Census Dotmap: a dot for every person in the United States

Cartography and data analysis nut Brandon M-Anderson put together this impressive zoomable map of the United States with one dot for each of the 308,450,225 people recorded by the 2010 census: oddities revealed include people living in "abandoned" areas or parks. A Redditor stitched the tiles into a huge image.

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  1. Says to me I need to buy land at the corner of Melstone Road and Montana Route 200, build a house, and retire there.

    Got some hills, a river, and no neighbors!

  2. It’s fascinating to see how the fairly even grid of small rural towns just sort of peter out when you hit the western half of the country. 

      1.  In the eastern half of the country, assuming that > 90% of the population lived on farms, the distance between towns/villages is going to be constrained by the distance you can travel on foot/drive a team in one day. For practical purposes, that means about every 8 – 10 miles. Areas of high population density reflect access to navigable waterways.

        Much of the west was settled after the railroads, so you should see settlements clustering along rail lines at the distance a steam locomotive can travel before needing fuel/water.

        Contemporary population densities seem to be driven by proximity to the Interstates.

      1. If you believe that questioning the flaws of government is some kind of failure, you seem to have flunked critical thinking.

        1.  “I don’t know why this is so” is not the same thing as “this could be better”. The reasons for two Senators per state are taught to every kid in civics class. Whether you agree with it is a separate issue. States have population-based representation in the House. You may want to examine your own critical thinking skills.  :)

          1. “I don’t know why this is so” is not the same thing as “this could be better”.

            I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time finding the source of those quotes in the comment to which you responded.

          2. Quotation marks are used to display a quote, not your interpretation of a quote. When you misuse them, particularly when your argument is based on semantic pedantry, you’re being deceitful to try to bolster your point.

      2. Sigh… 18th century political compromise to get the various states on board with the new federal constitution. Happy?

        I just think it’s a dumb reason to keep doing it in 2012.

        1. States rights are still relevant to a great many people in this country, especially the less populated ones. It’s no less relevant now than it was when the country came together. I’m more of a Federalist than most, but I don’t have any problem with each state having equal representation in one house of Congress. What problems do you think it’s causing? Most of the problems I see these days come from the House – which is proportional to population.

          1. States rights are still relevant to a great many people in this country, especially the less populated ones.

            Of course it is. They get disproportionate power. Why wouldn’t they want an unfair advantage?

          2. They have proportionate representation in the House. I believe there should be some type of equalizer in the system somewhere so they don’t get railroaded due to low population. Again, what problem are you seeing in the Senate due to this?

          3. The Federal system is a useless relic of the 18th Century. We should get rid of it. Why on Earth should people in Wyoming get special privileges just because they’ve chosen to call themselves a state?

          4. Senators from low population states with economies based on fossil fuel extraction blocking action to combat climate change, for one.

          5. ” Why on Earth should people in Wyoming get special privileges just because they’ve chosen to call themselves a state?”  They do not get “special privileges”, they get the privileges that were bestowed on them not when they chose to become a state, but when the USA granted them membership into the union. After all what does USA stand for–the United STATES of America. Not the united people of America. The reason this country has lasted as long as it has is that it is a republic of states and not just a simple democracy.

          6. Federalism is just feudalism with some lipstick smeared on it, a way for a class of middlemen to rule local fiefs and skim another layer of profits.

            The reason this country has lasted as long as it has is that it is a republic of states and not just a simple democracy.

            And the countries that have lasted longer than the US?

          7. Sometimes good things come from that unfair advantage, such as how Vermont blazed the trail of civil unions and eventual equal partnership.  With proprotional representation at the state level, that awesome thing would probably never have happened.  And it will eventually translate to a national level, when all the small states and a few of the big ones tip the balance in favor of same-sex unions.  Without the smalls, we might not get big stuff done.

    1. Well, they are pretty big states. On the eastern side, you’ve got a lot of population divided up into teeny tiny states. On the western side, you’ve got a lot of population spread out over very large states, so their total numbers aren’t obvious. I mean, look at california, it’s the most populous state in the union, but you’d hardly know it from looking at the map. I mean, I’ll give you the wyomings and montanas, but I’m pretty sure most of the smallest states in the US (each with their own senators) are on the easternish side of the country.

  3. This overemphasizes area of sprawl. Areas of extremely high density but lower sprawl (such as the cities of the west coast) are barely there. There are better maps for population density.

    1. Residences are on land or very near land, so I doubt you could tell if a dot was at a marina, which tend to be very close to land.

  4. There’s a good amount of approximation going on here, unless there are hundreds of people living in the nature preserve behind my house and I just haven’t noticed yet.

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