Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
April 18, 2024 ·  8 min read

35 Maps That Show Us Lesser Known Facts About America

For every Internet user who starts fights about the USA using facts they pulled out of their back pocket, there is a map that shows facts about America as they are and lets people make up their own minds about what they mean. Because of things like light pollution, trees, railways, streets, and roads that aren’t in use, maps may not look as interesting at first glance as a viral cat video. This is one reason why we might miss them, but that doesn’t mean they’re dull. We’ve put together a list of lesser-known, but interesting facts about America.

1. Most Commonly Spoken Language

map of most commonly spoken languages in America
Image Credits: Reddit

These are the languages that the states speak the most, after English and Spanish. However, take the map with a grain of salt since commenters on the Reddit post have pointed out quite a few inconsistencies and mistakes.

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2. The Perspective Of A Brit

Map of America by a Brit
Image Credits: Reddit

This is absolutely not an official map if the title is not clear enough. It’s actually a British Reddit user’s attempt at sharing how he looks at America, at a glance.

3. America From Alaska

A map of the USA in Alaska
Image Credits: Reddit

If this map of the USA looks extremely different from what you are used to, then you are correct. It is. Those with keen eyes may have already noticed that the usual map is in the bottom right corner. The bigger map is only a map of the state of Alaska.

4. States With Less People Than LA

Map marking states that have less people than Los Angeles
Image Credits: Reddit

Los Angeles is marked in red. Every state that has a population smaller than LA is marked in blue. It might look surprising, but as a commenter points out: “Yeah, but to be fair, half of the US is basically uninhabited nothingness.

5. Red And Orange Have Equal Population

Map showing equivalent population
Image Credits: Reddit

The total population in the area marked in red is equivalent to the total population in the area marked in orange. The coastal areas of the country are a lot better places to live in, apparently.

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6. US Watersheds

US Watersheds
Image Credits: Reddit

An explanation for watersheds from a commenter: “For those that don’t know, a watershed is a geologic area from which all water drains to the ocean. The pink area is the Mississippi River basin which includes the Missouri, Ohio, Platte, Allegheny, Red, and Arkansas rivers (among many, many others).”

7. Population Lines

US Population Lines Map
Image Credits: Reddit

This map is a vertical representation of the population density in the United States of America. The taller the line, the higher the number of people living in that area.

8. Tree Cover in The US

United States Tree Cover
Image Credits: Reddit

This map shows the density of trees in the United States. The middle of the country is quite barren compared to the coastal areas.

9. The Shortest Route Between Every Springfield

Map of shortest route connecting every Springfield
Image Credits: Reddit

As is clear, there’s a lot more than one place called “Springfield” in the United States. This map shows the route that you can take to reach every one of them, fastest. For the record, the one in The Simpsons is believed to be in Oregon.

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10. Snow Taken To Cancel School

Mao showing how much snow it takes to cancel school
Image Credits: Reddit

You would think that the entire country would have the same marker when it comes to how much snow is too much for school. However, that is not the case. Humans are quite adaptable to their living conditions, after all.

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11. The Least Favorite State Of Every State

Every state's least favorite state
Image Credits: Reddit

Quick disclaimer: this measure of hatred is only according to the OP’s followers on Instagram. Even then, it seems like California should perhaps work on being a bit more likable. Also, New Jersey is too sour.

12. Most Common Surname By State

US's most common surnames
Image Credits: Reddit

Statistically, Smith is also the most commonly used made-up name in the English language. Also, “Li” is the world’s second most common surname, followed by “Wang”.

13. Most Common Country Of Birth For Foreign-Born Residents

Most Common Country Of Birth For Foreign-Born Residents
Image Credits: Reddit

Another quick disclaimer: this map only shows the countries that are not Mexico because as many as 32 out of the 50 states would then be showing Mexico. As you can see, Indians make up a large portion of the population.

14. Deaths Due To Drug Overdoes (1999 vs 2014)

Maps showing deaths due to drug overdose.
Image Credits: Reddit

This map is a much more depressing statistic. The map shows how many people lost their lives per 100,000 due to drug overdose in 1999 (Left) and 2014 (Right). Unfortunately, the problem has skyrocketed.

15. Population Is More In Red Than Grey

Maps showing population distribution in the USA
Image Credits: Reddit

Here is another map that shows the grossly uneven population distribution in the United States. The total population in the areas marked in red is higher than that in the areas marked in grey.

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16. States Scaled According To Population Density

States scaled to population density
Image Credits: Reddit

Here, the size of the states has been scaled according to their relative population density in the United States. As you can see, Alaska (one of the largest states) is now one of the tiniest states.

17. Out-of-service Railway Lines

Map showing out-of-service railway lines
Image Credits: Abandoned Rail Lines

This is a look into the history of the country. These are all the railway lines that were once bustling with use but have now become obsolete and abandoned.

18. Quietest And Loudest Spots

Map showing loudest and quietest spots
Image Credits: National Park Service

Ever wondered if your area is loud or silent compared to the rest of the country? Well, now you can see it represented on the map. The yellower it is, the louder it is.

19. Map of Desire to Move

Map showing the desire of the residents to relocate.
Image Credits: Reddit

If you are living in any of the states that are dark green, and want to move, then you are not alone. On the other hand, for people in the light yellow states, you are not the norm if you have that desire.

20. Usage of Land

Map showing how USA states use their land
Image Credits: Reddit

The central uninhabited expanses of the United States do not go to waste. They are primarily used for agriculture and forestry. This surprised many users on its original Reddit post.

Read More: 10 Historical Facts You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

21. Use of the word “Dang”

Density of people using "dang"
Image Credits: Reddit

“Dang”. You may not be one of the people who use it, but here are the places where you will hear it the most. It’s usually in the Southern part of the country.

22. Percentage of People Who Are Not US-Born

Map showing percentage of people born outside the United States
Image Credits: Reddit

To those who are confused as to the real number of “outsiders” in the country – here they are. Not as much as you might be led to believe by some.

23. Most Popular Coffee Chain

Map showing most popular coffee chain
Image Credits: Reddit

Do you like Starbucks or Dunkin’? Well, for the majority of the country, Starbucks is the go-to choice. However, for Minneapolis, it seems like Caribou has a special place.

24. Regions That Don’t Celebrate Christopher Columbus Day

Regions That Don't Celebrate Christopher Columbus Day
Image Credits: Reddit

Christopher Columbus is accredited with “discovering” the American continent. However, his atrocities against the native inhabitants at the time are very controversial. These are the regions that do not officially celebrate Christopher Columbus Day.

25. Lowest Recorded Temperature

Map of lowest recorded temperatures.
Image Credits: Reddit

This map is a testament to the geographical vastness of the United States. These are the lowest recorded temperatures (in Fahrenheit) for every state. It goes from 12 degrees to as low as -80 degrees.

Read More: Oldest Mall In America Turned Into Tiny Homes

26. Air Traffic Control Zones

Air Traffic Control Zones
Image Credits: Reddit

Air Traffic Control Zones do not overlap with state borders. These indicate which air traffic center an airplane should be in contact with, depending on the area they are flying in.

27. Light Pollution

Map showing the light pollution in the USA
Image Credits: Reddit

Interestingly enough, this map indicates that light pollution in one of the most developed countries in the world is kind of split down the middle. For any starwatchers, living on the left side would be much better.

28. Spending on Education

Map showing spending on education compared to the national budget.
Image Credits: Reddit

This map shows a rather interesting social aspect of one of the most powerful countries in the world. The redder the area, the less the State decided to allocate to education.

29. Tree Diversity

Map showing tree diversity
Image Credits: Reddit

This map shows how many kinds of tree species are available in a region. As you can see, on the left side, there’s not a lot of variety. On the other hand, the number can go up to 138.

30. Roads, Streets, and Highways

Map showing roads, streets, and highways
Image Credits: Reddit

The United States approximately has 8 million miles of combined streets, roads, and highways. It is a very large country that is quite well-connected.

31. Garbage Can vs. Trash Can

Map showing the usage of term garbage can vs trash can
Image Credits: Reddit

Do you call it a garbage can or a trash can? This map indicates that the term used can change depending on what part of the country you are from.

32. Federal Land

Portion of each state that is federal land
Image Credits: Reddit

The federal system of government in the United States means that ownership of public property is shared between the federal government and the state government. For some states, the majority of the land is owned by the federal government.

33. Date of Creation Of Counties

Date of creation of all counties
Image Credits: Reddit

There are a total of 3142 counties in the United States. They were not created at the same time, obviously. The oldest one dates back to 1617, which was before the country’s independence. On the other hand, the latest in the map was created in the previous decade.

Read More: 7 Places to Visit Before You Leave This World

34. Waffle House

Number of waffle house outlets per state
Image Credits: Reddit

Waffle House is quite a tasty franchise for those on the East Coast. However, it is no more than non-existent on the west coast of the United States.

35. Average Apartment Size

Average size of Apartments in the United States
Image Credits: Reddit

You can now think about whether you are lucky or unlucky with your living situation, depending on where you live. Honestly, anything close to 882 sq. ft. should be fine.

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