Who gets what degree where?
March 17, 2017 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Educational Attainment in America. Kyle Walker used US Census data, OpenStreetMap, and some programming to produce the visualization.

You can zoom in and out, scroll across the continental states, and generate data on the fly.

More here.

The example of Boston.

On how the map reveals divides by class and race.
posted by doctornemo (28 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Manhattan is very blue.

Great visualization.
posted by clawsoon at 2:40 PM on March 17


Oh hey, another way that Chicago is ridiculously segregated (Austin blvd is stark)
posted by dinty_moore at 2:46 PM on March 17


Well, their data must be old, because the dot over my house is the wrong color. Though I did finish my graduate degree recently...
posted by The Power Nap at 2:52 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


There are at least four Ph.Ds on the street I grew up on, and none of them are indicated on the map.
posted by lagomorphius at 2:54 PM on March 17


Before this entire thread is filled with the comment "but my street is wrong", it's using a projection of neighborhood level data to spread out the dots. Dots are not meant to locate people on the map.
posted by neustile at 2:55 PM on March 17 [12 favorites]


Each dot is indicative of 25 people at the highest magnification. Also, I assume that not all of those 25 people are literally in that spot, just near that spot.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:56 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


"Who gets what degree where?"

This doesn't quite answer that question, actually; it shows who settles where with what degree. When I got all but one of my degrees, I had no association with the place where I now hold down a blue dot.

One of the interesting things to me about the Manhattan view is how it supports the perceived neighborhood divide on the UWS north of 96th St. West of Broadway the brokers still usually call UWS, east of Broadway to the Park usually "Manhattan Valley." This results in an increasingly comically narrow "UWS" peninsula stretching for like 15 blocks up to Harlem. There's a large NYCHA project right there on the eastern side, which must be associated with a lower level of formal educational attainment, but the dropoff in blue across Broadway still is really substantial.
posted by praemunire at 3:12 PM on March 17 [3 favorites]


I do wonder about the 25 graduate degree holders north of Bowbells, North Dakota.
posted by clawsoon at 3:12 PM on March 17


It could be some of the teachers in the county.
posted by Botanizer at 3:25 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Wow. Washington, D.C. has a blue streak that looks like the Potomac is a lake.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:30 PM on March 17


The divide between East Palo Alto and Palo Alto is as stark as the literal road (highway 101) that divides it.

And there's a little pop of red/yellow orange at the western end of the Richmond bridge in Marin and hello San Quentin.
posted by rtha at 6:36 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


I do wonder about the 25 graduate degree holders north of Bowbells, North Dakota.

Secret government lab.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:16 PM on March 17


I assume that not all of those 25 people are literally in that spot, just near that spot.

"25 PhD's all literally in that one spot" is San Francisco housing in a nutshell.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:55 PM on March 17 [4 favorites]


In the Twin Cities, at least, it's fascinating how the graduate degrees cluster around water.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 9:33 PM on March 17


I love how many college towns have a neighborhood called "College Hill" or "University Square" or somesuch, and sure enough, that's where they keep all the PhDs.
posted by potrzebie at 11:11 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Oof. I had a rough idea of where different concentrations would fall--but Philly, I did not expect you to be so obvious.
posted by schroedinger at 11:18 PM on March 17


Damn! there's a lot of red where I live. It's more common in the less-prosperous parts of the city, but it is liberally spread across my hometown. I had no idea. I'm a blue in a bright red state, so maybe I should have expected this. But for so many people around me to have so little education makes me deeply sad for them and for our society.
posted by bryon at 1:07 AM on March 18


Bryon, back when I was teaching, I remember being surprised to learn that--at the time, maybe 10 years ago--only 23% of adults in the US had bachelor's degrees. I also learned some stats about how that was skewed in urban areas (like, 55% of Seattle residents had bachelor's degrees, ca. 25% had graduate degrees, etc.).

