Visualizing 200 Years of U.S. Population Density
At the moment, there are around 326 million people living in the United States, a country that’s 3.5 million square miles (9.8 million sq km) in land area.
But throughout the nation’s history, neither of these numbers have stayed constant.
Not only did the population boom as a result of births and immigrants, but the borders of the country kept changing as well – especially in the country’s early years as settlers moved westwards.
U.S. Population Density Over Time
From a big picture perspective, here is how population density has changed for the country as a whole over the last 200 years or so:[table “404” not found /]
But today’s animated map, which comes to us from Vivid Maps, takes things a step further.
It plots U.S. population density numbers over the time period of 1790-2010 based on U.S. Census data and Jonathan Schroeder’s county-level decadal estimates for population. In essence, it gives a more precise view of who moved where and when over the course of the nation’s history.
Note: While U.S. Census data is granular and dates back to 1790, it comes with certain limitations. One obvious drawback, for example, is that such data is not able to properly account for Native American populations.
“Go West, Young Man”
As you might notice in the animation, there is one anomaly that appears in the late-1800s: the area around modern-day Oklahoma is colored in, but the state itself is an “empty gap” on the map.
The reason for this? The area was originally designated as Indian Territory – land reserved for the forced re-settlement of Native Americans. However, in 1889, the land was opened up to a massive land rush, and approximately 50,000 pioneers lined up to grab a piece of the two million acres (8,000 km²) opened for settlement.
While settlers flocking to Oklahoma is one specific event that ties into this animation, really the map shows the history of a much broader land rush in general: Manifest Destiny.
You can see pioneers landing in Louisiana in the early 1800s, the first settlements in California and Oregon, and the gradual filling up of the states in the middle of the country.
By the mid-20th century, the distribution of the population starts to resemble that of modern America.
Population Density Today
The average population density in the U.S. is now 92 people per square mile, although this changes dramatically based on where you are located:
If you are in Alaska, the state with the lowest population density, there is just one person per square mile – but if you’re in New York City there are 27,000 people per square mile, the highest of any major city in the country.
Visualized: The Most Googled Countries
This series of visualizations uses Google trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022.
Visualized: The Most Googled Countries, Worldwide
View a higher resolution version of this network diagram.
Analyzing societal trends can teach us a lot about a population’s cultural fabric.
And since Google makes up more than 90% of internet searches outside of the Great Firewall, studying its usage is one of the best resources for modern social research.
This series of visualizations by Anders Sundell uses Google Trends search data to show the most googled countries around the world, from 2004 to 2022. These graphics provide thought-provoking insight into different cultural similarities and geopolitical dynamics.
A Quick Note on Methodology
The visualization above shows the most googled country in each nation around the world over the last couple of decades.
For example, the arrow pointing from Canada to the United States means that, between 2004 and 2022, people in Canada had more searches about the U.S. than any other country globally.
And since this study only looked at interest in other countries, queries of countries searching for themselves were not included in the data.
Finally, each country’s circle is scaled relative to its search interest, meaning the bigger the circle, the more countries pointing to it (and searching for it).
The Top Googled Countries Overall
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. is the most googled country on the list, ranking first place in 45 of the 190 countries included in the dataset.
