United States Population Map

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As of 2017, the United States population stands at 324 million – the third largest country in the world by population behind India and China. The population ranges across the nation from state to state, from a high of 39 million in California to a low of 585 thousand in Wyoming. The map above distorts each state’s normal area to display its relative population size. In order words, California population represents 12% of the US total and thus takes up 12% of the map, Texas 8.6%, Florida 6.3%, and so on until Wyoming with 0.18%. The states are color coded by groups of ten with the largest ten in red, the next ten in orange, then yellow, light green, and dark green. California and Texas represent 1/5th of US population and the top 5 states make up 37%. The map below is of the United States as normally displayed, with each state relative to it area.

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The US in State Highway Shields

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If you’re like me, you been across the US and noticed the various State Highway Marker Shields. The above map displays all of them, positioned over each state. Some have historical/social meaning (California – the shape of a shovel (as in digging for gold), Utah – a beehive (a signal of Mormonism), or Pennsylvania – a keystone, as in the Keystone state that connects the east coast to the mid-west), some are merely the outline of the state shape (Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, etc.), and some have no significance at all (Texas, Montana, Illinois, etc.). What’s your sign?

Electoral College Vs. US Population

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Hilary Clinton won the popular election 47.7% to 47.4% despite losing the electoral college by a wide margin to Donald Trump. This is only the second time since 1888 that a candidate has won the popular vote, but not the election. This situation has lead some to question if the electoral college system is really the best way to select a president. Liberals claim that it is not fair as large, densely populated states have proportionally less say then less populated rural states that have a minimum 3 electoral votes regardless of population. This claim was interesting, so I decided to investigate further.

Above is a map displaying the relative difference among the states regarding their ‘over representation’ or ‘under representation’ given population. Orange colored bubbles mean the state has a higher fraction of US population than the fraction of electoral college votes. For example, California has 12.2% of US population, yet only 10.2% of electoral college votes. This is also the case for Texas (8.5% of population verse 7% of electoral college) and likewise for all other orange colored states. The size of the bubble signals a larger margin of under representation.

On the other end of the spectrum, the green colored bubbles mean the state has a higher fraction of electoral college votes compared to their fraction of US population. For example, Wyoming has 0.18% of US population yet has 0.56% of the electoral college – that is, 3 votes out of 538. Again the larger the green bubble signals a wider margin between electoral college votes compared to relative population.

The smaller the bubbles, whether green or orange, means that state was very close to proportional representation between the electoral college and population. For example, Washington state had 2.2% of US population and 2.2% of electoral college votes.

Comparing how the 18 most over represented states voted results in 9 Republican and 9 Democratic states. That is, for every rural over represented Republican state like Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakota – there are an equal number of small over represented Democratic states like Vermont, Washington DC, and Delaware. To claim the election was lost due to under populated Republican states is inaccurate. The election was won in the battle ground, medium sized swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – all of whom voted Republican this year instead of Democratic was they did in 2012 and 2008.

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Above is a table of the 18 most over represented states by electoral college votes. The ‘Elect Diff’ column is the difference between the electoral college percentage minus the US population percent the state has. The ‘Demo16’ column is the Democratic vote percentage, ‘Rep16’ is the Republican vote percentage, ‘Other16’ is the sum of third party vote percentage, and ‘D-R Spread’ is the Democratic vote percentage minus the Republican vote percentage.

Cities and Affordability

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Above is a map displaying median home prices by city and the salary needed to afford living there. Most of the mid-west and south have affordable housing requiring income’s below the US average. (Currently US average income is around $53,750) The most expensive cities to live in are located in the northeast and in California. Current data indicates that San Francisco is the most expensive city to afford with a needed salary of $147,996. This is followed by San Diego at $103,165, Los Angeles at $95,040, New York at $86,770, Boston at $83,151, Washington DC at $78,626, and Seattle at $78,425.

Gay Marriage Percentage by State

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Above is heat map displaying same-sex marriage as a percent of all marriages in each three-digit zip code area. The darker the color, the higher percentage of same-sex marriages. Below is a bar-chart displaying results at the state level (Only the top 25 states by population are shown). The number displayed is the percentage of same-sex marriages relative to all marriages in the state. Only 7 of the 25 states have a percentage above the national average of 0.35%. They are: Massachusetts, Washington, California, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, and Arizona.

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US State Population Growth

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Above is a graph displaying the five most populous states in the United States from 1900 to 2013. These states – California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois – combine for 119 million people, 37% of US total population.

What’s striking from the graph above is the growth behavior from California, Texas, and Florida compared to New York and Illinois – the latter leveling off and the former having exponential growth. California and New York had the same population in the mid 1950’s, now California is twice as populous as New York.

State population projects are displayed in the table below. California is expected in grow to 44 million people by 2030, Texas to 31 million, and New York to 22 million.

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Texas Population Map

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Texas is the second most populated State in the United States with 26.4 million people. More than 70% of Texas’ population is concentrated within the “Texas Triangle” cities of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. This triangle contains 5 of the 20 largest cities in the United States and upwards of 17.7 million people.

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