Another Visualization of Unemployment

on Dec 24, 2009
One of the problems with choropleths is that, as explained by Hadley Wickham in this presentation, big states tend to draw more attention because of their size, but they also tend to have a low population Density. For example, Mexico City, the capital of Mexico and it’s industrial and economic center, with over 8 million people is barely visible in the map. One solution is to draw a circle in the center of each state.
Unemployment Rate Bubbles
The code for the chart is available from Github

Visualizing Unemployment in Mexico

on Dec 22, 2009
What has been the impact of the economic crisis on employment? And how has it affected the different regions of Mexico?

To answer the questions the first step was to obtain the unemployment data from the Banco de Información Económica at the INEGI. The data is available only at the state level, and not at the county level. Here’s a chart with the unemployment rate for all of Mexico:
Unemployment Rate
The second step was to download a map Mexico from the ICESI. The INEGI has a bunch of maps with much higher resolution, but the one from the ICESI had the smallest memory footprint of any map I could find, and since we are not going to print out the map, it is the one I used.

While preparing the data I noticed that the map had a state called “Baja California Norte,” in real life no such state exists. When merging the unemployment data with the map from the ICESI it was easier to just add a column with the values from the map, so yes, I’m aware of the mistake, don’t blame me if you decide to use it to label states.
Unemployment in Mexico, by state
Lots of unemployment in the Northern and Central Mexico, no surprise there, since it is tightly integrated with the US economy. Coahuila and Chihuahua have the highest rates at 9.72%. The south, being less developed and less reliant on exports to the US, has a lower unemployment rate. Oaxaca has the lowest rate with 1.74%. Notice the darkening of Quintana Roo (where Cancun is) in 2009 because of the swine flu

If the Mexican economy contracted 6.4% on a yearly basis in the third trimester of 2009, why is unemployment so low compared to other nations? Is the Mexican government fooling around with the definition of unemployment? Maybe, but it mostly follows the definition of unemployment of the oecd. There was change in the definition of the economically active population to exclude people younger than 14 (it was formerly 12), but that only lowers the rate by about .01%. A more likely explanation is given by the INEGI [pdf]: 1)There is no social safety net or unemployment insurance in Mexico so people are more willing to take crappy jobs. 2) The unemployed workers emigrate to the US.

The source code to generate the charts is available from Github

The unmarried parenthood rate in Mexico

on Dec 18, 2009
Using data from the INEGI I calculated the percentage of births who were born outside of marriage in Mexico and compared it to the Hispanic rate in the US. They are basically the same. There’s been a gigantic increase that’s slouching towards 50% as of 2006. It is a virtual certainly that more than half of all births were born outside of marriage in 2009.
Births to unmarried mothers   
The database I used to generate the chart contains all registered births in Mexico. I only used the data up to 2006, even tough the data goes up to 2008, because parents are sometimes ‘lazy’ about getting their child’s birth certificate for various reasons (e.g. Santiago Creel). And since the parents who are most likely to delay getting the birth certificate are those whose children were born outside of marriage, this would result in a biased estimate.

The increase in unmarried mothers has been mostly due to the increase in those living together as married and the decline in married women giving birth (less than 50% in 2006). Interestingly, since 2000 there has also been an increase in the  percentage of mothers not specifying their marital status.
Percentage of Births by Marital Status in Mexico
The oecd [excel file] wrongly reports the proportion of births outside of marriage for Mexico as 10%. It looks like someone mistakenly gave them the wrong data, maybe instead of reporting the rate for all unmarried mothers, only the rate belonging to single mothers (as in not partnered!) was reported. Here’s the correct standing, with Mexico up there with the Northern European social democracies:
Proportion of births outside marriage (2007)
P.S. The data and code for generating the charts is available from github

Straight out of the Simpsons

on Dec 6, 2009
“Our strategy is to look holistically at how we can provide the best all-around user experience,” says Victoria Grady, director of mobile strategy at Microsoft