The United States has one of largest land masses of any country in the world. Our country has vast mountains, plains, deserts. Puerto Rico—a territory of the United States—is home to the only tropical rain forest in North America. What is all of this land used for? Bloomberg pulled data from a number of sources to determine to answer this question.
Sure, a percentage of land is allotted for residential or business use. With the amount of traffic in some areas, it can seem as if our country is overpopulated; however, as Bloomberg learned from the data, that’s not the case.
Six Land Types
Bloomberg authors Dave Merrill and Lauren Leatherby write, “Using surveys, satellite images and categorizations from various government agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture divides the U.S. into six major types of land. The data can’t be pinpointed to a city block—each square on the map represents 250,000 acres of land. But piecing the data together state-by-state can give a general sense of how U.S. land is used”.
These six land types are:
- Special Use
The map clearly shows urban areas are a minority compared to the rest, just by looking at the colored squares. Miscellaneous and special use areas have fewer squares than forest, cropland, or pasture and range zones. Bloomberg was able to collect the acreage for each land type.
Acreages of the Land Types
Imagine if you were able to view each land type together on the map. That’s what you get in the photo above. Here, it’s proven that urban areas are indeed the smallest and pasture and ranges are the largest. How many acreages does each land type contain? Here’s the breakdown:
- Urban: 69.4M acres
- Miscellaneous: 68.9M acres
- Special Use: 168.6M acres
- Cropland: 391.5M acres
- Forest: 538.6M acres
- Pasture/range: 654M acres
“Four in five Americans live, work and play” in urban areas, write Merrill and Leatherby. Given this fact, most Americans would be able to fit in a relatively small area of the country, in theory. Urban areas are growing quickly, however. Merrill and Leatherby continue, “The U.S. is becoming more urban—at an average rate of about 1 million additional acres a year. That’s the equivalent of adding new urban area the size of Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix combined. U.S. urban areas have more than quadrupled since 1945”.
Food Production and Land
Around one-fifth of the land in our country is agricultural land and most of it is located in the Midwest. However, only a small percentage of agricultural land is currently used to feed Americans. Some of the land is used for ethanol production or livestock feed. Other land is used to cultivate crops with the goal of exporting them to other countries. Here’s a breakdown of what our cropland is used for:
- Livestock feed: 127.4M acres
- Food we eat: 77.3M acres
- Other grain & feed exports: 62.8M acres
- Idle/fallow: 52M acres
- Ethanol, biodiesel: 38.1M acres
- Wheat exports: 21.5M acres
- Cotton/non-food: 13.6M acres
Here’s a photo of this data visualized:
Let’s zoom in on the food we eat. In the photo below, you can see wheat, non-citrus fruits, vegetables, rice, sugarcane, and a few other types of foods. Wheat, soybeans, peanuts, and oilseeds appear to be about half of what we eat. Barley, maple syrup, potatoes, and citrus are among the least of what we consume.
Featured photo by CC0 Creative Commens on Pixabay
Bloomberg data map photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation
Knowledge is power! And in our Information Age, data is the new form of knowledge. This data is being used to make humanity better. Technological advances are moving at the speed of Moore’s Law which sees computer power doubling every two years.
Data can be used to improve the lives of people at the federal, state, and local levels. One of the ways to determine where data will encourage positive action is to actually see the data. This can be accomplished by creating a data visualization on a map.
For Dallas, Texas, this such data visualization has become a reality. A substantial number of data sets have been collected with the goal of making the city better. This visualization is called TheMap. D Magazine gives us some background of how the map came to be.
Improving Dallas with a Map
Robert Mundinger, a longtime resident of Dallas, noticed problems in the areas he lived in. Matt Goodman of D Magazine wanted to learn more about TheMap from Mundinger.
Matt writes, TheMap is “an open-source, interactive web portal that allows users to access an array of data sets that can help people better understand all sorts of things about Dallas. The data sets can be used to generate maps. It’s all exportable. “A kid’s educational outcome is dependent on education and crime and health and access to food, access to internet, libraries,” Mundinger says. “All these variables affect each other so much that there needs to be one place where people can look at them together and analyze them.”
What Mundinger wants to achieve in simple: Highlight at-risk areas of the city. In addition, and while he was at it, Mundinger went ahead and included more data set that might be of use.
