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Houston, TX


Stats on Stats on Stats

Brian Barr

Building on the success of our recent collaboration on the Pop Up Poll, we spent last week compiling statistics on everything Houston for our next project: the Coaster Campaign. As we noted previously, the idea behind the Coaster Campaign is to create a series of coasters with maps and statistics to help bring contextualized data to potential voters in unexpected places (a la bars and restaurants).

There is a lot going on in Houston. The nation's fourth largest city, Houston presented quite a challenge in finding statistics that are particularly meaningful or could be illuminated in a glance. Quickly getting caught up in the scale of some of the problems the city is facing (what does it mean to spend $100 million on "Mayoral Priorities" if the overall budget is $5.1 billion?), we realized that analogies might be the best way to translate some of the numbers.

As a result, we've been digging through a trove of classic texts on data to get into the proper mindset. A recent NY Times blog post on the incredible amount of rain we received in the Memorial Day floods proved particularly insightful.

Be on the lookout for a post soon about our brainstorming process, but in the meantime here are a few interesting Houston statistics to whet your appetite.

  • Voter turnout in the last comparable mayoral election (2009) was just 13.7%
  • There were 950 crashes with cyclists, 218 of which were hit and runs, and 25 resulted in fatalities last year. (Source: Houston Press)
  • Houstonians recycle just 6% of their waste compared to the national average of 36% (Source: Houston Chronicle)
  • Houstonian ranks third in the country in per capita parkland behind San Diego and Dallas (Source: Houston Visitors Bureau)