There’s nothing quite like visualizing data to help you truly understand what it all means. These maps of the United States illustrate statistic data about everything from finding true love to driving fast on the highway, and the results are often truly startling.
Disclaimer: some of these maps present real scientific and demographic data. Others are just for fun. It’s important to realize the difference.
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1. What each state Googles the most.
Shout out to Delaware for Googling itself more than any other topic on Earth.
2. The United States according to "common sense."
In case the legend is too small for your eyes, it reads: 1. Catholics, 2. New Italy, 3. Canned Sardines, 4. Mad Scientists, 5. Statisticians. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the linguistic triumph that is New York: Pretzelreich.
3. Missed connections as reported on Craigslist.
Hold up. Um, Georgia? THE CAR? Why are so many Georgians bumping into intriguing strangers in their cars? Almost as perplexing as Indiana's "At Home." The idea of almost finding love at home....is actually darkly relatable.
4. Most and least remembered states.
Based on 12 million Sporcle responses in 2014. Maybe next year, Midwest.
5. Highest paid public employee by state.
This is including money earned from media appearances, apparel contracts, and fundraising. Takeaway: we are paying our athletic coaches insane amounts of money. Just goofy amounts of money.
6. How Google describes the 50 states.
This map was devised from what pops up under the search bar when you type: "Idaho is" for example. The results are pretty hilarious. Note: the map's author relates that search results will vary, as Google takes into account different factors when populating the search suggestions for each person.
7. Meth labs by state.
Cheap and easy to produce, methamphetamine has risen in popularity over the past few years. According to a recent nationwide survey, one out of 200 adults reportedly used meth in the past year.
8. Incarceration rate by country.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country. It has 4.4 percent of the global population, but 22 percent of its total prisoners. That's almost a quarter. About 1 in 35 American adults were under "correctional supervision" in 2013, which includes parole, probation, jail, and prison. Wow.
9. Alaska size comparison.
Sorry, Texas. Alaska is the biggest kid in this playground.
10. Light pollution by county.
...has it even ever been dark in the eastern United States?! What kind of lightless void is the left half of the country? I bet people from the east would freak out if they caught sight of the starry night sky in Nevada.
11. Most recognizable brand in each state.
Keeping it classy, Florida. Nice.
12. Countries that practice the death penalty.
The United States still retains the death penalty. The only other first-world countries on earth that still practice capital punishment are China, North Korea, Japan, and most Islamic states.
13. Amount of snow it takes to cancel school
In case the legend is too small for you to read, green means school is canceled for ANY SNOW. Any amount of snow. As a New Englander, my brain cannot even fathom a reality in which that is the case.
14. States that are the size of whole nations. Spoiler: all of them.
Let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that Colorado is as large as New Zealand, Mississippi is as big as North Korea, and that all of Iceland could fit in Kentucky.
15. The size of the United States compared to the moon.
According to this map, a cross-country road trip in the United States is roughly equivalent to driving across the moon. That's pretty nutty.
16. Wildfires by county since 2001.
What I'm getting from this map is that half the United States periodically bursts into flames, and yet people there are just like, "Nah, it's cool, we can handle this." Respect.
17. Ancestry with largest population in each county.
UM, SO MANY GERMAN PEOPLE? It's so cool to see how much of a melting pot this country truly is. And by melting pot, I mean that apparently we're all German.
18. The great pop vs. soda divide.
Team soda unto the hour of my death.
19. The most famous television show in each state.
A road trip from northern Murder She Wrote to southern Baywatch would be quite the journey.
20. Maximum posted daytime speed limits on rural interstates.
Holy cow, Texas. I guess when your state is that big, 85mph might still not be fast enough. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, motorists are being overtaken by swiftly moving bumblebees.
Were you surprised by some of these maps of the United States? Shocked, even? I know I was. Do you feel like your state was represented accurately or not?