govMapper tries to keep track of the various visualizations and graphics, interactive stories and data aggregators across the web that are utilizing U.S. government data. We will also periodically produce our own government related data visualizations, and we have three to get you started. Click on the links above for our LABOR MAP, BUDGET MAP, or POVERTY MAP views.

We are the 99%

By Mariana Santos | Guardian Datablog

When Americans are asked how US wealth is distributed, they think the very richest fifth should own up to 40% of the national wealth – and that includes 90% of Republicans surveyed. In fact, that richest group owns 85% of the nation’s wealth. Those surveyed also thought the bottom 120 million people should own around 10% of the national wealth. The reality: 0.3%

Nice animation by Mariana Santos based on this data-set.

Major foreign holders of US debt

By Simon Rogers | Guardian Datablog

The amount of U.S. debt owned by China – the biggest foreign owner of US Treasury Bonds. As of autumn this year, US Treasury bonds owned overseas accounted for $4.7tn of the national debt – up 8% on last year. That’s not everything – the US now owes over $14tn in total.

Visit the site.

The State of Working America

By The Economic Policy Institute

The State of Working America Web site presents data in eight broad issue areas: income, economic mobility, wages, jobs, wealth, poverty, health, and international comparisons. Providing a comprehensive examination of critical trends and economic measurements, the data on this site is presented to give readers a deep understanding of the effect of the economy on low- and middle-income American workers and their families.

Visit the site.

Isarithmic Maps of Public Opinion Data

By David B. Sparks

Sparks uses isarithmic maps – which are essentially topographic or contour maps, wherein a third variable is represented in two dimensions by color, or by contour lines, indicating gradations – to represent various public opinion data. The map is produced from over 30,000 individual responses to the standard 7-point party identification question. Sparks generated dense grid of points across the map, and calculated a distance-weighted mean value for each point, as well as a distance-weighted response density for each point.

Visit the site.

Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualties


As we are approaching the end of combat and military engagement of the U.S armed forces in Iraq, a lot of publications are trying to visualize casualties and human impact of the war. Here are three good examples:

Visit the site here.

Similar visualizations by The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. A slightly more ‘artistic’ way of visualizing the duration of the Iraq war is found here.

U.S. Unemployment: A Historical View

The Wall Street Journal

A heatmap tracking the national unemployment rate since 1948, the first year in which the government provides data that can reliably be compared with the current rate. Numbers are seasonally adjusted.

Visit the site.

The Jobless Rate for People Like You

By Shan Carter, Amanda Cox and Kevin Quealy | The New York Times

Visit the site.

Congress Age Distribution

By Alex Lowe, Kurt Wilberding and Ana Rivas | The Wall Street Journal

The 111th Congress, which convened in 2009, is among the oldest in U.S. history. The average age of members of Congress has risen steadily since 1981, with just a slight hiccup in the early 1990s; the rise is likely the result of a high incumbency rate, the aging of the U.S. population, and the first-time elections of older candidates. Roll over the charts below to learn more.

Visit the site.

Billionaires’ Favorite Politicians

By Jon Bruner | Forbes

The billionaires on the Forbes 400 list have given more than $30 million to politicians and political action committees since 2006, along with millions more in soft money to politically active groups. Although Forbes 400 members give about 15% more money to Republicans than Democrats, they fund groups across the political spectrum.

Visit the site.

Obama’s 2012 Budget Proposal

By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox | The New York Times

Chart shows funds authorized to be spent during fiscal year. It does not show “off-setting receipts” — items like postage stamp sales, park fees, Medicare prescription drug premiums and federal agency contributions to employee retirement plans — that are counted as negative budget authority

Visit the site.

Mapping the Nation’s Well-Being

By Matthew Bloch and Bill Marsh | The New York Times

For the last three years, Gallup has called 1,000 randomly selected American adults each day and asked them about indicators of their quality of life. Responses are converted to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Here are the 2010 results, sorted by Congressional districts.

Visit the site.

Our Aging World

By Ben Fry, Fathom | GE Healthymagination

According to the United Nations, the elderly population of the world is growing at its fastest rate ever. By 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people aged 60 or over. The age of a country’s population can reveal insights about that country’s history, and can provide a glimpse towards the economic and healthcare trends that will challenge their societies in the future. Explore the visualization below to learn more about how the populations of eight countries will grow and change over time.

The World Population Prospects (2008 Revision) is from the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. The results of the 2008 Revision incorporate the findings of the most recent national population censuses and of numerous specialized population surveys carried out around the world. It also provides the demographic data and indicators to assess trends at the global, regional, and national levels. For years prior to 1990, population for ages 80 and above is estimated.

Visit the site.

Take a Look at Health

A powerful ‘Health Visualizer’ by Ben Fry,

What are the major health issues facing Americans today? What are some of the most common conditions, and how are they related to one another? What can we do to improve our health?

Visit the site.


The good guys from periscopic collected transcripts from the American Presidency Project at UCSB, categorized them by hand, then ranked lemmatized word-phrases (or n-grams) by their frequency of use. Word-phrases can be made of up to five words. Their ranking algorithm accounts for things such as exclusive word-phrases – meaning, it won’t count “United States” twice if it’s used in a higher n-gram such as “President of the United States.”

Visit the site.

American Migration

By Jon Bruner | Forbes

Bruner’s interactive visualization, based on IRS data, illustrates inward and outward migration for every U.S. county. Each move had its own motivations, but in aggregate they ­reflect the geographical marketplace during the boom and bust of the last decade: Migrants flock to Las Vegas in 2005 in search of cheap, luxurious housing, then flee in 2009 as the city’s economy collapses; Miami beckons retirees from the North but offers little to its working-age residents, who leave for the West. Even fast-growing boomtowns like Charlotte, N.C., lose residents to their outlying counties as the demand for exurban tract-housing pushes workers ever outward.

Visit the site.

Last year I participated in WNYC’s ‘Map Your Moves‘ data visualization challenge, rendering a very similar map of migration patterns.

Visit the site here, and make sure to check out Moritz Stefaner’s amazing entry to the challenge as well.

Immigration Explorer

Matthew Bloch and Robert Gebeloff | The New York Times

Matthew Bloch and Robert Gebeloff at The New York Times have designed a wonderful choropleth map of U.S. migration data going back to 1880. The user can select the origin of various immigration groups to see how they settled across the United States. A time slider provides an easy way to animate the data, either as percent of population, or in number of residents.

Visit the site.

Congress Speaks

By Periscopic

Visit the site.

The State of Young America

By Demos & Young Invincibles

Today’s 20-somethings are the first generation, as a whole, to face downward economic mobility compared to their parents’ generation, according to a new report from national policy center Demos and youth advocacy organization Young Invincibles. The report, entitled “The State of Young America,” details how the Great Recession has intensified the impact of thirty years of negative economic trends across young Americans’ lives.

There are no interactive graphs, but a pdf databook is provided, describing in detail the decline in opportunity and security that has taken place over the past thirty years, as the policies that previously provided the foundation for the existence of an American middle class deteriorated. The report provides a comprehensive portrait of the Millennial generation, and where possible, compares their economic status to that of the previous generation when they were just starting out. A number of excellent graphs are available, along with the underlying data for download.