There are neighborhoods in Dallas which have a high concentration of poverty. This is included in the map visualization. There are intersections that have more fatal pedstrian crashes than others. This is also included in TheMap. There’s even data about where there are working females over the age of 16. The information contained within TheMap is comprehensive!
Let’s take a closer look at the data sets available for viewing.
Data Sets in TheMap
Police stations, fire stations, neighborhood associations, poverty areas—these are some of the data sets that are included in TheMap. Take a look at the column on the left to see them all. TheMap defaults to Popular Maps whe you visit the website.
You can otherwise click on Education, Civic, Housing, or other major types of data sets. Check out the row near the top to see more.
Once you click a data set, the information will be uploaded to the map. Let’s say you click on police departments. Pinpoints of every police department in Dallas will show up on the map. You can click them individually to get the name, address, and more information about the particular police department.
Bus Stops in Dallas
One of my favorite visualizations in TheMap is seeing where DART bus stops are. DART—which stands for Dallas Area Rapid Transit—seemingly has bus stops all over the city. A quick glance shows what can be estimated to over 100 bus stops.
This data set is surely important to Mundinger. After all, he’s concerned with increasing the access of public services to all residents of Dallas, including those below the poverty line. With TheMap, Dallas city officials can combine areas of poverty with bus stop locations. If there’s an area which is lacking of public transportation, DART could add a new bus stop there.
Combining Datasets in TheMap
One of the most powerful and helpful features of TheMap is the ability to combine and layer multiple datasets. To do this, you’ll need to create an account which only takes a minute.
Let’s say I want to see the locations of libraries and recreation centers. People considering a move to Dallas may enjoy both of these placs and want to live near them. See the screenshot of TheMap to see how it looks when you combine data sets.
Notice that recreation centers and libraries are shown on the left side. In the screenshot, they’re both toggled as being “Visible” in TheMap. You can toggle either of them on or off to show their exact locations. Or, you can click on each pin to gain further information.
Final Thoughts on TheMap
Robert Mundinger has done a great, free public service to the city of Dallas. City officials should be using TheMap before they make decisions that will affect the residents of the city. For example, a new police station can be built near an area of high crime.
Dallas isn’t the only city that can benefit from using TheMap. Mundinger, or people inspired by him, can take this idea and apply it to virtually any city. It would all be in the name of improving the lives of residents over an extended period of time.
Featured photo by Aksonsat Uanthoeng on Pexels
TheMap photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation
Follow the money! Venture capital investment isn’t equally dispersed; instead, large amounts of it go to a limited number of countries around the world. If you have any interest in working at an emerging firm, you’d do well to move to an area where these firms are plentiful.
Richard Florida of Business Insider reported on the flow of venture capital around the world. Specifically, he created a list of the top twenty metropolitan cities that see the most amount (in dollars) of venture capital. They are:
America in the Lead
As you can see from the map, America has the highest concentration of major venture capital investment. Richard Florida writes “the U.S. is the world’s dominant center for venture capital, accounting for nearly 70 percent (68.6 percent) of total global venture capital, followed by Asia and Europe with roughly 14 percent each (14.4 percent for Asia and 13.5 percent for Europe).”
Given our wealth as a nation, it’s not much of a surprise there are so many American cities on the list. Perhaps the most interesting is that there are two cities in India that are on the list: Bangalore and Mumbai.
Looking at the map shows there isn’t much venture capital investment in Latin America, comparatively. That also goes for Canada, Eastern Europe Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Taking City Size into Consideration
There’s another way to look at the flow of venture capital. Instead of viewing the total invested in a certain area, you can look at investments on a per capita basis. The updated top twenty list is shown below:
Salt Lake City
The cities are mixed up and you see some newcomers like Phoenix, Oxnard, and Providence. As a matter of fact, most of the newcomers are more American cities. Most foreign countries have dropped out of this top twenty list entirely. As a matter of fact, only one foreign city remains on this new list: Toronto. And Toronto is close enough in proximity to New York to be considered “foreign” if we think in terms of a place as far as Beijing or Mumbai.
Richard Florida writes “Outside of the U.S., Toronto is the only metro to make the top twenty. London, which ranked 7th on overall venture investment, drops down to 39th. Beijing, which ranked ninth in overall venture investment, now drops to 55th. And Mumbai, ranked 15th overall, drops to 70th when accounting for population. Other notable metros that fall out of the top 20 are Paris (53rd), Bangalore (43rd), and Shanghai (74th).”
