American Consumers Spend More Money On Cheese than On Computers

Posted to Infographics  |  Tags:  |  Nathan Yau

In a deviation from the usual pie chart and standard tree map, this graphic from The New York Times resembles something of a stained glass window – a really pretty piece of work. Amanda Cox, with Matthew Bloch and Shan Carter, designed the interactive graphic that lets you explore how American consumers spend their money.

Did you know that Americans spent more on cheese (0.3%) than on computers (0.2%)? Mmm, nothing like a block of smoked cheddar and some cracked pepper water crackers. I digress.

Click on the spending categories to zoom in and center on sections and scroll over for more details. Colors show change in prices between March 2007 and March 2008 while the size of each section represents percentage of spending.

Voronoi Treemaps

The implementation is an application of the Voronoi Treemap (pdf) from Balzer and Deussen, introduced at InfoVis 2005. In a nutshell, the Voronoi treemap algorithm allows a use of polygons, as opposed to the rectangles that you’re used to seeing. The use of polygons helps take care of some of the problems with aspect ratio and hierarchical relationships when limited to rectangles.

Really nice results:

Voronoi Treemap

In any case, it’s nice to see this researchy stuff applied to really interesting data and done with the style that we’ve learned to expect from The Times graphics department.

Favorites

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower. Salary also probably plays a role.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.