Figure 9: Areas of Expertise

This choropleth and cartogram shows the population of 2013 graduates in the United States broken down by field of study. States are rendered with an area proportional to the total number of graduates and a color dependent on the fraction of graduates in that state receiving a degree in a given field of study. Thus, you can get a sense of both the relative and absolute significance, as the scaling corrects for the optical integration problem which often plagues choropleth maps. That is, a dark small state represents the same contribution to the work force as a state half as dark but twice as large.

The cartogram itself vaguely resembles that of total population, with some notable exceptions (Massachusetts produces a huge number of graduates, for instance), but certain fields are disproportionately popular in certain areas - some really only exist in a handful of states. Use the filters to explore and hover over a state to see details. Note that the scale of the cartogram changes with level of degree (in order to accommodate the vastly different number of students in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs). If you'd prefer not to use the cartogram area weighting, simply disable “Use Graduates as Area” and the map will be rendered by geographic area.

By default, the color scale automatically adjusts to best accommodate the chosen filters. This makes it possible to distinguish small differences, but impossible to compare different conditions directly. If you'd like to compare different fields, disable “Auto-Adjust Color Scale” and a single scale will be chosen for use with every query. Note that at this scale, the more rare majors become effectively invisible.

Data were sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (part of the US Department of Education) and preprocessed to bin by state. The total number of graduates is processed independently, so double majors are handled correctly (The sum of degrees can exceed the number of graduates). A student graduating from two different schools or receiving two different levels of degree in the same year may be double-counted, but that terms is expected to be vanishingly small. State geometry was simplified to ease interpretation.

It's a value-by-area map of the link between areas of study and geographic areas! I basically built this Plot around the titular pun. I'm not proud.

I'm a little proud.