Looking at the map, it doesn’t appear much has changed. The “heat map” shows a greater intensity on the American west coast and a smaller intensity on the eastern coast. However, there’s one major similarity between both maps: Venture capital is flourishing in America.
Featured image by rawpixel.com on Pexels
Venture capital map photos are screenshots by RPS Relocation
How much time do you spend driving? If you live in or near a major city, the answer is probably “a lot”. EducatedDriver.org has put together a data visualization map which details the average round trip commute time that may affect you.
Alex Lauderdale, the author of the article, writes “We did the math for nearly 1,000 US cities. The average American loses 408 days of their life commuting, and in many areas, the toll is even higher.” Let’s dig a little deeper and look at some individual cities listed.
The Cities We Serve
Here at RPS Relocation, we focus on offering a great relocation experience in Dallas, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Boulder; so we’ll use them as examples. What is the average commute time like in each of these cities? We’ve sorted them from worst to best, starting with Seattle which is the worst on this map.
Seattle, WA — Seattle has one of the worst average round trip commute times in the country. If you look closely at the visualization, the city is marked by a red circle which stands for the longest commutes. Indeed, a commuter in Seattle will spend 463 days of their life on the road. The average round trip commute time is 59.2 minutes.
Dallas, TX — Dallas is orange on the map, which is one step better. A commuter in the city will lose 436 days of their life by driving in or around it. The average round trip commute time in Dallas is 55.8 minutes. Dallas must have just missed being in the red due to its close proximity to the commuting times Seattle drivers have to deal with.
Las Vegas, NV — Las Vegas, like Dallas, is also in the “orange zone”. A commuter in Sin City will spend 381 days of their life on the road. The average round trip commute time in Las Vegas is 48.8 minutes.
Boulder, CO — Out of the four cities, drivers in Boulder have it the best. The city is right in the middle when it comes to average commute times. The area is marked by a yellow circle. A driver in Boulder will lose 350 days of their life to commuting. That’s just under one year! The average round trip commute time in Boulder, CO is 44.8 minutes.
Other Major or Growing Cities
Major cities in red on the visualization map seem to be the largest in the country. Many of the ones in yellow seem to be growing or up-and-coming cities. Austin, Charlotte, and Denver come to mind. For the remainder, take a glance at where these cities stand with regards to the average round trip commute time. The number after each city is the round trip time in minutes.
New York 71.8
Washington D.C. 68.8
San Francisco 64.2
Los Angeles 60.8
San Jose 54.6
San Antonio 51.4
San Diego 50.6
Kansas City 45.8
Oklahoma City 44.8
Featured photo by Pixabay on Pexels
EducatedDriver.org data visualization map photo is a screenshot by RPS Relocation
Homelessness is an ongoing problem for many people and communities. Mental illness, poverty, domestic abuse, laziness—these are some common reasons people become homeless. Statista recently created the chart below which details the cities that have the highest number of homeless people.
You will find more infographics at Statista
Interpreting the Numbers
A quick glance at the chart shows a shocking number of homeless people. Half a million people would fill ten major sports arenas! Digging a little deeper, however, shows that the number is comparatively small compared to how many people there are in the United States. The United States Census Bureau states that the population is just over 328 million. That means only 0.17% of people here are homeless. While the percentage is small, it’s still about 0.17% too much.
The Census Bureau also lists the most populous states. Four of them, in order, are California, Texas, Florida, and New York. How does this match up with our chart? Four of the ten are cities in California. New York, while only having one city in the chart (New York City), is by far the winner (or loser) when it comes to the highest number of homeless people that live in any particular state.
Percentages Against Total Number of Homeless
Statista lists the ten cities with the highest number of homeless. Adding those numbers will net 192,535 homeless people, which is nearly 35% of the total homeless in the United States. This makes sense since we learned earlier that California and New York, a couple of the most populous states, have cities with a high number of homeless people.
Let’s take a look at how the ten cities compare again the total number of homeless.
Total Number of Homeless: 553,742.
