Maps

The Average Terrain Colors of Countries Around the World

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When you think about countries with an abundance of desert like Egypt, you generally think of yellow and orange sand colors. Likewise, countries with rainforests like Brazil most likely generate thoughts of deep greens. What color are the rest of the countries in the world?

Data visualization artist Erin Davis used satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 to illustrate the average color of the terrain in countries around the world.

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average-color-country-chartistry

The graphics use a choropleth map visualization to show the average color of the terrain in each country. Some countries, like snow-covered Greenland and Antarctica, are clearly colored how one would expect. Others take on a darker or more jewel-toned hue that reflects their unique landscapes.

The artist also illustrated the average color of each county in the United States for a more granular view of the country. The visualization highlights the forest-rich regions of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and South East as well as well as the rugged physical geography of southwestern states like Arizona and New Mexico.

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average-us-county-color-chartistry

There are five major classes of land biomes in the world: forests, deserts, savannah, tundra, and grasslands. The nature of these biomes heavily impact the color of the areas picked up by satellite. These are the divisions of each biome around the world:

    • Forests (40.1%): Forest biomes are populated by various species of deciduous and evergreen trees. This type of biome also includes rainforests, one of the most important forests in the world.
    • Deserts (25.9%): Deserts are categorized as areas with very little rainfall. Daytime temperatures are typically high and nighttime temperatures are low.
    • Savannah (16.7%): Savannah is tropical grasslands that are somewhere between lush tropical rainforests and desert regions. Their rainfalls typically occur during summer months, which means it evaporates quickly. These areas are prone to drought.
    • Tundra (10.5%): The climate of the tundra is extreme cold. Temperatures in the winter often go below freezing and plant life is either nonexistent or dormant for much of the year.
    • Grasslands (6.8%): Grasslands (also known as the Prairies in North America and the Pampas in South America) are temperate regions with warm summers and cool winters.

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Charts

Where in the U.S. Have the Highest (and Lowest) High School Graduation Rates?

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The United States is a colossal country with an incredible range of beliefs, livelihoods, and experiences. One thing that unifies the vast majority of America is school. Federal laws require that children receive some form of education (public, private, homeschooling, etc.) for a period of time. In 2021, the average high school graduation rate in the United States was 85.3%. This incredibly detailed chart by the U.S. Career Institute explores how this rate varies across U.S. counties.

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high-school-graduation-rates-us-chartistry

Visually, I really appreciate the use of formal, “prestigious” colors for the heat map and throughout the chart. The header font is excellent; I am planning to use it in some of my own projects! The diploma-like border is a nice touch. Let’s take a closer look at the extra-large and small counties so we can get a more complete picture of how graduation rates vary across America.

Here are the top five extra-large counties with the high school highest graduation rates:

  1. Alleghany, Pennsylvania – 95%
  2. Oakland, Michigan – 94%
  3. Collin, Texas – 94%
  4. Montgomery, Pennsylvania – 94%
  5. King, Washington – 93%

And here are the five extra-large counties with the lowest high school graduation rates:

  1. Bronx, NY – 73%
  2. Kern, California – 74%
  3. Fresno, California – 76%
  4. El Paso, Texas – 78%
  5. Los Angeles, California – 79%

Here are the top 5 small counties with the highest high school graduation rates:

  1. Falls Church City, Virginia – 99%
  2. Clear Creek, Colorado – 99%
  3. Petroleum, Montana – 99%
  4. Morgan, Utah – 98%
  5. Gilpin, Colorado – 98%

And lastly, here are the top 5 small counties with the lowest high school graduation rates:

  1. Kenedy, Texas – 26%
  2. Presidio, Texas – 53%
  3. Hudspeth, Texas – 56%
  4. Clark, Idaho – 60%
  5. Issaquena, Mississippi – 61%

I suppose not everything is bigger in Texas after all. All kidding aside, I looked into why the education system in Texas is failing so many children. Some issues I encountered are low teacher salary, dropouts from traditional schooling in favor of trade school or other alternatives, gun violence, mental health struggles, and conflict surrounding how to assess children’s performance. It is such a massive state, so it is no wonder that reform comes slowly and with a lot of resistance.

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Charts

Which Countries Offer the Most Mandated Maternity Leave Around the World?

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There is no denying that navigating parenthood is challenging, especially during a pandemic. If you are in the United States, you have to overcome the additional obstacle of parental leave, or lack thereof. Despite the fact that most developed countries in the world offer federally mandated paid parental leave, the United States does not. In fact, the U.S. has the enormous dishonor of being considered the only wealthy nation that offers no national paid parental leave. Let’s take a look at how parental leave compares across the globe.

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parental-leave-around-world-chartistry

As showcased by this chart created by PlaygroundEquipment.com, European countries such as Estonia, Bulgaria, and Hungary excel at providing their citizens with ample paid parental leave. On the map, the United States sticks out like a sore thumb. So why does this matter? The benefits of paid leave are well-documented. Here are just a handful of the benefits:

    • Supports children’s growth and development
    • Supports the physical and emotional health of the entire family unit
    • Supports family economic security
    • Develops stronger bonds
    • Benefits businesses and the economy by boosting productivity, employee retention, morale, and labor force participation

In studies of California’s paid leave program, around 90% of businesses reported either a positive or neutral impact on productivity and nearly all businesses (99%) highlighted positive or neutral effects on employee morale. 87% of businesses reported no increase in costs and 9% even reported savings thanks to lower rates of employee turnover and reduced spending on employee benefits. Perhaps it is time for America to catch up with the rest of the world.

Subject matter aside, it is truly a beautiful visualization! The header is bold and eye-catching, with the woman’s hair flowing down and leading the eye to the vibrant map. The country charts are dynamic and striking, and it has an overall energy that we hope can spark interest in paid parental leave reform.

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Maps

New Map Shows the Oldest Business in (Almost) Every Country in the World

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When you think of old businesses, do you think of your grandfather’s barber shop from the 1950’s or that amazing Italian restaurant in the city from the 1880’s? What about a distillery from the 1700’s? Or a winery from the 800’s! This amazing chart from the team at Cloud Peak Law Group shows the oldest continually running businesses in every country around the world and some may surprise you.

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map-oldest-business-almost-every-country-chartistry

The map is comprised of 165 countries with a date range from 578 AD to 1999. A few notable mentions that caught my eye would be the first one listed on the map from the year 578, Kongō Gumi, a family-owned construction company that began centuries building Buddhist temples in Japan. Over 200 years later would be the next oldest on the map, also said to be the oldest restaurant in the world, St. Peter Stiftskulinarum in Austria. This incredible building is just one of Austria’s unique treasures and must-see tourist spots. Located in St Peter’s Abbey in the city of Salzburg, this restaurant has had many famous guests including Christopher Columbus, astrologer Johann Georg Faust, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it is interesting to see the businesses who have the youngest timeline for their countries oldest business. In equatorial Guinea, Guinea Equatorial Airlines, which was started in 1996, is their oldest running business. In Kosovo, the Meridian Corporation is the oldest running business in the country, and it was only started 23 years ago.

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