By simplifying gerrymandering we see how problematic it really is.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
By simplifying gerrymandering we see how problematic it really is.
The redistricting process is far from neutral; to be fair we should remember that gerrymandering is has happened on all ends of the political spectrum. Which map do you think is the best way to divide these districts? What is the fairest way to divide them?
The cancellation of the mandatory long-form census has damaged research in key areas, from how immigrants are doing in the labour market to how the middle class is faring, while making it more difficult for cities to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, planners and researchers say.
"Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers. Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers."
Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years.
This incredible series of interactive charts from the New York Times show where the residents of every U.S. state were born and how that data has changed over time (update: now available as an interactive map). This graph of Florida shows that around 1900, most people living in Florida were from the South. Around the middle of the 20th century more people from other parts of the U.S. and from outside the U.S. started moving in. What changes in U.S. society led to these demographic shifts? How has demographics of your state changes over the last 114 years?
On the flip side, many people have been leaving California and this article charts the demographic impact of Californians on other states.
Have you even wanted to explore an interactive map of the United States and be able to click on any neighborhood to see the local population age structure and compare that to the national, state or county data? If not, you don't know what you've been missing. This is a fantastic resource that lets you and your students explore the data AND ask spatial questions. It's definitely one that I'll add to my list of favorite resources.
Cities like Washington and San Francisco are gaining the highly skilled but losing their less-educated workforce.
This article, with its charts and interactive maps, is worth exploring to show some of the important spatial patterns of internal migration. It's not hard to realize that larger, cosmopolitan metro areas will have an advantage in attracting and keeping prospective college graduates; the question that we should be asking our students is how will this impact neighborhoods, cities and regions?
Today's volume of immigrants, in some ways, is a return to America’s past.
The source of migrants today has changed the cultural composition of the United States from what is was 100 years ago. Cultures are not static and migration is one of the key drivers of change. These maps produced by the Pew Research Center. Despite what media reports would have you believe, immigration into the United States is not on the rise, but maps such as these can be construed to imagine that there is a flow of immigrant coming from south of the border. The reality is that migration from Mexico to the United States has steadily dropped since 1999.
A brief overview of crimes against geography in the 113th Congress.
Redistricting today has become a common tool in American politics. Every ten years with the new census, political parties seize the opportunity to maximize their political influence by trying to minimize the 'demographic and spatial limitations' of their particular voting bloc.
"Here's how the United States looks when it is measured on the county level by the same standards used to rank countries by the UN, the Human Development Index. Five variables are taken into account: life expectancy, income per capita, school enrollment, percentage of high school graduates, and percentage of college graduates."
Often we treat countries as solid areas and miss many regional patterns; in part because we view global data sets that are at that scale.
Questions to ponder: what regional patterns do you see? What accounts for these patterns? What do you think other countries would look like with data at this scale?
This data visualization from the U.S. Census Bureau shows distribution of Hispanic or Latino population by specific origin. http://go.usa.gov/D7VH
Questions to Ponder: What geographic factors account for the differences in settlement patterns of those of Puerto Rican origin and those of Mexican origin? How do these patterns shape the cultural patterns in the United States and affect particular places?
Gerrymandering is the practice of redrawing congressional districts after a decadal census to favor one political party over the other.
This interactive mapping activity is an excellent tool to introduce the idea of redistricting in general and gerrymandering to be more specific. The creation of a new congressional district, or the loss of an old one, affects every district around it, necessitating new maps. Even states not adding or losing congressional representatives need new district maps that reflect the population shifts within their borders, so that residents are equally represented no matter where they live. This ritual carving and paring of the United States into 435 sovereign units, known as redistricting, was intended by the Framers solely to keep democracy’s electoral scales balanced. Instead, redistricting today has become a part of the political game—a way for elected leaders to entrench themselves in 435 impregnable garrisons from which they can maintain political power while avoiding demographic realities. And how is gerrymandering a part of the current government shutdown? Read Thomas Friedman's opinion on the subject or an opinion from the Economist.
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
"Historian Susan Schulten writes in her book Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America that during the 1850s many abolitionists used maps to show slavery's historical development and to illustrate political divisions within the South. (You can see many of those maps on the book’s companion website.) Schulten writes that President Lincoln referred to this particular map often, using it to understand how the progress of emancipation might affect Union troops on the ground. The map (hi-res) even appears in the familiar Francis Bicknell Carpenter portrait First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, visible leaning against a wall in the lower right-hand corner of the room."
