Exploring Social Mobility Through Visualizations

Ok, so, I am getting towards the end of my MOOC and for our last project, we were asked to come up with our own idea and topics and think about how to visualize them and basically have these visualizations tell a story. Since I had just received my brand new copy of the Economic Policy Institute‘s State of Working America (one of my favorite sources of socio-economic data on the American society from one of my favorite US think tank), I decided to dive in and see if I could find something that interested me and that I could explore more in details.

I found this (click here or on the image for a much larger view):

So, ok, no surprise here, Scandinavian countries have higher social mobility than the US, UK and a few other countries, with continental Europe and Oceanic countries somewhere in the middle. Then, I decided to look a bit more in details in the data to see if I could detect more precise information. I found this interesting thing (click here or on the image for larger view):

Hmm, a gender aspect to this. So, that is the angle I decided to pursue by correlating a series of gender-related variables (such as education spending on tertiary education or gender enrollment in tertiary education) to the mobility coefficient, with a series of scatterplots. I did it in Tableau, then transferred the results into a Piktochart infographic (definitely click here or on the image for a larger view):

As you can see, some variables worked better than others and produced stronger correlations. Social mobility is, of course, a complex and multi-layered issue, so, one would have to chase down more variables to correlate and maybe run a few regressions and other statistical tests, but I thought this was an intriguing gender pattern.

So, as far as software, I processed all the data and correlation coefficients through a Calc spreadsheet in OpenOffice. I constructed the scatterplots in Tableau. And I did some stuff with Simple Diagrams again.

For the scatterplots, I went looking for data at the World Bank and OECD websites where you can download databases on pretty much every topic under the sun.

I’ll have a general reflection post on this MOOC experience when it’s over next week.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Social Mobility Through Visualizations

  1. Pingback: The Global Sociology Blog - The MOOC Experience

  2. Pingback: Is Social Mobility Gendered? | Welcome to the Doctor's Office

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