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Food Stamp Participation by State, 1990-2013

The sluggish economic recovery and changes to participation guidelines have led to a steady increase in the number of individuals relying on food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In January 2013, 47.3 million Americans, or 15% of the total population, received food stamps (Nearly 50 million Americans are living in poverty, according to […]

The Growth of Our Girth

In 2010, more than one-third of American adults ages 20-74 were obese, and another third were overweight. Even though I was well aware of the growing “obesity epidemic,” watching the steady, seemingly inexorable, increase in obesity rates between 1985-2010 came as a nearly physical shock.This map, built on data from the Center for Disease Control’s […]

More Dot Density Maps

By popular demand, I’m attaching dot density maps for more Virginia cities plus a new statewide map…enjoy: Virginia 2010 Fredericksburg City 2010 Richmond-Pertersburg Metro Area 2010 Martinsville 2010 Lynchburg City 2010 Harrisonburg City 2010 Staunton-Waynesboro 2010 Roanoke-Salem 2010 Plus the ones from the previous post: Northern Virginia 2010 Charlottesville City 2010 Winchester City 2010 Hampton Roads […]

One dot, one person: population density maps for Virginia cities

For the new, interactive, Racial Dot Map project visit HERE. The dot density map of U.S., Canadian, and Mexico census data by MIT’s Media Lab got a lot of attention…so we decided to give it a try ourselves, taking a deeper look into census data for Virginia’s major urban centers and smaller cities. All of […]


Even if you don’t follow NCAA men’s basketball, you’re probably aware that the 2013 NCAA Tourney is upon us. The first round games start tonight, so if you’re planning on filling out a bracket this year, I hope you’ve gotten started.In the spirit of March Madness, the Census Bureau has developed their own bracketology-themed population […]

Animating historical county boundaries and census data

Among those of us who love old maps, the good people at the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries project have digitized and uploaded historical information on the shape of American counties.  With this data one can animate how America’s political boundaries have changed since the founding of the Massachusetts Bay and Virginia Colonies.  The above video shows historic […]

One-Third of Adults Receiving Need-Based Government Assistance Have a Disability

As Dustin and I documented in the second part of our series on poverty and the social safety net in Virginia, need-based government social safety net programs are typically targeted towards specific subgroups of low-income individuals: single mothers and their children, working adults, and individuals with disabilities. While poor single female-headed households and the working […]

Viable electoral college reform?

Artist Neil Freeman published a map of the United States redrawn to have 50 states with equal population, an art project that addresses what he says is “the fundamental problem of the electoral college”: “that the states of the United States are too disparate in size and influence.”

Do improvements in consumption equal improvements in economic well-being?

The image of poor individuals living large on government handouts is a powerful one that implicitly characterizes the poor as undeserving of assistance. The narrative of the Cadillac-driving “welfare queen” is perhaps the most well-known trope, but more recent articles on consumption trends have dismissed concerns about rising income inequality by focusing on what New […]

Who are the 11 million?

With the recent push by Senate lawmakers and the White House for immigration reform, one number is being tossed around a lot.  It has been estimated that there are about 11 million illegal residents in the United States.  Where does that number come from and who exactly are these people?Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey Passel […]