Fun with Maps 61&62

I took a couple weeks off from my blog recently because it required a lot of time and effort to write up our most recent vacation. I enjoyed my holiday season and I hope you all did as well. Now, break time is over and I have a ton of mappiness (that’s map-happiness) to share with everyone. Let’s get started!

Map 61 comes to us from It shows data collected by two moving companies, United Van Lines and Atlas, to track American and Canadian migration patterns. The surveys were far from scientific. The data represents one year of people moving but only captures those moving with the assistance of those two moving companies. Anybody that moved themselves or rented a Uhaul would not be factored in. Furthermore, if somebody moved to Pennsylvania temporarily in 2014 and back to Idaho in 2015, only the latter move would be charted. This map would be a much more accurate representation of migration patterns if it used Census data, of course, but the Census is only taken every ten years. If these moving companies repeated these surveys yearly, patterns could be tracked over time. Take a gander.

Map 61

The numbers on each state or province represent the outbound moves (top number) and inbound moves (bottom number). Apparently, Oregon is the top place people chose to move last year based on ratios. There are some obvious winners in blue and some real surprises too. Texas and Florida make sense. Texas has a lot of jobs, Florida has no income tax, and both states luckily miss out on traditional Winter. North Dakota, Alabama, and Idaho are fairly surprising influx states. Alabama makes no sense at all based on many, many statistics I’ve seen concerning the economy and overall opportunities available. North Dakota was at the tail end of the recent oil boom in 2015 and I predict it won’t be blue again next year (assuming they continue tracking this data). Additionally, North Dakota was may have had a incoming move ratio but the overall numbers were very low at only 139 outbound moves and 196 inbound ones. Compare that to Minnesota, my home state, which saw 1591 outbound moves to just 1175 inbound. The ratio makes it red but it saw a lot more activity overall than North Dakota. Of the red states, California is the biggest surprise to me. I love California but I’ve never lived there. The cost of living is certainly high, it can be quite crowded, and the state with the most electoral college votes is five years in to a record drought. Other than drought and the occasional earthquake, California weather vastly outshines Minnesota.

Map 62 is actually two maps in one. I’m in charge so that’s totally fine. The top map is the current congressional district map in the United States. There are 435 districts below. Try and spot them all! Okay, that’s really hard. Even if the map was much larger, many of the districts are relatively small. The odd shape of some of the districts also makes seeing them all nearly impossible. Those weird shapes are a result of gerrymandering.

“In most states, state legislatures draw the district boundaries that determine how many delegates the state sends to the U.S. Congress, as well as the general partisan make-up of that delegation. State legislatures are partisan beasts, and if one party is in control of the process they can draw boundaries to give themselves a numeric advantage over their opponents in Congress. This process is called gerrymandering.”

The second map is a non-partisan, computer-generated version that strives for geographic compactness instead of political B.S.

Map 62

The bottom map is clearly more compact. The strange little zig-zag districts are replaced by more sensible-looking blobs. It’s clear to me, but just in case, I’ll provide more examples from the source article on the Washington Post.

North Carolina ExamplePennsylvania Example

Politicians are jerks. Not all of them, obviously, but seeing the way these states are currently chopped up makes no sense and politics is to blame. For more on gerrymandering and congressional district maps, check out the Washington Post article. I was well aware of the insanity of gerrymandering, of course, but it was still a good read and the computer-generated alternative was fresh.


Thanks for reading. Until next time,


Bryan Signature 2







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