Stats: not just a sports thing

I love statistics, don’t you? All the charts and graphs are so colorful. It must be the bright colors that attract me, like the dog, Dug, in the movie “Up.” Dug was distracted by any squirrel he saw. As he was padding along with his master, he would see a squirrel with his peripheral vision. He’d immediately jerk his head to one side and say “Squirrel!” His attention to the task at hand was broken.      

That happens to me every time I see a chart or graph. I crank my head to one side and immediately get distracted. It must be the ADD.

Statistics are almost as fun as graphs.

Bar graphs; colorful but you must use a straight edge to extend the bar over to the left of the vertical reference; Pie charts are cool; but unless labeled, there must be a large disparity to decipher them; Line graphs; show the trends up or down but are not very colorful; Pictographs; these stack or line up some photo that represents the topic of the information – not very accurate; Organizational charts; now I know who’s really the boss around here; Flow charts; just how the work flows through the production chain and finally, those weird Inspirational graphs that consist of rectangles, circles and ovals, all connected by a solid or dotted line – my eyes cross on these. And then there are the overlapping pie charts, which show how different statistics overlap.

I like bar graphs, plain and simple, but then a pie graph, when it consists of a lot of red, reminds me of cherry pie – my favorite. Squirrel!

Paragraphs, (has the word graph in it) contain much of the same information but are not as a visual, and they’re not as fun. Yet, they do tell a story.

Case in point? This one tells an interesting story:

The US Census reported that more than 60 percent of those benefiting from unemployment insurance are white. Slightly less than half of food stamp beneficiaries are white, but in swing states the proportion is much higher. For example, in Ohio, 65 percent of households receiving food stamps are white. Nationally, 42 percent of Medicaid recipients are non-Hispanic whites, but, in Ohio, the number is 61 percent.

Chesterfield’s Youth and Family Indicators Report is an interesting read, that is, if you like graphs and info boxes.

As you probably know, our county is getting a little long in the tooth, round in the shoulders and many of its citizens have to blow out too many candles. There are 47,404 of us 45 – 64. I fit in this category; too young to collect Social Security and too old to remember what it is.

But the largest population by age in Chesterfield is a bit younger, that age of nose to the grindstone, soccer practice for the kids and so many sleepovers, allowed SpongBob rubbed right off of your guest sheets. You are in the halcyon days of 25 – 44 and there are more of you than any one age group in the county – 83,917. The 25 – 44 group is more than three times the size of the 65 – 79 age group, who think SpongBob is a new dish soap. There are 25,188 gray headed wisenheimers who can say, “There is still no cure for the common birthday.”

And as I think about my daughter who hasn’t had any children, although she says she’ll get around to it, households here without children under 18 years old in 1990 numbered 4,000 more than those with children. Now that has flipped big time. A household without children under 18 is 66,698 and those with children is 45,515. My, how things have changed.

In just 20 years, (numbers used from 2010) there are 20,000 less homes with children under 18. Is that a product of economic or social mores? Are our children delaying marriage so they aren’t unencumbered to finish grad school, or are they smart enough to fit in some adventure before they’re to old and responsible to enjoy it?

“So what, we go out? That’s how it’s supposed to be, living young and wild and free.” – Bruno Mars.

And, if you want a family or significant other, things have changed dramatically there as well. Since 2000 the increase in married couple families has increased by 13 percent, while lone female families have increased 45 percent and male headed families by even more – 56 percent.

Yet married couples, with a less percentage of increase, still out pace by 50,000 the number of both single-headed family catagories combined. You can sigh now. I know you Baptists were getting a little breathy.

OK, one more before we move on. People like me – one. People like you – one. Tie ballgame.


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