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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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statistics

Factfulness

"The three authors of Factfulness explain why they decided to write the book that is now available in 24 languages."

Source: www.youtube.com

I just finished Hans Rosling’s book, Factfulness.  It was an absolutely delightful read (who wouldn’t want to imagine hearing Hans Rosling’s voice while relaxing on the beach?).  So much of the populace have outdated paradigms about the world and too many have an overly pessimistic worldview that everything is getting worse.  This is why FACTFULNESS is so needed day.  This term is used to describe a fact-based, data-driven worldview that is not overly dramatic, or fear-based.  In so many ways, the world has been consistently getting quantifiable better; this derived from an optimistic perspective, but a factful understanding of the world today.  This book is his clarion call to understand the world as it actually is and is the culmination of his professional achievements.  Now that he has passed away, it feels like a major part of his lasting legacy.  If you’ve ever used his TED talks, Gapminder, the Ignorance Project, or Dollar Street resources, this is a must read.

 

Tagsstatistics, models, gapminderdevelopment, perspective, book reviews.

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The World Bank is eliminating the term “developing country” from its data vocabulary

“In the 2016 edition of its World Development Indicators, the World Bank has made a big choice: It’s no longer distinguishing between ‘developed’ countries and “developing” ones in the presentation of its data. The change marks an evolution in thinking about the geographic distribution of poverty and prosperity. But it sounds less radical when you consider that nobody has ever agreed on a definition for these terms in the first place. The International Monetary Fund says its own distinction between advanced and emerging market economies “is not based on strict criteria, economic or otherwise.” The United Nations doesn’t have an official definition of a developing country, despite slapping the label on 159 nations. And the World Bank itself had previously simply lumped countries in the bottom two-thirds of gross national income (GNI) into the category, but even that comparatively strict cut-off wasn’t very useful.”

Source: qz.com

Labels and categories are so often problematic, but they are also necessary to make sense of the vast amount of information.  Regional geography is inherently about lumping places together that have commonalities, but acknowledging that many differences from place to place makes the world infinitely varied and complex.  Since we can’t process an infinite amount of complexity, we categorize, for better or for worse.  In education, we are continually trying to show how some categorizations fail, hoping that our students will categorize the information they receive in better ways (non-racist ways for example).  The regional terms we use–Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, etc.—impacts how we think about the world.  Each of those terms highlights a few similarities and ignores some important differences.  The terms More Developed Countries (MDCs), Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs), and Less Developed (LDCs) is how many people have socioeconomically categorized the world’s countries, some preferring developing countries instead of LDCs because it less stigmatizing.  In 2015, many at the World Bank have thought that the term “Developing Countries” obscures more than it reveals.  In 2016, the World Bank removed the term from its database since there are more differences than similarities in the economic structures and trajectories of developing countries.         

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some of the major problems that you see with the term developing country?  Even with its problems, what utility is there in the term?  Will you keep using the term or will you abandon it?  How come? 

 

Tagsdevelopment, statistics, economicindustry.

As U.S. Life Expectancies Climb, People In A Few Places Are Dying Younger

“The wealthiest country, which spends the most money on care for the sick, has far from the best health outcomes. Babies born in eastern Kentucky, along the Mississippi Delta and on Native American reservations in the Dakotas have the lowest life expectancies in the country. If current health trends continue, they aren’t expected to live much beyond an average of 70 years. Meanwhile, a baby born along the wealthy coast of California can be expected to live as long as 85 years, the authors found.

Source: fivethirtyeight.com

Questions to Ponder: What geographic and socioeconomic factors shape mortality rates?  What is better about society today then before?  Has anything worsened?  How come?

 

Tagsmortality, medical, developmentregions, USA, population, statistics.

Why do women live longer than men?

Despite the social inequality women experience, they live longer than men. This is the case without a single exception, in all countries.

Source: www.weforum.org

The question “why do women live longer than men?” is both biological and cultural.  This means that 1) gender as a cultural construct that influences behavior is a mitigating factor and 2) sex, as a biochemical issue, is a separate set of determining factors.  Estrogen benefits women because it lowers “bad” cholesterol) and “good” cholesterol, but testosterone does the opposite.  Women are more likely to have chronic diseases, but non-fatal chronic disease, but men are more prone to the more fatal chronic illnesses.  For the cultural reasons, men are less likely to seek treatment, adhere to the prescribed treatment, commit suicide, and engage in more risky behavior.  While these may read like a list of gendered stereotypes that don’t apply to all, when looking at the global data sets, these trends hold  and are more likely to be true.  How masculinity and femininity is constructed certainly shapes many of these factors and deserves some discussion. 

 

Tags: culture, population, mortality, development, cultural norms, statisticsgender

Why Did Americans Stop Moving?

The Census reports that a record-low share of Americans are moving. A recent paper suggests government policies might be curbing mobility.

Source: www.citylab.com

In the past, when I’ve taught world regional geography, I’ve often discussed a major regional characteristic of North America is the high degree of internal mobility…that appears to be changing and it brings up more questions than answers.  

 

Questions to Ponder: Are there regions in the United States where people are less likely to move?  How does mobility impact economic, cultural, and political patterns in the United States? Why are less people moving now than before?  

 

Tags: mobilitymigration, USA, statistics.

Americans Moving at Historically Low Rates

The percentage of Americans moving over a one-year period fell to an all time low in the United States to 11.2 percent in 2016.

Source: www.census.gov

In the past, when I’ve taught world regional geography, I’ve often discussed a major regional characteristic of North America is the high degree of internal mobility…that appears to be changing and it brings up more questions than answers.  

 

Questions to Ponder: Are there regions in the United States where people are less likely to move?  How does mobility impact economic, cultural, and political patterns in the United States? Why are less people moving now than before?  

 

Tags: mobilitymigration, USA, statistics.

Why you’re probably wrong about levels of immigration in your country

In developed countries around the world, people think immigrant populations are much larger than they actually are.

 

Americans consistently mention immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing political concerns, and it has become a signature issue in the presidential campaign. But while many Americans consider immigration one of the biggest issues for the future president, surveys suggest that they also have little understanding of the scale of the problem. The United States wasn’t alone in this tendency to exaggerate.

 

Tags: migrationstatistics, political.

Source: www.weforum.org

DON’T PANIC — Hans Rosling showing the facts about population

Source: www.youtube.com

Over the years I’ve shared many video clips featuring Hans Rosling and the Gapminder resources (click here for archived links).  For many this is going to but a rehash of previous videos, but this in the 1-hour long version of global population data (2016 Population Reference Bureau).  Clearly he is a proponent of lowering fertility rates–here he paints the optimistic view that population growth growth and development can be balanced in a future that is more ecologically and economically sustainable.  

 

Tagspopulation, statistics, media, models, demographic transition modeldevelopment.

Why I make cartograms with second graders

“There are few sights more heartening than that of an elementary school whose classrooms and hallways are decorated with world maps. Yet teachers should be careful to make sure that the standard depiction of the world map is not the only map their students encounter. Otherwise, they run the risk that children will assume ‘this is the way the world looks,’ rather than the more complicated reality that ‘this is one of many ways of representing our world.’ One useful antidote to this way of thinking is for students to explore cartograms, which are maps that use the relative area of places to present statistical data.  Please check out my cartogram lesson plan.”

Source: populationeducation.org

I love this post because it shows that–adjusting for mathematical proficiency and cartographic skill–just about any group of students can work on projects to work with data and explore various ways of how to represent that data.  

 

Tagseducation, K12geography education, statistics, spatial, mapping. 

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