Unusual Maps That Provide Little-Known Facts About America

Most people use maps to find roads, rivers, and other geographical locations. But have you ever seen a map of climate disasters? What about the most effective driving route to reach all towns called Springfield? Unusual maps, created by both government agencies and bored internet users, display little-known facts about the U.S. You might be surprised by what you see.

Which State Produces Which Food

Have you ever questioned which state produces the food you eat? In 2014, the USDA released a map that portrayed where most U.S. foods come from.

A USDA map depicts which states produce which food.
USDA
USDA

Much of the United States’s food comes from five states: Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and California. California harvests 80% of the country’s strawberries, and Maine grows 99% of the country’s blueberries.

U.S. Population By Lines

In 2019, a Redditor decided to portray the American population in a unique way. They created a map with 3D lines; the longer the lines, the higher the population.

According to the NOAA, most of the population lives along the coasts. The most populated states are California, New York, and Florida.

Most-Searched States…In Each State

Have you ever googled a different state than the one you live in? Google Trends released these searches for each state between January 2020 and February 2021.

A map shows the most searched states in each state (excluding itself).
@GoogleTrends/Twitter
@GoogleTrends/Twitter

Many states googled their neighbor; you’ll notice that Nevada and New Mexico googled California. But others looked up states that are thousands of miles away, such as Alaska googling Texas.

Every State’s Least Favorite State

Yikes! A 2020 survey revealed which states hate which state. You might notice that Floridians hate Florida. They are the only population that dislikes their own state.

All of California’s neighbors seem to despise California. Also, residents of North Carolina and South Carolina seem to hate each other. Overall, California and Texas are the least popular.

Every State’s Climate Disasters

If you live in the United States, you’re likely familiar with the potential weather disasters of your state. But what about other states?

A map from the NOAA portrays the most likely weather disasters across the United States.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) portrayed the most likely climate disaster in every state. In a single year, the United States spent over $1 billion repairing damage from weather.

States With A Smaller Population Than L.A. County

In 2019, Los Angeles County in California housed over 10 million residents. This map shows all of the states that have a lower population than that one county.

This map shows all of the states with a lower population than L.A. county.
reddit/u/CaptRobau
reddit/u/CaptRobau

Although California is the third-largest state, it is also the most populated with over 39 million residents. Most live in either the southern or northern counties.

The Most Effective Routes To All Springfields In The U.S.

Did you know that there are 45 towns called “Springfield” in the U.S.? With this road map, you can visit every Springfield throughout the country.

The route stretches from Springfield, California all the way to Springfield, New York. Some states have multiple Springfields, such as Indiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin. There’s a high chance that you might meet someone from Springfield.

How Much Snow It Requires To Cancel School

Are you praying for a day off in winter? Then check this map from Unofficial Networks. It displays how much snow each state requires to cancel school, on average.

A map portrays how many inches of snow states require to cancel school.
Geoff Dudgeon/Pinterest
Geoff Dudgeon/Pinterest

Obviously, states with a high amount of snow need more to cancel classes. But states with little to no snow–including Florida, Texas, and California–need any amount, period.

All Of The Trees In The United States

In 2014, the National Land Cover Database released a map that displays where all of the trees are in the United States. Green areas include dense forests, while white areas have a sparse amount of trees.

By 2015, America had more trees than it did 100 years ago thanks to conservation efforts. The numbers might vary now.

How To Spell Certain Words

In 2020, Google Trends examined the search results for “how do you spell ____” in each state. If you’re wondering which words your fellow citizens struggle to spell, check this map.

A map from Google shows the most
Jadesqr/Pinterest
Jadesqr/Pinterest

Most words were at least ten letters long, such as “beautiful” and “quarantine.” Kansas, Kentucky, and Vermont wanted to know how to spell four-letter words.

Most Common Surnames By State

In 2019, a Redditor created a map with the most popular surnames by state. As it turns out, “John Smith” is a common name if you live in middle America or the east coast.

California and New Mexico both have Spanish surnames due to their proximity to Mexico. Meanwhile, Lee in Hawaii could be Chinese, Korean, or English.