|Country||Top Googled Country|
|🇦🇩 Andorra||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇦🇪 The United Arab Emirates||🇮🇳 India|
|🇦🇫 Afghanistan||🇮🇷 Iran|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇦🇱 Albania||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇦🇲 Armenia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇦🇴 Angola||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇦🇷 Argentina||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇦🇹 Austria||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇦🇺 Australia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇦🇿 Azerbaijan||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🏴 Bosnia and Herzegovina||🇷🇴 Romania|
|🇧🇧 Barbados||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇧🇩 Bangladesh||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇪 Belgium||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇬 Bulgaria||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇧🇭 Bahrain||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇮 Burundi||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇯 Benin||🇫🇷 France|
|🇧🇳 Brunei||🇲🇾 Malaysia|
|🇧🇴 Bolivia||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇧🇷 Brazil||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇧🇸 The Bahamas||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇧🇹 Bhutan||🇮🇳 India|
|🇧🇼 Botswana||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇧🇾 Belarus||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇧🇿 Belize||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇦 Canada||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇫 The Central African Republic||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇬 The Congo||🇨🇩 The Democratic Republic of Congo|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇱 Chile||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇨🇲 Cameroon||🇫🇷 France|
|🇨🇳 China||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇴 Colombia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇺 Cuba||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇨🇻 Cabo Verde||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇨🇾 Cyprus||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇨🇿 Czechia||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇩🇪 Germany||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇯 Djibouti||🇫🇷 France|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇩🇲 Dominica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇴 The Dominican Republic||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇩🇿 Algeria||🇫🇷 France|
|🇪🇨 Ecuador||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇪🇬 Egypt||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia|
|🇪🇷 Eritrea||🇪🇹 Ethiopia|
|🇪🇸 Spain||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇫🇮 Finland||🇸🇪 Sweden|
|🇫🇯 Fiji||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇫🇲 Micronesia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇫🇷 France||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇦 Gabon||🇫🇷 France|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇩 Grenada||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇪 Georgia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇬🇭 Ghana||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇬🇲 Gambia||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇬🇳 Guinea||🇫🇷 France|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇬🇷 Greece||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇬🇹 Guatemala||🇸🇻 El Salvador|
|🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau||🇵🇹 Portugal|
|🇬🇾 Guyana||🇮🇳 India|
|🇭🇳 Honduras||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇭🇷 Croatia||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇭🇹 Haiti||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇭🇺 Hungary||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇩 Indonesia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇮🇪 Ireland||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇮🇱 Israel||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇳 India||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇮🇶 Iraq||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🇮🇷 Iran||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|🇮🇸 Iceland||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇮🇹 Italy||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇯🇲 Jamaica||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇯🇴 Jordan||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇯🇵 Japan||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇪 Kenya||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇰🇭 Cambodia||🇹🇭 Thailand|
|🇰🇮 Kiribati||🇫🇯 Fiji|
|🇰🇲 Comoros||🇫🇷 France|
|🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇵 North Korea||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇰🇼 Kuwait||🇮🇳 India|
|🇰🇿 Kazakhstan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇦 Laos||🇹🇭 Thailand|
|🇱🇧 Lebanon||🇸🇾 Syria|
|🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇱🇮 Liechtenstein||🇨🇭 Switzerland|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||🇮🇳 India|
|🇱🇷 Liberia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇱🇸 Lesotho||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇱🇹 Lithuania||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇺 Luxembourg||🇫🇷 France|
|🇱🇻 Latvia||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇱🇾 Libya||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇲🇦 Morocco||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇨 Monaco||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇩 Moldova||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇲🇪 Montenegro||🇷🇸 Serbia|
|🇲🇬 Madagascar||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇰 Republic of North Macedonia||🇷🇸 Serbia|
|🇲🇱 Mali||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇲 Myanmar||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇳 Mongolia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇷 Mauritania||🇫🇷 France|
|🇲🇹 Malta||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇲🇺 Mauritius||🇮🇳 India|
|🇲🇻 Maldives||🇮🇳 India|
|🇲🇼 Malawi||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇲🇽 Mexico||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇲🇾 Malaysia||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇲🇿 Mozambique||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇳🇪 The Niger||🇫🇷 France|
|🇳🇬 Nigeria||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇳🇮 Nicaragua||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇳🇱 The Netherlands||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇳🇴 Norway||🇸🇪 Sweden|
