Data visualization lessons: Jitter charts, screwups, and visionaries

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/data-visualization-lessons-jitter

Video:

Excerpt:

Jitter charts are my new favorite tool for displaying how distributions change over time.

I used them to great effect in my recent post One Bad Year? Comparing the Long-Term Public Pension Fund Returns Against Assumptions.

I’m often looking at distributions, and wanting to communicate something about how those distributions change over time, or how distributions compare. Often, I have to simply pick out key percentiles in those distributions, or key aspects, such as mean and standard deviation.

But why not graph all the points in one’s sample directly, if one has them?

That’s where jitter charts can help.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 16 Sep 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

World Suicide Prevention Day: U.S. Suicide Trend Update through 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/world-suicide-prevention-day-us-suicide

Graphic:

Excerpt:

In updating the 2021 numbers, there is some bad news: while suicide rates had decreased in 2020, in 2021 they increased to continue a worrying trend:

The increase in 2021 brought the age-adjusted death rate back to a level close to the peak, which was in 2018.

As noted on the graph, the cumulative increase in the age-adjusted death rate from the minimum in 2000 to the current levels has been 35%. This is very worrying.

I could have exaggerated this trend by starting my vertical scale at 10 instead of 0, but I think it’s obvious enough the trend is bad.

I don’t need to exaggerate.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2022

Publication Site: STUMP on substack

Millennial Massacre Part 2: Increase In Mortality for Ages 18-39 for 2020-2021 Mainly Driven by Drug Overdoses and COVID

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/millennial-massacre-part-2-increase

Graphic:

Excerpt:

  • About 30% of the contribution to excess mortality for young adults in 2021 came from drug overdoses.
  • The percentage contribution to excess mortality of drug ODs was not that different by age group over the 18-39 age span.
  • COVID as a contribution to excess mortality was higher for older people —- for those age 35-39, 36% of their excess mortality came from COVID in 2021. In contrast, for those age 18-24, only 17% of their excess mortality came from COVID.
  • Indeed, the youngest of the adults (age 18-24) had higher contributions from homicide (20% of excess mortality) and had comparable excess mortality contribution from motor vehicle accidents (16%) in 2021.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Jul 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Essential Terms of the Authority Crisis

Link: https://polimath.substack.com/p/essential-terms-of-the-authority

Graphic:

Excerpt:

This last week, the CDC held their ACIP meeting to discuss whether or not they should recommend the COVID vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old. While presenting on the danger of the virus for children, a slide was shown claiming that COVID presented as one of the leading causes of death for children.

Kelley, who runs covid-georgia.com, saw this slide and immediately knew it was false. She has been tracking COVID data in excruciating detail in Georgia since the beginning of the pandemic and has recently become an expert on the CDC’s pediatric death data simply because it was such a disaster and she wanted to get down to the truth of the matter.

This slide above is no small error. Not only did it count the wrong number for pediatric COVID deaths, it compared all pediatric COVID deaths in a 26-month period to annualized deaths from other causes. This is a massive data error, and yet it persisted through a supposedly rigorous data check from 11 authors and was selected by top-tier scientists for their landmark presentation to the most knowledgeable experts in the field.

Author(s): Matt Shapiro

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2022

Publication Site: Marginally Compelling at substack

Pension Obligation Bonds

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/pension-obligation-bonds#details

Graphic:

Excerpt:

2015: Why are Pension Obligation Bonds OF THE DEVIL? A Lesson from the Dollar Auction  

http://stump.marypat.org/article/191/why-are-pension-obligation-bonds-of-the-devil-a-lesson-from-the-dollar-auction

The dollar auction is a truly evil game. I used to forbid people from playing it at Mathcamp. That’s not a joke.

I had a really ugly graph on that post, and yes, I’ve gotten better with the graphs over the years. The ugliness of that graph was a partial inspiration to seek solutions. (Other ugly graphs as well).

You can barely see it, but there was a POB between 2003 and 2005. It barely made a dent in the unfunded pension liability.

And what then? In the ten years since 2005, Illinois underfunded the TRS pension fund by at least a billion dollars a year.

With regards to contributions, there was a choice on the part of the “government”.

With regards to all the other reasons for shortfalls — investment experience, experience in salary changes and longevity — the government had less direct control. But they definitely had a choice with regards to how much of the budget to apply to the pensions.

And every damn year, the Illinois government made a conscious decision to shortchange the pension. That was not an accident.

