Open Questions about the Visualization of Sociodemographic Data

Florent Cabric, Margret Vilborg Bjarnadottir, Anne-Flore Cabouat, Petra Isenberg

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2023-10-22T22:00:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
Visualizing sociodemographic data without causing harm presents many challenges. Among them, designers must balance the efficiency, inclusiveness, and simplicity of their visualization.
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This paper collects a set of open research questions on how to visualize sociodemographic data. Sociodemographic data is a common part of datasets related to people, including institutional censuses, health data systems, and human-resources files. This data is sensitive, and its collection, sharing, and analysis require careful consideration. For instance, the European Union, through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), protects the collection and processing of any personal data, including sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion. Data visualization of sociodemographic data can reinforce stereotypes, marginalize groups, and lead to biased decision-making. It is, therefore, critical that these visualizations are created based on good, equitable design principles. In this paper, we discuss and provide a set of open research questions around the visualization of sociodemographic data. Our work contributes to an ongoing reflection on representing data about people and highlights some important future research directions for the VIS community. A version of this paper and its figures are available online at