Saturday, November 24, 2012

Galveston County population distribution

It occurred to me this morning that I'm really quite ignorant about how Galveston County's population is distributed among its various areas.  Even if I had been educated locally, which I was not, things have changed so much in the past decade or so that everything I might have learned in school would be way beyond obsolete by now.  I'm always searching for the 30,000-foot view on any given issue, such as why commercial news coverage in this area seems to be less comprehensive than it rightfully ought to be, but if I don't have a foundation of basic facts, my resulting perspectives are liable to end up partly standing on unecessarily-shaky ground.

Enter two of the most powerful ignorance-dispelling mechanisms ever invented by mankind: 
  1. The computer spreadsheet.
  2. The world-wide web.
And in the course of using those two power e-tools, I resolved a question that has resided as an infinitely-low priority in the back of my mind for years now: Why does the Galveston County Daily News online edition have exactly sixteen places listed under it's "Communities" tab?  (Note that there's a format change scheduled and this organizational feature may not persist into the future). 

Answer: Because those sixteen really do appear to represent about 95% of the county's entire population.  This wasn't obvious to me.  I think of Galveston County and I visualize all this open land, and I intuitively conclude that there must be a fair number of folks diffused all over the place in rural areas, old homesteads, farms, ranchettes, etc. that are geographically independent and outside of defined communities.  But that's actually not so much the case. 

Anyway, for future reference, here's what I derived using the aforementioned powerful ignorance-dispelling mechanisms.

But we must also have the picture that tells the proverbial thousand words:
Same sixteen communities listed by Galveston County Daily News, but arranged clockwise in order of descending population per the referenced data sources.  GCDN arranges them alphabetically instead (at least they did as of November 2012).  This pie chart exhibits a few rounding differences but is based on the table presented above. 
So there's my morning tea exercise for today, to stand on its own merits for future reference. 

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