Eric’s Charts

My first set of charts shows the split between consumer, alcohol, and industrial, agricultural work. While the chart is not large enough to definitively show the urbanization of Albany, the fact that the vast majority of workers in 1850 were employed in consumer based industries shows a shift from an agricultural based society towards one that was industrializing. One could use this information alongside additional information about rural to urban migration or a data set on when businesses were established in order to show either the growth of urban Albany or the decline of rural areas and population shifts over time.
My second chart shows the differences in wages between men working in construction as compared to men working in construction. The large difference in wages possibly demonstrates the gendering of employment with those working in clothing, a traditionally less stereotypically male profession making far less money than those working in construction, a field that is traditionally male dominated. In addition, it could potentially demonstrate differences in ethnic labor. In order to say this definitively, however, we must have more information available to us, as nothing in the data except for last names, which are not necessarily indicative of ethnic identity. In order to get that information, one would have to find an additional data set concerning ethnic identity.
My biggest difficulty was in deciding how I wanted to filter and use the information. While the charts give one a lot of baseline information to work with, it is still up to the historian to decide what they will focus on and what the data says to them. A chart filled with data is not of any use unless one is able to contextualize it and use it alongside other data to make an argument.
In addition, the information that is available in some cases left me wishing that there was more data to work with. Information such as the ages of people, or their ethnic background would have greatly helped me in getting a better grasp of the information that I was working with.
While I do not think that any of my charts are particularly hard to read, I found the pie chart breakdown of types of employment to be the easiest to read of the charts. While the line graph does do a very good of showing the various industries, the pie chart breaks them down into percentages. In addition, the pie chart is multicolored which helps to differentiate between the industries. The line graph on my second set is better than my scatterplot because it does a much clearer job of showing the differences between wages.