American Shame (?)

I came across this graphic at Flowing Data in America is not the best at everything.
stat chart

I realize that America is not the best at everything, but I might argue about which direction we need to go to improve <grin>.

I’ve learned to look at this kind of graphic with a critical eye, starting with motivation –

  • Why is the author presenting this information?  Why did he choose this title?
  • I see that the United States is dead last.  The nations are not alphabetized, so they must be ordered, but how?  We’re not the worst at everything, so there must be some unexplained weighting to the measures.
  • There are exactly 33 countries listed.  I expect that if the United States ranked 25th, then the chart would have stopped at 25.
  • Income Inequality.  I really hate this one because it is so misguided.  If you doubled the income of every American tomorrow, that would widen the “income gap,” but everyone would be better off.  So that would be a bad thing?
  • I think I’m just plain cynical on the “Food Insecurity” data.  I suspect the definition of “need” may be an issue.

What do you think?
If you click through  the graphic to Flowing Data, then to the source article, you’ll see that determine for yourself whether the author has a bias.

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