Makeover Monday 2019 Week 15: Ranking States by Fiscal Condition

Makeover Monday

This week’s Makeover Monday chart is from a 2018 report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranking each state by its fiscal condition.

What works well?

  • Clean design without any distracting map details.
  • Colour palette is distinct and visually pleasing.

What could be improved?

  • As with any geo map, the size of each state can skew our interpretation. A equal-sized tile map would address this problem.
  • The map shows only the ranking, but not the actual measure on which the rank is computed. Hence, we can’t assess how the states are distributed, i.e. how far above or below average is each state?

What Marc did:

  • The overall ranking is based on an aggregate fiscal condition index, which is composed of 5 underlying indices. I re-calculated all the index values based on the underlying data, according to the formulas defined in the full Mercatus report.
  • Using a jitter plot, I charted the distribution of the states on the overall index and each component index.
  • I kept the original colour scheme for each ranking group.
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