The Map With Only 38 States

In 1973, California State University geography professor George Etzel Pearcy suggested that the U.S. redraw its antiquated state boundaries and narrow the overall number of states to 38.

Pearcy's proposed state lines were drawn in less-populated areas, isolating large cities and reducing their number within each state. He argued that if there were fewer cities vying for a state's tax dollars, more money would be available for projects that would benefit all citizens.

Because the current states were being chopped up beyond recognition, part of his plan included renaming the new states by referencing natural geologic features or the region's cultural history.

While he did have a rather staunch support network—economists, geographers, and even a few politicians argued that Pearcy's plan might be crazy enough to work—the proposal lost steam in Washington. Imagine all the work that would have to be done to enact Pearcy's plan: re-surveying the land, setting up new voter districts, new taxation infrastructure—basically starting the whole country over. It's easy to see why the government balked (though that doesn't mean it was a bad idea).

Here's how certain cities would fall under Pearcy's plan (see larger):

The Afternoon Map is a semi-regular feature in which we post maps and infographics. In the afternoon. Semi-regularly. We first covered today's map way back in 2008.

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June 23, 2014 - 3:45pm
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