Social Explorer was first conceived of in 1999 to break down the barriers to demographic visualization and large-scale data analysis.
With support from the National Science Foundation and The New York Times, the Social Explorer team developed a sophisticated
data system and a simple online interface to give users access to comprehensive data and interactive tools. Thanks to Social Explorer, demographic research that
used to require a massive technical infrastructure and sophisticated software training to accomplish could now be done with a few simple clicks in a web browser.
The site first launched in 2003 and became available by subscription in 2007. Social Explorer users from around the globe have created over 10 million maps since 2008.
In 2009, Social Explorer partnered with Pearson Education to create interactive mapping and reporting activities for 22 of the
most popular university sociology textbooks. The following year, Social Explorer was named an "Outstanding Reference Source" by the Reference and User Services Association,
a division of the American Library Association. (Social Explorer was the sole online-only research tool featured among the awardees.) The New York Times routinely cites
Social Explorer data in news articles and relies on the website and team’s expertise to create maps and graphics. Social Explorer has also been featured in numerous media
outlets, including WNYC New York Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio, Very Short List, Gotham Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, New York 1 TV, The Huffington Post,
The Brooklyn Ink, and Italian and Swedish television.
Since 2010, Social Explorer has been distributed by Oxford University Press. Click here for more information about becoming a subscriber.
Building on years of data and technological experience, the Social Explorer team launched a new version of the site in 2013. Our upgraded map engine delivers dynamic visualizations with new levels of interactivity, customization, and speed. This new system also makes collaboration easier, and supports the infrastructure key to growing our data and tools well into the future.
Social Explorer is led by Andrew A. Beveridge, a Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School. Since 1993, he has served as a consultant to the New York Times on issues of demographic and social change, and frequently testifies as an expert witness on demographic patterns and analyses. In 2007, Beveridge received the American Sociological Association’s Public Understanding of Sociology Award in recognition of his efforts to bring social scientific perspectives to the public understanding of contemporary issues.