Access to Food

Josh Woo

First visualization:


This visualization is a column chart with images, with each image representing 3 million households. The challenge for this visualization, given the drastic numerical difference between the two data sets, was finding an appropriate scale that still accurately depicts the number of households for each category. Although the numerical change is relatively insignificant from year to year (based on what can be seen on the chart), this particular chart does an effective job of showing the drastic difference in households that have access to food. The one downside to this chart is that the proportions are not easily distinguishable (especially with the partial house icons), despite having a visualization key stating that one house icon equals 3 million households.

Second visualization:

The bar chart serves virtually the same function as the column chart with images (above) but may provide a clearer idea of the drastic difference between the two categories. In addition, the viewer may be able to perceive more of a year-to-year trend across the entire data set. Again, scale is an issue when it comes to observing this trend, but it was challenging to come up with a scale that accommodates both categories of data. The disparity between food-secure and food-insecure households, however, is still very clear–perhaps even clearer than it was in the column chart with images.

Third visualization:

My third visualization is a line graph, which aims to show the year-to-year trend amongst a five-year period of the growing number of food-insecure households. Perhaps the most prominent feature of this graph is the trend itself: the number of food-insecure households rose the most between 2007 and 2008, while the number of food-secure households went down during that period as well. This, then, not only shows the trend of the growing number of food-insecure households, but may also suggest a correlation between the rise of food-insecure households and the decline of food-secure households. Further research also reveals that the most recent US recession began in December 2007, which could account for the great increase in food-insecure households.

Fourth visualization:

The last visualization is a radar chart. While it may not do the best job of conveying trends, the difference in areas of the two different-colored regions suggests a large disparity between the number of food-secure and food-insecure households. At first, it might be confusing for the viewer that doesn’t know which corner corresponds to which year of the chart. In addition, the differences in numbers of the food-secure households appear indistinguishable (again with the scale issues). However, one can easily spot a clear increase of the number of food-insecure households on the left side of the graph.

Download file "12s0214.pdf"


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