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Data Visualization Types & Levels

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Data Display (shaded, dot density, and bubbles):

The data can be displayed as a shaded areas map (the default as shown), or, for many variables, as a dot density or bubble map.  You can select which type of map you want from the Visualization type menu options. 


Each type has an explanation and can be clicked from the list.  In this example, the legend notes that one dot represents 50,000 African Americans.  


Data Vizualization 3


You can change the dot number and color using the menu on the right.




You can also select the bubbles option, which shows another way of visualizing the data. 


Data Vizualization 2


Here you can see that the sizes of the bubbles vary from county to county.  The bubbles can represent the number of African Americans, or the percent of African Americans. 


Geographic Selector:

You can control the geography detail display from the menu next to the zoom tool.  It automatically adjusts depending on your zoom level, or you can change the level shown manually. 


Data Vizualization 4


For example, you may want to see county-level data for a map of the entire United States to get a better sense of how the population is distributed. Social Explorer can even display data at the census tract level for a nationwide map.  (If you override the automatic geography level, you will see a gray padlock appear.)



Now, users can explore data by ZCTA5 (zip codes), School Districts (UNSD, SCSD, ELSD), Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA) and Congressional Districts.

  • ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) are approximate area representations of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) ZIP Code service areas.
  • Public Use Microdata Areas are Census Bureau sample tabulation areas containing at least 100,000 people.
  • School Districts come in three layers: Unifited School District (UNSD); Secondary School District (SCSD); and Elementary School District.
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas contain core urban areas of 50,000 people or more. They consist of one or more counties in the core area as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. (For example, the New York City metro contains parts of New Jersey as well.)