We’ve seen maps reimagining the United States reorganized into a different number and configuration of states before, but this map by Reddit user Upvoteanthology_ looks north of the border for inspiration. It imagines what would happen if the U.S. were organized like Canada, with the same population imbalances: Ontario, for example, has 38.9 percent of the Canadian population, so this map imagines a superstate, Shanherria, with 38.9 percent of the U.S. population that spans the entire U.S. South, plus Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and the non-Chicago parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Maine is roughly equivalent to Prince Edward Island, and the three northern territories map to Alaska.
The maps that appear from time to time on xkcd are usually a lot more whimsical than the one Randall posted today: his somewhat belated “2016 Election Map” assigns one figure for every 250,000 votes for each of the 2016 presidential election candidates. As Randall says in the alt text,1 “I like the idea of cartograms (distorted population maps), but I feel like in practice they often end up being the worst of both worlds—not great for showing geography OR counting people. And on top of that, they have all the problems of a chloro… chorophl… chloropet… map with areas colored in.” This is an issue that election map cartographers regularly have to deal with, as many of my readers know well.
The Urban Institute’s interactive map of debt in America explores the geography of debt, paying particular attention to medical debt and the racial (white vs. nonwhite) breakdown of debt, down to the county level. [Kottke]
The highest and lowest ranked causes are highlighted when the chart loads. These represent the cumulative ranking across all years. Lightning, a natural cause, often floats to the top, but that’s only because on the human side, the vote is split between more than twenty options. Lightning doesn’t predominate in all states, though. In Alabama, the number one cause is pyromania. In Indiana, it’s brakeshoes. In Minnesota, it’s field burning. There are a couple of overall trends, too. Smoking is going down as a cause, and powerlines are going up.
The results of last week’s special Alabama senate election have been crunched and mapped. Matthew Isbell looks at some of the factors that contributed to Doug Jones’s upset win: education, race and voter turnout. Lots of county-by-county choropleth maps to mull over here. Meanwhile, the Washington Post is not the only one to map a salient point: Jones won the state but lost six out of seven congressional districts, thanks to the way those districts were drawn—a function of race, majority-minority districting, and gerrymandering.
The Washington Post assesses Democrat Doug Jones’s chances against Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate election next month by mapping three factors: the extent to which Moore underperformed Mitt Romney in 2012 (Moore ran for chief justice of Alabama in 2012 at the same time Romney ran for president), the racial makeup of Alabama’s precincts and the 2016 precinct-level election results.
We’ve seen a lot of maps correlating election results with other demographic or geographic data, but SurveyMonkey’s exit polling on the correlation between politics and gun ownership seems particularly stark, particularly in the context of recent events. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, nothing predicted who you’d vote for more than whether you had a gun in the house. If only gun-owners voted, Trump would have swept 49 states; if only non-gun-owners voted, Clinton would have won at least 48.
“Over all, gun-owning households (roughly a third in America) backed Mr. Trump by 63 percent to 31 percent, while households without guns backed Mrs. Clinton, 65 percent to 30 percent, according to SurveyMonkey data,” the New York Times reported. “No other demographic characteristic created such a consistent geographic split.”
CityLab maps the geography of mass shootings in America since 1982, “both geographically and by number. ‘Mass shooting’ is defined as an incident during which four or more people are killed during a single attack in a public place, excluding the shooter. This is one of the more conservative counts—the data does not include shootings that took place during conventional crimes, like armed theft or gang violence.”
The majority of these symbols were dedicated between 1900 and 1920, when the South enacted Jim Crow laws aimed at resegregating society or discriminating against blacks. There was also a notable spike in new symbols during the height of the civil rights movement.
Among states with the highest proportion of African-Americans, Mississippi, whose population is 37 percent black, has more than 130 commemorations, while Louisiana, which is 32 percent black, is home to 91 symbols. Georgia, whose population is 30.5 percent black, has 175 monuments.
For Geographical magazine, cartogrammer extraordinaire Benjamin Hennig maps the geography of hate groups in America, with a set of cartograms that show where each category of hate group—anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT, neo-Nazi, neo-Confederate, and so forth—is located.
Based on data from GovTrack, this map displays the ideological leanings of current (at the time) members of the U.S. House of Representatives by their district. “The data is based of numbers from 0-1. If the congressman is a 0 he is the most liberal in the House. If a congressman is at 1 then he is the most conservative. If the congressman is a 0.5 they are centrist. […] The most conservative congressman is Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina’s 3rd District. The most liberal congressman is Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California’s 13th District.”
President Trump’s proposed budget would end funding for Amtrak’s long-distance passenger routes, leaving only the Northeast Corridor and state-funded lines. Maps of the lines that would be closed share the problems of Amtrak network maps in general. Take USA Today’s map from its 12 April article on the subject:
Like electoral maps that make large, less-populated areas look more important than densely populated areas, this map is somewhat deceptive: it distorts the extent of the cutbacks because it shows lines rather than trains. There are, for example, a lot more trains in the Northeast Corridor than run between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest (the daily Empire Builder). State-run services tend to have lots of lines and trains over short distances that are too small to see clearly on this map. Adding connecting services (which are usually bus routes) adds even more detail, and clutter, to a small map.