With that kind of quick take, focusing on the higher concentration of degrees in cities, you sort of know that it means that the exurban areas are enriched with folks who aren't as well educated--but this map really lays it all out.

It's a breathtaking visualization.
posted by Sublimity at 4:20 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]


This is very fascinating. Growing up, I perceived a pretty large east-west divide and its not as pronounced as I had originally thought. However, my current city has a very pronounced east-west divide that was much stronger than I thought there was.

My one critique of the visualization is that the different series (dot colors) are layered consistently with red on the bottom and blue on top. This means that densely populated areas (relative to the size of the dots) will be biased, visually, towards higher educational levels because those dots will cover up the lower educational dots. The randomization of locations helps a bit, but some translucency or even dot specific randomized layering would help a bit.
posted by noneuclidean at 5:35 AM on March 18 [6 favorites]


Thanks for pointing that out, noneuclidean. It explains why, as mentioned above, Manhattan is nearly all blue in the visualization, when in fact only 28.4% have a graduate degree.
posted by enn at 5:48 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Be interesting to see how the colors on this map would compare with a map colored for housing costs.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:09 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


* Bannon fires up the 4-stroke gerrymandering machine *

Hopefully this gets into the Geometry of Redistricting class at Tufts
posted by drowsy at 7:44 AM on March 18


My neighborhood is looking pretty damn stark. Looks like I'm one of less than 25 graduate degrees here as we don't even rate a dot. Very interesting.
posted by COD at 8:11 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Most of my current neighborhood in the Bx. is red and orange, with a few yellow dots, which is sort of ironic as I live near a CUNY school. As for the one green dot, one of the people that dot represents is me, and I know of 6 or 7 bachelor's degree holders in the immediate area, but apparently there are a few more! Two of them are friends of mine. There's quite a few elderly people in the area (most of them live in the remaining Victorian houses), but it's mostly young immigrant families with children who live in the apartment blocks. I imagine many of the red dots indicate the kids. There are lots of children and teenagers around here. There were no blue dots.

I also checked out the block I grew up in in Milwaukee. Firstly I was surprised to learn it has a name now, Metcalfe Park, and secondly I was happy to see that there were more yellow dots to red and orange, a lot more than where I currently live. Unfortunately, there were no greens or blues. Since it's not at all a very nice area (I've seen the house I grew up in on Google Maps, and it's damn near collapsed as of 2015), that's not surprising.

Madison, where I got that bachelor's degree, is, as I expected, extremely blue and green on the isthmus and west side and more yellow and red south of Lake Monona.
posted by droplet at 8:13 AM on March 18


I imagine many of the red dots indicate the kids.

Dots represent people age 25+.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:45 AM on March 18


rabbitrabbit, here's some anecdata about that. I live in a suburb of Boston known for its good school system (with the inflated housing prices and property taxes that go with that.) My house is very near the city line and the neighboring town is much more affordable, with OK schools. When I zoom in on my neighborhood, I can squint and make out the path of the city boundary, where the concentrated blue stops.
posted by Sublimity at 7:22 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


The map shows ~30 dots in my census tract. Each dot is 25 people, so that's 750 people. Let's say my eyesight is poor. 50 dots * 25 people = 1250.

But the population of my tract is 2820 according to Census Reporter. The population over 25 is ~60%, so ~1700 people. What happened to the other 450-950 adults? That's a pretty significant error.
posted by AFABulous at 9:18 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


That Census Reporter link is really awesome! It looks like his data is coming right from the social section, which lists the same educational attainment categories and counts adults age 25+. For what its worth, when I zoomed to as close to my census tract as possible, the histogram on the map matched the Census Reporter data very closely. I also counted about 260 dots which is pretty spot on given the age distribution in my tract (although it is annoying that they break down educational attainment at age 25 but the population distribution has a 20-29 bucket, so you can't estimate nicely). The GitHub page says a manuscript is forthcoming which will contain the full methodology which will be very interesting to read.
posted by noneuclidean at 6:21 PM on March 21


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