Line Charts

Recent posts

Charting The Premier League Season

Last fall I posted some Tufte-inspired sparkline charts to visualize how Major League Baseball teams fared during the 2012 season.

I’ve created something similar for clubs in the English Premier League, where the season is winding down with Manchester United holding a strong lead in points. This chart shows how they’ve done it — by winning, not just drawing, with their opponents. United has 21 wins so far, while their cross-town rivals — Manchester City — have just 15.

Matches that end in draws are still important to a club’s success in the league, but I wanted to see their performance in wins and losses. The lines on the chart represent the total number of games over .500 for all 20 clubs. Click here to see the interactive version.

TheDailyViz

TheDailyViz

Charting Views On Gun Control

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows support among Americans for stricter gun control laws:

The massacre of children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., appears to be profoundly swaying Americans’ views on guns, galvanizing the broadest support for stricter gun laws in about a decade, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

This chart shows the trend:

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 7.52.30 AM

See the full graphic to see the interesting regional differences in Americans’ attitudes toward gun control.

Charting Americans’ Turkey Consumption Per Household: 1967-2012

Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving generally enjoy a good bird, myself included. But is that the case in some years more than others?

This chart shows turkey production (254 million this year) normalized by the number of households estimated each year by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the sixties, turkeys were produced at lower per-household rates than, say, the 1990s. We’re back down to about two turkeys per household now:

Who knows why this shift occurred. Perhaps diets changed, or people purchased more food in bustling economic times, like the 1990s, or we started importing turkey from China. Any ideas?

You can gobble up the turkey data here.

Charting MLB Standings With Tufte-Inspired Sparklines

Last week I attended a day-long session with Edward Tufte, the “Leonardo Di Vinci of data,” as The New York Times once dubbed him. The session has inspired me to take the blog off paternity leave. About time.

Inside Tufte’s book “Beautiful Evidence” is a section on “sparklines,” which are small, word-sized line graphs. The section includes a visualization of a baseball season, with lines for each team showing their day-to-day trends above or below the .500 line.

The line graphs I made below, inspired by Tufte’s sparklines on page 54, show each team’s progress in the 2012 season.

First, the National League West, which includes the eventual World Series winner San Francisco. The Giants passed Los Angeles around the middle of the season and never looked back. The chart also shows Colorado’s steep collapse at the end:

Now the National League East, in which Washington led for most of the season and Philadelphia closed strong to finish its season above the .500 win-loss line.

And the National League Central, in which Houston had a terrible season:

In the American League East, New York held off Baltimore’s surge after the all-star break, and Toronto and Boston collapsed in August and September:

Detroit overtook Chicago during the last days of the season in the American League Central:

In the American League West, Texas closed poorly finish second to late-surging Oakland:

Finally, I added all the teams to one graph to show the difference in team performance. This makes color-coding lines impossible, so I included a table with each squad’s over-under .500 figure. You can see how San Francisco performed in bold black:

Notes: The charts depict each day of the season, not each game. Also, the charts should be viewed separately. Because of the variance in each division, the y axes differ. I’ve uploaded the data to Google Docs. Feel free to download the file and send me visualizations of your own.

Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

The Viz On Paternity Leave

My wife Elise gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday, meaning it’s time for me to take a guilt-free vacation from the blog, which I’ve been neglecting already in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, here’s a parting viz, showing the interval between her contractions as we labored from home. They began around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, coming and going erratically until the late afternoon.

At that point the contractions came every three minutes, our baseline for going to the hospital (that’s also when we stopped collecting data, which admittedly aren’t perfect because we missed a few contractions along the way). Baby Eva came three hours later.

See you soon…

Tracking Worldwide HIV Infections

This week Washington is hosting the International AIDS Conference, and one of my colleagues crafted this interactive to show how HIV infection rates differ by country and region.

The red lines below show the percentage of the adult population infected with the disease in Middle, Eastern and Southern Africa, regions in which about eight percent of the population is infected. In some countries, though, the rate is higher than 20 percent:

Is Mom More Important Than Dad?

Perhaps mom is more important online, at least according to Google’s Insights for Search. This chart shows search volume in the United States over the years for the words “mother” and “father,” suggesting that more people online want information about mothers:

Here’s a similar chart for “mother’s day” and “father’s day”. Same trend, though dad did OK last year:

President Obama’s Approval Ratings At Five-Month High

Better news for the president? Perhaps, according to USA Today

Obama’s approval ratings are higher than his disapproval ratings for the first time since July, according to the latest Gallup Poll. About 47% of Americans approve of the way he is doing his job, while 45% disapprove of his performance. The three-day tracking poll was conducted Dec. 21-23.

Interactive version | Download data

Google Searches and Layaway

A few weeks ago I got pummeled on Twitter for questioning the need for layaway, which was being touted heavily at the time by Wal-Mart.

I was persuaded by arguments that layaway doesn’t make sense in an era of big box stories that seem to have an endless supply of goods from China. It’s less important today, for example, to secure an early partial purchase of that bike for Timmy at the neighborhood mom-and-pop sporting goods store. Just got to Wal-Mart when you have enough cash, and there will likely still be bikes available

Some have also argued that layaway doesn’t make sense financially, given the fees Wal-Mart and other stores charge, as Cornell professor Louis Hyman explained last month in The New York Times

At first glance, the return of layaway makes sense. Fewer lower-income shoppers have access to the sort of credit they once did, and many can’t afford big purchases outright. And there is a moral appeal as well: customers paying layaway are effectively saving toward something, a reward they will receive only if they meet their goal, rather than paying off the debt on a purchase they have already made.

Nevertheless, as a financing option, layaway is decidedly worse than most credit cards. Imagine a mother going to Wal-Mart on Oct. 17 and buying $100 worth of Christmas toys. She makes a down payment of $10 and pays a $5 service fee. Over the next two months she pays off the rest. In effect, she is paying $5 in interest for a $90 loan for two months: the equivalent of a credit card with a 44 percent annual percentage rate, a level most of us would consider predatory.

He may be right, but that’s not really the point, which is that Wal-Mart knows its customers. If the retailer is buying national advertising to tout the return of layaway, people out in the country must be seeking it. There’s evidence of that, for example, in the phrases people enter into Google. 

This line chart, created with Google Insights for Search, illustrates search volume since 2004 for the phrase “layaway.” It’s on the rise since the economic downturn, and it’s spiked this holiday season: 

This map shows the states in which the search term is popular: 

View larger versions of both visualizations here, and let me know if you find anything interesting in the search trends for other terms.