The NYT has a fantastic new bit of data visualization: “How Connected Is Your Community to Everywhere Else in America?” The piece uses data from Facebook ties to show how geography shapes our ties. The overwhelming pattern is that counties are tied to adjacent counties. As the article reminds us, “The typical American lives just 18 miles from his or her mother. The typical student enrolls in college less than 15 miles from home.” Other, subtler, patterns are interesting too. As an example, below are charts for three counties in southeast Michigan: Washtenaw (which include the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Oakland (a rich county of Detroit suburbs) and Wayne (which includes Detroit itself).
You can clearly see in the Washtenaw County map connections to other college towns. These connections are especially stark in contrast with Oakland, which has almost no East or West Coast ties:
In contrast, what jumps out from comparing Oakland to Wayne is Wayne’s strong ties to the Deep South, likely a legacy of the Great Migration of Black Southerners to industrial cities in the North (a common trend, as the NYT piece notes):
The article ends with a quote from none other than Mark Granovetter:
“This gives us the first way to systematically look at some of those relationships,” said Mark Granovetter, a sociologist at Stanford who has written influential papers on the value of social networks. “They have just scratched the surface here.”
The American Sociological Association just released section membership data for 2017. In addition to the usual breakdown by gender, ASA has also released section membership data by race (Excel file here). These data come from ASA’s racial demographic question, that looks as follows:
ASA translates this question into 8 mutually exclusive categories: Black or African American, Asian or Asian American, Hispanic/Latino(a), Native, White, Other, Multiple, Missing.
For Section memberships, ASA also does the following: “when the number of members in a category is less than five, they were counted as “missing.”” Presumably this is some kind of privacy measure, though I’m not entirely sure. Whatever the rationale, the result ends up being that almost every section has a listed “0” for Native American membership, and some smaller sections have zeroes for other categories as well. These are not necessarily “true” zeroes, and they also tend to inflate the “Missing” category. Below, I present super rough graphs of the section membership breakdowns by race for White, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino(a), and Asian or Asian American. There are lots of ways one could usefully visualize these data depending on the questions you were asking of them; I encourage you to download the spreadsheet and tool around yourself. The section names are as given in the ASA spreadsheet (plus “Total ASA Membership” which refers to all ASA members).