Time-lapse Videos Show the Rise and Fall of Iconic American Retail Stores



The rise of major streaming services such as Netflix and online retailers such as Amazon have had a devastating impact on once-booming American classic retail establishments such as Blockbuster Video and Toys“R”Us. This phenomenon is precisely what today’s time-lapse density maps aim to visualize.

These videos come to us from Reddit user /u/V1Analytics. The user created them using Excel, Python, and Blender 2.8. They shared them on the /r/DataisBeautiful Subreddit here and here where they raked in an impressive number of Upvotes at over 90k and 57k respectively.

Blockbuster Video US store locations between 1986 and 2019

Blockbuster Video opened its first retail location in October of 1985, but this time-lapse starts 10 months later in August of 1986. At the time, the company boasted only 5 stores. The company almost immediately saw what can only be described as a viral spread of locations. One year later, there were 68 stores spanning coast to coast and by 2003, the company was hitting its peak at about 5,600 stores nationwide. But after nearly 20 years of steady growth and industry domination, the tides began to turn. The company lost over 80% of its stores with about 1,000 remaining by 2012, and was at about 350 stores at the same time the following year. Today, there is still 1 store (albeit privately owned) in operation in Bend, Oregon.

[OC] Blockbuster Video US store locations between 1986 and 2019 from r/dataisbeautiful

From August to August, here’s a quick yearly rundown of how fast the company spread and how fast it all came crumbling down.

  • 1986 – 5 stores
  • 1987 – 68
  • 1988 – 290
  • 1989 – 794
  • 1990 – 1,234
  • 1991 – 1,578
  • 1992 – 1,899
  • 1993 – 2,251
  • 1994 – 2,587
  • 1995 – 2,942
  • 1996 – 3,285
  • 1997 – 3,645
  • 1998 – 3,934
  • 1999 – 4,468
  • 2000 – 4,978
  • 2001 – 5,240
  • 2002 – 5,433
  • 2003 – 5,569 (notice the decrease in growth from ’02 to ’03)
  • 2004 – 5,690 (still growing … but barely)
  • 2005 – 5,678 (holding steady?)
  • 2006 – 5,315 (over 300 stores lost in 1 year)
  • 2007 – 4,914
  • 2008 – 4,629 (consistently losing 300-400 stores per year; now falling as fast as it was once growing)
  • 2009 – 4,188
  • 2010 – 3,480 (not looking good)
  • 2011 – 2,097 (yikes)
  • 2012 – 1,097 (1,000 stores down in one year!)
  • 2013 – 361
  • 2014 – 44
  • 2015 – 24 (the final stores certainly put up a fight)
  • 2016 – 14 (still holding on)
  • 2017 – 9 (back down to 1986 numbers 30 years later)
  • 2018 – 2
  • 2019 – 1 (and that store is still open today!)

In the end, its reliance on brick and mortar and inability to adjust with the times (Netflix DVD delivery and eventual streaming services) lead to its swift and painful demise.

Toys“R”Us Stores Across the US from 1957 to 2020

And here’s a similar tale from another classic bygone store. For those of you who are too young to remember, Toys“R”Us was the Shangri-La for kids; literally a full size department store FILLED with toys. The nostaliga is real!

It was glorious but simply could not compete with the major online retailers such as Amazon. See for yourself below:

[OC] Toys “R” Us Stores across the US from 1957 to 2020 from r/dataisbeautiful

Surprisingly, as of 2019, Toys“R”Us is trying to make a comeback in the United States.

Now hopefully we can convince V1Analytics to do the same with KB Toys and even Gamestop/EB Games now that they’re on the way out.

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



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



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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As showcased by this chart created by, 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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New Map Shows the Oldest Business in (Almost) Every Country in the World



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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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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