Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Catholic States of America

Religion in the US - Catholic Rates of Adherence County Map

Membership in the Catholic church in the US has increased in recent years primarily due to immigration from Latin America. States with large Irish- and Italian-American populations also have significant numbers of Catholics. The map above shows membership per 1000 people for all counties in the US. New Mexico, California and Texas have the highest rates of adherents.

Note: The data were downloaded from the Association of Religion Data Archives,

The Evangelical States of America

Religion in the US - Evangelical Protestant Rates of Adherence County Map

Continuing our series of maps about religion in the US, today we take a look at membership in Evangelical Protestant churches. The map above shows the rate of adherence per 1,000 people for all counties in the US (click on the map for the full-size version). Darker colors represent a higher rate of adherence. We split the data into five equal ranges: <200, 200-400, 400-600, 600-800, and > 800. The highest adherence rates can be found in the southern states, which are the traditional stronghold of the Evangelical movement.

Note: The data were downloaded from the Association of Religion Data Archives,

Freedom of the Press Around the World in 2012

2012 has seen positive and negative changes in freedom of the press around the world. Reporters Without Borders, the largest organization that advocates freedom of the press worldwide, compiles a Press Freedom Index where countries ranking at the top score high in press freedom, and countries at the bottom constitute the most repressive in terms of freedom of information and violence against journalists.

Some countries ranking at the top include Finland, Norway and Estonia. Countries at the bottom include Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan. Countries showing improvements worth noting include Tunisia, South Sudan and Niger. In Latin America, Brazil showed the biggest decline.

Church Membership in the US

Religion in the US - Rates of Adherence County Map

We recently came across a study about church membership in the US conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The study compiled data on the number of congregations and adherents for 236 religious groups in each county of the US. We were curious about what the data would look like displayed on a map, so we created the thematic map shown above (click on it for the larger version). We chose three colors to represent the rate of adherence: the lighter color is for counties where the rate of adherence is less than 333 per 1000 inhabitants. The medium color is for counties with a rate of adherence between 333 and 667, and the darkest color is for counties with rate of adherence greater than 667 per 1000.

Note: The data were downloaded from the Association of Religion Data Archives,

Political Rights and Civil Liberties Around the World for 2012

2011 and 2012 have been years full of changes in the level of political rights and civil liberties around the world, primarily due to the Arab uprisings. Freedom House, an organization that supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights around the world, has identified which countries have improved and which countries have declined in their level of freedom. The Freedom House Index (FHI) designates countries and territories included in the index as “free”, “partly free”, and “not free”.

As shown in the map above, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Burma are among the countries that have improved the most, while Ecuador, Sudan and Yemen are among the worst performers.

West Nile Virus Cases by County

West Nile Virus cases in the US as of August 21, 2012

The current outbreak of West Nile virus in the US is the most serious since the disease was first detected in the country in 1999. Thus far, 1118 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 41 deaths. Find out if any cases have been detected in your county by clicking on the map above.

Do You Live in a “Healthy” State?

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most states have become healthier in terms of physical activity for the years between 2001 and 2007, excluding Louisiana and Mississippi which have less than 40% of healthy residents.

The CDC defines as “healthy people” those who engage in moderate-intensity physical activity at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day, or those who engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week for 20 minutes a day.

It is interesting to note, though, that data displayed on these maps tells a different story than data for the obesity rate in the United States. As we showed on a previous post, the obesity rate in the U.S. has been rising steadily since at least 1991. There is a clear contradiction between the rise in obesity rates and the rise in the percentage of healthy people.


Industrial Production, Producer Prices and Consumer Confidence

Industrial production is up for the month of July, with a 0.6% increase. So is the core Producer Price Index (excludes energy and food) with an increase of 0.4%. Consumer confidence varies from state to state, with optimistic states located around the District of Columbia area and the Midwest, and pessimistic states mostly in the southern part of the country. Read below:

  1. Three Numbers to Watch: US Industrial Production,CPI; UK Unemployment – Yusuf Yassin []
  2. Industrial Production Climbs 0.6% in July – Steve Goldstein [Market Watch]
  3. Producer Prices Come In A Bit Higher Than Expected – Sam Ro [Business Insider]
  4. Consumer Confidence Varies from State to State – Interview with Frank Newport [Marketplace]
  5. U.S. Durable Goods Orders Drop in June – Agence France-Presse [IndustryWeek]

Visualizing Presidential Election Results

Presidential election results for North Carolina counties 1996-2008

As we get closer to the 2012 presidential elections in the U.S., we are taking another look at the results of past elections to see if we can discern any patterns. Our first attempt consists of visualizing the margin of victory of each major party in the state of North Carolina. The map above shows the county by county results for the past four elections (click on the map for a larger version). Counties shaded red were won by the Republican party, while counties shaded blue were won by the Democratic party. Deeper shades are used to represent counties where the margin of victory was relatively large. Take Yadkin county for example. In 1996 it was the only county in the state where the Republicans won by over 40%, hence its deeper red color. Note that counties where the margin of victory was less than 5% are colored white.

For those of you wondering how we created the map, we used the IndexMundi thematic map creator. The election results data came from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Obesity in America: An Upward Trend

Obesity Trends Among US Adults 1991-2010
(BMI ≥ 30 lbs, or 30 lbs overweight for 5’4″ women)

Obesity has increased dramatically in the last twenty years. Mississippi has the highest percentage of obese adults, 34.9 %, followed by other twelve states with percentages higher than 30%. Most of these states are located in the Midwest and South. Is your state among the “fattest” states? Read more:

  1. STUDY: Mississippi Is The Fattest State – Ian Simpson, Reuters [Business Insider]
  2. Obesity Related Statistics in America [Get America Fit Foundation]
  3. Obesity could affect 42% of Americans by 2030 – Nanci Hellmich [USA Today]
  4. Adult Obesity Facts [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
  5. Junk Food Laws May Be Answer to Kids’ Obesity, Study Says [Fox News Latino]
  6. Childhood Obesity Facts [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]