André-Michel Guerry’s (1833) Essai sur la Statistique Morale de la France was one of the foundation studies of modern social science. Guerry assembled data on crimes, suicides, literacy and other “moral statistics,” and used tables and maps to analyze a variety of social issues in perhaps the first comprehensive study relating such variables. Indeed, the Essai may be considered the book that launched modern empirical social science, for the questions raised and the methods Guerry developed to try to answer them.
Guerry’s data consist of a large number of variables recorded for each of the départments of France in the 1820–1830s and therefore involve both multivariate and geographical aspects. In addition to historical interest, these data provide the opportunity to ask how modern methods of statistics, graphics, thematic cartography and geovisualization can shed further light on the questions he raised. We present a variety of methods attempting to address Guerry’s challenge for multivariate spatial statistics.
"A.-M. Guerry’s Moral Statistics of France: Challenges for Multivariable Spatial Analysis." Statist. Sci. 22 (3) 368 - 399, August 2007. https://doi.org/10.1214/07-STS241