended by American pediatricians. This is likely because doing so after returning to work is difficult (as my wife is experiencing now) for mothers.

Slate has more:

Breast-feeding increased across all racial groups as well, though black women still lag far behind Latinos and white women. Over 75 percent of both white and Latino infants who were born in 2008 were breast-fed, while the number of black infants breast-fed the same year was under 60 percent. Researchers checked back in with moms of 2008 babies at six and nine months, and at both points the percentage of black babies breast-feeding was much lower than the percentage of white and Latino babies.

These simple slopegraphs attempt to show the trends using the CDC’s data:

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