Stories

The Emoji States of America

This visualization is a modified version of Chernoff Faces, a technique that maps multiple statistical values to the features of a face. Because it's 2017, we expanded on the technique and made Chernoff Emojis. Each part of the emoji is controlled by the state's ranking in a given metric, which range from the uninsured rate to the percent of adults who report getting enough sleep.

Face color: This is mapped to the uninsured rate in every state — the greener and more sickly the face, the lower this state ranks in this metric. While the uninsured rate has decreased significantly in the past few years, it remains high in parts of the country. Texas tops the list with a whopping 17.1 percent uninsured rate, while Massachusetts has the country's lowest at 2.8 percent.

Eyebrows: The more furrowed the brow, the lower a state ranks in the unemployment rate. However, one important thing to note is that the unemployment data we used is from March 2017 and reflects that unemployment is at historic lows. New Mexico bottoms this list with an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and Colorado is once again on top with a rate of 2.8 percent.

Eye size: The larger the eyes in each face, the larger the share of adults over 25 with a bachelor's degree. Colorado ranks first in the nation — with 24.8 percent — and West Virginia ranks last — with 11.7 percent.

Eye bags: The more pronounced these are in every face, the smaller the share of adults that report at least 7 hours of sleep each night, per a 2016 Centers for Disease Control study. South Dakota tops the list with 71.6 percent of adults reporting getting enough sleep. At the bottom of the list is Hawaii, with just 56.1 percent of adults reporting adequate sleep.

Mouth: The shape of the mouth is mapped to the poverty rate. Mississippi has the highest share of people living under the poverty line with 22 percent. New Hampshire has the lowest rate, with 8.2 percent.

Chin: The more noticeable this feature is, the higher this state ranks in obesity rates. Colorado has the lowest rate of obesity with 20.2 percent, and Louisiana has the highest with 36.2.