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OECD Nations’ Economic Indicators Throughout the 2000s

Datasets contain stories. Visualizing datasets allow us to extract these stories. It would be impossible to fully appreciate a novel by reading every second page: So why do we do this when visualizing datasets?

Dancing Data is a new data animation tool that allows you to visualize trends in data that traditional graphs may miss. Traditional graphs, where data is presented along an X and Y axis, limit the amount of information we can present and interpret to two variables. With Dancing Data, you can easily visualize three variables across a time variable.

Below we use Dancing Data to visualize economic indicators across eight countries from 2004-2016. We plot unemployment rates on the X axis and household debt levels on the Y axis. Each bubble represents a country and bubble size represents GDP per capita.

Dancing Data reveals the story behind unemployment rates. There is a sharp rightward shift of all bubbles in 2008-2009 due to the financial crisis. However, we notice the Germany bubble barely budged, while 2008 marked the Greek bubble’s extreme rightward shift. What is Dancing Data telling us? The subprime crisis increased all nations’ unemployment, but to different degrees: the crisis barely affected German unemployment, while 2008 marked Greece’s rise to +20% unemployment rates.

We also notice there is much vertical variation of the bubbles along the Y axes. We see Denmark’s household debt rises above 300%, while Germany’s falls downward. If we look at the period following the 2008 financial crisis, we see how Canadians responded by increasing household debt while Americans responded by deleveraging. What is the story? The amount of, and changes to, household debt among nations vary greatly during the 2004-2016 period.

Dancing Data explains the story behind GDP per capita. We instantly know the relative sizes of the economies and can see the US economy remains the largest on a per capita basis. We see that, although there were slight decreases in bubble size (particularly Greece) post 2008, the bubble sizes are relatively consistent. The takeaway: there are differences in the sizes of each nation’s economy, and the 2008 crisis did not lead to a total economic collapse for any nation.

Dancing Data gives reveals the story that other data visualization methods miss. Dancing Data offers value to the businessperson seeking to make a better decision, the student submitting an assignment, and any intellectually curious individual. Click below for a link to the Dancing Data beta and experiment with some datasets we provide!

Source: OECD