The U.S. Map Redrawn as 50 States With Equal Population

[Map credit: Neil Freeman / See larger]

Neil Freeman redrew the state borders to get a visual sense of what it would take for the electoral college votes to match the popular vote. That is to say, for each state to be weighted evenly.

"The largest state is 66 times as populous as the smallest," Freeman explains on his site, "and has 18 times as many electoral votes."

His map is based on 2010 Census data, which records a population of 308,745,538 for the United States. Divided up among 50 states, that's a population of a little over six million people per state. The names of new states are mostly taken from geographical features.

Before you freak out about the feasibility of such a plan or whether it's a real improvement on the electoral college, Freeman notes, "this is an art project, not a serious proposal. So take it easy with the emails about the sacred soil of Texas."

See Also: The U.S. Map With Only 38 States

The Afternoon Map is a semi-regular feature in which we post maps and infographics. In the afternoon. Semi-regularly. Thanks to Neil Freeman for this one, which you can buy from his site for $35.

Want to Buy a House? This Is How Many Hours You Need to Work to Afford One in Your State

iStock.com/jhorrocks
iStock.com/jhorrocks

How much people need to work to afford what is perhaps the most iconic aspect of the American dream—their own house—varies drastically from city to city and state to state. Just as real estate values change with ZIP codes, so, too, do income levels. (Not to mention tax rates and the price of common goods.) To see how attainable owning a home in different cities across the U.S. really is, the cost information site HowMuch.net mapped how many hours someone earning the median income in the country’s biggest cities would need to work just to pay the average mortgage.

To crunch the numbers, the site used Census data to figure out the median hourly income for people in the 98 biggest cites in the U.S., based on the idea that everyone is working 40 hours a week. (Which isn’t very realistic, but still provides a rough estimate.) Then, HowMuch.net used data from Zillow on the median housing prices to calculate the median monthly mortgage price in each of those cities, estimating that people typically get a 30-year mortgage.

Here's the breakdown for the country's most expensive metros:

1. New York, New York: 113 hours
2. Los Angeles, California: 112 hours
3. Miami, Florida: 109 hours
4. San Francisco, California: 107 hours
5. Boston, Massachusetts: 95 hours
6. Oakland, California: 83 hours
7. Long Beach, California: 78 hours
8. San Diego, California: 77 hours
9. Santa Ana, California: 74 hours
10. San Jose, California: 74 hours

California is just as expensive as you thought it was, and that applies to more than just L.A. and Silicon Valley. Long Beach and Orange County's Santa Ana make the list, too, as does sunny San Diego. Those cities pale in comparison to Miami and Boston, though. Someone living in Santa Ana would be able to afford the median mortgage working a full 35 fewer hours than someone in Miami—basically a whole workweek. Of course, that seems much less affordable when you consider that someone in Memphis only has to work 18 hours to afford their mortgage, about a fifth of what someone in San Jose does.

Obviously, there are aspects of this data that don't entirely capture the reality on the ground. Many people work more than 40 hours a week. Interest rates can vary a lot based on credit score, when you took out your mortgage, and other factors. Many households have more than one source of income, and those incomes may not be equal, which change the figures quite a bit. Most importantly, this only reflects the cost of housing. While a mortgage payment is a huge chunk of most people's expenses, this graphic doesn't reflect the cost of other necessities like food, insurance, transportation, and all the other things we have to pay for to get by in any given month.

So, before you plan your move to Memphis, bear in mind that these are just rough estimates. That said, if you do want to move to Memphis, we wouldn't blame you.

America's Most Charitable States, Ranked

iStock.com/Steve Debenport
iStock.com/Steve Debenport

It may be the season of giving, but some people continue to spread cheer long after the holidays have ended. We’re looking at you, Minnesotans. As Thrillist reports, a new analysis by WalletHub ranks each state by its altruism, and Minnesota comes out on top, followed by Utah and New York.

Each state was awarded up to 100 points depending on how well it met 18 criteria in two main categories: volunteer efforts and charitable contributions. Doing a favor for a neighbor, donating money to non-profit organizations, or searching for “charitable donations” on Google were a few of the actions that landed certain states more points. Other factors taken into account were the number of public charities and Feeding America food banks per capita.

The results revealed that charitable giving doesn’t necessarily correspond with income. West Virginia’s residents, who have the lowest median household income of any state, are the 35th most charitable. Compare that with Hawaii, which has the third highest median household income but comes in at 46th on the list of charitable states.

Hover your cursor over the map below to see how your state ranks.

Source: WalletHub

No matter what state you live in, you should still give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve done a good deed recently. The U.S. is the fourth-most generous country in the world (after Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand), according to the World Giving Index [PDF].

Feeling inspired to give back? Use the Charity Navigator to research your options, and check our these six items you can donate, aside from cash.

[h/t Thrillist]

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