The Library’s Online Resource PolicyMap Makes Data Come Alive!

Give life to your research with the Library’s new online resource PolicyMap. Whether you’re researching trends in income, jobs, education, health, or home sales, a map adds the power of instant visualization to tables, charts, and graphs. PolicyMap allows you to create maps fast, either by downloading data from more than 15,000 continuously updated datasets, or by uploading your own data.

Visualize the latest demographics, compare data across locations, generate on-the-fly market reports, run analytics. Interact with maps that demonstrate the answers to: What is the birth rate by county? What are the homeownership rates across the U.S.? Where do people under the age of 18 live in poverty? What areas of the country have the most middle-aged people without health insurance? PolicyMap guides you through the steps to create custom maps with multiple data layers, tables and charts, and reports.

To illustrate median income distribution in Albemarle County, for example, search “Albemarle County” and click “Incomes & Spending” on the menu bar. Under “Income,” select “Family,” and then under “Median Family Income” select “All Families.” PolicyMap fills in the map with colors that represent income ranges for the latest five-year period for which there’s data—most of the northern half of the county is filled with the darkest color, which according to the legend represents the highest income range, and the southern half is filled with lighter shades representing lower incomes.

See screenshots below of “Estimated typical (median) income of a family between 2011–2015” (click images to enlarge). Note that the map is modified to include specified areas—counties and county subdivisions were selected from the “Map Boundaries” list.

The map is fully interactive. You can click through the income ranges that correlate to zip code tabulations to get pop-up listings that compare local median incomes against national, state, county, and Charlottesville Metro Area income.

For more resources like PolicyMap, please check the Library guide to new online resources. It’s updated daily!

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