I was browsing all kinds of data visualization tools and examples this
weekend. This was one of them.
http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/04/migration-moving-wealthy-interactive-countie… It is from Forbes last summer and shows where people are moving in
America. Not sure why, but it was getting a lot of buzz last week,
which is when I found it. Please note that this assumes people are
moving, and doesn’t show the people who stay put. It is also based on
Census data. The example is showing Washtenaw County, which is basically the
University of Michigan and related local industries. It is showing the
data for 2008, which was when Pfizer shut down the R&D plant here, so
this is rather interesting. I am not surprised to see the preponderance of red, for many reasons.
One is Pfizer. Another is the general economic climate in Michigan.
However, The University of Michigan is always graduating new
professionals and sending them away to be productive elsewhere, so I
would expect we would have red lines even in our good years, since it
is our job to send new people out into the world. One might see this as showing where grad students go when they
graduate, if it was for a year of data uncontaminated with unusual
events like Pfizer closing. If we could replicate this for multiple
years, it might be interesting for tracking patterns in alumni.
However, I’m sure the University probably has other easier ways to get
at that data.