Life
30+ maps that’ll make you question everything you thought you knew about the US
I learned a lot of things, and many of them made me laugh. 🤣
Jessica
04.25.22

Maps can be deceiving. If you think about it, they’re usually drawn by people who want others to know what land they’re in charge of. And the way they draw the rest of the world can give us some pretty fascinating insight into their priorities.

When it comes to maps of the United States, we might not quibble over state boundaries, but it is fascinating to see how they divide us as well as unite us.

Maps can even be funny, showing us where our brand loyalties or language quirks stop and start. And they’re always eye-opening.

Take a look at these 30 maps of the U.S. You might even look at your state and learn something new!

1. Land use by state

We knew there were a lot of cows in the country, but seeing how much land is dominated by their pastures is eye-opening.

And we’re pretty sure that little patch called “wildfires” is less than intentional!

2. The finer details of denim

We’ve never actually wondered who has the bluest blue jeans, but somehow this really resonates with us.

Florida and Pennsylvania are among the states that need to update their denim a bit.

3. What we look like to others

This map is all in good fun. We all tend to stereotype people we don’t know much about and then get sensitive when people do it to us.

At least they didn’t get California entirely wrong.

4. Impending climate-related catastrophes

Well, this one’s no fun. We’re not sure how accurate it really is, but they seem to have the drought spaces labeled pretty well.

5. The safest states

Crime maps are tough to get right since so much of it goes unreported.

We wouldn’t have pegged New Mexico as a dangerous place, but most people were confused about New York being so safe. Just remember how many people live there and that these are crimes reported per 100,000 residents.

6. State capitalism

What big brand is your state home to? We have to admit that we’ve never heard of a few of these “famous” companies.

7. Our immigrant past

The last 19th and early 20th centuries saw some of the largest immigrant waves in US history. As of 1910, these were the predominant groups in each state.

I guess Swedes and Norwegians weren’t looking for warmer territory.

8. What states have the most of

We’re not sure how some of these are calculated, and we’re a bit suspicious, but apparently, there’s no region that’s not at least a little bit weird.

And what’s with the panda bears, Georgia?

9. Kangaroo laws

Speaking of interesting animal facts, some states seem overly concerned about kangaroos.

Are you surprised to see that there are 3 different states where you can theoretically keep a kangaroo without a permit?

10. Electricity bills per state

If you’re old enough to pay bills, then you’re old enough to wonder why such a basic need is so darn expensive.

Wondering why it’s so expensive in New England? That’s because it’s at the very end of a natural gas pipeline, and gas is what fuels power plants.

11. Tipsy dining choices

Can you really trust a person who doesn’t head straight to Taco Bell after overindulging in drinks?

I guess you have to be in Waffle House territory.

12. What residents are called

This map cracks us up. Putting an “r” or “n” at the end of a state name should do that trick most of the time, right?

Not if you’re from Wyoming, Wisconsin, or New Hamshire. And Indiana decided just to confuse everyone.

13. Where the trees are

Trees are so important for air quality (among other things).

Of course, keeping trees upright is probably more of a challenge than it’s worth in Tornado Alley.

14. The most Kevin of Kevins

Who is your most famous Kevin? Does Texas really have to rely on YouTube for their Kevin fame? We’re suspicious.

15. The Waffle House index

That’s quite a heat map! Have you been to a Waffle House?

We had no idea they had made their way so far north.

16. Scandi style

If you’re going to speak a Scandinavian language in the US, here’s the one you need in your state.

This really explains a lot about our Swedish design obsession.

17. Who controls the air

It’s fascinating to see how large these air traffic control zones are. The folks in Minneapolis really must know what they’re doing.

18. Where the cars are the fastest

Like to drive fast? Head to the middle of Texas.

Too bad Hawaii is too far away for most of us to take a Sunday drive.

19. Most memorable states

Can you name the orange states?

And what makes North Carolina so easy for people to remember? We didn’t see that one coming.

20. Who can dream of a white Christmas

Well, even those of us who live in snowy places are lucky to get a white Christmas these days.

You better plan a trip to the mountains if you want to see the snow on December 25th.

21. How to hide in each state

Hoping to hide out in nature and not be noticed? Well, here’s what color camo to buy based on where you live.

We never realized a New Yorker in camo wouldn’t blend in out West, but it makes sense.

22. States’ biggest earthquakes

Do you live near a fault line?

It seems that if you don’t, there’s still some natural disaster to worry about.

23. Favorite foods

This is oddly fascinating.

I’ve always lived in the “pizza zone.” How about you?

24. Biggest Twitter haters

There are some serious regional rivalries when it comes to hating sports teams.

We will need to see this map updated for a post-Patriots Tom Brady.

And who hates the Bills?! It’s not like they ever beat you in a Superbowl.

25. How long we’ll live

On average, we have a good 70+ years of life to live. Unless you live in a dark green state, then you might actually get an extra half-decade!

26. Where we work

No wonder people are so angry! The most common jobs in almost every state force us to deal with people all day long.

Remind us to say please and thank you and keep our heads down in Utah and Arizona especially.

27. The cost of living

Apparently, if you want to live in a state where the life expectancy is longer, it’ll cost ya!

There’s so much variation by city that we wonder if this map is even helpful.

28. Student debt by state

However you feel about student debt, we all know that debt of any kind is stressful. So be kind to grads in the northeast – they probably have a lot on their minds when it comes time to pay bills.

29. Citizenship knowledge

If you ever need a civics lesson, ask someone who had to go through the citizenship process in the US (note, that’s different from general immigration).

Overall, more than half of Americans can’t pass a civics test. Unless you live in Vermont, for some reason.

30. Family size

We didn’t expect to see Hawaii towards the top of the list, but we did expect to see Utah.

Where did you think the largest families live?

31. Fall Foods

Who doesn’t love fall? Here are the most popular fall foods for each state!

Maybe you got a new perspective on the US from looking at these maps. We hope you learned something new.

If you’d like to see some more map magic, be sure to scroll down below for an explainer video.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a writer at Shareably.
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