POBs are most often used by governments that were shortchanging the pensions, or goosing the benefits in insane and seemingly sane ways, to paper over said shortchanging. This farce lasts only so long.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 20 Jun 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

All Men Must Die, But They Don’t Have to Die in Office

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/all-men-must-die-but-they-dont-have?s=w

Graphic:

Excerpt:

What’s interesting about the Senate age distribution is that though we have some difference in the lumpiness, when I look at the average age of the senators by party, they’re basically the same: 64 years old (and some change). On the younger end of the Boomers.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 April 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Death the Dickensian Way

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/death-the-dickensian-way?s=w

Graphic:

Excerpt:

As you can see, Bleak House is the dying-est novels for named characters.

Obviously, if you really go by what was going on in the novel in general, A Tale of Two Cities, which has a huge part of its action take place in the middle of The Terror, really was set in the most murderous time.

Looking at this body count, I’d say Bleak House is the one that comes closest to accurate Victorian UK mortality. It was brutal, y’all.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 16 Mar 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths, Part 2: Age-Related Trends with Provisional Results in 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/motor-vehicle-accident-deaths-part?s=w

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The rates are per 100,000 people for the year, but the point is who has the highest, and we see that the answer is:

For 2019: age 85+

For 2020: age 20-24

I threw in the age 15-19 group as ringers, by the way. When we get to all the age groups, they’re not even #4 in the ranking.

Just in that little table, you can see that the rates went up for the youngsters and dropped for the seniors. Think about why that might be.

As noted in my polling question, I’m not adjusting for the number of miles driven, and I’m not going to dig for that data now. But would you like to make some assumptions about the driving habits of these different groups? Especially during the pandemic?

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 2 March 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Geography of Mortality: State Ranking by Increase in Total Mortality and COVID Mortality, 2020-2021, Provisional

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/geography-of-mortality-state-ranking

Graphic:

Video:

Excerpt:

With this tile grid map, we can see that the two-year mortality experience has been horrible, even on an age-adjusted basis. I will be using age-adjusted death rates [using the standard 2000-reference-age-adjustment] for all the comparisons. The methodology is at the end of the post.

I warn against taking any meaning from North Carolina, as it has a data-reporting problem. Hawaii, however, really does have a low increase in mortality, and I believe it is credible that the mortality increase of the northeast is also low. I am not sure how credibly to take the increase in mortality of Wyoming, given its relatively small population.

However, we can see some patterns. In general, one has a “hot spot”, and then the increase falls off as you retreat from that peak. The large pattern is the high increase along the southern border — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi — and then the next layer above is less bad, and so forth. There is the Wyoming peak, falls off around there. There is the midwest cluster – Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio. And then New York/New Jersey.

As well we know, the excess mortality is driven primarily by COVID, which I will get to in the next major section, but let me share some ranking tables.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Feb 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Original Sin (or Pandora’s Box) and Public Finance and Pensions

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/original-sin-or-pandoras-box-and?justPublished=true

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The kinds of messages that are welcomed are “innovative” in terms of telling you that you don’t have to do the thing you really don’t want to do (put more money into the pensions, promise less, cut back on many things, tax more, etc.)

Yes! You don’t have to fully-fund pensions!

Absolutely, pension obligation bonds will allow you to do really real arbitrage! Don’t worry about the extra leverage!

For sure, you should be chasing the waterfalls of alternative asset classes! You can get those high returns and not worry about extra risk! Otherwise, you’d have to decrease your discount rate!

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 Jan 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Mortality Nuggets: Videos on 2020 Death Rates by Cause of Death, Querying WONDER, and Actuarial News

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-nuggets-videos-on-2020

Video:

Excerpt:

Actuarial News is a website Stu created for me to use as a place to collect all the articles, websites, data sources, etc. that I like to use for my research and writing. I tend to develop ideas over long periods, and I prefer my selections over trying to use regular search.

As noted in the video, I used to use the old Actuarial Outpost (RIP) as a repository for my articles on public pensions and finance, but now I use Actuarial.News.

By the way, for any readers seeking actuarial discussion as once was provided by the old Outpost, check out goActuary. I have a thread on spreadsheet screwups and one on non-pandemic mortality, for instance.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 25 Jan 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Top Causes of Death by Age Group, 2020: Death Rates

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/top-causes-of-death-by-age-group-0bf?justPublished=true

Graphic:

Excerpt:

I present the rates in percentages, as opposed to the more traditional number (which is per 100,000 people per year), because I do not want people to get this confused with the raw counts of people who died. Yes, that does mean there are a lot of small numbers. For children, I even had to extend some out to 4 decimal places to get a significant figure.

In adulthood, natural causes of death tend to increase in rate with increasing age. More below.

External causes (accidents, homicides, and suicide) will have the similar rates over broad ages but drop dramatically in ranking with increasing age — as the natural causes become more likely to occur.

COVID has a similar pattern in mortality as heart disease — indeed, the heart disease death rate is approximately twice that of the COVID death rate for the entire age range from 15 to 85+ on the table.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 22 Jan 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack