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.
Visualizing the Pace of Social Change
Joshua New was a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation. He has a background in government affairs, policy, and communication. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, Joshua graduated from American University with degrees in C.L.E.G. (Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government) and Public Communication. His research focuses on methods of promoting innovative and emerging technologies as a means of improving the economy and quality of life.
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