I'm a huge fan of cartograms — maps that rescale the size of their component areas to show not land area but something else, like population size or economic activity. And the people at the real estate website Zillow came up with a cool idea for one.
It's a cartogram of the United States that rescales every state in proportion to the total value of all its housing stock:
This ends up having some features in common with a population density map — a small, crowded state like New Jersey gets big, while a huge, empty state like Wyoming gets small — but with some important differences. Look at Texas, for example. Lots of people live in Texas. More people than live in New York, in fact. And the houses in Texas are, on average, bigger than the houses in New York.
But even though there's more total housing stock in Texas, it's less valuable than the housing stock in New York due to the very high land prices in Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and important swaths of Long Island and the suburbs north of the city.
Similarly, Florida looks big in this chart because of the high value of its beachfront properties.