Friday, January 23, 2015

Gapminder Project: Mikayla Winkels

            When first approaching the start of my senior year, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I didn't enjoy the homework, because I felt as though I learned more from the hands-on projects we completed. Throughout this semester we have completed quite a few projects, and the one I enjoyed the most would be the Gapminder Video. I partnered up with Cory Wentland, and we had to choose an x-axis and a y-axis to compare countries throughout the entire world. We chose Mean Years in School (Woman of the reproductive age 15 to 44) as our x-axis, and Children Per Woman (Total Fertility) as our y-axis. Starting in 1971, the trend of the majority of the countries was relatively the same. The majority of countries around 1971 had three to nine children per woman, and then dramatically decreases as each year goes until we hit 2008. 

     Why is that? Well back in the day, most women stayed home and let the men of their lives to provide for their families. However, women starting fighting for their rights in the early 1900s, proclaiming that they could claim their own independence without a man. Meaning, that now a days, its normal for a woman to go to college so she can obtain a degree in the career field of her choice. The trend that we observed is that the longer women are in school, the fewer children she will have. This trend only really relates to high income countries, such as the United States, England, Canada, Japan, etc. We notice on our Gapminder that low income countries tend to still have more children. These countries come from South America, but mostly Africa. 

    Some countries we noticed, China and Yemen, our somewhat outliers, compared to the rest of the countries. Yemen in the 1970s increases, due to their traditional values. Having a male infant is very important in this country, since the family name is carried on through the male. China steadily decreases, increases, and then dramatically decreases. This is due to the One-Child Policy that the China government in forced, since they were overpopulating. This factor is probably not the entire reason why women are producing less children in the late 1950s and early 2000s, but education should be considered as a big factor.  Besides these two countries, everyone else follows the general pattern. Over the past four decades, more woman are gaining more education during their reproductive ages, which does have an impact how many children they have. 

    Overall, this class was somewhat enjoyable. If it weren't for the projects, honestly I wouldn't have learned and understood most of the concepts. I would suggest keeping all the projects we completed this semester, and thanks for a great semester! 

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