In Can You Improve this Graph Showing Suicide Rates in Japan?, Nathan of FlowingData shows a chart of long-term unemployment rates and suicide rates in Japan. The chart comes from Suicide Epidemic in Japan.
What’s wrong with this chart (which I’ve reproduced below)?
- Axis label is faulty. “Japan and Suicide Rate” should be “Japan Long Term Unemployment and Suicide Rates”.
- Rates are not defined. Suicide Rate is number of suicides per 100,000 population. Long Term Unemployment Rate is percentage of total unemployed who have been unemployed for over twelve months.
- Frequency of data is different. Using markers as in my version, it is clear that suicide rates are reported with much less frequency than long term unemployment. At least they didn’t use smoothed lines*.
- Such unrelated rates should not be plotted on the same axis. This chart makes it look like the rates were about the same in 1980, then unemployment dropped below suicides, then it rose above suicides, then both remained the same from about 1992 through 2000. [Read more…] about Suicide Rates in Japan