Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Data viz: WA fertility up, abortion down, 1997 to 2011

by Mike Klaczynski January 15th, 2013

From 1997 through 2011 in Washington, abortions are down and fertility is up. Drawn from state Department of Health data, an interactive visualization below that was prepared for Public Data Ferret by Tableau Software of Seattle reveals that within Washington over the 15 years the abortion ratio has been highest in five western counties and lowest in five eastern counties. From 1997 through 2011 the abortion ratio – or abortions per 1,000 live births – was greatest in the counties of King, Pierce, San Juan, Thurston and Jefferson; and lowest in the counties of Garfield, Adams, Grant, Lincoln and Douglas. The state geographic data on abortions is based on county of residence of the woman, not location of the procedure.

Factoring in all 39 Washington counties and all abortions for which the home county of the patient was known (nearly all), the abortion ratio declined markedly from 346.16 abortions per 1,000 live births in 1997 to 230 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2011. On the other hand, the fertility rate, or live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, grew slightly when counting all 39 Washington counties together, from 61.47 in 1997 to 64.17 in 2011. Across the 15 years in Washington, fertility rates were highest in the eastern or central counties of Adams, Franklin, Grant, Yakima and Okanagan; and lowest in a mix of eastern, central, and western counties. Those were Whitman, Kittitas, San Juan, Garfield and Whatcom.

DATA VIZ USER TIPS
You can use the data visualization below to reveal abortion ratios, abortion rates and fertility rates for any and all Washington counties in any year from 1997 to 2011 and for all years combined. Using the pull-down menus on the right, below the state map, select the year and statistic to display. For any year and statistic selected, you can scan the comparative results by county in a ranked table under the pull-down menus. You can also hover over a county on the map above for requested data. Additionally, you can single-click on any county on the map for a 15-year line chart below on the left, which will show the general trend and, when hovering directly over the large pinpoints, specific yearly data. Click on that same county once more, on the map above, to go back to the previous view. To get embed code for the viz, click on “share” at bottom left.

The most recent nationwide abortion ratio available is 227 for 2009, according to a Centers For Disease Control report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly. That compares to a statewide total of 253.7 in 2009 for Washington. Though Washington’s fertility rate has bumped up slightly overall since 1997, it nonetheless tracks closely with the U.S. rate, which is in record decline. According to a National Vital Statistics Report issued by the CDC, the preliminary 2011 U.S. fertility rate of 63.2 is the “lowest rate ever reported for the United States.”


Additional reporting contributed by Matt Rosenberg. Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

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