Infographic: Visualizing the Tallest Building in Each State
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Visualizing the Tallest Building in Each State

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Infographic: The Tallest Building in Each State

The Tallest Building in Each State

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The United States has some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but their distribution is extremely uneven. Today’s infographic comes from Highrises.com, and it covers the tallest building in each state.

New York City alone has 6,229 highrises – more than the next nine cities combined, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, and Dallas.

Surprisingly, multiple states don’t have a single building over 200 feet (61 m) tall. The tallest building in Vermont is an 11-story apartment building called Decker Towers. South Dakota is nearly as quaint – the CenturyLink Tower in Sioux Falls is the tallest building in the state, but it’s also only 11 stories tall.

Top Ten List: The Tallest States

Here is the building that tips the scale for each of the ten “tallest” states:

RankHeight (ft)CityStateBuilding Name
11,776New York CityNYOne World Trade Center
21,729ChicagoILWillis Tower
31,023AtlantaGABank of America Plaza
41,018Los AngelesCAUS Bank Tower
51,002HoustonTXJP Morgan Chase Tower
6973PhiladelphiaPAComcast Center
7947ClevelandOHHey Tower
8943SeattleWAColumbia Center
9871CharlotteNCBank of America Corporate Center
10850Oklahoma CityOKDevon Tower

Top Ten List: The Shortest States

Here is what ranks as the tallest building for the “shortest” ten states (also includes D.C.):

RankHeight (ft)CityStateBuilding Name
42320WichitaKSEpic Center
43296AnchorageAKConoco Phillips Building
44293CharlestonWVWest Virginia State Capitol
45275ManchesterNHCity Hall Plaza
46272BillingsMTFirst Interstate Center
47242BismarckNDNorth Dakota State Capitol
48200LaramieWYWhite Hall
49175PortlandMEFranklin Towers
50174Sioux FallsSDCenturyLink Tower
51124BurlingtonVTDecker Towers

What is the Tallest Building in Each State?

Not surprisingly, about 76% of these highrises are office buildings, with one of every three named after a bank. However, the tallest buildings in some of states have pretty unique purposes. The tallest habitable building in D.C., for example, is the lengthily-named Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is also the largest Roman Catholic church in North America.

The tallest building in Nevada is The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the respective State Capitol buildings of North Dakota and West Virginia tower above any other skylines in those states.

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Misc

Mapped: Second Primary Languages Around the World

This fascinating map highlights the second most commonly spoken primary language in almost nearly every country.

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Second Languages Around the World Shareable

Mapped: Second Primary Languages Around the World

After the primary language, what second languages are used as native tongues in your country?

The answer reveals a lot about history and location. Whether through immigration, colonization, or local culture, a primary language can either spread around the world or remain rooted in place.

This map from MoveHub shows the second most commonly spoken primary language in most countries, using data from the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia as of February 2021.

The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Languages

First, it’s important to differentiate between primary languages and secondary languages.

A primary language—also known as a first or native language—is the language we use most frequently to communicate. These are languages we are usually born with, have a lot of exposure to, and use at home.

On the other hand, a secondary language is one we learn or pick up after our primary language. In many countries, English is the most commonly learned, with close to 1 billion speakers.

But a map of common second languages can simply show just how many countries prioritize learning English, the de-facto international language in many organizations. Instead, this map highlights the movement of people by showing the second-most common primary language.

The Second Most Common Primary Languages by Country

Even when filtering by primary language use, however, English and other Indo-European languages dominate the world.

With 55 countries speaking it as the second-most common primary language, English came out on top.

Top 10 Most Popular Second Primary LanguagesNumber of Countries
English55
French14
Russian13
Spanish8
Creole8
Arabic6
Kurdish4
Portugese4
Italian3
Quechua3

The use of English as a second primary language was primarily concentrated in Western Europe, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Similarly to second-place French with 14 countries and third-place Russian with 13 countries, English was most common in proximity to English-speaking countries or where there was a history of immigration.

Other second-most common primary languages highlighted different cultures within countries, such as China’s second-most common language Cantonese. Alternatively, they showed the primary indigenous language before colonization, such as the Quechua languages in South America.

What other interesting or surprising language patterns can you spot in the map above?

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Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

This detailed map looks at where humans have (and haven’t) modified Earth’s terrestrial environment. See human impact in incredible detail.

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human impact on earths surface

Mapped: Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

With human population on Earth approaching 8 billion (we’ll likely hit that milestone in 2023), our impact on the planet is becoming harder to ignore with each passing year.

Our cities, infrastructure, agriculture, and pollution are all forms of stress we place on the natural world. This map, by David M. Theobald et al., shows just how much of the planet we’ve now modified. The researchers estimate that 14.6% or 18.5 million km² of land area has been modified – an area greater than Russia.

Defining Human Impact

Human impact on the Earth’s surface can take a number of different forms, and researchers took a nuanced approach to classifying the “modifications” we’ve made. In the end, 10 main stressors were used to create this map:

  1. Built-Up Areas: All of our cities and towns
  2. Agriculture: Areas devoted to crops and pastures
  3. Energy and extractive resources: Primarily locations where oil and gas are extracted
  4. Mines and quarries: Other ground-based natural resource extraction, excluding oil and gas
  5. Power plants: Areas where energy is produced – both renewable and non-renewable
  6. Transportation and service corridors: Primarily roads and railways
  7. Logging: This measures commodity-based forest loss (excludes factors like wildfire and urbanization)
  8. Human intrusion: Typically areas adjacent to population centers and roads that humans access
  9. Natural systems modification: Primarily modifications to water flow, including reservoir creation
  10. Pollution: Phenomenon such as acid rain and fog caused by air pollution

The classification descriptions above are simplified. See the methodology for full descriptions and calculations.

A Closer Look at Human Impact on the Earth’s Surface

To help better understand the level of impact humans can have on the planet, we’ll take a closer look three regions, and see how the situation on the ground relates to these maps.

Land Use Contrasts: Egypt

Almost all of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile and its delta, making it an interesting place to examine land use and human impact.

egypt land use impact zone

The towns and high intensity agricultural land following the river stand out clearly on the human modification map, while the nearby desert shows much less impact.

Intensive Modification: Netherlands

The Netherlands has some of the heavily modified landscapes on Earth, so the way it looks on this map will come as no surprise.

netherlands land use impact zone

The area shown above, Rotterdam’s distinctive port and surround area, renders almost entirely in colors at the top of the human modification scale.

Resource Extraction: West Virginia

It isn’t just cities and towns that show up clearly on this map, it’s also the areas we extract our raw materials from as well. This mountainous region of West Virginia, in the United States, offers a very clear visual example.

west virginia land use impact zone

The mountaintop removal method of mining—which involves blasting mountains in order to retrieve seams of bituminous coal—is common in this region, and mine sites show up clearly in the map.

You can explore the interactive version of this map yourself to view any area on the globe. What surprises you about these patterns of human impact?

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