Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interactive maps show counties' global connections: language, employment, heritage and more

Did you ever wonder what percentage of people in your county or state speak a language other than English when they're at home? How many students in your state are studying abroad? How many foreign born people live in your state? How many people work for import or export companies? These, and other answers about language, education, and economics are available at the click of a button on a website called Mapping the Nation.
The interactive map is easy to use. By clicking on a state, users can see county-by-county data. For example, the map above shows the number of postsecondary students studying Spanish in Pennsylvania. Below a map showing percentage categories of people who speak languages other than English in Kentucky. Similar maps are available for specific languages.
"The map was modeled on one developed for North Carolina’s 100 counties last year by (software company) SAS and the University of North Carolina’s Center for International Understanding," Renee Schoof reports for McClatchy Newspapers. "Its intended users are policymakers interested in learning more about the economic potential of global connections and students thinking about what kind of international skills might help them find jobs." Not all the factors are available on the county level; here's a map showing percentages of foreign-born in Tennessee, and one showing the number of employees at foreign-owned companies in North Carolina:

Caroline McCullen, director of education initiatives at SAS in North Carolina, said "about 6,000 SAS employees work in the state’s Research Triangle out of nearly 14,000 company employees worldwide. Being prepared for a global economy means not only being able to speak other languages, but also knowing how to work comfortably in other cultures, she said," Schoof writes. "Jennifer Manise, executive director of the Longview Foundation, said that the data was meant to help show the need for students who fit that profile." (Read more)

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