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100 Things to Know, from Lane Kenworthy

The sociologist has this great post:

Here are a hundred things worth knowing about our world and about the United States. Because a picture is worth quite a few words and providing information in graphical form reduces misperceptions, I [Kenworthy] present each of them via a chart, with some accompanying text.

This is great stuff. The only thing I don’t like is that many of his graphs have a lower limit of zero, but he plots the y-axis to go below zero. This makes it harder for me to see the scale of the changes.

Here’s an example:

The graph is clean and well labeled; I’d just rather have the y-axis start at 0 than start negative (also the labels at 11, 22, 33 are distracting; why not 10, 20, 30?). I also like how he gives the source of the data. Next step would be to link to the data themselves and the code used to make the graph. That would be a Markdown file, I guess.

Also, I’d prefer some of the graphs on the log scale; not the above graphs so much, but for graphs with larger dynamic ranges like this one:

I can see how Kenworthy would decide to stay on the original scale, as the log scale will confuse many non-technically-trained readers. But why not have both? Or maybe two different webpages, one with all the graphs on the original scale and one on the log scale where appropriate?

This would be a good student project, to turn Kenworthy’s page into a Markdown file and produce two versions of (most of) the graphs.

Also, the label on this graph is (unintentionally) funny:

At the bottom it says: “‘Asl’ is Australia; ‘Aus’ is Austria.” But why not just spell out the country names on the graph itself? There’s plenty of room!

And here are Kenworthy’s 100 items:

1. Economic growth | 2. Government social programs | 3. Democracy | 4. Affluence and universalistic humanism | 5. Affluence and personal freedom | 6. Extreme poverty | 7. Incomes of the poor | 8. Equality of opportunity | 9. Education and earnings | 10. College completion | 11. Parents’ income and college completion | 12. Employment among women | 13. Employment among men | 14. Manufacturing employment | 15. Marriage | 16. Divorce | 17. Out-of-wedlock births | 18. Children living with two parents | 19. The class difference in family trends | 20. Health insurance coverage | 21. Health care spending and health outcomes | 22. Deaths among middle-aged whites | 23. Deaths from prescription opioid overdose and heroin overdose | 24. Obesity | 25. Household income stability | 26. Middle-class income growth | 27. Middle-class income growth between cohorts and within cohorts | 28. Subjective class position | 29. Government transfers to households with low income | 30. Retirement income for the elderly | 31. Social Security | 32. Affluence and religiosity | 33. Religiosity | 34. Tolerance toward homosexuals | 35. LGBT persons’ perceptions of social acceptance | 36. Hate crimes | 37. Participation in voluntary organizations | 38. Labor unions | 39. Income and happiness | 40. Happiness | 41. Loneliness among adults | 42. Loneliness among teenagers | 43. Social support | 44. Suicides | 45. Trust | 46. Homicides | 47. Violent crime | 48. War deaths | 49. Terrorism killings | 50. Incarceration | 51. Peaceful transfer of political power | 52. Americans haven’t moved away from the center in their political views | 53. Americans’ political representatives have moved away from the center | 54. Voter participation | 55. Election-year economic performance and presidential election outcomes | 56. The unrepresentative US Senate | 57. Income and political influence | 58. Political gridlock | 59. Income inequality | 60. Wealth inequality | 61. Many Americans don’t like the idea of big government | 62. Most Americans like the things government actually does | 63. Government revenues | 64. Tax progressivity | 65. Taxation of the rich | 66. Government size and government debt | 67. Government size and innovation | 68. Government size and economic growth | 69. Government size and personal liberty | 70. Inflation | 71. Migration | 72. Immigration | 73. Views about immigration | 74. Trade | 75. Imports | 76. Military spending | 77. Views on military intervention | 78. College completion among women and men | 79. The gender pay gap | 80. Pay among women and men | 81. Housework and child care by women and men | 82. Women in politics | 83. Rape | 84. Racial-ethnic diversity | 85. Life expectancy among African Americans and whites | 86. College completion among African Americans and whites | 87. Wealth among African Americans and whites | 88. Incarceration among African Americans and whites | 89. Police killings of unarmed African Americans and whites | 90. Whites’ embrace of African Americans | 91. Abortions | 92. Views on abortion policy | 93. Marijuana policy | 94. Views on marijuana policy | 95. State gun policy and gun deaths | 96. Views on gun policy | 97. Leisure time | 98. Carbon dioxide emissions | 99. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere | 100. Earth’s average temperature

Again, follow the link.


  1. sd0000 says:

    What a “shocker” that he doesn’t include any AIC / consumption type stats where he would see that the U.S. is well and above all other countries (including his beloved Nordic social democracies; well above those actually). It’s irresponsible to even link to this garbage.

    • Andrew says:


      It’s good to present data. Maybe you could put together the data and graphs for some of these measures and Kenworthy can add them to his list.

      • Steve says:

        Here is a link. The US does do better ofn AICs, but its not like AIC is the TRUTH and per capital GDP is garbage. All of these measures involve lots of methodological choices. AICs probably involve more choices by researchers than figuring out the GDP, so those choices are going to impact how the AIC comes out. We’ve talked about these issues before, but if you just look at PPP calculated by the CIA and those done by the World Bank (or pick any two institutions), for the same country you can find very big disparities.

  2. Mark Webster says:

    The axes not starting at 0 is something done by R’s base plot function, unfortunately.

  3. jim says:

    Interesting. Color would be useful. I agree about the zero and also about the tick spacing; I also prefer a light color grid. A lot of the charts would be cool in multiples – more chart, less label.

    US way ahead in obesity and health care spending. Interesting.

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