430: Final

Final Exercise

First, choose one of the topics below (one student per category) and then find a reliable source for statistics on that topic from 1940 to 2010. e.g., a federal government website, or the Historical Statistics of the United States in the reference collection of our library. You will need to adjust statistics for population and inflation. Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

Next, find a way to represent those statistics graphically. Use Excel or the Create-a-Graph website.

Meet in three different groups outside of class once before the final. Put all the graphs into one PowerPoint presentation for each group. Have a discussion about stats; make sure group members from one class can explain the statistics created by members of the other class. Find linkages between the different statistics sets in order to identify cause and effect or deepen your understanding of the trends in the category. Develop some discussion questions.

Finally, email me a copy of your graphic display before the first final period. We will present the PowerPoints to the class and discuss them during the final.

Economy and government (25 minutes):

Real wages

Worker productivity

Corporate profits

Wages of men v. women

Union membership

Income equality/inequality: Income of top 1% v. bottom 20%.

Wealth equality/inequality: Wealth of top 1% v. bottom 20%

Total tax burden in 1960 and 2010 (all state, federal and local taxes) by income decile.

Manufacturing sector: Output in inflation-adjusted dollars; number of workers employed as a percentage of the total workforce)

Service sector (Output; percentage of workforce)

Federal budget deficit/surplus

National debt as a percentage of GDP

Federal marginal tax rates

Families and the war on drugs (15 minutes):

Women working outside the home

Marriage rate; age of marriage.

Family size


Hours per day watching TV

Prison population as a percentage of the population by race.

Rates of violent crime and drug use by race

Education (15 minutes):

High school graduation rates

College attendance/attainment of degrees

Educational attainment by gender

Per pupil spending on public education (national average, top and bottom states)

Federal spending on education

School segregation/integration