1940s Story Draft

The 1940s was a time where the U.S slowly recovered from the Great Depression. New York specifically since then has maintained the number one spot for highest population since the early 1900s. Looking at demographic information of residents in Albany, New York in 1940 can tell various stories. The addresses, marital status, race, and education are the few parts of the census that raise questions regarding the lifestyles of people in this particular year. Was the residential area rural or urban? Were people financially stable? How did levels of education effect future endeavors? This visualization focuses on how education levels effect occupation decisions.

Initially looking at the data, it is unclear in figuring out who was enrolled in school for that year, and the kinds of occupations at the time. You must take into consideration age, and filter which jobs have different spelling, but are the same title. After making those changes, the visualization shows the variations in occupations and the education background one possessed in that field. The information is represented through a bar graph with a colored key to indicate whether the person attended college, high school, or elementary school. For each occupation there are numerical distinctions for how many people in 1940 worked in the same occupation.

Before looking at the occupations, the census does provide addresses of people in Albany. With some research, I found that Fleetwood Avenue and Cardinal Avenue were in the Whitehall area of Albany. This shows that these residents lived in close proximity of each other, yet obtained various jobs. For example, two people that live on Fleetwood Avenue both in their late 30s/ early 40s white, male, and highest education level is high school. One has a career in sales, while the other is an electrician. You can then compare those two people to a woman in her early 40s, married, with the highest education received in elementary school. Her occupation is not listed in the census.

The comparisons stated show us that creating one story can then lead to others. Were women still suggested to stay in the home in 1940? If she obtained higher education, would she be working?

Looking back at the visualization, something interesting within the story is the placement for those with no educational background. Most work in the same field as those that have went to high school and/or college (housekeeping, inspector, etc..). The highest number of jobs with varying educations obtained were wage/salary workers in government and private businesses, proprietors, owners, laborers, and inspectors. These occupations are closely related to either working for the government or working for themselves. We can build the assumption that this area of Albany is more suburban with many small businesses. Albany today is assumed to be very government orientated because it is the capital, yet many parts in the downtown region do support this assumption created from the data. A final observation following the census is the wide range of jobs that were surprisingly held at the time, especially following the economic downtown a few years before.

2 thoughts on “1940s Story Draft

  • April 20, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    Really, really good use of your close reading to ask questions of your data.

    A couple of observations on your current visualization: right now you’ve got CNTD for both Attended School and Age, which is Count Distinct. This means that Tableau is counting how many distinct categories are within your categories–for Architect, for example, that means it’s seeing three categories attended college, elementary school, and high school. It sounds like you want to know how many people in that occupation had each level of schooling–which means you want the COUNT rather than the CNTD. This will count up how many people in that category had a college education, how many had a high school education, etc etc, rather than telling you that there’s three education categories in the occupation architect.

    You’ve also got a conflict between what you’re counting in your rows and what you’re counting with your colors–you’ve got Attended School as a measure in your rows, and Attended School is just a yes/no did that person go to school that year. From your story, it sounds like what you want is a count of Highest Grade–you’ll need to right click convert Highest Grade to Measure, and then do COUNT(Highest Grade) in your rows pane up top.

    Re: Your groups, you’ve done a really good job grouping your education levels and your age ranges. There’s a way to share groups across project files, so if, for example, you and Angie wanted to use the same occupation groups to save each other time, you’d download the workbook of the person who has groups made up, open both your file and her file, then go right click>copy on the grouped dimension, and paste it into your project file. Remind me to show you both this in class.

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