Data Story Roundup: June 19 to June 26, 2017

Read the most interesting stories on statistics, visualizations, and open data we've found each week. Follow LiveStories on Twitter to see more! 

New data mapping shows refugee migration patterns in U.S.

In honor of World Refugee Day: Business Insider presents captivating data maps of refugee activity in the U.S. compared to other countries in the last 16 years. 

Data on Iraqi civilian deaths show the scale of casualties since 2003. 

Since the American invasion in 2003, roughly 180,000 civilians have died in Iraq. Explore the context of this data in our most recent data story, which received coverage on Fox News

Education data helps explain close race in Georgia.

The New York Times used education data to show what made Georgia's 6th district election so competitive.

Cities harness the power of data to fight the opioid epidemic.

GovTech reports on how cities are taking data-driven interventions in the fight against the opioid epidemic.   


Are people actually reading your PDF reports?

Here’s three big problems with PDFs—and three ways your organization can get around them.

Data Story Roundup: June 12 to June 19 2017

Read about the most interesting stories about statistics, visualizations, and open data we've found each week.

How to Use Index and Match on Excel

Like peanut butter and jelly, INDEX and MATCH are two Excel functions that work better together. Here's how to use them.

Data Story Roundup: May 29 to June 5, 2017

Read about the most interesting stories about statistics, visualizations, and open data we've found each week. Follow LiveStories on Twitter to see more! 

Threats to Affordable Housing in New York

New York City released an annual data graphic displaying threats to affordable housing in all 59 of its communities. The graphic gives users a look into the future showing potential effects rezoning actions could have on future affordable housing.

New Employment Numbers: The Good and the Bad

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey revealed that the United States added 138,000 jobs this May. This report was a mixed bag. While the unemployment rate went down to 4.3 percent, the labor force participation rate went down to 0.2 percent.

Google Maps Air Pollution

Long known for being an authority on mapping directions, Google revealed its first ever map showing block-by-block air pollution levels. The data mapped was collected using street view cars equipped with sensory tools and could help cities get better air quality. 

Baltimore Adds Smart Water Meters

The city of Baltimore announced its water department will implement state of the art smart-meter technology. These meters measure how much water a person uses by the hour which is then sent to the water department. 

Exploring California's Opioid Data

Dried opium plants in Afghanistan; photo by U.S. Marine Corps.

Dried opium plants in Afghanistan; photo by U.S. Marine Corps.

LiveStories includes data on opioid-related prescriptions, deaths, and hospitalizations for all 58 counties in California, made available from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Exploring this data provides valuable insights on where and how the opioid crisis hits hardest in the state. For example, you can see how opioid deaths are more concentrated in northern counties (all data is per 100,000 residents):

Many experts trace the roots of the opioid crisis to the overprescription of opioid pain relievers, beginning in the late 1990’s. Health experts now recognize that prescription opioids are dangerously addictive, and in many California counties, opioid prescription rates have stabilized or decreased.

But legal prescription opioids are just one side of the epidemic. Even if legal opioids become harder to obtain, illegal opioids—notably heroin—are surging in popularity, and are often cheaper and more accessible than prescription opioids. The geographical pattern for heroin deaths is also different for overall opioid deaths:

At LiveStories, we’re familiar with this data from our work with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), a coalition of county-based groups dedicated to tackling the opioid epidemic at the local level. We've highlighted the vital work they do in a previous post. Now, the data underlying their work is available to anyone with a LiveStories subscription.

Obviously, the opioid epidemic spreads beyond California. LiveStories is working to add opioid data for all counties and states in America, and our library already includes data on overall drug poisoning rates. You can get a customized report for your county here:

How to Do HLookups in Excel

The HLOOKUP function is useful when you have to find a value in a spreadsheet with many columns. Here's how it works. 

Memorial Day: Data on Americans Who Served

May 29 is Memorial Day, a national holiday for remembering America's fallen military veterans. At LiveStories, we recognize and honor the sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of American veterans have made over the nation's history, and continue to make today.

The tradition of celebrating Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War. In 1868, a group of Union veterans decreed May 30 as "Decoration Day," a time for laying flowers on the graves of soldiers who died during the war. Many states, both in the north in the south, continued this tradition of remembrance. After more than a century, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1970, during the height of the Vietnam War.

The government's Defense Casualty Analysis System compiles data on America's war dead, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. The America Community Survey, conducted by the Census, compiles data on America's living veterans. As part of LiveStories' Five Facts series, we've created a brief overview of both sets of data.

The latest installment of LiveStories' "Five Facts" series explores data on veterans. READ THE STORY →

The latest installment of LiveStories' "Five Facts" series explores data on veterans. READ THE STORY →


Learn how your community can benefit from LiveStories.

The American Community Survey's data on veterans is a small part of our civic data library. Request a demo to see how our platform data can help you draw insights and make an impact. 


How to Do VLookups in Excel

The VLOOKUP function is one of the most useful tools in Excel's arsenal. Here's how to wield it. 

A New Look for a New LiveStories

LiveStories now includes a vast library of civic data, along with team collaboration features. 

Case Study: Tracking Health in San Luis Obispo County

Learn how the San Luis Obispo County Health Department is using LiveStories to help their community. 

West Marin Health Center Streams Data Live

Learn how the West Marin Health and Human Services Center created a story that automatically updates each day with new data from Google Forms—without anyone even opening a spreadsheet program.

Introducing: Five Facts

LiveStories is excited to introduce a new series of stories called Five Facts. These articles take a close look at the data behind some of the most important issues facing Americans today.

How to Make Your Data Stand out on Social Media

Posting statistics, charts, or infographics on social media is a lot trickier than posting cat videos. Here are six tips to help your data get the attention it deserves.

Five Ways to Fail at Data Visualization

Unfortunately, some data visualizations just don’t work. Here are five examples of classic data visualization fails.

How Governments Can Put Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to Work

In this final excerpt from our e-book—Happy Citizens: Measuring Performance in the Public Sector—we explore how governments can use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to target and contextualize their initiatives and programs. 

How Citizen Happiness is Built on Respect—and Jobs

We examine the top two tiers of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Esteem, and Self-Actualization.

Open Data Files: The Main Formats

Open data can be uploaded in a variety of formats. This post discusses the main ones.

Two Keys to Citizen Happiness: Managing Risk and Experiencing Love

Feeling safe, and feeling loved, are the second and third most fundamental requirements for happiness, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. 

Our Ten Favorite Sources for Open Data

At LiveStories, we celebrate open data every day. Here are our top ten sources for open data.