Residents’ Desire To Move Out Of State

In 2020, Gallup, Inc. published a map of residents’ desire to move out of their home states. States with lighter colors have the lowest desire to move.

This data might have changed after the pandemic. According to the National Association of Realtors, the states that most people leave include New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois. New Hampshire residents have the lowest desire to move.

The Percentage Of American Citizens Without Health Insurance

In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau published a map with the percentage of Americans who do not have health insurance. The highest percentages (and darkest color) were between 15.8% and 32.2%.

A map from the CDC shows how many Americans do not have health insurance.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oklahoma and Texas have the highest number of uninsured residents, while Northeastern states like New York and Massachusetts are the most insured.

How Many Residents Were Born Outside The U.S.

In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau calculated how many American residents were born outside of the U.S. The results are listed by state.

A map shows what percentage of state residents were born out of the U.S.
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

The darker blue states have a higher immigrant population. Most are on the coast or on the border of Mexico or Canada. According to Pew Research, 13.7% of the U.S. population was born in another country.

The Birthplaces Of Foreign-Born Residents, Excluding Mexico

Many American citizens were not born in the country. This map shows the most common birthplaces outside of the United States and Mexico (which would overtake the entire map).

A map shows the most common immigrants in each state, excluding Mexico.
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most immigrants come from India. Canadians and Filipinos also make up a large percentage of Americans with dual citizenship.

The Population Density Of The U.S.

This map physically shows how dense the population is across the country, highlighting how most of the population is located in the Eastern half of America.

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Photo Credit: Reddit / andrewr3131
Photo Credit: Reddit / andrewr3131

It seems the West Coast might not actually be the best coast.

The Country’s Loudest Cities

In 2015, the National Park Service released a map with the loudest and quietest spots in the continental U.S. Lighter spots are louder, and darker are quieter.

A map portrays the loudest and quietest areas in the continental United States.
The National Park Service
The National Park Service

Loud areas, which are usually cities, push away local wildlife. It can also harm residents’ hearing over time, in the same way that smog affects vision.

The Most Likely Places To Survive A Nuclear Attack

If you’re worried about a future nuclear apocalypse, look no further than Realtor.com. This website compiled a list of cities where residents are most likely to survive. These cities were ranked based on the number of bunkers and fallout shelters.

A map shows the top ten cities in the U.S. where people are most likely to survive a nuclear apocalypse.
M S/Pinterest
M S/Pinterest

These top ten cities also have some of the easiest access to clean water, electricity, food, and healthcare.

Map Of Super Bowl Snacks

What do Americans eat while watching the Super Bowl? Google Trends looked up America’s favorite game day foods in 2021.

Chips and chicken with dip were the most popular. The second most popular was main dishes such as tri-tip steak, tacos, and sandwiches. Appetizers like sliders and pigs in a blanket were also widely googled.

How Many People Say The Word “Dang”

Have you ever said “dang”? According to this map, residents of the southeast United States are far more likely to say it.

A map shows the amount of people who say
reddit/u/AJgloe
reddit/u/AJgloe

Meanwhile, people in the northeast and west tend to not say “dang,” at least not as often. What do they say instead? The map does not explain, unfortunately.

Each State’s Favorite Pie

On Pi Day (3/14) in 2021, Google Trends released a map of Google searches with each state’s top pie search. What is your state’s favorite pie?

Each color depicts a different flavor of pie. Red is fruit, green is custard, blue is savory, yellow is chocolate and nuts, and grey is other.

Most Spoken Languages Besides English And Spanish

English and Spanish are the most common languages in the U.S., but what other languages are there? According to this 2015 map by Slate, German and Vietnamese are some of the most common languages.

French, Portuguese, and Italian also seem to be common languages, especially in the south and on the east coast.

The Average Size Of American Apartments

If you want to live in a large apartment, check this map to see which state has the largest. These are averages, and they do not include price.

According to the map, which was updated in 2020, the largest apartments are in the southeast. California has the smallest apartments and also the most expensive, with an average rent of $1,901 per month.

