Saturday, July 3, 2010

American States: big cities

I've done up two maps of the USA, using Inkspace and Google Insights. The first one, this one, was perhaps better in concept than in execution. But oh well. Anyway, what I did was to take five 'regional hub' cities, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and Los Angeles, and see in each of the 50 states which of the five was Googled most often. I expected to find obvious results in New York State, Illinois, Georgia, Texas and California, but it was the other 45 states I was curious about. The results:

The principle was right: there are 'regions' in the States where people gravitate towards certain big cities - if for no other reason than because they're following the nearest big sports team. So in particular there's a three-state 'zone' (or 'tristate' as they say there) around Houston and around Atlanta. What surprised me was not the fact that New York appears to be the 'default' (among other things, it is of course also the name of a state) but (1) that outside of California itself there is no state where Los Angeles is Googled more often than the others on this list and (2) Chicago has a huge 'zone' of eleven states, extending as far away as Wyoming. Intriguing, and not something I can entirely explain. What has people in Wyoming more interested in Googling Chicago than any other of these cities?
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1 comment:

  1. Problem with your "regional hubs". You included too few regional hubs.

    You can divide the US into these specific cultural regions, with their principal cities or metro areas:

    Alaska (Anchorage), Hawaii (Honolulu), Northern California (San Fran Bay), Jello Belt (Salt Lake City) Southern California (L.A.), Pac NW (Seattle), Rocky Mountains(Denver), Desert Southwest (Phoenix), Gulf Coast (Houston), Great Plains (DFW), Upper Midwest (Minneapolis/Saint Paul), Missouri Valley (No central cultural hub, but there's a split between Omaha, Kansas City and Saint Louis), Great Lakes (Chicago), Mid South (Nashville), Deep South(Atlanta), Florida(Miami), Mid Atlantic(Balt-Wash), Appalachians(Pittsburgh), New England (Boston) and the NYC area (NYC, Duh).

    If you go to any of those regions, the dialects, sports affiliations, voting patterns and cuisines follow those said cultural fractures.

    You won't get a good Key Lime Pie in Atlanta, nor would you get decent shrimp in Oklahoma City. Yet Houston is considered a hub city for OKC and Atlanta is considered a hub city for Florida.

    Don't cheer for the Yankees in New England. It's not safe. Yet NYC is considered a hub city in New England.

    Follow my suggestion for your next hub citie study. And just remember, some of these hubs have more than one city (Balt/Wash, MPLS/STP, SF Bay Area, DFW). You might get a plurality leader if you split the cities in multi-polar cities rather than the true major city in that region.