- Philadelphia: 1%
- Boston: 1.1%
- Las Vegas/Clark County: 1.2%
- San Francisco: 1.2%
- San Jose/Santa Clara City & County: 1.3%
- District of Columbia: 1.3%
- San Diego City and County: 1.7%
- Seattle/King County: 2.1%
- Los Angeles City & County: 10%
- New York City: 13.8%
What’s striking here is that most of the cities seem to have similar percentages. Statistically, Los Angeles and New York City see large jumps and can be considered the outliers of the sample. However, we need to take into consideration that those two cities are massively larger than the others in terms of size and population.
Percentages Against Total Number of Homeless Within Top Ten
Another way of looking at the data is to compare the numbers within each other. For this we won’t take into consideration the total number of homeless; however, we’ll use 192,535. As we learned earlier, that is the sum of the number of homeless from each of these ten cities. Here’s what we get:
- Philadelphia: 3%
- Boston: 3.2%
- Las Vegas/Clark County: 3.4%
- San Francisco: 3.6%
- San Jose/Santa Clara City & County: 3.8%
- District of Columbia: 3.9%
- San Diego City and County: 4.8%
- Seattle/King County: 6%
- Los Angeles City & County: 28.7%
- New York City: 39.7%
While Los Angles and New York City are still the outliers, this gives us a somewhat clearer picture of the data. The two large cities command roughly 68.4% of the total homeless within the top ten cities.
Featured photo by Pixabay and sleeping homeless man photo by Alvin Decena on Pexels
What time zone do you live in? Depending on where you’re planning moving, you might end up in a different time zone. Moving to a neigboring time zone shouldn’t be too difficult; however, moving to a farther time zone may require some adjustment, especially when it comes to your sleep schedule.
A Reddit user, u/ptgorman, recently shared the time zone visualization shown above. It details the time zone of American cities with a popular of over 100,000 people. The data was pulled from Wikipedia’s List of United States cities by population. Reddit users have commented on the thread. Let’s take a look at what they wrote.
Common and Outlying Zones
Pacific, Central, and Eastern times are the most popular time zones. The number of cities in each is similar to each other. The cities in Mountain time are numbered less than half of the most common zones. Hawaii, Alaska, and Atlantic time zones can be considered the outliers of the data. Each of those three has five or fewer cities with a population of over 100,000 people.
Texas and Time Zones
As Reddit user, u/sertorius42 says, Texas has many cities with a population over 100,000 people. They counted 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; however, another Reddit user, u/Bonesaw823, quickly corrected u/sertorius42, advising the Dallas-Fort Worth area actually has 15 cities with a population of over 100,00 people.
Texas has two time zones: Central and Mountain Time. Most of the state is in the Central Time Zone. Only two counties—Hudspeth and El Paso—are in the Mountain Time Zone. These two are the western Texas counties.
Total Population of Time Zones
If you look at each time zone’s total population, the visualization would look very different. For example, the number of cities in Pacific, Central, and Eastern Time Zones with a population of over 100,000 people are similar; however, most of the general population lives in the Eastern Time Zone. It will probably stay like that for a long time.
U/ptgorman also shared relevant information about where the total population lives. In terms of total population, the Eastern Time Zone has 47.6%, the Central Time Zone has 29.1%, the Mountain Time Zone has 6.7%, and the Pacific Time Zone has 16.6%. This data comes from the 2015 Census estimates (via MetricMaps). So, if the visualization showed time zones by percentage of the population, Eastern Time Zone would show more than the others.
Given this information, another Reddit user, u/TradinPieces, expressed surprise that more Eastern Time Zone cities weren’t on the list. This makes sense for a couple reasons. One is that the population was able to grow on the eastern part of the country over the past few hundred years. The eastern part is where most of the historical immigration originated. Another is that, if a great part of the population resides on the eastern side, one would imagine there would be a high number of cities where the population is over 100,000 people. This just goes to show that data visualizations can be surprising and are a great and fun way to learn.
Featured Image by Kaique Rocha on Pexels
Crime is a perpetual plague on society. It always has been and it always will be. In our modern times, we continue to look for ways to minimize crime. One of the ways law enforcement does this is by focusing on trouble areas. The San Francisco Police Department wanted to know where these trouble areas are. So they collect and report data to pinpoint troubled areas.
