The 25 Most Important Maps Of 2013


1. Where's the wealthiest corner in America? Right here ...

Out of the 3,000 counties in the United States, 44 of the 75 highest-income ones are located in the Northeast. The cluster of metro areas that runs from Washington, D.C., through New York to Boston is clearly the richest, containing 37 of these counties, or just over half. Read more.

2. America is really 11 nations. And that actually makes perfect sense.

This map shows the cultural fault lines that divide our country and define the tenor and contentiousness of our national debates, including on major issues like gun control. On his map, California's heavily populated coast is divided from its sparse and stoic inland areas, and Texas is torn asunder into the Deep South, Greater Appalachia, and a region along the Rio Grande that joins cities like El Paso and Laredo with northern Mexico. Read more.


3. America's complete ancestry, in one map

This captivating map from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the ancestry of everyone of the 317 million people who call the melting pot of America home. The American identity is built on the patchwork of cultures that make up the United States. And for all the melting pot blahblahblah Americans always hear, it is incredible to see just how much of a melting pot we really are. Read more.


4. This could solve all of America's problems ...

There have been more than 10 proposed states that never became a star on the U.S. flag — all initiatives that sought to solve local political disputes through secession. But what would America look like if we all got our way? What if New York and New York City actually went their separate ways; if NoCal and SoCal divided; if north and south Florida split. More so, what if the size of a geographic region determined the state boundaries? Read more

5. Probably the coolest political map you'll see

Each of these red markers simply and snarkily indicates some unusual or unique phenomenon — for example, the quasi-sovereign nations living within the United States, or the not-really-policed tri-state smugglers zone between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. #GeekOut Read more.

6. This is the first map to prove how valuable legalizing marijuana would be

The map points to some massively interesting trends in the national price of marijuana, an underground commodity. Cost rises as one moves east from the Pacific Coast (with Oregon being the cheapest). There are also pockets of maximum affordability around where marijuana is produced, notably in Northern California, Eastern Kentucky, and Western Tennessee. Just how big is the marijuana market? When you put them all together you get a range of $10 billion to more than $120 billion a year. For comparison, the market for brewed beverages (i.e. beer) in the U.S. is a little over $100 billion. Some studies claim marijuana is the biggest cash crop in America easily exceeding the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion). Read more.

7. These are the most checked-in places on Facebook

Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Hong Kong, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland California all scored in the most popular Facebook locations on the planet. So did Hamburg, Germany's, Reeperbahn, a seedy, brothel-laden red-light district known as die sündigste Meile (the most sinful mile). Read more.


8. America's new lost generation

An entire generation of people could be America's next economic disaster. A new study paints a dark portrait of America's youngest adults: 6 million young people between the ages of 16-24 are neither in school nor working, and "missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life." This is approximately 15% of all young Americans. Read more.


9. Watch America grow fatter

The map shows a progression between 1985 and 2010. The images begin to display cool colors which represent states having upwards of 20% of their population overweight. There is an overall trend for warmer colors to disperse all across the map, which indicate obese populations ranging from 20% to over 30%. The CDC defines clinical obesity as an adult having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Read more.

10. Mapped: 10 corporations control almost everything you buy

Ten mega corporations control the output of almost everything you buy; from household products to pet food to jeans. According to this chart, called "The Illusion of Choice," these corporations create a chain that begins at one of 10 super companies. You've heard of the biggest names, but it's amazing to see what these giants own or influence. Read more.

11. Some U.S. cities have higher gun violence than ENTIRE nations

When it comes to gun murders in America, some American cities rank among the most dangerous in the world — even when they're compared to entire countries. This map parallels the rate of gun murders in American cities to whole nations. The bigger the dot, the worse it is. Read more.


12. Which American English do you speak?

The map shows that linguistic groupings clearly have little to do with the administrative divisions that we’re so used to seeing imposed on the map, as cultural divisions transcend state lines, as in the sprawling, Scandinavian-influenced Upper Midwestern area. Read more.

13. Who loves and hates America

It may be hard to imagine, given his recent approval ratings, but global opinion of the United States has increased significantly since President Barack Obama was first elected in 2008. The big take-away? People may like us less, but they still like us overall. Read more.

14. The status of the American economy — in one simple heat map

The map shows areas of strong employment growth in green, average growth in yellow, and slow growth in red. It also denotes areas likely to be hit by automatic defense cuts thanks to a federal budget impasse. The map shows the limitations of nationwide employment statistics as an economic indicator, especially for people searching for a job locally. Frustrated un- and underemployed Americans in St. Louis and New Orleans are likely pondering about where October’s hundreds of thousands of jobs went, while job searchers in Orange County and Atlanta wonder what all the fuss is about. Read more.

