Shifting Incomes for Young People

Education seems to matter more these days.

Millennials’ income and baby boomers’ income. The story goes like so: The Millennial generation makes less now than the baby boomers did back when they were the same age as the Millennials, based on median personal income. I keep seeing the comparison pop up, but median says so little about the earnings of both generations.

So I grabbed the most recent annual data (2016) from the Current Population Survey and looked back fifty years to 1966. I split it up by people with a bachelor’s or higher and those with no bachelor’s degree.

We’re mainly interested in the top section for 18- to 34-year-olds, but I include 35 and older for reference.

Now imagine you have about 100 people from each group. Here are their incomes.

The median incomes for the younger groups are lower in 2016 than in 1966, as expected. The change is most noticeable for those without a bachelor’s degree. You can see the significant shifts left to right.

The differences for the other groups are much more subtle. For example, it’s interesting to see the median income for young people with college degrees decrease between 1966 and 2016, but the distribution seems to stretch out a bit. In contrast, the median increases for the older group with degrees, but distribution appears to shift towards lower incomes.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

Now see how income has changed by occupation over the years.

Make a Moving Bubbles Chart to Show Clustering and Distributions

Here’s how to make a chart similar to this one.

Notes

  • The data comes from the Current Population Survey, but I used the IPUMS CPS extraction tool to download.
  • Places with no dots doesn’t necessarily mean no one made the corresponding income. It’s more likely that a relative small proportion of people fell within the range.

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

See What You Get

Learn to Visualize Data See All →

How to Make Symbol-based Glyph Charts, with R Examples

Using geometric shapes as an encoding can provide another dimension to your charts.

How to Make an Animated Donut Chart in R

There are “better” ways to show proportions over time, but sometimes you just want an animated donut.

How I Made That: Interactive Beeswarm Chart to Compare Distributions

The histogram is my favorite chart type, but it’s unintuitive for many. So I’ve been using the less accurate but less abstract beeswarm.

How to Visualize and Compare Distributions in R

Single data points from a large dataset can make it more relatable, but those individual numbers don’t mean much without something to compare to. That’s where distributions come in.

Favorites

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2017

It was a rough year, which brought about a lot of good work. Here are my favorite data visualization projects of the year.

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Redefining Old Age

What is old? When it comes to subjects like health care and retirement, we often think of old in fixed terms. But as people live longer, it’s worth changing the definition.