A user on Reddit, u/SquishyData, recently put together the visualization of this crime data that you see above. He specifically focuses on where a majority of drug and prostitution arrests or incidents happen in and around San Francisco. A picture says a thousand words, and u/SquishyData wanted to see what people would say about the visualization Many Reddit users have commented, providing additional information. Let’s read what they said.
Not the Whole Picture
Data requires interpretation. For example, and as u/SteamandDream alludes to below, the data only shows locations where arrests or incidents happen. I’m sure there are dangerous neighborhoods where even the police don’t like to patrol. The crime occurrences in those areas will not show up in the data visualization picture.
People who are from or have visited San Francisco can correlate their experiences with the data picture. This picture also gives tourists a great idea of what places to avoid. For example, u/normal_whiteman stated: “I’m visiting SF soon and this map is a great resource”. Hopefully, other visitors to San Francisco will also see the visualization since it would give the visitors a better chance to stay safe.
Data being open to interpretation allows for differing opinions. For example, u/pantless_pirate has replied against another comment stating that the lit up areas are where one is less likely to get arrested for drugs or prostitution. U/pantless_pirate replied “You would think, but it’s actually the opposite. The lit up areas are the areas where you are safest to partake in drugs or prostitution because those areas are the least gentrified and while the cops monitor those activities in those areas, they don’t actually ever make any arrests. If you tried to smoke crack openly near AT&T stadium you’d be picked up in a second. In the heart of the Tenderloin, the cop standing on the other corner would be making sure you stay out of traffic but otherwise let you alone.”
A Separation of Crime
Other users, like u/puppy2010, made an interesting observation which indicates drug and prostitution occurrences happen in separate areas. There’s a clear overlap in the area at the top; however, the visualization shows drug and prostitution arrests happen in different areas, even though they are mostly next to each other. U/SquishyData, the creator of the visualization, commented “I was also surprised! It’s important to also note that the records are incident reports and not all reports lead to an arrest. Maybe the police are keeping tabs on these areas and not arresting.”
How much yearly income makes you a rich person? What is a rich person? In each state, there is a different threshold which will put you in the top 1% of earners. There’s quite a difference between Connecticut, the state with the highest 1% threshold, and New Mexico, the state with the lowest 1% threshold. In Connecticut, you need to make at least $659,979 in order to be in the top 1%. In New Mexico, you need to earn $231,273 a year.
This data comes from the Economic Policy Institute. A Reddit user, u/mynameiselderprice, recently visualized this data in the diagram shown above. U/mynameiselderprice shared the diagram picture on Reddit. Money is a touchy subject for many people. Let’s read what some people have to say about the diagram.
Interpreting the Numbers
Like all data, some information is open to interpretation. Reddit user u/orictomptive explains “the big difference for CT is mostly due to a single county, Fairfield. Fairfield is about an hour from New York City where the new-rich build mansions on the water.” U/orictomptive further write about how helicopter taxis are available in Fairfield County. Another Reddit user, u/TheManMulcayhee, confirmed a first-hand account of the wealth there. They wrote “I do field work in Fairfield County. Yesterday, a Rolls Royce and a McLaren drove by [me].”
State Number Six
North Dakota came in at number six on the list. Some Reddit users were confused as to why the state beat other states such as California and Texas. U/DonViaje summed it up nicely: “There’s been a huge oil boom in the past few years in North Dakota”. The oil industry is a powerful one and it would be no surprise to find out oil magnates live in the same state where drilling operations take place.
The rich aren’t the only ones taking advantage of oil in North Dakota. Reddit user u/Ralsten explains “I’ve been working in the ND oil field for the past 4 years now. Somebody with no college and the willingness to work hard and long hours can easily pull in $60-$80k a year so I can’t even imagine what the execs and CEOs are making.” It’s also important that a salary between $60-$80k goes further in North Dakota than in New York City or Los Angeles.
Industries at the Top
Connecticut, New Jersey, and California are all states at or near the top. What are some high-paying industries in each state? U/BenTheHokie says “Connecticut is where all the hedge funds are located.” U/ducati1011 confirms that some New Jersey residents work finance in New York City. They drive or take public transportation during the day. Then, they return to New Jersey to enjoy their higher quality of life in the form of lower housing costs. U/rabuy2000 mentions that California has a high number of “tech jobs”. All in all, the diagram is a great way to visualize what it means to be in the top 1% in each state.
Featured Photo by Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash