The Geography of Benefits

Benefits MapHere in Sarasota County, what share of our income is from Unemployment Insurance?  How about Medicare?  How about Social Security?  The New York Times has created an interactive map that makes it possible for anybody to see patterns in the allocation of benefits relating to six types of government programs over the last four decades. The data is visualized at the county scale, using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The map is easy to use, and the visuals are impressive: press the “play” button, and see the changes from decade to decade. Click on an individual county, and a graph pops up that shows the trends in that county over time.

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could visualize a variety of data trends this way to spot patterns within our County, zoomed in all the way to the neighborhood scale? The Community Data Collaborative here in Sarasota County is working to create an online data platform with an interactive map of Sarasota County so that each of us living in Sarasota County will be able to click on our own neighborhood and look at different data trends over time. What data trends would you like to see visualized over the course of 40 years for your neighborhood?