Monday, February 13, 2012

this chart says...Zurich is expensive

The following was featured as the daily chart in the (full article here):

What other stories can you tell with this chart? What do you like? What would you change?


  1. i think the change would be a better story to show, since zurich went from 101 ->170ish, but also that their ranking changed in different spots too, like it says in article that ny was number 7 and is now 47... too much info... i'd either keep the index and only index, or ranking and only ranking...

  2. Not easy to compare the June 2001 scores to the Dec.11 scores. Seems like a 2nd lighter colored, paired bar for each city would do the trick easily.

  3. I agree that there's too much information here, and I find it confusing that the June 2001 index scores are represented as a # in a box and the December 2011 scores as a bar--my mind doesn't connect them as the same type of information.

    I would split this up into more than one chart--one bar graph (or list!) indicating the 2011 ranking, and one bar graph where the bars indicate the gain/loss from 2001. This way you can more easily understand what cities currently have the highest cost of living and what cities had the largest change in index score between 2001 and 2011.

  4. I'd like to see this as a heat map (i.e., showing relative costs geographically with different colors for different levels on the index), perhaps with a percentage on each city showing the relative increase/decrease since 2001. That might help me better understand whether location is a factor and whether there are pockets on a continent that I might want to visit as a tourist if dollars are tight.

    Frankly, the headline could be wrong. The chart doesn't prove that Zurich is expensive, per se. It just shows that Zurich is the most expensive of this group.

    From a U.S. standpoint, I think it's interesting that LA has passed NYC, which is only barely in front of Cleveland.

    From a criticism standpoint, I think the fact that NYC is the baseline for both results in the chart being a bit misleading since I can't tell what the relative change is for the entire group (i.e., has NYC's cost of living gone up, down, or stayed the same over the past decade). Without that information, this chart isn't particularly useful.

  5. This only tells part of the story. Questions arise:
    1) How does this compare to income?
    2) What was the change caused by (e.g. simple FX change, etc)?