Indiana ranks third of 37 states for teens who considered suicide

By Claire Radler and Lauren Fox

“I remember praying to die. At the grotto, I remember praying to die.” –  Morgan Monte, 34, a peer support specialist for a community of mental health.

In her late teenage years and during her sophomore and junior years at Notre Dame, Morgan Monte struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, the same issues that she helps others combat today through her work.

“It was in my mind all the time, like thoughts of being worthless. Everything I did, my mind would find a way to tell me that I screwed up somehow,” Monte said.

“Part of how the depression manifested was doing risky things like riding my bike along the side of the road in the dark, like a passive death wish.”

Monte’s depression materialized in her high school years at Frankenmuth High School in the form of eating disorders. What started with eating too little and exercising too much reversed into eating too much. This then progressed to acts of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Monte could not handle her emotions, she noted, and sought to shut them down.

The onset of Monte’s depression mirrors those of other teens, and unfortunately her story is a common one.

Out of all of the states, Indiana ranks in the middle, No. 25, for most suicides in 2016, as shown in the graphic below.

View the interactive version of this graphic.

But in terms of teen suicide rates, Indiana ranks much higher in comparison to other states.

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Google Timelapse: Lake Mead is drying up

Along with the rest of the Western United States, Lake Mead in Nevada is suffering from the ongoing drought. The water levels have shrunk substantially from 1984 to 2016, as seen in this Google Timelapse. In the past, the reservoir has provided 90 percent of Las Vegas’ drinking water, yet federal water managers are now predicting that the lake will not have enough water to fulfill deliveries to Arizona and Nevada in 2018.

Las Vegas, Nevada, is one of the fastest growing cities in America, and the shrinking of it’s main fresh water supply is not something that will help the rising population levels. According to CBS News, the water levels of the Lake Mead reservoir were down more than 60 percent from their capacity in May of 2015. In September of 2015, the reservoir was down 147 feet from full capacity, and only 38 percent full. In 2016, the reservoir was just 36 percent full, and only keeps shrinking.

What exactly is causing this shrinking? Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States, and is fed by the Colorado River and it’s tributaries, which are fed by snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains. Since the Southwestern United States and the Colorado River Basin have been experiencing a drought for the past fourteen years, there just isn’t as much water flowing in the system. Although the snow should still be melting, the winters have been uneven and the precipitation has been below average, due to warmer temperatures and global warming. All of these factors in combination have contributed to the drying up of Lake Mead.

Unfortunately, this drought is not going away anytime soon. The chances of a 35-year or longer “megadrought” striking the Southwest and central Great Plains by 2100 are above 80 percent if the world stays on its current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists from NASA, Columbia University and Cornell University. Although the region is already historically dry, rising temperatures spurred by the greenhouse effect result in more evaporation and less precipitation for the region as a whole. Only time will tell whether the situation will improve, but things are not looking great.

Low water levels can be seen near the Hoover Dam. Photo from the International Business Times.


Patrick Kane Statistics

Currently, the Chicago Blackhawks are first in the Central Division, they’ve clinched it and home ice for the playoffs. Over the past 10 years, they have been Stanley Cup champions three times. Patrick Kane has consistently been one of the best players on the Blackhawks, yet over these ten years, his number of goals has yet to succeed his number of assists. This is shown in the graph below. Check out the interactive version of the graphic here.  

Religion in Indiana

A recent study by Gallup found that Mississippi is still the most religious state in the United States, 59 percent of it’s residents said they are “Very Religious.” Mississippi has been the most religious state in the U.S. for the past nine years, while Vermont remains the least religious state. According to the study, just 29 percent of it’s residents said they are “Very Religious.”

Indiana falls just around the average, coming in as number 22 on the list, with 41 percent of it’s residents saying they were “Very Religious.” Vice President Mike Pence hails from Indiana, and is known for his commitment to Evangelicalism, yet this is not the trend for the majority of Indiana residents.

Check out this infographic on the subject I made through Venngage with data from Gallup and the Pew Research Center.

Photo from



CDC Report: America’s 10 Cities Dealing with a Drinking Problem

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. However, some cities seem to have more of a drinking problem than others.

Men’s Health magazine took data from a Centers for Disease Control study on alcohol use to rank U.S. cities by their “drunkenness.” Using an unscientific method, the magazine gave cities rankings based on liver disease, DUI arrests, etc.

I created an interactive StoryMap showcasing this data, check it out here.

Photo from The Telegraph


25 Best Cycling Cities

Our world is urbanizing, and fast. However, with this urbanization comes harmful effects on the environment. It is widely known that the rise of cities and the growth of the world’s population has contributed to the environmental problems that our world is facing today. In the United States, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas. Globally, 15 percent of manmade carbon dioxide comes from cars, trucks and other vehicles. Bigger cities, more people, more cars. To help combat this, many people have switched from driving cars to using bikes to commute.