How America Uses Its Land

This Bloomberg map from 2018 explains how America utilizes its land. All of the businesses included are ones that supply the rest of the country, from agriculture to timber to housing.

The west coast focuses on timber, while middle America is devoted to agriculture and livestock. Most housing supplies seem to come from the northeast.

The Most Popular Christmas Movies

What is your favorite Christmas movie? According to this Google Trends map, most Americans enjoy The Polar Express (red).

The second most popular seems to be Elf (green). National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (yellow), A Christmas Story (purple), and Love Actually (blue) follow suit. At least, these were the most googled Christmas movies in 2017.

Light Pollution Across The U.S. States

This 2015 map shows light pollution across the United States. The more artificial light, the fewer people are able to see the stars. Light pollution is also a risk factor for cancer, according to the Department of Physics at Florida Atlantic University.

The eastern side of the United States has far more light pollution, possibly because immigrants inhabited those states first.

Literally Translated States Names

Have you ever wondered where states got their names? Some were a combination of misspelling and miscommunications between languages. Others were named after the region’s natives, and some were named after British royalty and explorers.

A map shows what each state's name means.
Kirk Henry/Pinterest
Kirk Henry/Pinterest

The travel blog Expedia put all of these meanings on a map. What is your state’s literally translated name?

The Most Visited Coffee Chains In Each State

This not-so-colorful map represents the most popular coffee chains in every state. Unsurprisingly, Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the world, makes up most states.

The second most popular is Dunkin’ Donuts. Of the 11,300 Dunkin’ restaurants worldwide, over 8,500 are in the U.S. Only Minnesota prefers Caribou, which was founded in that same state.

How To Grill Certain Foods

In January 2020, Google Trends released data on the most searched grilled foods. Residents of each state googled “how to grill” a different food.

Corn and chicken were most popular in the central states. The west coast was interested in steak, while the east coast residents were curious about fish.

The Portion Of Federal Land In Each State

In 2018, the U.S. General Services Administration calculated how much federal land is in every state. The federal government owns 28% of all land in the United States.

A map shows how much federal land is in each state.
U.S. General Services Administration
U.S. General Services Administration

Most federal land is used for conservation of nature and wildlife. You might notice that the western states, which have dozens of national parks, have the most federal land.

The Most-Searched BBQ Sauces

In this Google Trends map, the website found the most-searched BBQ sauces in every state. Red states are traditional BBQ sauces, while Southern sauces are yellow (conveniently in the southeastern states).

A map shows the most-googled bbq sauces in each state.
Jacandoroso/Pinterest
Jacandoroso/Pinterest

Most states googled homemade BBQ sauce, but several looked up healthy alternatives. Keto sauce was commonly googled in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, and Virginia.

Air Traffic Control Zones Look Nothing Like The Country

Interestingly, the air traffic control in the United States isn’t broken up by state, but rather by zones and sectors. Throughout the continental US, there are 21 zones, as illustrated on the above map. Each of these zones is centralized around a major city, such as Houston, New York, and Washington D.C.

broken-up-by-air-traffic-control-zones-photo-u1-52596
lucyeeliza/Reddit
lucyeeliza/Reddit

But that’s not where air control ends. Within these 21 zones, there are sectors and 50 miles in diameter of airspace. Within each given portion of airspace is where all of the country’s airports are located, each with its own five-mile radius.

Abandoned Railroads Throughout The United States

Railways played a huge role in the construction of America, from the settlements in the west to the Industrial Revolution in the east. It was 1827 when the first railroad was constructed. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was the vision of John Stevens and catered to both freight and passenger transport.

1002050874-photo-u1-35504
Suzy Sholar/Pinterest
Suzy Sholar/Pinterest

As the map shows, a majority of the abandoned railways are located in the east, slowly expanding out west. This pattern makes sense with the early settlements, slow construction, the 1893 economic panic that halted many projects, and the eventual invention of the automobile and the airplane that would become the more popular modes of transportation.

Eight Million Miles Of Highway In The United States

Formed back on November 11, 1926, the United States Federal Highways has an expanded reach of 157,724 miles throughout the country. Each highway has a designated number, something that is coordinated among each of the 50 states.

