Office of National Statistics infographics

I was having a wander around the ONS site today and liked the ‘on the fly’ interactive maps and charts that you can play with from the 2011 national census data.

On the plus side, really nice to see, and can be easily embedded into other sites via the code they provide (see example below – though the window is small).

However, I think they are lacking some basic vital information and are therefore open to being misinterpreted. First, the colouring of the labels. If you look at the data in the maps for Passport holders in the UK (see below), when we look at the number of people with a UK passport in districts across the UK the dark purple is used for 90+ people. The same colour shade is used to describe 3+ people with Polish passports in each area. If you didn’t look at the key you could easily think we were being invaded by Polish (I can think of some relatives who would jump quickly to that assumption 🙂

Second, with the drop down list of nationalities, why does it start with Poland? Why isn’t it alphabetical? It feels politicised.

Finally – there is no explanation of that these figures actually mean. I assume this is ‘out of 100 adults’ so the data for dark purple for UK passports is therefore explained as “90 or more out of one hundred adults” and the Polish dark purple data as “three or more out of one hundred adults”. Then again it might include children, but I don’t know because it didn’t tell me!

So close ONS. Might drop them a request to add these vital extras in!

Graphic by Office for National Statistics (ONS)