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Exploring Demographic Data Through Social Explorer

By Justin Sorensen

In an information driven world, it can sometimes be difficult to find datasets you are searching for. When you do locate a dataset, the process of examining and interacting with the information presents a new series of challenges. One program that seeks to share demographic datasets and the tools for interactive visualization is Social Explorer.

Social Explorer is a program (available via a free subscription / license through the Marriott Library) that offers users the ability to visualize and interact with data through maps, charts, and reports that can be saved, shared, and exported for use in projects and presentations. Datasets offered through this program present users with access to over 200-years of demographic statistics at the click of a button.

An overview of these statistics include the following:

  • Over 200-years of data from 1790 to the present
  • 40 billion data points
  • 500,000 variables related to race, income, health, voting, crimes, etc.
  • Over 25,000 interactive maps available

Social Explorer presents users with a variety of tools to aid in visualizing data and analyzing information within a user-friendly, interactive program. Utilizing these tools, users have the ability to: quickly create informative maps, easily export data for use in Excel and other analytical programs (such as GIS and R), display and compare multiple variables within a single map or through a side-by-side visual comparison, and explore data at various geographic extents (national to street level)…just to name a few.

Beyond the tools and datasets available through Social Explorer, our research into the program has identified several benefits for its use within projects and research endeavors.

  • Social Explorer offers the ability to work with user-friendly data visualizations. The process enables users with the ability to explore demographic data and social changes, examine trends, compare variables, all while easily communicating their findings to others.
  • Datasets presented through Social Explorer are trusted and reliable through public and proprietary sources that are always up-to-date with new variables continually being added to the collection.
  • Social Explorer is easy to use, breaking down the barriers commonly experienced in data analysis through an interactive, user-friendly experience.
  • All of the variables and resources presented through Social Explorer are thoroughly documented and published with each dataset that is offered.

Do you think Social Explorer might be the answer you are searching for? Why not give it a try and find out! Access to a free subscription / license can be created through a portal on the Marriott Library Research Database. Simply log-in and set-up a University of Utah account to get started.

Happy Mapping!

Justin Sorensen | GIS Specialist
Creativity & Innovation Services / GIS Services

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