Education By the Numbers Infographic

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Microsoft Education has created a beautiful infographic to display raw numbers on various elements of education in America.  The graphic really exposes the imbalance in many areas.  For instance, there are 1.23 billion students in pre-kindgergarten to high school and only 170 million students in higher education programs by contrast.  That’s quite a disparity.  To break that down into more detail, there are 35 million students in pre-kindgergarten through grade 8 and 14.8 million in grades 9 to 12. Now, here’s where it gets interesting; there are 18.5 million students in higher education, meaning that there are actually more people in higher education than there are in grades 9 to 12.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: there are 5.8 million students in private school and 3.3 million public school teachers.  That means that there are almost as many students in private school as there are teachers in public school.  Hard to believe that one.  There are more women than men in colleges (not surprising given that there are more women in the population overall), and in 2008, women earned only 18% of all computer science degrees, keeping the stereotype alive.e are 1.23 billion students in pre-kindgergarten to high school.  This means of course that the largest chunk of students are in the pre-k to 8th grade bracket, and this is tilting the scale tremendously.

The bottom of the graphic plugs Microsoft office.  It notes that each year, Americans through away enough office paper and products to build a 12 foot wall from New York to California.  And this is the reason, argues the graphic, that people should go “completely green” and switch to Microsoft OneNote, a digital notebook available in Microsoft office 2010 or for free via Office Web Apps.

Now, for my favorite section, the grading section.

Design: B

This infographic surely delivers. It is unique, and displays the information in a well-organized manner.  Definitely the type of infographic that you would want to add to any collection of top-tier infographics.

Content: B+

Even though the content was basically just data, Microsoft found a way to make it captivating, and they threw in a few interesting facts, namely the fact that every year Americans dispose of enough paper garbage to build a 12 foot wall from New York to California.

Microsoft needs to be praised for a job well-done on this graphic.

Graphic courtesy of

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2 Comments on “Education By the Numbers Infographic”

  1. 1 A Concerned Design Citizen said at 5:38 pm on October 30th, 2010:

    I stumbled across this blog and I thought right away, ah, this looks interesting.

    And then upon further analysis, and review of your grading guidelines, I can only assume that you have no formal training in design nor data visualization.

    This graphic is not only congested but the typography is so unbalanced and chaotic it has caused my browser to blow up into itty bitty pieces. After I glued it back together with my rubber cement, I took the time to review the actual content in the graphic. Not only are the facts uninteresting, but they have no narrative and are just a series of factoids. This caused my browser to blow up a second time.

  2. 2 A Slightly Less Concerned Designer said at 12:10 pm on August 23rd, 2012:

    The above comment is a bit heavy handed in my opinion, but accurate nonetheless. This infographic doesn’t take us anywhere. It has no “so what” factor. It comes off as “Here are some less-than-useful statistics about education. Buy our product.”

    As someone who has made more than a few successful infographics, I can say with some authority that Microsoft most likely outsourced the design of this infographic to some web development agency who still uses terms like “web 2.0” and “social media guru” in their sales pitch.

    It’s better than most, but that doesn’t make it good.