Having worked with demographic data for years (as a writer and artist) I have acquired some ability to manipulate and read spreadsheets in order to derive meaning from them. Full time demographers and other researchers have honed the same skills, but for most of us, nothing can compare to the near-instantaneous glance that visual display can provide.
To provide a beautiful example check out The Global Flow of People, an intereactive infographic that depicts the migration of humans to and from world regions,developed at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital. Researchers Nikola Sander, Guy J. Abel & Ramon Bauer working with designer Elvira Stein used color and shape to create a powerful display of complex data.
So many stories can be told from this one elegant piece of work, representing volumes of data presented it for our minds to readily digest. Here’s just one: the changing patterns in emigration in South Asia by 5-year increments.
This timeframe spans the ‘War on Terror’ as well as the rise of India as a competitive economy. There are dozens of insightful relationships to inquire about, just from this one slice of the data. Why is there an uptick in emmigration to Iran from Europe in 1995-2000 and from the US in 2000-2005? Who are the South-east Asians who are moving into Bangladesh?
Visit the interactive master post to experiment with the original interactive graphic where you can which will examine a single region, break out by country, and show data from four different 5-year time frames.