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The poor can be subjected to more health hazards than other socioeconomic classes. One of these is breathing clean air. Factories and other pollutants are often placed in the low-income areas of cities. I will compare the EPA’s data of facilities that emit greenhouse gases and the number of poor in the vicinity of the facilities. I will look at the facilities in New York for this story.

Data source:

EPA and Census

Michaela Ross

Nut Graf/News Hook: Since the recession, Americans who once were quick to charge their credit cards have been collectively paying down their debt. American families’ median credit card debt went down from $2,800 in 2010 to $2,300 in 2013. Meanwhile, the personal savings rate has increased from 2.5% pre-recession to 5.5% in 2015. Now, with the Fed looking to raise interest rates in the next few months, rates on consumer debt — including credit cards — may also increase, and some economists are predicting that more cautious consumers will continue to pay down credit card debt and spend more modestly.

Description of Data and Link: Every 3 years, the Federal Reserve surveys American households about their finances. The percentage of Americans with credit card debt, as well as their current median balances, can be seen on tabs with “Table 89 01”-“Table 13 01” here. The credit card data is further broken down by percentile of income, age, education, number of dependents, race, work status, geographical region, occupation, housing status and whether they live in an urban area. The data stretches from 1989-2013, and was released in fall of 2014.
(see attached Excel sheet)

Bulletin with the latest survey:

Sources: I have already spoken to Peter Morici, economist at the University of Maryland about consumer habits with credit cards. He believes consumers will continue not to trust credit card use — especially with credit cards issued from large banks — because they don’t trust large banks after the recession. He feels people will find other ways to finance large purchases through borrowing from family or home improvement loans, even as interest rates go up.

Contact info: 240-429-7824

I have also spoken to economist Stan Shipley at International Strategy and Investment 212-446-9474, and Louis V Crandall, economist at Wrightson ICAP 212-815-6542,

There is also discussion about cautious consumers being more wary of charging credit cards in this spring’s consumer reports.

Possible Obstacles/Angles to Explore:

I would like to compare the Fed’s data to that of TransUnion. TransUnion releases a quarterly report showing average credit card debt and delinquency by state and their data is more current than the Feds, but I believe it’s measured differently. I am contacting their offices to investigate. Here is their latest report:

And here is an interactive map of credit card debt by state made by the Washington Post in 2012 using TransUnion data:

In May 2014 there were 8 million retail salespeople and cashiers working in the US, the two single occupations with the largest employment in the country. At the same time, another 8.3 million people were working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs in the country. Both represent around 6% of the total employment in the US, according to the latest numbers of the Occupational Employment Statistics, released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The difference between these two? The salaries. While the two top retail jobs only pay median salaries of $25,760 for retail salesperson and $20,670 for cashier, STEM jobs have mean wages a lot higher of the all-occupations average in the country, which is $47,230. Among the best paid STEM jobs are petroleum engineers, with $147,520 and physicists, with $117,300.

Let’s show graphically the salary difference between those two groups, in which the same amout of people are making so little in one end, and so much in the other. Let’s talk to experts on what this wage gap represents, too.

James Brown
Executive Director of STEM Education Coalition
(202) 400-2192 (office) /

National Retail Federation
Treacy Reynolds
Media Relations Coordinator
(202) 495-7221

Kathryn L. Shaw
Professor of Economics who has a paper on retail wages at National Bureau of Economic Research.
Graduate School of Business
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
Tel: 650/725-4168
Fax: 650/725-0468

You can usually always count on a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Duane Reade, or a Starbucks to be on every corner in New York City. Public restrooms, especially handicap accessible restrooms, are not as readily available.

New York City is known for its resource availability around every corner. Restaurants, bodegas, and entertainment venues are usually within walking distance, especially in Manhattan. But at one time or another, New Yorkers and tourists alike have most likely wondered where they can access a public restroom without passing a “bathroom for customers only” sign. This problem is even more difficult for people that are handicapped. mapped every public restroom in New York City and has included those that are handicap accessible. I will map these restroom locations and combine it with other handicap resources, such as elevators and subway stations, from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Guide to Accessible Transit in order to provide a better visual of New York as a handicap accessible city.


Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
(800) 522-4369

By Cole Rosengren

Once New Yorkers put their garbage on the curb, they pay little attention to where it goes. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is still in the process of implementing former Mayor Bloomberg’s 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan by building new transfer stations. City Council is also considering a bill, Intro-495, that would change how much garbage goes through certain neighborhoods. These two plans have inspired particular outrage and misinformation among different communities that don’t want any garbage facilities in their backyard.

Using information from NYC Open Data, I plan to map out exactly where each community district’s garbage and recyclable materials go within the city for processing. A select few areas – the South Bronx, northern Brooklyn and southeast Queens – bear the brunt of it all. I’ll also highlight the sites of new DSNY facilities that are either being built or are planned to be built in some kind of second screen to show how they will change the pattern.

From there, I plan to map out where everything goes once it leaves the city. Data is available for New York and New Jersey landfills and waste-to-energy plants. I’m still working on data for the other states where we send our garbage – Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, etc. Even if I can’t find exact landfill locations I can still highlight that our garbage is heading in their direction.


Gavin Kearney
Director of Environmental Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Benjamin Miller
Former policy director for DSNY, partner at Closed Loops consulting

Antonio Reynoso
Chair of City Council Committee on Sanitation & Solid Waste Management
Press Contact: Lacey Tauber

Kathy Dawkins
DSNY public affairs

Are you online? – Close look at digital divide and education
Ken Aragaki
Mar. 27, 2015

Access to Internet has become so vital in our daily life. We use Internet to check news, communicate with family or friends and find directions. It is also a powerful tool for education. More and more schools around the world are adapting computers and Internet to educate children.
Yet about 4.2 billion people, or 60% of the world population, still do not have access to Internet. The United Nations has declared the right to Internet access a basic human right. The digital divide exists even within some developed countries, including the United States.
I will explore the issue of digital divide globally and then take a close look at countries/cities where the issue of digital divide is severe: rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural, etc.
The goal of this data visualization project is to show how digital divide is affecting children on education.

World Bank – Internet users (per 100)

International Telecommunication Union
Monica Albertini, Communication Officer
Telecommunication Development Bureau
+41 22 730 5317;

Pew Research Center
Press: 202-419-4372

2014 World Economic Forum: Network Readiness Index
Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211, Email:

Internet Access Services Reports:

Education Super Highway

LA Times


NBC News

by Andrea González-Ramírez

In the US, Puerto Ricans are the second largest Hispanic origin group, following Mexicans and ahead of Cubans and Salvadorans. The recent migration patterns have changed greatly in the last few decades and the island has suffered a sustained decrease in population since 2000.

One of the main reasons is that the economic situation in Puerto Rico is a mess. They are still deep in an economic recession that has lasted eight years, the unemployment rate is almost 14 percent and the island is struggling to pay off a $73 billion public debt. Due to these difficulties, many people have chosen to live in the mainland instead.

More have said they plan to do so as well following the recent announcement of a new tax reform bill proposed by Governor Alejandro García Padilla, which proposes a 16 percent impuesto de valor añadido (IVA) or value-added tax (VAT). The national opposition has been fierce and many have played off the tax acronym with the phrase,  “IVA: Imposible Vivir Aquí”, which means literally “it’s impossible to live here.”

I want to make the visualizations to show where are the Puerto Ricans establishing themselves (now that the population stateside is bigger than in the island) and how that compares to previous migration waves in the last century, while explaining why  they’re choosing to leave.


The visualizations will be based on a data set published by the Pew Research Center and reports published in 2014 describing the migration patters in recent years. This would be complemented by the American Community Survey’s data.


  1. María Enchautegui – Senior research assistant at the Urban Institute and former professor of Economics at the University of Puerto Rico who has done extensive research on the Puerto Rican migration waves to the United States.
  2. Edwin Meléndez – Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.
  3. José R. Rodríguez – Demographer and professor of Sociology at the University of Puerto Rico.

Following Saturday’s tragic Brooklyn house fire and Thursday’s massive explosion and fire in the East Village, just over a year after 2014’s deadly Harlem blast, many New Yorkers are understandably concerned about fire safety in their city. Are fires, including five-alarm fires, becoming more frequent in the Big Apple?

The FDNY has compiled an exhaustive list of statistics at the city and borough levels going back to 1993 detailing New York fire incidents. The FDNY also made available vital statistics for much of the last decade, listing the average response times, the number of civilians saved or rescued and other key numbers.

I propose creating a chart — likely either a line or bar chart — to show the general trend in fire incidents in NYC and separate out more severe infernos from minor blazes to provide a sense of perspective regarding the frequency of five-alarm fires versus more frequent, lesser fires.

Additional sources: Jim Long, FDNY Press Office,, 718-999-2056

Currently, in the state of New York it is illegal to fight in a cage with small boxing gloves professionally. In layman’s term, the sport of mixed martial arts, or MMA, cannot be fought professionally in New York. For years, there have been legalization bills seen in the state assembly and in the senate. However, the bills were never brought to the senate floor. One of the reasons was Sheldon Silver and now that he is no longer in power, the bill has a chance to pass.

One of the biggest MMA promotions is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC. To show how the sport and the company has grown I found a data set indicting their Pay Per View buys since their first show in 1993. However, I would start at 2000. I would want the visualization to show case several things: the growth in PPV buys, which city has the highest PPV buys, and which main event fighter has the most PPV buys.

First, its interesting to see the growth of the company. UFC has dominated the MMA event world. There are other promotions but not even close to the caliber of UFC. Plus, the UFC is lobbying extremely hard to get the legalization bill passed.

Second, the cities that have the highest PPV buy, would compete with New York arenas like Madison Square Garden or the Barclay Center, if the bill were passed. It would be interesting to see if the West Coast dominates that scene and an analysis could be made to see if the New York arenas could top the West Coast arenas.

Third, many fighters are from New York. If the fighters with the highest PPV buys are from New York, then image if that fighter fights at MSG or the Barclays.

I believe this data will show that legalizing MMA could be beneficial to New York along the lines of revenue. I am looking into how it would effect tourism. I am also looking into the data boxing data. Which would bring MSG more money: boxing or MMA.

As spring blossoms in the city, New Yorkers take to their bicycles again to get about the city. With increased ridership, the city’s existing bicycle infrastructure is put under closer scrutiny. Since 2000, bicycle commuting has quadrupled, which has been tracked since 1985. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign has promised the constructions of 50 miles of bike lanes every year.

The Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx has been underserved by this initiative. Local business owners are spearheading a plan to create more bike infrastructure, but have met resistance from unprogressive local community leaders. According to the DOT, bike parking increases business.

Here is what it looks like.

I want to scrape some data to determine the miles of bike lanes per residents in each borough to calculate a metric of accessibility. I also want to give the story context through the Belmont neighborhood.


Councilman Ritchie Torres

Frank Franz, Belmont BID President

Ivine Galarza,  Community Board 6 Manager

Brian Zumhagen, Transportation Alternatives

Gloria Chin, DOT