The idea behind this app is to identify areas of high unemployment in relationship to risk factors that might perpetuate long-term economic hardships.
The app breaks the population in three age groups:
Working age adults (18-64 or 25-64)
Young adults (15-24 year olds)
Children (Under 18)
For working-age adults, factors such as education and language ability may limit work opportunities. Child-care for single parents may also pose a challenge for people trying to find full-time work.
For young adults who are not working and not going to school as well as those who have children at a young age may have difficulty entering the workforce as they get older.
Children who do not attend pre-school as well as those who live in households without adults who are proficient in English may face challenges throughout their educational careers which will disadvantage them when they enter the workforce.
I propose organizing the app around counties, while highlighting tract-level data within those counties. I think county is a helpful unit of analysis because social services like the ones addressed here are often managed at the county level. Data for many of the tables I would use in this app are not available at the block-group level, so I suggest tracts to keep things consistent.
The visual design:
I propose starting with a broad over-view of risk factors in the entire county using a bars to show the total number of people in each risk group. I would then show a map that encodes data in two ways. In the background, I would allow the user to turn on a chloropleth layer of data such as the unemployment rate, access to broadband (from the national broadband map api), percent in poverty, median income, and percent speaks a language other than English.
On top of that layer I would allow the user to plot dots representing the number of people with risk factors (a different color for each risk factor). This way you could see where across the county people are located that need different types of services, and see if those needs are correlated with high-level economic issues.
Ideally the map would allow the user to control the colors and dot values for their selections, because that just makes life better for the user.
Finally I would present a profile table of the Nation, State, and County that gives percentages of the population with the characteristics shown here as well as other useful statistics that city planners might want to see such as race, specific languages spoken, income, housing costs, etc.