"Counties where at least 10 percent of people speak a language other than English at home."
While this is ostensibly a map that would be great for a cultural geography unit, I'm also thinking about the spatial patterns that created this map. What current or historical migrations account for some of the patterns visible here? What would a map like this look like it it were produced 50 years ago? Why are Vermont and West Virginia the only states without a county with over 10% of the population that speak another language at home?
"David Greene talks to writer Jeremy Miller about the American Centroid. That's the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the U.S. would balance perfectly if all 300 million of us weighed the exact same."
Every 10 years the centroid (the center of U.S. population) is calculated using the latest census data. As the map above shows, the centroid has continued moved west throughout history, but in the last 60 years has moved to the south and west. The recent shift to the south coincides with the mass availability of air conditioning (among other factors) which opened up the Sun Belt. In this article in Orion Magazine, Jeremy Miller discusses the historical shifts in the spatial patterns of the U.S. population and the history of the centroid. you can listen to podcast versions of this article as well, one by NPR and a much more detailed one by Orion Magazine.
Questions to Ponder: Would the centroids of other countries be as mobile or predictable? Why or why not? What does the centroid tell us?
This video is part of a fabulous TED-ED lesson about redistricting. The redistricting process is far from neutral; we should remember that gerrymandering is has happened on all ends of the political spectum. Which map to you think is the best way to divide the districts? What is the fairest way to divide them?
Income maps of every neighborhood in the U.S. See wealth and poverty in places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, and more.
This is the most user-friendly website I've seen to map economic census data. This maps the average household income data on top of a Google Maps basemap that can be centered on any place in the United States. This is a great resource to share with students of just about any age.
"This web mapping application provides users with a simple interface to view, customize, save and print thematic maps of the United States, using data from the 2010 Census. The beta version contains a set of 2010 Census data relating to age and sex, population and race, and family and housing in the United States by county or equivalent entity."
This month the U.S. Census Bureau has released the beta version of a very nice online mapping tool to display the 2010 data. The mapper will create PDF versions of any map produced online (file sizes from 20-55KB) and the user can export the raw data to Excel. While the user is more limited in how to display the data than they would using a GIS, this is a simple way to explore some of the basic census information.
While this cartoon is flippant, the attached Washington Post article is not. In the culumative congressional voting, Democrats have more votes but won fewer seats than the Republicans. Many are starting to question the redistricting process after the 2010 census.
|Rescooped by Seth Dixon from AP Human Geography @ Hermitage High School - Ms. Anthony|
A professor criticizes the "culture of quantification," (in the journal cultural geographies) arguing that we don't do enough with the data we collect. If all we do is count (or attempt to count the homeless), does that help them in any way or change the realities that lead to homelessness? Are we counting them just to give us the numbers to receive credit that may help other programs but not help the homeless? Is data for data's sake of any value?
UPDATE: Another geographer noted some other issues of homelessness on the website facebook page, specifically in regard to this map of homelessness: "A problem associated with this map is that while the numbers get smaller, it raises the question: where did they go? (answer: Hollywood, after an emphasis on policing pushed them out)...this could be tied in to a discussion about map scale."
The National Atlas that is available online has an extensive database for simple online mapping. This is "GIS-light," an easy way to explore the spatial patterns within U.S. census data and other data sets. The lists all contain a wide variety of variables, making this a good way to get students to explore potential research topics. Thanks to the Connecticut Geographic Alliance coordinator for suggesting this link.
We often talk about life expectancy data at the national level; this simplification has a great deal of utility but obscures regional distinctions within a country. Some counties in the United States have life expectancies on par with Japan (84), while the worst off counties are more similar to Indonesia (69). Even more startling, in 661 counties, life expectancy stopped dead or went backwards for women since 1999. This is a dramatic look at the importance of scale within any geographic analysis to arrive at reasonable conclusions. So let's start looking at local demographic data instead of just nationally aggregated data. For more on this press release, see: http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/news-events/news-release/girls-born-2009-will-live-shorter-lives-their-mothers-hundreds-us-counties
"This interactive map shows the county to county social interactions given in total call minutes or total number of SMS from the anonymous, aggregated AT&T mobile phone data. Click into your county or type it into the text box to find out how it is connected to other counties in the US. You can switch between call and SMS data to reveal the changes in interaction mode. Also, the population map is provided, which is based on the 2010 Census." -Martin Daumiller
For more from this curator, see: http://www.scoop.it/t/wit-wisdom