Data Visualization

This week for data visualization, I chose to compare the number of free versus enslaved people in the states during 1850, but also be able to separate each category by male or female. Initially, I was struggling with trying to find data that actually shows something. The first thing I was comparing free versus enslaved men and women of a specific age group, but I decided that was not enough. I wanted to provide more information. Flourish definitely comes with a learning curve but given the pdf document of instructions, I ended up figuring it out! It took me a while to realize there was a whole row of data that was not necessary and that was the reason my titles were not being displayed correctly in the legend. When I finally narrowed down the data I wanted to visualize, I realized the default setting for the graph did not show the data very well. I ended up choosing a stacked percent column graph. I really feel like this was a good way to represent every aspect of the data. It showed the respective compositions of each category and compared those with the other states in a pleasing way. Another visualization that could have worked was the stacked percent bar graph. The reason I did not choose this one was because it is a horizontal laying graph, and with the amount of states that the data shows, it is not pleasing to the eye. The bars are too thin, and the graph just goes too long. The stacked percent column graph was the perfect choice for representing this data.

It was interesting to see the major differences between the states. In some states, the majority of the population comes from free females, while in others the majority comes from enslaved females. It seems as though a lot of states share relatively the same percentage of enslaved male but, oppositely, a few states have a very low percentage of enslaved male. It is interesting to visual the major differences among the states. In my head, I never really took into account that some states would have more female or male populations, let alone the number of free or enslaved people be so drastically different. Looking further into the data, and grouping some of the categories together, you can notice that most states either have enslaved populations or free populations. If there is a mix of freed and enslaved in one given state, the lesser group accounts for an extremely small percentage of the total population.

This was a really interesting week! I am glad I found this data so intriguing beyond just looking at the graphs. Once I interpreted what the data was showing me, I found out some really cool things!

One thought on “Data Visualization

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your process of working through the data and building the visualization– it sounds like a stacked graph was the right choice to represent the different portions of data. Your thoughts on the differences in gender of enslaved populations brought an interested comparative lens to this data. I am really glad that you enjoyed this week and found Flourish to be an informative tool!

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