Imagine walking into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE, on the first Husker home game of the season, a sea of red as far as you can see. You walk towards your seat, working your way through tons of other Husker fans oozing with excitement. As you sit down, you look around the stadium and see that just about every one of the approximately 80,000 seats is occupied.
In the state of Nebraska, there are approximately 77,000 children living in poverty, which is almost enough to fill Memorial Stadium on game day. Instead of the sea of red, imagine thousands of children who do not have access to adequate healthcare, education, and even food. Seriously, take a minute to picture that – the ENTIRE stadium filled with children who don’t have the basic necessities most of us take for granted. By visualizing the data, it becomes more tangible and in a way, more real.
Every year, Voices for Children in Nebraska puts together the Kids Count annual report, which examines the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children across the state. Kids Count is a nation-wide, state by state effort sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the status of children based on utilizing data. This year Carolyn Rooker, the Executive Director of Voices for Children in Nebraska, and her staff decided to use data visualization to bring the Kids Count report to life. The goal is to reach a broader audience than in the past and share the story of children in Nebraska.
Data visualization is visually representing facts and information in a way that presents the material in a viewer friendly manner. Data visualization offers the ability to communicate clearly and effectively using graphic means. There are a few methods of data methods that are incredibly effective, such as infographics and motion graphics. An infographic is a static image that breaks down a complex subject into a more simple yet engaging version with visual representations of data. A motion graphic video is animated narrative that walks the viewer through a large amount of information in an stimulating and visually appealing manner.
For the first quarter, Voices focused on the economic well-being of children across the state. The featured video above is a motion graphic that explains the cycle of poverty with a specific focus on the children in Nebraska. Below is an infographic that explains the phenomenon known as the Cliff Effect, a major contributing factor to the cycle of poverty. Lastly, there are three examples from the 13 video campaign series, each one focusing on a specific aspect of the economic well-being of Nebraska children.