Charts and Infographics

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America’s Confusing Patchwork of Abortion Laws: Mapping State Rules and Rates

Includes interactive map and chart

Visualization by Lewis Lehe; story by Matthew Green



On Thursday, the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion nationwide, House Republicans had intended to vote on a proposal banning abortions at the 20-week post-conception period. But rather than approving the so-called “fetal pain” measure, the House swapped it for a watered down bill that would weaken insurance coverage for the procedure. It was a last minute switch was made after a small group of mostly female Republican lawmakers came out strongly opposing the more restrictive measure.

All of which begs the question: what are current abortion laws? Continue reading

A Half-Century After the March on Washington, Would King Be Satisfied?

Includes interactive charts and lesson plan

“What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

[Jump to charts on where race gap has narrowed or widened]

In late August 1963, on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a quarter million demonstrators converged on the National Mall in the nation’s capital to partake in what would become one of the largest human rights demonstrations in United States history.

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What’s the Fastest Way to Board A Plane? (hint: probably not how you’re doing it now)

Rejoice! The holiday travel (and shopping) season has finally come to a close.

If you braved the friendly skies at some point in the last two weeks and found yourself a tad frustrated by the glacial pace of the boarding process, there’s a decent chance you’re not alone. It’s pretty easy to notice the obvious inefficiencies in the boarding methods of different commercial airlines.

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News That Moved: The Biggest Stories of 2014

Another year, another year-in-review article.

In the sea that is breaking news, 2014 was a tsunami. A multitude of tumultuous events shook the world this year (sometimes literally). And although it’d be silly to attempt to quantify the “most important” stories,  it is worth looking at the topics that American audiences were most drawn to and that seemed to have the greatest impact. As a gauge, these are the results from the Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and an independent survey of Twitter’s biggest news-related trending topics.

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Pulled Over: Your Rights with the Police [An Illustrated Guide]

A Missouri grand jury’s decision on Monday to not charge a white police officer in the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, sparked angry protests in cities around the country.

The incident, which happened last August in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, was followed by weeks of protests and rioting, drawing national attention to the issue of police force, particularly in low-income communities of color, where arrest rates are often disproportionately high and relations between law enforcement and residents are frequently tense and mistrustful. It also underscored the importance of understanding your rights if stopped by the police, and knowing how to act appropriately during these interactions to help avoid potentially dangerous confrontations. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner explains the rules of engagement (source links below). Continue reading

Is Immigration Reform on the Horizon? [Animated Explainer]

Remember when U.S. immigration reform seemed like it was finally in the cards?

That was so 2013.

The brief burst of fanfare following passage of the Senate’s comprehensive bill last year faded quickly when the debate hit the bitterly divided House, where prospects for getting anything done have now been all but extinguished.

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Majority Rules: California’s Proposition System Explained [Infographic]

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, propositions are an entrenched part of California’s political system. In nearly every statewide election, voters wade through a slurry of local and statewide ballot measures, part of a system intended to expand direct democracy. Some are really complicated, some are controversial, and some are just kind of weird (like when voters passed Prop 6 in 1998, making it a felony for anyone to use a horse for meat — including a pony, donkey or mule, or this year’s failed effort to get a measure on the ballot to split California into six states). In next week’s midterm election, Californians will decide on six statewide propositions, in addition to a likely host of county and local measures.

So how do propositions actually make it onto the ballot? What are the different types? And what exactly is a referendum anyway? Comic journalist Andy Warner demystifies the Golden State’s century-old process.  Continue reading

A Modern History of Voting Rights (in Three Illustrated Acts)

Includes illustrated infographics

VRAThe upcoming midterms marks the first major nationwide election since the Supreme Court struck down a key piece of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. The 2013 decision had an immediate impact, giving a handful of primarily southern states the green light to change their voting rules without first getting approval from the federal government. Continue reading

Burned Out: Why Western Wildfires Have Gotten Bigger, Hotter and More Out of Control [Comic]

The 2014 fire season was predicted to be a doozy, and so far it hasn’t failed to disappoint. Prolonged drought conditions throughout the West, felt particularly hard across the Golden State, have resulted in a string of large, destructive and extremely costly blazes, charring huge swaths of forest in Northern California and the Northwest and leaving local and federal fire prevention agencies dangerously strapped for staffing, funding and resources. As of September 4, over 38,000 fires had been reported since the beginning of 2014, burning more than 2.7 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Why has fire season gotten so much longer, more dangerous and increasingly expensive? Comic journalist Andy Warner explains the heated history. Continue reading

Four Factors Fueling the Rage in Ferguson

Includes interactive charts
Day six of protests in Ferguson (Loavesofbread/Wikimedia)

Day six of protests in Ferguson (Loavesofbread/Wikimedia)

Relative calm seems to have been restored in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, where the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black male shot by a white police officer, sparked nearly two weeks of fierce protest and rioting. But the underlying racial and economic tensions in the community that helped create such a powder keg have not gone away. And with increasing poverty in a growing number of suburban communities across the country — including several in the Bay Area — Ferguson’s issues certainly aren’t unique.

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