The Story Behind the Numbers
The wonderful animators at Kiss Me I’m Polish, who did the design and graphics for my book The Family, have also produced a series of short videos based on infographics from the text, under the title The Story Behind the Numbers. These are less than 2 minutes long and use just a few numbers, intended to spur reflection and discussion in conjunction with the details in the book — and I got to be the narrator:
- Chapter 1, A Sociology of the Family: The family is not an isolated entity
- Chapter 2, The Family in History: Decline in birthrates, increase in women workers
- Chapter 3, Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: Why are there so many single Black women?
- Chapter 4, Families and Social Class: Which families are in poverty?
- Chapter 5, Gender: How does gender affect the workplace?
- Chapter 6, Sexuality: Sexuality between the genders
- Chapter 7, Love and Romantic Relationships: Race and ethnicity divides college students’ dating lives
- Chapter 8, Marriage and Cohabitation: Are people getting married later, or not at all?
- Chapter 9, Families and Children: The high, and highly unequal, cost of raising children
- Chapter 10, Divorce, Remarriage and Blended Families: Differences in divorce rates help uncover the causes
- Chapter 11, Work and Families: Division of labor within married couples
- Chapter 12, Family Violence and Abuse: Why has intimate partner violence declined so much?
- Chapter 13, The Future of the Family: Increased diversity in American family life
- A Changing Law feature (PDF), updating the book after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision affirming marriage equality in June 2015.
- I experimented with a how-to video explaining the total fertility rate, and showing how you can calculate it yourself using free Census data: It’s 9 minutes on Youtube (captioned)
Good teaching pieces, by topic
- Syllabus supplements, spring 2015: Some new and some favorites.
- Syllabus supplements, fall 2014: Three posts for each of the book’s 13 chapters, updated for fall 2014.
- Syllabus supplements, winter 2013: Some older pieces here that didn’t make the cut for 2014.
- Why I called it The Family, and what that has to do with Cosby: Why I think of “the family” as an institutional arena, a place of good and bad practices and outcomes.
- Not all trigger warnings are the same: My approach to dealing with disturbing, traumatic, or offensive material in class.
- Deciphering a well-told data story, cars are good for kids edition: Now we’re told that marriage prevents rape. Before we consider that, let’s consider the claim that cars contribute to children’s wellbeing.
- Marriage promotion: That’s some fine print: Taking apart one article that tries to show the marriage promotion programs are working (they’re not).
- Hello, you (shall we walk in a sample’s shoes?): My ongoing complaint about second-person interpretations of research. One problem is it makes individual predictions seem more powerful.
Graphics and statistics
- 25 must-know demographic facts for students. Arm yourself, and yours students, for first-line debunking.
- How well do teen test scores predict adult income? When a strong statistical relationship is lousy for making predictions about individuals.
- Change scatter plots: Inspired by reading Edward Tufte, I illustrate one of my favorite kinds of graphics.
- Odds in the news (e.g., mass murder, cavities): Odds ratios routinely cause confusion. A couple of straightforward examples to help clear the air.
- What’s with the historical trend juxtapositions? What can you learn by putting two trends on the same graph?
- Ridiculous NY Times Magazine data graphics: It’s hard enough communicate data clearly without having their world cluttered up with less-than-meaningless infographics.
- Stratification: graduate seminar
- Gender, Work, and Family: graduate seminar
- Families and Modern Social Theory: graduate seminar
If you are an instructor who is using or considering The Family, I invite you to join this Facebook group for a teaching discussion.