However, cycling is not just about helping the environment, it is also a worldwide hobby enjoyed by many people. In fact, over two million people in Britain alone cycle at least once a week.  Cycling is also booming close to home. From 2001 to 2009, the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. grew from 1.7 billion to 4 billion, more than doubling overall.

Whether you are looking to help the environment, are an avid world traveler, studying abroad or are looking for a new adventure, check out the interactive Google MyMaps below. It lists the 25 best cycling cities from all over the world, as well as their rank.

Chicago Cubs Attendance

After 108 long years, the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016. Aside from their 103-58 winning season, they also had close to record attendance.  In 2016, the Cubs had 3,232,420 people attend their home games, making it the third best year in Chicago Cubs history, behind only the 2007 (3,252,462) and 2008 (3,300,200) teams. In a single season, the Cubs have had an attendance of over 3 million only nine times.


A link to an interactive version of the above graphic can be found here.

2008 was the last time the Cubs won a National League Central title, after winning one previously in 2007.

2014 marked the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, and promotions and renovations to the field contributed to the rise in attendance after 2014.

Fan participation for the Cubs overall has had a major increase due to their 2016 World Series Championship title. In fact, the Cubs World Series celebration ranked as the 7th largest gathering in human history. Officials estimated that over 5 million people were in attendance at Grant Park. As of now, the celebration is the largest human gathering in United States history.

In December of 2016, the Cubs announced that ticket prices will rise 19.5 percent in 2017. The increases will differ depending on the location of the seats, with a 6 percent increase for upper-deck reserved seats and a 31 percent increase for infield club box seats.

According to Colin Faulkner, the senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cubs, the price increase is due to the unprecedented demand created by the 2016 World Series winning season. The price of success may end up being too high, and it will be interesting to see if the Cubs can continue boosting attendance for the upcoming 2017 season with the ticket price increase.

Google Trends: Single on Valentine’s Day?

On average, Americans spend $13,290,000,000 on Valentine’s Day each year. With the holiday rapidly approaching, couples everywhere are forced to re-evaluate their relationships. Is it really worth it to spend money on candy and flowers for someone you don’t really love? I have heard way too many stories of people getting dumped either right before or right after Valentine’s Day, and it isn’t pretty.

Whether you think Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday perfect for letting your significant other know how much you care about them, or an opportunity to mope about how you are single, while binging on junk food and Netflix, America is surrounded by pink hearts, candy and flowers. Some may choose to celebrate with a last minute best friend/gal pal “single” celebration, or declare a #treatyoself day and pamper themselves. To each their own.

That time of year has come, and in the graph below, Google Trends tells us that the average search rate for “single” spiked dramatically on February 14th, 2016. After that, the line consistently ebbed and flowed, and finally tapered off around the beginning of March.

The search trends for “single” vs. “divorce” for the month of February 2016.

This seems to be a yearly trend, with a similar pattern in February of 2015. The difference in the amount of spike between 2016 and 2015 can be explained by the premiere of the movie “How to Be Single” on Valentine’s Day of 2016. However, this does suggest the idea that people need to cope with their single status on the big day, whether that means watching a movie on the topic or not. Nevertheless, there is definitely a huge increase in the volume of searches for “single” each year.

The search trends for “single” vs. “divorce” for the month of February 2015.

On average, 2,077,000 couples get married annually in the United States. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. 

Worldwide Google Trends search rate for “divorce” over the past year.

The search rate for “divorce” is heavily concentrated in the United States, and studies have shown that the US leads in divorce rate worldwide. One might think that searches for divorce would spike around Valentine’s Day, when married couples are forced to reflect on their spouse, yet that doesn’t seem to be the case. The search rate for divorce overall is much lower than “single.”

With this interesting finding, one is left to question, are people getting dumped on Valentine’s Day? Or are they just extra lonely when reminded of the fact that they are single, watching all the couples around them? It seems logical that the rate for “single” would spike around Valentine’s Day, as single girls across the country mourn the ghosts of boyfriends past. Some people even prefer to refer to the holiday as “Singles Awareness Day.”

The search trends for "gifts for boyfriend" vs. "gifts for girlfriend" from January through March of 2016.
The search trends for “gifts for boyfriend” vs. “gifts for girlfriend” from January through March of 2016.

According to the Google Trends graph above, there were almost three times as many searches for “Gifts for Boyfriend” than “Gifts for Girlfriend,” and both searches peaked on Valentine’s Day of 2016. What explains this? Are girlfriends more frantic when buying gifts for their significant others? A quick Google search can give some clues, with many articles along the lines of “The last minute guide for what to get your boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.” Do boyfriends choose to follow the traditional flowers and chocolate route, no Google search required, or do many men skip out on the gift giving altogether?

No matter what, this Valentine’s Day is sure to cause some hearts to hurt, and if nothing else, just like last year, it can be expected that searches for “single” will skyrocket once again. The big day is sixteen days away, but who’s counting?

Gif courtesy of Tenor GIF keyboard.