Are People in Colder Countries Taller? (Continued…)

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Weather

Earlier this week I posted two scatterplots examining the relationship between a country’s average temperature and its male residents’ average height. The data show some correlation, but there probably are several of other factors affecting height as well.

The earlier plots shaded the country dots by income and region, allowing more context about the groupings of countries (hint: Europe is colder and taller).

This next version, however, proportionally sizes the dots by population, adding another layer of context (or perhaps unnecessary complexity).

Are People in Colder Countries Taller?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Weather

I got married in Amsterdam. One thing I remember most about my time in The Netherlands is the obvious height of the locals. Both men and women, generally, are quite tall.

A new study supports my anecdotal observation. Dutch men are the tallest people in the world (women there are second), followed closely by some of their European neighbors. People in Southeast Asian and African countries are, on the other hand, shorter.

I’ve always wondered why the Dutch are so tall. Is it their dairy-rich diet, perhaps? Or could there be a correlation between the lower average temperatures in Northern Europe and its apparent height advantage? Are people taller in colder countries?

The answer is … sort of.

Charting Clinton’s Sizable Lead in Votes

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Policy & Politics

This post has been updated. See correction at the bottom of the page.

To some Bernie Sanders supporters, the Democratic presidential race must seem close. Their candidate, after all, has essentially split victories with Hillary Clinton in the more than 30 election primaries and caucuses since the process began in February — including several in a row recently.

Clinton, their thinking goes, may have a lead in pledged delegates for the nomination, but her sizable and (for now) critical lead among party leaders known as “superdelegates” could crumble if the Vermont senator continues winning.

Anything’s possible. But Clinton has already secured many, many more votes than the Vermont senator and, party rules and delegate grappling aside, is absolutely dominating the race in terms of raw support. This trend is likely to continue with large, Clinton-friendly states coming up, and it could undercut Sanders supporters’ “will of the voters” hypothesis going forward.

Clinton has won roughly 9.4 million votes, compared to Sanders’ 7 million, according to returns from U.S. states. Along the way she’s posted huge victories. Her margin in Florida alone (530,000 votes) is about the same as Sanders’ margin in his victories combined.

Here are a few quick sketches (see correction below) that help illustrate this fact. First, let’s look at their states on a scatter plot to explore not just the number of victories for each candidate but the size of their respective states — and the relative victory margins:


Here’s a similar view in the form of a bubble chart (or, Alastair Dant would say, “BALLS!”):


And, finally, two maps. Again they show the large margins — and geographic differences — evident Clinton’s victories:


UPDATE: A Twitter user suggested I look at the data with time in mind. Not sure it proves his point, but here’s another sketch:


The charts were made with Tableau Public, a useful tool for sketching with data. You can see interactive versions of the charts here: Scatter | Bubbles | Maps | Time.

(Correction: Some caucus states — Washington, Nevada, Maine and Wyoming — reported candidates’ proportional number of delegates selected to state conventions, not actual votes. The charts below now reflect margin estimates extrapolated from the total Democratic caucus participation by delegate share, like this. The charts were updated to reflect these estimates. The central idea of the post, and the overall popular vote margin difference between the candidates, remains virtually unchanged, however.)

Charting Obama’s Path

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

While in Europe I missed this excellent interactive graphic by Alicia Parlapiano and Amanda Cox of The New York Times. It plots 2008 presidential election results by state with adult residents’ higher education rates: 

Some Democrats believe Ohio may no longer be crucial to a 2012 election victory. Instead, states like Colorado and Virginia, with more highly educated voters, may be the Democrats’ must-win states.

I found the graphic, btw, while reading a post by Matthew Ericson — who works with Parlapiano and Cox — in which he argues that maps aren’t always the most effective method for displaying geographic information.

Comparing National Obesity

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I just noticed this cool tool by Alex Perez on that maps and charts American obesity by county. His interactive uses proportional symbols and colors to visualizes differences between, with larger bubble and darker reds representing increased obesity rates. Here’s Louisiana:


Selecting a county (or, in this case, a parish) highlights its corresponding distribution on scatter plots that compare the proportion of residents who smoke, or eat few vegetables, or don’t exercise. 

As you can see, Moorehouse Parish has a high obesity rate, in part because its residents aren’t lives that are as healthy as others: has posted other interactives like this in its developer showcase

Made with Tableau Public

Visualizing 2010 Movie Sales

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

This scatter plot shows how major Hollywood movies performed in 2010. The x-axis, from left to right, shows more money spent to make each movie. The y-axis, from bottom to top, shows more gross sales for each movie. I’ve filtered out movies that were below the median for budget and sales: about $20 million.

View larger version | View larger version with labels


Visualizing Congress

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

I just discovered the promising Clear Congress Project today, which visualizes legislative data by political party and other other variables in real time. A mission statement from the developer: 

With the expansion of the Internet and computing technologies, the amount of data generated and recorded has increased exponentially. Recently, government initiatives, non-profits, and news organizations have created easily accessible sources for the large amount of data created pertaining to government institutions. However, government organizations too often mistake access for transparency and news organizations have been reluctant to adopt innovative news delivery formats better designed for their new role as producers and distributors of not just stories but also data. Clear Congress Project (CCP) leverages real-time data sources and information visualization techniques to serve as a model that realizes transparency as a process beyond data access and offers a new format for news distribution.

(via Chip Oglesby)

World Internet Stats

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

The U.S. is among the most wired countries in the world, with three out of every four Americans having access to the Internet, according to these stats. Only Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom have higher rates of Internet use. 

This charts shows the top 25 most populous countries in the world, and plots the percentage of Internet users on the x axis (bottom), and the population of total Internet users on the y axis (left).

The U.S. is the orange dot. Notice that China, which has about 450 million users, still lags behind other counties in penetration rate. It’s the large dot at the top middle. So does India, the larger dot at the bottom left. (See an interactive version): 

Here’s the view as a map (see an interactive version): 

BTW: Iceland has the highest Internet penetration (98 percent). East Timor has the lowest rate (.2 percent). 

Source: Internet World Stats | Download data

Shaq’s Career Stats

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Shaquille O’Neal is ending his 19-year NBA career, according to his Twitter feed

Shaq ooout. #ShaqRetires

This scatterplot shows how the 7-foot-1 star’s field goal performance has declined over time, as O’Neal moved from Orlando to LA and, ultimately, Boston. The Y-axis shows the number of field goals made, and the X-axis shows his age (view the interactive version):

Use the drop-down menus to change views. This one shows that Shaq’s field goal percentage improved with age, even as his output declined: