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By Alison Kanski

Water’s Edge by Reuters was an enormous investigative story about the rising sea level and its effects on coastal areas, mostly focusing on the U.S., but also looking briefly at southeast Asia. This article is very long and packed with data and visualizations, so I’m just going to look at a few of them.

The first graph was definitely the strongest. At first it looks overwhelming, but it clearly shows the general trend upward in coastal flooding. If the reader wanted to find a particular city (like I looked for Charleston, SC), the drop down menu to the right of the chart made it really easy. Rather than hunting through the jumbled lines, you can just pick a city that interests you and see the data for it. One issue with this graph is that some of the lines are broken due to missing data. The note below the graph explains that the data is missing because there were incomplete records for certain years.

The floods per station map was certainly a really cool thing to watch, but it moved too fast to even register the number of floods per station before it moved on to the next year. But the general idea to show that coastal flooding has increased is clear. One issues is that more stations are added as time goes on. In 1920, there are only nine stations, but in 2013 there are easily four times that. I think that may skew the reader’s perception of the floods. There are more pulses on the map both because there are more floods and because there are more stations recording the floods.

The two maps were not very interesting. The use of the color gradient was hard to distinguish, particularly the gray, and there was no interactivity to show specifics for each shaded area for either map. The layers icon in the top left is also an issue. I only noticed it after staring at the maps for a few minutes, so the average reader would most likely not notice it’s there. Although that may be for the best. When I started playing around with the layers, it almost made the maps more confusing because some of the layers overlaid each other and others didn’t. I was spending more time trying to figure out the layers than actually looking at the map. It was the most user-friendly experience.

Overall, I thought this was a great data viz story. A massive amount of data and research clearly went into it and, in general, it was organized and presented well. It takes some time and dedication to the story to get through this entire article, but I certainly think it’s worth it.


A Look at the Undocumented Population in the Boroughs

Undocumented immigrants in New York can now identify themselves thanks to the idNYC initiative. The card, a free I.D. that began this past January, is a municipal I.D. that works the same way a state I.D. does. However, the card doesn’t require as much paperwork as a state I.D. For those who were unable to receive a state I.D., such as undocumented immigrants, this card is  beneficial. Using the card can allow access to government buildings and provides an official identification if approached by police.

Over 65 percent of undocumented immigrants have moved to the New York City from all over the world since 2000. The Center of Migration Studies cites when these undocumented immigrants moved to the United States and what countries they moved from. This map categorizes undocumented immigrants by borough, population and race. Further studies on particular races will provide the reasons for their migration to New York.

Currently thousands of undocumented immigrants remain unknown in New York City, a problem Mayor de Blasio’s office sought to change with the idNYC initiative. The idNYC card was developed with the immigrant community in mind. Both immigrants and citizens lined up at idNYC offices, waiting three hours or more for an appointment. Over 44,000 applications were processed during its introduction and as of Feb. 27, over 260,000 appointments at enrollment centers were booked, according to a mayoral administrative assistant.

   “This is a first step toward including undocumented people in society. Hopefully the entire state will except this card soon,” said Melissa Garcia, a member of the immigration information center New York State Youth Leadership Council.

The number of undocumented immigrants in New York has risen tremendously since 2000, according to the Center of Migration Studies. About 27% of unauthorized immigrants, documented by the 2012 census, came to the U.S. during the years 2000-2004. Out of 25 countries, the Dominican Republic has seen the most immigration with 11% of its population moving to the United States.

A Columbia University socioeconomic profile study on Dominicans shows that New York City has the highest concentration of Dominicans in the U.S., with over 300,000 Dominicans moving between 1990 to 2000. Dominicans now outnumber Puerto Ricans, according to the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLCL), with over 140,000 Dominicans moving to NYC between 2010 to 2013. One reason for this surge in population is that Dominicans seemed to leave the country while Haitians moved in.

The Center of Migration also shows that there is a minute amount of undocumented immigrants from Africa. In 2012, over 5,000 undocumented Ghanians and 2,000 undocumented Nigerians moved to New York City. Less than 1,000 moved from Ethiopia. The United States Census Bureau states that the African population in the United States has doubled every decade since 1970. The number of African immigrants in New York continues to increase, but most seem to move here legally.

Proving residency and identity is difficult for some undocumented immigrants. Most undocumented immigrants in New York live anonymously in fear of being detected or deported by officials. idNYC particularly aims at helping immigrants to not be afraid of reaching out for assistance from government agencies.

“Generally, this should be seen as a platform for undocumented immigrants to come out of the closet and be transparent about their status,” said Wernick. “The more people come out of the shadows, the more likely we are to see real immigration reform.”