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Maintenance relation in Finland – an open data visualization

To honor the OKFestival currently held in Helsinki, Finland, we’ll publish this week a few articles on open data work we’ve done. You might also bump into some of us at the festival!

During the fifth HS Open event Seravo participated in creating an open data visualization (in Finnish) on the maintenance relation in Finland, meaning what is the ratio of working people paying taxes to those receiving tax based support. The data set included data for each municipality in Finland and the maintenance relation is a very current topic, since there seems to be a trend that active working population moves to bigger cities like Tampere and Helsinki while the retired and unemployed stay in smaller cities and the country side. The situation has motivated politicans to merge muncipalities to larger and larger entities, so that local variations in maintenance relation would be less drastic.

The visualization however shows, that the maintenance relation is already quite bad in most municipalities outside the biggest cities, and already by 2020 Helsinki will be the only municipality to have a healthy maintenance relation. You can explore how the situation develop while interacting with the visualization in the iframe below:

The color of the circle indicates maintenance relation. The size of the circle indicates the size of the population and the location of the circle resembles the real geographical relations.

As with all good open data, this is build using open source. The source code is hosted at GitHub. Technically the main components are the Protovis JavaScript library, jQuery and jQuery UI.

The Finnish municipalities as living circles has been abstracted somewhat, so that it can be reused to visualize any municipality data for Finland. Below is for example a visualization showing debt per population, relative debt, tax income per population, state subsidies per population and income tax percent. All these are indicate the financial health of a municipality.

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