### What works

Nothing is working for me with this graphic except possibly the few places where the designers offered detailed information about a particular location’s high school graduation ranking, college graduation ranking, and income ranking. But that’s being generous.

### What needs work

Horrible use of a map. Maps should only be used where there is good reason to believe the information being conveyed is tied closely to geography. This information is not tied closely to geography though it might be tied closely to states. But states need not always be represented as geographical entities. Often, they are political entities and their particular geography is not salient.

The math that led to the graphic flattens important details and renders this a useless graphic. What I believe the designers did was something like this:

• They took all of their numbers and turned them into some scale between 0 and 100%
• Then they decided to represent each of the three variables with pure Cyan, Magenta, or Yellow. The higher the state scored on the scale from 0-100, the more saturated the color value.
• Then they gave each county a combined score by building new colors from mixing the values of the previous three. Higher scoring states ended up with more saturated colors. Basically, higher scoring states started to approach black. States that scored high on just one vector ended up having a clearer, lighter color profile.

Here’s the big problem with this. It was hard for me to explain to my MIT-educated friend so I’m not sure this is going to make sense the first time ’round. Representing everything on a scale from 0-100 is a slide towards obfuscation. The graduation rates are both unadulterated rates. The income data represents un-scaled median incomes. I appreciate that they are not scaled, but I have a hard time adding 65% with \$45,000. That’s some troubled math. At least in the monochrome maps we know what we’re looking at before the three variables get added up.