This weekend I projected unemployment data from the 2006 Census onto a map of Halifax. I won’t say much about this topic because its subject matter lies well beyond my area of expertise; although I’m willing to make broad assumptions about population growth, I don’t want to speak too much about employment numbers lest some one quotes me on it. (I see you in my site statistics, all you high school and jr. high kids logging in from ednet.ns.ca addresses – remember to click to the census data and cite them for your projects!)
First, some observations on the projection. The unemployment figures for Halifax’s 88 Census Tracts ranged from 2.1% in Fairview (Tract 205.0017.00, south of Hwy 102 and north of the St. Margaret’s Bay Road) to 12.8% in Shannon Park (Tract 205.0112.00, south of the MacKay Bridge at Windmill Road), with the city’s average unemployment rate at 6.3%. This is a 10.7% spread, which I’ve separated into 5 fields with a 3% spread in each. By showing 5 different unemployment rate groups, this spread gives a sharp level of detail, but on the other hand it creates a patchwork-quilt of colors with few discernible patterns. Projecting data requires balancing data against visuals – if the data is not represented properly, then patterns may not emerge, or the patterns that do emerge may be misleading altogether. Be sure, therefore, to click through to the original data files for each tract (links are provided on the tract’s data boxes).
[flexiblemap src=”http://michael.steeleworthy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/20100208_Halifax_Unemployment_Data_2006_Census.kml” width=”700″ height=”400″]
And now, some observations on this map against others. Thus far I’ve noted how Timberlea and the Sackvilles tend to stand out on census maps. Both areas saw a significant decrease in population from 2001 to 2006, and my recent population density map shows that both areas are denser than their surrounding (more-)rural neighbours thanks to the network of highways spidering out from the peninsula. What today’s map highlights is that both areas’ population decreases are mirrored by higher unemployment rates. The areas may have a denser population than their surrounding census tracts, but people seem to be leaving (possibly to find work elsewhere?).
Population of Halifax in 2006: 372858
Labour force [persons ages 15+]: 309270
Unemployed persons in labour force: 13385
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Population of Nova Scotia in 2006: 913462
Labour force [persons ages 15+]: 756595
Unemployed persons in labour force: 43530
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%