Sunday, 5 October 2014

Proud(?) America Demographic

With thanks to the geographers of the University of Kansas, the minds behind the maps. This is one of seven maps, I'm sure you can guess what the other six were for.
So, Superbia America? I guess not. This map, at first glance shows that Americans aren't as proud/patriotic as they let on, the red represents sin and the blue, distinctively less sinful. It's almost a fifty fifty sin/innocence portrayal here but, after the "controversy" of the Coca Cola advert (and various patriotic instances throughout America's history) I'm genuinely surprised - shouldn't the whole map be one continuous shade of blood red??
I delved a little deeper, how can pride even be calculated like this? To understand that I had to look at the research involved in the other six maps; Luxuria (lust), was calculated by the number of reported STI's in each state. (Not really something that springs to mind when I think of lust...) Gula (gluttony), via the amount of fast food restaurants in each state. Avantia (greed) was the average income of each state compared with the number of residents living in poverty. Acedia (sloth), a comparison of money spent on arts, recreation and entertainment with the employment rate. Invidia (Envy) is simply a representation of the robbery, larceny and grand theft auto statistics. Ira (wrath) is quite darkly, murder and other violent crime statistics. Superbia (pride), supposedly the sin of all sins, (depending on who you ask...) is an average of the above six sins. When I looked at it like that, I realise it's all a bit subjective, you can't possibly calculate the level of 'sin' on those statistics, surely they aren't direct cause and effects? For instance what if all of the violent crimes in one state were actually committed by one person? Or the amount of STI's reported were the kind you could catch off a toilet seat? As for greed, just because there are plenty of people living under the poverty line isn't to say  that those earning a fair wage are greedy, I think that's more political than they have let on. Perhaps pride should have been calculated via a simple count of how many flags on display per state? Or how many people wash their cars on the weekend?

I am still intrigued by these maps, it's fascinating to view America in this context however, as you can see, there are a lot of flaws in the research and something as subjective as sin, can't possibly be calculated so mathematically?

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