It’s my birthday! Hooray for me. I’m celebrating with my wife and puppy and a home-cooked meal. I’m extremely lucky to have them in my life. I’m also lucky to have time to write about maps so let’s get to it!
Map 65 was posted on Facebook by a friend, Liz Reynolds. Her husband works with Beth and we often get together to play board games. The map tells a tragic tale of the current state of women’s reproductive rights in this country. If you’re a woman, you care about this. If you’re a man, you should care about this (if you don’t already). Women in this country have fewer rights than man (fewer than guns sometimes). Concerning their own reproductive health, women are often powerless. The Population Institute has conducted a study of reproductive rights in the United States for four years and compiled grades for each state. The map below shows the grades received in 2015 based on the following four criteria:
What grade did your state earn? Odds are, for most of you, a less than stellar one. Nineteen states failed this year and another seven earned a D to D-. Only four received an A or higher; the entire West Coast and New Jersey. The overall grade for the United States was a D+. This is extremely disappointing. The United States is supposed to be an advanced nation with equality, human rights, and an elevated way of life. It’s not currently living up to that ideal for half of our population. It’s total B.S!
If you believe strongly in women’s rights, regardless of your gender, notify your Representatives, Senators, and Governor of your beliefs and ask them to support women in your state.
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Map 66 comes to us from Distractify. It uses data from a 2008 Health and Retirement Study that concludes the average American lives only 18 miles from their mom.
Straight from the website: “The data reveal a country of close-knit families, with members of multiple generations leaning on one another for financial and practical support. The trend will continue, social scientists say, as baby boomers need more care in old age, and the growing number of two-income families seek help with child care.”
The main contributors to how far you live from your parents are income and education. Professionals with higher incomes and more education tend to move further away from their parents. They have more money which provides them opportunities to travel to see their families more frequently. They also have money to pay for daycare (holy crap, those are expensive from what I hear) instead of relying on help from family members.
The country is grouped into nine, unequal regions. The Appalachian-South region consisting of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama have the closest average proximity to their parents at six miles. The tri-state area of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are next at eight miles. The reasons are cultural as well as geographical. Families in the South are traditionally very tight-knit and more likely to live close together. The same could be said of the Northeast with the added benefit of large cities providing lots of opportunities and dense populations. The Mountain region of eight states has the highest average at 44 miles. Populations are much more spread out in those areas. Looking at the map overall, I’m surprised the averages are so low. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to get around. Transportation has become much faster and more reliable. Communication makes it easier to reach out to other people around the country and planet. It should be really easy to move away, yet the average is just 18 miles.
Beth and I live 14.3 miles from my parents and 14.8 miles away from hers (in driving distance, not as the crow flies). That’s closer than average for Minnesotans. Beth’s sister, Vicki, lives 8.3 miles from their parents. Her other sister, Val, is 1173 miles away in Houston, TX. My brother-in-law, Dave, lives approximately 900 miles from his parents’ current residence in Lincoln, NE although his family moved around a decent amount. Val, Dave, Dave’s parents, and even his brother Peter in Boston all have advanced degrees. So does Beth’s dad, Ken. He only moved to Minnesota from California for his work (something with Chemistry) but now lives 1930 or so miles from where his parents lived in Concord, CA. Sure, that’s only a couple examples in my own life but perhaps you know of some as well.
Money and education aren’t the only reason someone might move far from home. Several people I graduated with moved far from home for a variety of reasons. Some of them moved for their educations and never came back. There is a lot to see in this world and plenty of people left home without a higher education or income. For me, I currently live close to home because I love this area. Having my parents around is nice, of course, but they’re not the only thing I like about this area. The Greater Twin Cities area has a ton to offer. I hate the cold Winters, sure, but I am tough enough to endure them. I could see myself moving away some day if we found a similar way of life in a warmer climate. For now, however, I’m happy where we are. It’s negative six degrees outside today so you know the good stuff must really outweigh the weather for me to still like it here!