8-million-miles-of-highways-and-roads-photo-u1-83508
SkyHawk2112/Reddit
SkyHawk2112/Reddit

And while the roadways stretch throughout the continental U.S., their maintenance is in the responsibility of state and local governments. If you’ve ever been on a New Jersey highway, then you know tax money is going to something other than fixing all of the highway potholes!

The US If States Were Sized By Population Density

Wouldn’t it be interesting to open a textbook and see a map of the United States looking all split-up like this? While normal images of the US have all of the borders connected, this interesting take is based on what the map would look like, if it were designed based on the population density per state.

1002050868-photo-u1-39749
StarboardCapsized/Reddit
StarboardCapsized/Reddit

As you can see, it doesn’t look like the states of California or Florida changed much, if at all, while Alaska, the biggest state in the country, is shrunk down to almost nothing! And can we talk about how big New Jersey is compared to its usual small self?

The Population Of Middle America = Both Coasts

It’s no secret that a majority of people flock away from middle America in favor of living on either the eastern and western seaboard to live. But it might come to a surprise to see the population of both coasts in comparison to a vast majority of the country’s middle states.

the-red-and-orange-sections-have-equal-populations-photo-u1-38942
Cogo5646/Reddit
Cogo5646/Reddit

To break it down, the orange represents a population equivalent to that of the red portion in the middle of the map. Pretty much, if you’re not a people person, we recommend living somewhere in the red section of the map.

Population Spikes Don’t Really Happen Near The Canadian Border

As of 2019, the United States has a total population of 328.2 million people. Of those hundreds of millions of people, 39,747,267 live in California, 29,087,07 in Texas, 19,491,339 in New York, and 21,646,155 in Florida. Now, those numbers are just to put this population spike map in a bit of perspective.

1002050892-photo-u1-58739
AJgloe/Reddit
AJgloe/Reddit

As you can see, the spikes skyrocket in those specific states where the population is already one of the highest in the nation, where there is little to no spike near the border of Canada.

These Are The Mass Migration Routes Of Animals Throughout North America

Animals in North America will go to great lengths to migrate between cold and warm temperatures. The caribou is especially extraordinary, traveling up to 3,025 miles every year.

Mass-Migration-fo-Animals-throughout-North-America-32598
expatdoctor / Reddit
expatdoctor / Reddit

This map shows the major mass migration route of mammals in North America. It’s not just large mammals either. The Monarch butterfly can travel up to 3,000 miles to reach its winter home. While the map doesn’t show which animals use these routes, it paints a beautiful picture while showcasing the incredible lengths animals will go to stay alive.

A Map Of Rivers In The Contiguous United States

If you drive around the United States and pay close attention to the number of rivers you spot, you’ll likely be surprised by the sheer volume of rivers that weave throughout the United States.

map-of-united-states-rivers-40030
Nelson Minar / Flickr
Nelson Minar / Flickr

There are more than 250,000 rivers in the United States with a total of nearly 3.5 million miles among those rivers. The Missouri River is the longest of those rivers, measuring in at 2,540 miles long.

7,000 Rivers Feed Into The Mississippi River

While the Missouri River is the longest in America, the river with the largest depth and volume is the Mississippi river. The river is fed by 7,000 individual rivers that spread throughout a shocking amount of the United States.

map-of-rivers-that-feed-into-the-mississippi-river-73653
Gradeskee / Reddit
Gradeskee / Reddit

This map shows all of the rivers that feed into the mighty Mississippi and the eventual endpoint of that journey. And now you know why the Mississippi is such a behemoth of a river.

The Contiguous United States Overlaid On Top Of The Moon

The contiguous United States features a landmass size of 2,959,064.44 square miles. If we were to lay the entire area across the moon there would still be a decent amount of area left over for other countries.

map-of-united-states-overlaid-on-the-moon-57840
Boredboarder8 / Reddit
Boredboarder8 / Reddit

The moon’s total square mile is approximately 14.6 million square miles. If you wanted to take up all of the square footage on the moon your best bet would be Asia, which features 17.21 million square miles of surface area.