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This is what the United States looks like if you scale states by population

Looking at a standard map of the US can sometimes give you a skewed idea of where Americans live. After all, some states have way more people than others. Here's what the US would look like if each one is scaled relative to its population:

States scaled by population.

States scaled by population.

Phil Edwards/Vox

Like any alternative map, it involves some subjective judgment calls — such as where to put the states now that they don't neatly nest next to each other anymore. (And, of course, any real country wouldn't have a bunch of unoccupied white space in the middle.)

Nevertheless, the thought experiment yields some interesting notes. It's easy to see just how massive the coasts are in population — California's estimated population of 38,802,500 trounces Wyoming's 584,153.

But the best parts might be the ones you don't anticipate. Can you comprehend how huge New Jersey is?

WATCH: 220 years of population shifts

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