Dot density mapping of housing types in London, house = blue, apartment = magenta (Credit: Ahmad Barclay/ONS)

This year and next are seeing 10-year national population and housing censuses taking place in scores of countries around the world (India, Brazil, Nigeria, USA, Germany, Turkey, etc.), and with these, we’ll be seeing huge volumes of data to try to understand and communicate.

Back in April this year, I joined the data visualisation team at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK as the first person working full-time to explore the kinds of visual outputs we will be developing for the 2021 Census here, contributing to a broad aim of “making census data open, accessible and useful…

I decided to spend the day today making charts to remind people of the Conservatives record in government since 2010. Here are the results…

1. Declining Wages, Zero Hours Contracts

Here’s the first, on jobs, showing how wages in the UK have declined vs other G7 countries, and the huge increase in zero hours contracts.

2. Falling Police Numbers, Rising Crime

Here’s how the Conservatives have been doing on crime since 2010. Police numbers falling, recorded violent crime incidents rising (Nb. …

Last week I shared a comparison of the tactical voting advice of three different sites for the 2019 UK General Election. Since then has updated its advice, and Gina Miller has just launched So here’s an update…

Like, the advice of is based on a “Stop Brexit” logic rather than a “Tories Out” one. More importantly, it’s also similarly based on a methodology similar to MRP (multilevel regression and post-stratification), derived from polling data. However the results prove that not all MRP-style models are equal…

Here’s the comparison vs the other tactical voting sites. Interestingly, the…

I’ve been following the debate about tactical voting in the 2019 UK General Election, and particularly the controversy about Best for Britain’s site, which is accused of giving “bogus” advice based on a fairly opaque methodology (see this Guardian article).

So… I decided to get the constituency-by-constituency data from this site and a couple of others ( and to see how they compare, and whether they pass a basic “plausibility” test based on % voting swing needed from 2017 results.

I narrowed down my analysis to the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the 2017 General Election…

Protest in Riad el Solh, Beirut, 20 Oct 2019 (Shahen Araboghlian/Wikimedia)

I have been following a of impressive efforts to map the ongoing protests in Lebanon and solidarity demonstrations around the world. However, what I felt was missing from these maps (and in fact maps in general) was a sense of the sheer humanity of it all.

So, I decided to take the data set that these guys have been collecting (here’s their geojson file on Github), and extract all of the Twitter posts with photos and videos of solidarity protests outside of Lebanon.

And here they are in all their joyous and colourful glory, in 38 cities on 6 continents:


Last week, I started a series of data visuals questioning the supposed competence of the Conservatives in power, and whether they can really claim to be delivering on lofty slogans ‘A Country that Works for Everyone’ or that ‘We are all in this Together’.

This second visual focuses on the issue of food poverty, and specifically the dramatic rise in the use of food banks.

The Trussell Trust — the largest provider of food banks in the UK, but far from the only one — has seen an incredible 27-fold rise in demand for its services.

I’ve been meaning for a long while to use data visualizations to question some of the UK government’s more spurious slogans and claims — whether George Osborn’s ‘Long-Term Economic Plan’ or Theresa May’s claim to be building ‘A County That Works For Everyone’ — and I thought now would be an opportune time to start, given the likelihood we’ll be heading to a General Election in June.

So, have the Conservatives really shown competence on the UK economy, the NHS or other issues that matter to British voters?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Brexit will have negative economic…

Thanks to the debate surrounding Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour Party leadership, the majority of the UK press — from the left and right of the spectrum — have been trying to convince us over the past weeks that the British people would never elect an unashamedly left wing government. (Just a few editorials from supposed left-leaning outlets.)

So, as an irredeemable socialist at heart, I sought to try to figure out whether there’s any truth in such claims. Have the British public really shifted decisively to the right over the past 40 odd years? …

Ahmad Barclay

Architect & UX designer. Census dataviz at @ONS. Previously @ImpactVI. Interested in design, politics & the art of influencing people with numbers

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