New City of Chicago Data Sets: Employee Salaries, Traffic Counts

A new dataset released by the City of Chicago allows you to sort through all city employees by department, job title, and salary. Plus: a map of the city’s traffic count shows where the most cars pass by every day.

The Emanuel administration continues its data dump, this time with the list you’ve all been waiting for: all City of Chicago employees, sortable by department, job title, salary, salary minus furloughs, and names. You can download the data, or, using the online portal, make your own charts and graphs. For instance, someone’s already created a list called “assyrianguys.”

Perhaps a more useful user-generated graph: total salaries by department. As you can see, the police department is far and away the biggest expense:

(Click here to embiggen.)

I don’t have a lot of room to work with, but that big line is police, followed by the fire department. But the police department has 14,147 employees listed in the data set, for an average salary of $76,028. The fire department—based on the data in the spreadsheet, at least—has a higher annual average salary, $87,286 for 5,085 employees.

But if you drill down from there, you’ll find that the fire department has very few low-paid employees, whereas the police department has hundreds of crossing guards that obviously bring down the average salary. The lowest-paid employees of the fire department, by contrast, tend to be paramedics (with the exception of a handful of clerks)—clearly a critical job that requires significant training.

Not to draw any conclusions; just an example of what you can find when you start poking around. And people are! Several data sets have been separated out in just the first day. It’s pretty exciting.

While not as sexy as government salaries, just as much fun to poke around in is the average daily traffic counts map and the accompanying data set. It’s data from 2006—it’s surveyed only every 10 years—but it’s still pretty interesting. Unsurprisingly, the highest count at any traffic site was at approximately 1550 S Lake Shore, just north of where the Stevenson empties onto LSD: 165,200 cars, serving as an approximation of northbound and southbound traffic on an average weekday. The counts closest to my apartment average a modest ~19,000, but that’s still the equivalent everyone in the town I grew up in each driving by about six or seven times.

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