(Hardest Places Mapped?)

In response to Alan Flippen’s “Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?” I found the map to be most intriguing. More specifically I was left l skeptical of how it was generated.
The map looks rather quantitative but when reading the key tags “doing better” vs “doing worse” paired with “a composite ranking of where Americans are healthy and wealthy, or struggling” seems it could be rather subjective. In the article the breakdown of this data is generated from the averages of 6 categories: education, median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity. What they don’t share in this article is the actual break down of these categories and then how they are combined to create a numeric value that is to allow one to rank the counties in the US.
However it is clear that the authors of the data are aware of some scepticism it may generate, because it seems much of the article is revealing how the same set of data can be analyzed in multiple ways to generate the same result. The one example being that Clay County and Los Alamos which happen to be on opposite ends of this good living spectrum.
With this comparision I also find it interesting that the graph set is said to compare healthy and wealthy vs struggling. Healthy and wealthy become lumped together while then the opposite is just struggling. It would seem the representation could have been more nuanced to be explicit in what the map is showing.

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