Visualizing the Pace of Social Change
Alex Tribou and Keith Collins of Bloomberg Business have created a series of time lapse data visualizations demonstrating the rate of change for social policy issues in the United States. The visualizations track six issues—interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana— and plot the rate at which states or the federal government legalized them. The visualizations show that with social change issues, a few “pioneer” states gradually legalize the issue, eventually triggering rapid, widespread acceptance. This pattern holds true for one of the more recent examples—same-sex marriage—and Tribou and Collins say emerging issues, such as legalization of recreational marijuana, are likely to follow this trend.