Connect with us


5 Maps Showing the Extreme Variance in U.S. Population Distribution



The United States is the third most populous country in the world with approximately 320 million people living within its borders.

However, the country is also the third largest in land size, giving it a wide and diverse geographical landscape. As a result of these factors, it is possible to have both ends of the population distribution spectrum.

Many people live in modern megacities, while others choose to reside in a vast countryside sparsely dotted by cottages and lakes. A small tract of land such as Manhattan has 1.6 million people living in a relatively small space. Meanwhile, a state that is 2,900x larger (Wyoming) has a more modest population of just 600,000 people in total.

The below visualizations use data on the country’s 3,142 counties (and county equivalents) to show the extreme variance in U.S. population distribution.

1) The 144 most populous counties in the United States account for half of the country’s population:
The 144 largest counties account for 50% of total population

2) The 10 most populous counties have the same population as the 2,167 least populous:
The 144 largest counties account for 50% of total population

3) The two most populous counties have the same population as the 1,437 least populous:
The 144 largest counties account for 50% of total population

4) The most populous county (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA) has the same population as the 1,171 least populous:
The 144 largest counties account for 50% of total population

5) The most populous county has more people than the 11 least populous states:
The 144 largest counties account for 50% of total population

Original graphics by: Dadaviz

Click for Comments


VC+: Get Our Key Takeaways From the IMF’s World Economic Outlook

A sneak preview of the exclusive VC+ Special Dispatch—your shortcut to understanding IMF’s World Economic Outlook report.




VC+ Special Dispatch - Your shortcut to understanding IMF's World Economic Outlook

Have you read IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook yet? At a daunting 202 pages, we don’t blame you if it’s still on your to-do list.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to read the whole April release, because we’ve already done the hard work for you.

VC+ IMF Special Dispatch

To save you time and effort, the Visual Capitalist team has compiled a visual analysis of everything you need to know from the report—and our upcoming VC+ Special Dispatch will be available exclusively to VC+ members on Thursday, April 25th.

If you’re not already subscribed to VC+, make sure you sign up now to receive the full analysis of the IMF report, and more (we release similar deep dives every week).

For now, here’s what VC+ members can expect to receive.

Your Shortcut to Understanding IMF’s World Economic Outlook

With long and short-term growth prospects declining for many countries around the world, this Special Dispatch offers a visual analysis of the key figures and takeaways from the IMF’s report including:

  • The global decline in economic growth forecasts
  • Real GDP growth and inflation forecasts for major nations in 2024
  • When interest rate cuts will happen and interest rate forecasts
  • How debt-to-GDP ratios have changed since 2000
  • And much more!

Preview images of Visual Capitalist's breakdown of the IMF World Outlook report

Get the Full Breakdown in the Next VC+ Special Dispatch

VC+ members will receive the full Special Dispatch on Thursday, April 25th.

Make sure you join VC+ now to receive exclusive charts and the full analysis of key takeaways from IMF’s World Economic Outlook.

Don’t miss out. Become a VC+ member today.

What You Get When You Become a VC+ Member

VC+ is Visual Capitalist’s premium subscription. As a member, you’ll get the following:

  • Special Dispatches: Deep dive visual briefings on crucial reports and global trends
  • Markets This Month: A snappy summary of the state of the markets and what to look out for
  • The Trendline: Weekly curation of the best visualizations from across the globe
  • Global Forecast Series: Our flagship annual report that covers everything you need to know related to the economy, markets, geopolitics, and the latest tech trends
  • VC+ Archive: Hundreds of previously released VC+ briefings and reports that you’ve been missing out on, all in one dedicated hub

You can get all of the above, and more, by joining VC+ today.

Become a VC+ Member now
Continue Reading
Visualizing Asia's Water Dilemma