|🇳🇵 Nepal||🇮🇳 India|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇴🇲 Oman||🇮🇳 India|
|🇵🇦 Panama||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇵🇪 Peru||🇪🇸 Spain|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇵🇭 The Philippines||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇵🇰 Pakistan||🇮🇳 India|
|🇵🇱 Poland||🇩🇪 Germany|
|🇵🇸 Palestine||🇮🇱 Israel|
|🇵🇹 Portugal||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|🇵🇾 Paraguay||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇶🇦 Qatar||🇮🇳 India|
|🇷🇴 Romania||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇷🇸 Serbia||🇽🇰 Kosovo|
|🇷🇺 Russia||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇷🇼 Rwanda||🇺🇬 Uganda|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇸🇨 Seychelles||🇮🇳 India|
|🇸🇩 Sudan||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|🇸🇪 Sweden||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇸🇮 Slovenia||🇭🇷 Croatia|
|🇸🇰 Slovakia||🇨🇿 Czechia|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||🇬🇳 Guinea|
|🇸🇲 San Marino||🇮🇹 Italy|
|🇸🇳 Senegal||🇫🇷 France|
|🇸🇴 Somalia||🇮🇳 India|
|🇸🇷 Suriname||🇳🇱 The Netherlands|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||🇵🇹 Portugal|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇸🇾 Syria||🇱🇧 Lebanon|
|🇸🇿 Eswatini||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇹🇩 Chad||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇬 Togo||🇫🇷 France|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇹🇯 Tajikistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇹🇱 Timor-Leste||🇸🇬 Singapore|
|🇹🇲 Turkmenistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇹🇳 Tunisia||🇫🇷 France|
|🇹🇴 Tonga||🇳🇿 New Zealand|
|🇹🇷 Turkey||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇹🇼 Taiwan||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇹🇿 Tanzania||🇰🇪 Kenya|
|🇺🇦 Ukraine||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇺🇬 Uganda||🇺🇸 The United States|
|🇺🇸 The United States||🇲🇽 Mexico|
|🇺🇾 Uruguay||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|🇺🇿 Uzbekistan||🇷🇺 Russia|
|🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||🇧🇧 Barbados|
|🇻🇪 Venezuela||🇨🇴 Colombia|
|🇻🇳 Vietnam||🇯🇵 Japan|
|🇻🇺 Vanuatu||🇦🇺 Australia|
|🇽🇰 Kosovo||🇦🇱 Albania|
|🇾🇪 Yemen||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|🇿🇲 Zambia||🇿🇦 South Africa|
|🇿🇼 Zimbabwe||🇿🇦 South Africa|
While it’s the top googled country in neighboring places like Canada and Mexico, it’s also number one in countries much farther away like Nigeria, Sweden, and Australia.
The U.S. is currently the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP, and one of the biggest cultural influences globally. However, it’s worth noting that China, the world’s second-largest economy and the most populated, had very little search interest in comparison, at least based on Google Trends data.
Zooming into Specific Regions
In addition to the network map highlighting the overall top googled countries, Sundell created a series of videos breaking down the data monthly, by regions. Here are the videos for the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
The United States
Since 2004, there have been a high number of searches for Canada, Mexico and India in America.
The searches for Mexico seem to be concentrated in the Western U.S., which is also where a large portion of the country’s Hispanic population lives. In contrast, searches for India seem to come mostly from the eastern side of the country.
The U.S. is by the far the most commonly googled country across Europe, ranking number one consistently over the last two decades.
However, Russia stole the limelight in 2014, the year that they invaded and ultimately annexed Crimea.
In the early 2000s, the U.S. held the top googled spot in Asia, but over time, relative searches for the U.S. go down. India stole the top spot to become the most googled country in Asia for a majority of the 2010s.
One anomaly occurred when Japan briefly took the top spot in March 2011, which is when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the northern coast of Japan, causing a devastating tsunami.
What will future search results reveal about the global landscape? Were any of the results surprising?
Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?
There is a clear correlation between trust in government and trust in public institutions, but a few countries buck the trend.
Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?
In many countries around the world, vast portions of the population do not trust their own government.
Lack of faith in government and politics is nothing new, but in times of uncertainty, that lack of trust can coalesce into movements that challenge the authority of ruling parties and even threaten the stability of nations.
This visualization uses data from the Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor to look at how much various populations trust their government and public institutions.
Tracking Trust in Government
Since the beginning of the pandemic, global trust in government has improved by eight percentage points, but that is only a small improvement on an otherwise low score.
At the country level, feelings towards government can vary widely. India, Germany, Netherlands, and Malaysia had the highest government trust levels.
Many of the countries with the lowest levels of trust were located in Latin America. This makes sense, as trust in politicians in this region is almost non-existent. For example, in Colombia, only 4% of the population consider politicians trustworthy. In Argentina, that figure falls to just 3%.
Trust in Public Institutions
Broadly speaking, people trust their public services more than the governments in charge of managing and funding them. This makes sense as civil servants fare much better than politicians and government ministers in trustworthiness.
As our main chart demonstrates, there is a correlation between faith in government and trust in public institutions. There are clear “high trust” and “low trust” groupings in the countries included in the polling, but there is also a third group that stands out—the countries that have high trust in public institutions, but not in their government. Leading this group is Japan, which has a stark difference in trust between public services and politicians. There are many factors that explain this difference, such as values, corruption levels, and the reliability of public services in various countries.
While trust scores for government improved slightly during the pandemic, trust in public institutions stayed nearly the same.
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