clock menu more-arrow no yes

13 maps about America worth bringing up at dinner parties and/or first dates

Life is a nonstop barrage of social engagements in which you are forced to conjure up topics to discuss with people of whose interests you are wholly ignorant. We're here to help. Here are 13 surprising and/or cool-seeming maps about America to fill the awkward silences.

1) More than half of America's wealth is in this circle

More than half of America’s wealth is inside this circle Alexandr Trubetskoy

Alexandr Trubetskoy

2) … and more than half its GDP is in these tiny orange areas:

half of gdp cities Atrubetskoy

Atrubetskoy

3) America's schools are still very segregated

Map via the Urban Institute Urban Institute

Urban Institute

4) This is what America would look like if the states were even in population

If the states were equal in population Neil Freeman

Neil Freeman

5) California is as rich as Italy, with 11 million fewer people

States labeled by GDP-equivalent countries

Mark Perry, AEI

6) The West, upper Midwest, and rural South are the happiest places in the United States

happiness america captioned

Ed Glaeser, Joshua Gottlieb, Oren Ziv

7) Stuff is cheaper in the South and Midwest

cost living metro tax foundation

(Alan Cole, Lyman Stone, Tom VanAntwerp, Richard Borean / Tax Foundation)

8) America spends eight times more on defense than Russia

Global defense budgets

International Institute for Strategic Studies / Agence France-Presse

9) The Midwest is three times as big as France

Midwest size

"The Midwest: God's Gift to Planet Earth"

10) Delaware, Maine, North Dakota, and Alaska don't have any billionaires

Wealthiest American by state

Movoto

11) Mississippi and North Korea have roughly the same land area

American states countries Mainstay 17

Mainstay 17

12) New Orleans has a similar homicide rate to Honduras

Gun violence Zara Matheson/Martin Prosperity Institute

Zara Matheson / Martin Prosperity Institute

13) The US is the only country to not use the metric system other than Burma and Liberia

Metric system Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

If you liked these, be sure to check out 70 maps that explain America and 22 maps and charts that will surprise you.

Correction: This post originally mistakenly said that New Orleans' homicide rate is similar to that of Nicaragua. It's not; as the map shows, it's close to that of Honduras.