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, Fall 2017: Blog posts good for teaching, organized according to the structure of the book. Start with the most recent list, browse the older ones if you want more or don’t see what you like.
- Syllabus supplements, Spring 2017
- Syllabus supplements, Spring 2015
- Syllabus supplements, Fall 2014
- Syllabus supplements, Winter 2013
- 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 your students, for first-line debunking (updated for 2017).
- 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.
- Family Demography: graduate seminar
- 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.