Whether you call them the “Land of the Free,” and the “Leader of the Free World” or “Land of the Fat,” and “Leader of the Imperialist West,” the United States of America are more powerful than any other country in the world. From the largest military and the highest amount of guns per capita, the USA also have the most prisoners of any country in the world. Of course, they’re also responsible for the most patents, highest-grossing movies, and most popular music in human history.
Looking at America is like walking on at tightrope. For every pleasant or inspiring fact about the fifty states, there are five horrifically horrible atrocities that make you want to burn the whole thing down. But don’t worry, I don’t want to ruin your day – the rest of the Internet is doing enough of that – so let’s take an innocent approach and be amazed by the New World.
If you’ve been to more than one of the 50 American states, you know it’s not only the flags that differ from state to state – although we should examine this aspect:
Note the abundance of shades of blue, red, and white in this map – remind you of something? Apart from the occasional Alaska and Georgia, we don’t see a lot of stars and stripes here, though. Considering all these different styles of flags, I get the feeling each state has their own sense of beauty – another fascinating facet we should analyze.
Beauty Pageant Winners
From the looks of it, Americans really love the looks of Texan women. While most states haven’t won the Miss USA pageant a single time, the Lone Star State has brought forth nine future winners over the years – leaving lots of room to runner-up California’s five Miss USA contestants in first place.
Google Image Search Terms
Beauty pageants are probably very popular in Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Dakota, were Google users are apparently always looking for “girls.” Meanwhile, a surprisingly high number of people want to find out what their home state actually looks like. (Maybe they don’t want to leave the house?)
For this map, I excluded the term “quotes,” which would’ve been the winner in almost all fifty states, in order to find out what people care about besides subtitles for their Facebook posts. Queries like “meme,” “funny,” and “gif,” however, have convinced me that social media is all they think about all day.
If California were a country, it would be worth more than France – is that not incredible? What I love about this dataset is that, depending on your prior knowledge, it either teaches you about the economic strength of the fifty American states or the GDP of different countries around the world. Who would’ve known, for example, that Nigeria – a place that is rarely, if ever, on the news – would be so high on this list? On the other hand, I also didn’t know Vermont had such a weak economy. Of course, this map doesn’t tell you anything about the wealth of the states’ inhabitants, since we’re only looking at nominal GDPs.
It’s not without a reason that Texas is such a rich state: As can be seen on this map, it’s by far the biggest crude oil producer in America, surpassing even federal offshore production plus North Dakota’s and California’s industries combined. Arizona stands out in this map, because it has disappointingly little of the black treasure, confirming my suspicions that this state consists of nothing but hot, desert wasteland.
Americans love to go shopping and throw their money at retailers. Most people spent between 13 and 20 thousand dollars on food, clothes, furniture, electronics, and other stuff in 2012. I can’t tell you why Rhode Islanders seem to be so cheap, though.
Baby Girl Names
The Class of 2033 will have a lot of Emmas in it, that’s for sure. People have never been very inventive in naming their offspring, so it’s not surprising to see so little variety in this map. I do appreciate the capital for picking “Genesis,” however, to mix things up for a change. I mean, “Olivia” is a nice name and all, but that doesn’t mean everyone should have it.
Baby Boy Names
Moving on to male first names, there’s even less to choose from. The Southwest seems to be pretty convinced of the biblical “Noah,” while Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma show a little more creativity with 2015 stand-alones “Benjamin,” “Jackson,” and “Elijah” respectively. So many Liams, though!
The “whitest” states, it appears, are towards the North of the Union. New York and Illinois are literal black sheep, so to speak, since the cities of New York and Chicago house a lot of minorities, as is common for more urban areas. Conversely, it’s not surprising that such rural states as Montana and North Dakota are among the lesser diverse places in the U.S. Hawaii is an extreme case here, of course, since most of its inhabitants wouldn’t consider themselves as “white” by any measure.
Looking at maps all day can give you the impression that continents have specific shapes and that countries are formed a certain way – even though this is an conceptual illusion. Turning the map on its head can transform familiar regions into new worlds, like the one above. Suddenly, Florida and Texas are “on top,” while Oklahoma has turned from a pot into a baseball hat. There’s no up or down in space so the fact that we orient our maps to have North at the top is entirely arbitrary. We should remind ourselves every now and then that things don’t have to be the way they are just because they’ve “always been this way.”
Last month’s “10 Maps” was pretty popular, so I’ve decided to turn this into a (somewhat) monthly series. Please take part in this poll to decide which region I should look at next and leave a comment below to tell me which map you enjoyed the most!