The project brief for our first major project in our Introduction to Data Visualization course was to “Come up with a compelling focus or narrative” about financial hardship in Florida.
Timeline: 3 weeks.
We were provided with three sources to start—two articles from The Miami Herald and The United Way's ALICE Report.
While we were provided with sources for data and stories to help us gain a better understanding of what The ALICE report tells us about Florida, the challenge as a beginner was understanding where to start. There was an incredible amount of data and clearly numerous stories to tell; overwhelmingly so.
After reading the entire report, I latched on to two highlighted trends in the 2018 ALICE report (below) and used these as the foundation for my visualization.
"The increase in the number of ALICE households in Florida is driven by older households, both seniors and those 45 to 64 years old. The number of senior households (65 yers and older) increased from 1.9 million in 2010 to 2.4 million in 2016, a 22 percent increase" (p. 7).
"46 pecent of senior households had income below the ALICE threshold" (p. 7).
"With the number of seniors increasing and the number of potential caregivers (aged 45 to 64) decreasing, there will be fewer people available to care of each senior" (p. 24).
"In Florida, ther are currently more than 2.6 million family caregivers, whose unpaid care totals an estimated $29.7 billion. […] Nationwide, half of caregivers reported household income of less than $50,000 per year and said they had no choice in taking n caregiving responsibilities" (p. 25)
The 2018 ALICE report provided a strong starting point for data, understanding trends, and structure for understanding the ALICE population. It also was chock full of references to other data sources. I explored data from numerous sources including but not limited to: the American Community Survey, Economic Policy Insititute, AARP, and The Pew Research Center.
I began exploring the overall structure with a series of rough explorations to see how multiple charts and maps might play out on a page. My first draft (right), I felt was a disaster, but as I continued to make connections, become clearer about the data, and incorporate feedback, the process became easier.
Based on the gravity of the information, a more subdued color palette seemed appropriate; however, as the visualization became more complete, I opted to lighten the overall feel. My goal was to make the visualization more appealing to potential readers. The darker palette felt possibly off-putting.
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