One of the few data graphs I still remember well from my childhood, revealed the division of my birth country's population by age. The rising, big bulge in the middle would mean inevitable doom, so said my school teacher, as the retirement and health costs for these people (while conveniently skipping himself) would have to be paid by the slender part of the graph (pointing to us). I never looked the same to my parents since then. Now, about 20 years later, his words are still true.
The latest graph [ge.com] released by GE illustrates the aging population problem in the world by contrasting the demographic statistics of 8 different industrialized countries. Designed by Fathom Information Design, the company recently set up by viz-guru Benjamin Fry, the applet allows users to select pairs of countries, of which the data can be cycled from 1950 to 2050.
While revealing the statistical trends, the visualization still seems to come up short to describe the causal events or harsh consequences behind the phenomena present in the data, which could actually be quite intriguing. Would you agree?
In the meantime, GE is already looking for a "Data Visualization Leader", with some amazing skills in creative, technical as well as management areas.