Tableau: Visualizing Mortgages and Education

What is Tableau?

From business intelligence to academic research, Tableau is a leader in the world of data – and rightfully so.

In recent years Tableau has released a free version of Tableau called Tableau Public. This free version provides all of the same wonderful visualization tools as paid variants with a few key drawbacks.

  1. You can only connect to several data sources (No SQL databases)
  2. You cannot save Tableau projects locally
  3. Your projects must be published on Tableau’s website

Despite these drawbacks, Tableau Public is a great way to start using Tableau software.

In this example, I am using Tableau Public to visualize the percentage of homes with a mortgage and the percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree in the state of Texas.

All visualizations draw data from the 2017 American Community Survey.

Visualize the Data

Firstly, let’s look at the percentage of homes with a mortgage across census tracts in Texas.

Percentage of Homes with a Mortgage


The percentage of homes with a mortgage in Texas census tracts

Areas with high percentages of homes with a mortgage are concentrated in specific areas such as north Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, and west Houston.

Now let’s look at a similar map that highlights the percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree.

Percentage of People with a Bachelor’s Degree

The percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree in Texas census tracts.

With few exceptions, the two maps display similar concentrations around metropolitan areas.

Finally, let’s look at a scatter plot that compares the two variables in one visualization.

Percent with Mortgage vs. Percent with Bachelor’s

A scatter plot that compares mortgages and bachelor’s degrees in Texas.

The regression line found in this scatter plot was determined to have an R-squared value of .57. As a result, there is some correlation between the two variables.

Overall, this simple exploratory data analysis project just scratches the surface of Tableau’s capabilities.