Life as Clay

DC as seen through population pyramids

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All of the recent work on parsing US Census data was part of a larger project — one that includes the dynamic generation of population pyramids for the entire population and for selected racial groups within each county in the United States. Residents of DC (like myself) frequently hear about how it is a terrible place for young women to meet boyfriends and date successfully. All data here are from the 2009 US Census Bureau population estimates.

Here’s what the population pyramids show:

For the final one, keep in mind that “Hispanic” is considered an ethnicity by the US Census Bureau and that most Hispanics also select a race on census forms and most people who select a race also indicate whether they also consider themselves Hispanic.

What really is striking here is the difference between the shapes of the white and black population pyramids. Perhaps a lot of young white people move to DC for congressional jobs and then move away when the job is finished. DC traditionally has a larger permanent black population and that is reflected in the more even distribution of the pyramid. However, DC also is known for having one of the least healthy black populations in the country, a fact reflected in the low numbers of elderly people. For comparison, look at this view of whites in Palm Beach, Florida:

Back to the original question — yes, you can see in the population pyramid that there are more females than males in Washington, DC, except in the population that identify as being ethnically Hispanic. Where do you go to find the opposite problem? One place is Honolulu, Hawaii:

Only Native Hawaiians (a group including other Pacific Islanders) show a normal distribution:

(All of these population pyramids were generated using CSS in a custom script written in Ruby on Rails.)

Written by Clay

July 26, 2010 at 12:40

One Response

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  1. [...] useful purpose (to me). Said application will generate population pyramids similar to those in the previous post. I hope to learn more about programming in Obj-C and Cocoa during the process. I’ll post my [...]


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