Chart 1: Average annual increase in world population

One of the things I’m hoping to do regularly with this blog is to play around with data visualization. I have several goals here, the first of which is to get better at using R. I’ll be starting out very simply, as I learn to do basic things and (I hope) getting more skilled and creative as I go along. Another goal, very similar to the first, is to figure out how to reproduce things I’ve seen that I like. The third goal is to get some practice producing original graphical data analyses using whatever data happens to be available and interesting.

For this first chart, I looked at Max Roser’s combined world population dataset and calculated the average annual increases in global population between 1800 and 2013.

Although there seems to be an inflection point somewhere in the early twentieth century, population growth really started to heat up in the 1960s, and perhaps as early as 1950. Annual growth first hit 70 million in 1964 and has topped 75 million every year since 1981. There might be good news, though. The peak (so far) was 87.5 million in 1990 and growth appears to leveling off, and may even be slowing. The bit of R source code used to produce this chart is given below.

ggplot(data=d, aes(x=year,y=inc)) +
geom_line(colour=”#DDDDDD”, size=1.0) +
geom_point(colour=”#E69900", size=1.5) +
ylab(“Millions of people”) +
xlab(“Year”) +
ggtitle(“Average Annual World Population Increase”) +
theme(plot.title=element_text(face=”bold”)) +
scale_x_continuous(
limits=c(1800,2013),
breaks=seq(1800,2010,25)
)