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More Colorful? IVY League Schools, attendance and race 1990-2017


Information Design

Does the attendance and race changing follow a pattern in USA high education?

Let's use Ivy League School as an example, a starter of a long research journey!


I am always interested in humanity and social environment since I came to the USA for my undergraduate degree. As an international student, I used to struggle with university admissions and soon learned something untold. To explore the diversity in the Universities, I chose IVY League Schools as a start of my analysis in education and diversity.


National Center for education statistics

* Fall enrollment from 1990  2017 

* Full-time students in Bachelor or Master program only


DESIGN ( how to read & preliminary analysis)

The purpose of this project is not a specific number, but the BIG image of color changing through the years. There have been many case studies in attendance and race in Universities, however, from my point of view, due to the size of the student group, only focusing on the specific number is problematic. A reduction of 40 people may affect a university with several hundred people, while a 100 reduce in population is a tiny amount in 10 thousand people group. 

Radius = Total students number / canvas size


Bar chart 

The key to diversity is to put everything in the same pool. Based on this idea, and inspiration from decorative painting, I created a color cloud for each year for each university. Each cloud is a mix of students from a different race. A cloud is created by a group of dots, one dots represent 15 students.


1. The pattern gets more and more colorful through time

            * change slowly in the 90s

            * change fast in the late 90s and 2000s

            * change slowly in the past few years

2. Columbia University has the highest growth rate

           * in the past few years, Alien became the mainstream

3. Native American & Indian students number raise the eyebrow

           * it does not increase are what we expect


    So, here is a question:

1. Has diversity changed in the past few years or universities are

    adding more people to reduce the percentage?

In the past few years, Columbia University added a huge number of international students, which is times more than the other group

Alien, the non-citizen students became a powerful group in universities. However, should 'Alien' being considerate one of the main elements in 'diversity'?When the percentage of white students decreasing, the percentage of students from other races do not have dramatic changes. The percentage of 'Other' was popular in the late 90th and early 2000s and decreased fast during the past years, which means more and more people have been identified. Therefore: Add more students may not influence the diversity

The diagram below clearly shows that some growth number in some races does not represent the increase in percentage.

1. Alien growths the fastest

2. Asian growth faster than other race

3. In the past few years, the percentage of each race is almost stable, except White, Alien, Asian

This problem is more obvious in my gender diagram below: While the number of female students is increasing, the number of male students barely decrease, or it is increasing at the same time.


Although the pattern seems gets more and more colorful through time, considerate the growth of total students number and the percentage, for my future study, it will be very interesting to map out a large number of University. It is possible to find a trend that most people follow, which exist in data and hasn't been visualized.