Flawed pie chart with too many categories, unhelpful colors

AllMusic had a recent poll asking readers about their favorite Beatles album. Interesting topic but the pie chart used to display the results didn’t work out so well:



Two main complaints:

1. There are a lot of categories to represent here:14 different albums. While it is relatively easy to see some of the larger categories, it gets more difficult to judge the proportions of the smaller categories.

2. There are some categories clearly bigger than others but the color scene seems to have little to do with the actual album title. The palette runs from black to light gray but it does not appear to be in any order. For example, they might have used the same palette but light gray would have been Please Please Me while the darkest color could have been Past Masters. As it currently stands, the reader has to pick out the category and then try to figure out where it is in the key.

Given this comes from an app intended to help create infographics, this one isn’t so great as it suffers from two issues – lots of categories and a limited color design – that I often warn my statistics students about when using pie charts.

Census data visualization: metropolitan population change by natural increase, international migration, and domestic migration

The Census regularly puts together new data visualizations to highlight newly collected data. The most recent visualization looks at population change in metropolitan areas between 2010-2011 and breaks down the change by natural increase, international migration, and domestic migration.

Several trends are quickly apparent:

1. Sunbelt growth continues at a higher pace and non-Sunbelt cities tend to lose residents by domestic migration.

2. Population increases by international migration still tends to be larger in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.

3. There are some differences in natural increases to population. I assume this is basically a measure of birth rates.

However, I have two issues with this visualization. My biggest complaint is that the boxes are not weighted by population. New York has the largest natural increase to the population but it is also the largest metropolitan areas by quite a bit. A second issue is that the box sizes are not all the 50,000 or 10,000 population change as suggested by the key at the top. So while I can see relative population change, it is hard to know the exact figures.