So the other night I was looking for some data to play with and Bob Page recommended taking a look at a U.S. census data to find an amazing unknown correlation. Well, I did pull down some census data from Many Eyes, but alas I haven’t found an amazing correlation. What I ended up with instead, is a relatively simple yet interesting exploration of projected U.S. populations, by age, from 2005 to 2030.
In the visualization below ages are grouped into ‘Age Groups’ (basically minor, adult and middle-aged +) then into more typical age bands (familiar to marketers I’m sure) and down to individual ages. The top ‘row’ of visualization shows the projected population in 2030 compared to the population in 2005, visualized as bullet charts. On these bullet charts, the darker gray background as well as the black reference lines mark the number of 2005 while the bullets show the projected population in 2030. Most folks are probably familiar with the story that America is aging — that our population is growing in the elder segments. You can see in the bullets for Age Groups that those 55 years and older show the most growth both in absolute terms (from 67 million in 2005 to nearly 111 million in 2030) and on a percentage basis – +65% vs +8% for people ages 18-54 and +16% for those aged 0-17. Looking at the Age Band bullets (horizontal) we can see that elderly growth is most concentrated in the 65-74, 75-84 and 85+ bands. In other words, most of the population growth is in retirement-aged people!
Ok, so now try clicking on the bullet (red bar) for people ages 55-64. Notice that the ‘Ages Detail Trend’ chart filters for that age band. The chart itself shows the percentage growth of a given year compared to the first year reported (e.g. % growth of population in year 2015 compared to 2005). If you are looking at ages 55-64 in the trend, notice the highly stratified trend lines. The younger end of that age band (55-58) shows relatively tame growth over the 25 year period compared to those aged 59-64.
FYI, this interactive visualization was built with Tableau Public, which is currently in private beta, and uses new features of Tableau 5.1 (also in beta) like native support for Bullet Charts – Hooray! Feel free to share the visualization by clicking the ‘Share’ button at the bottom of the vis and grabbing the embed code.