Fun with Maps 105&106

It’s been a long, four-day, holiday-shortened week. Businesses, like my employer, tend to cram five days of work into four days when forced by law to be closed on holidays. I’ve also been training a new employee for 11 straight weeks (ten weeks with one dude that just didn’t get it and one with another new guy). Because of this, I’m tired. Staying up until 1am this morning playing board games and chatting with friends didn’t help. Maeby waking me up at 6:15am for her breakfast wasn’t fun either but after another hour of half-sleep, I’m awake and ready to share some maps!

Map 105 comes to us from Andy Kiersz, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance (the first made the map for the second and I found it with the third). Mr. Kiersz used data from the U.S Census Bureau to map births minus deaths in the United States between July 2014 and July 2015.

Map 105

The blue areas above experienced more births than deaths in that twelve month time period. The red areas experienced the reverse and the darker the color, the more drastic the difference. California, Utah, and Texas have some of the darkest blues as well as a high volume of blues. From what I know of California and Texas, people are flocking there for job opportunities and warmer climates. This would account for younger families moving there and affecting the births over deaths ratio. I have no idea why Utah has a high ratio of births over deaths. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Dallas, and Houston are six of the largest cities in the country and still growing. There are a couple light and medium blues in my home state of Minnesota. Neighboring states to the South and West are similar while the Rust Belt states to the East have a lot more neutral blues. There is a lot of blue on this map, for sure, but the red areas are more interesting to me. The East Coast and Appalachian areas have a large amount of pink mixed in with light blues. Florida and Arizona have the most red and the darkest reds. These states are perceived (my me, at a minimum) to be havens for retirees. The weather is pleasant and pleasure activities like golf and boating (in Florida) are widely available. It is not a huge surprise, therefore, that these two aging states would have more deaths than births. How does your neck of the woods look?


Map 106 is one author’s version of a possible future for America. Parag Khanna, author of The Second World and How to Run the World, recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times entitled “A New Map for America”. In this article he explains his view of the current state-based model of our government and how it fails to support local and national infrastructure maintenance and growth. He argues that the United States should move to a new urban-corridor system with regional governance. Evidence is provided that supports his arguments, which you can read here, but I don’t fully agree that a system of regional governance will improve much of anything. The current political climate is frustrating for most of this country’s citizens, of course, but how will that improve if we did away with current state borders? It wouldn’t. Not in my opinion, anyway.

Map 106A

Khanna is an expert global strategist and has appeared on CNN numerous times (so you may want to take his word over mine) but I will argue that politicians are not the only thing preventing appropriate infrastructure maintenance and growth. There are many obstacles such as lobbyists and tax-dodgers just to name two. I hesitate to name one more because I’m guilty of it myself, but people that allow professional sports franchises to extort stadium money from state and local general funds (money provided by the people whether they like sports or not) are also to blame. How to use tax dollars is a major point of contention in modern politics and that will not change simply by changing from a 50 state model to a super-region model dominated by powerful urban-corridors as Khanna believes. I love the map in the article, regardless, and I was intrigued enough by his arguments to buy his next book, Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. I hope it is filled with mappy goodness I will undoubtedly share in the future.

I do enjoy the map as-is but I also created my own, more crude version for your viewing pleasure.

Map 106B

In my version of a regional United States, I have expanded the West Coast region inward to include more of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona. I easily could have split this larger region into two with Los Angeles and San Diego joining Phoenix and Tucson but I chose to leave it as one large area. Choosing a regional capital would be very difficult but if I had a choice it would be San Francisco due to it being a large port and technology hub. Others would likely say LA. Khanna’s map has two large regions called Inland West and The Great Plains. My version reduces The Great Plains significantly and shifts Inland West to the East. Denver would be an obvious capital. I reduced the Great Plains so I could have Minneapolis be more important in it’s own area. I’m selfish but my beautiful home town needs to be in charge of something grander, it’s own region. Someone could argue that Omaha or Kansas City would be better capital choices but I’m in charge here so they’re wrong. Khanna’s Great Plains includes Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, two-sides of the “Texas Triangle” with Houston. Houston is quite different from the other cities, I’ll admit, but breaking up the Texas cities makes little sense to me in terms of infrastructure, something on which Khanna bases his entire argument. Austin can be the capital but Houston would be a strong choice as well. The purple region in the middle is smaller, like my Great Plains, but contains some strong urban centers like St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis (a centrally-located, vibrant capital), Little Rock, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. I made Khanna’s Great Lakes smaller too. Chicago is an obvious capital over the region’s other declining manufacturing cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Indianapolis. I made Khanna’s Great Northeast larger just a bit for no particular reason. He talks a lot about transportation and the Northeast has a huge lead on that one. New York City should be the capital but there are a couple urban centers worthy as well (Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington). The Southeast is the final region on the map. My version splits much of Khanna’s Gulf Coast region from Texas and adds it to the Southeast where it is geographically. He argues that port cities like Tampa, Corpus Christi, and Houston have more in common than they do with in-state neighbors Dallas and Tallahassee. I call BS and re-unite Florida with the Southeast with Atlanta as a manufacturing capital.

That’s it. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my version of Khanna’s map in the comments below. See you next time on Fun with Maps!


Bryan Signature 2








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