1 December 2013

A Poor Infographic on Brits in the EU

The other day, the infographic below was doing the rounds on Twitter. Note that the source of the data, not necessarily the way it's been presented, appears to be IPPR and that it is undated.

The total of 2.2 million presumably includes the 329k for Ireland which would make the EU about 1.87 million. This can be compared with IPPR’s 2006 figure of 1.5 million in the EU excluding Ireland, which I quoted in a post here in November 2011 about British second homes in Europe.

This is a poor piece of graphical presentation making the sort of naïve error which was criticised by Edward Tufte 30 years ago in his The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. The font size used for the numbering has been scaled to the area (and shape to some extent) of each country, so the 1m in Spain is the same size as the 6k in Poland. Obviously in the real Europe there are about 170 times as many Brits in Spain as in Poland, something which the presenter should have tried to address. He (or she) didn't explain the country shading blue to grey either

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