15. More earthquakes are happening in the U.S., but why?

Overall, while there were a mere 21 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 in the central and eastern United States between 1967 and 2000, there were over 300 such earthquakes from just 2010 to 2012. Read more.

16. America's stunning evolution on gay marriage

As it stands, far more states have bans against gay marriage than those that allow it. Even with the uptick in states legalizing same-sex marriage in recent years, the majority of U.S. states still hold onto constitutional or statuary bans. The mid-2000s saw a surge in states enacting constitutional bans, a few years before legalization began to take hold. Read more

17. The 10 most corrupt and 10 least corrupt countries

So if your country has a score of 0, I’d recommend getting out as fast as you can. And if it has a score of 100, well no one likes a goody two-shoes. There weren’t any perfectly corrupt or perfectly not-corrupt countries this year. But some came very closeRead more.

18. Which state curses the most?

America’s cursing leader? The great Buckeye State, Ohio. Ohioans cursed once in every 150 conversations or so. Joining Ohio in the top 5: Maryland, Louisiana, Illinois, and New Jersey (New York should be fucking ashamed of itself). Which states swear the least? Washington is the cleanest, followed by Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia. Read more.

19. Where do the most racist and homophobic people in America live?

Most Racist:

Most Homophobic:

Ever wonder which parts of America are the most hateful? The map junkies over at Floating Sheep have mapped where the most racist and homophobic people live in the United States. The more red an area is, the more hate the mappers found. Read more.

20. The global economy of elephant poaching

This map shows you the trade routes of elephant poaching ... because these global trade avenues unfortunately exist Some 22,000 elephants were killed in 2012, or approximately 7.4% of the African elephant population, a number far exceeding their natural replenishment rate of 5% a year. While poaching was down approximately 3,000 elephants from a harvesting peak in 2011, 2013 could be 20% higher than it was during the height of poaching that year. Or, more bluntly, one of the worst years on record. If the trend isn't reversed, poaching could wipe out one-fifth of Africa's elephants over the next decade. Read more.

21. The top baby names

This map shows the historic trends in American baby names for girls., a pregnancy and parenting advice site, has released its list of top baby names for 2013, as well as a list of the most unusual names it recorded this year. The lists reveal a number of trends, from the tendency for antiquated names to make a comeback (a pattern that’s referred to as the 100-year rule), to the role of assonance in name choices (Hello Zoe, Chloe, Aiden, and Jayden!), to the pop culture influences that, for better or worse, some children will be coping with for the remainder of their lives. Read more.

22. 18 states cut taxes in 2013

Death and taxes are, of course, the only two constants in life. But these 18 states are trying to make life a little easier for their residents — cutting billions of dollars in taxes for 2014 and into the future. Of the 18 states, 14 are controlled by Republicans. Read more.

23. Does your state have no-drone laws?

Nine states have passed laws limiting the use of domestic drones either by private citizens or local law enforcement. All of those laws were passed in 2013, with the most recent coming in August. Florida, Illinois, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia all have laws prohibiting use of drones by local law enforcement without a warrant, with some exceptions for emergencies. North Carolina has prohibited law enforcement from purchasing drones while the issue is examined. Read more.

24. Mapping out the deep sea cables that transmit your emails at the speed of light

There are more than 550,000 fiber optic cables laid along the ocean floor that transmit trillions upon trillions of interactions per day. These utterly phenomenal underwater and long-haul fiber optic cables send information from virtually any point in the world to another at the speed of light — 186,000 miles per second. The circumference of the Earth is only 24,000 miles at the equator, which means these messages could technically circle the globe about eight times in one second. All from the bottom of the ocean. Read more.

25. All the countries needed to create a jar of Nutella

Sold in 75 countries, Nutella is produced in nine facilities. Four are in Western Europe -Villers-Ecalles, France; Alba and Sant'angelo dei Lombari, Italy; Belsk, Poland; and Stadtallendorf, Germany. Another is located east of Moscow in Vladimir, Russia. Brantford, Canada hosts a plant, as does Lithgow, Australia. Finally, South America hosts two, one in Pocos de Caldas, Brazil, and another in Los Cardales, Argentina. And the ingredients come from pretty much everywhere. Read more.

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