New sets of customizable maps of the United States are now available for download, in both PowerPoint and Keynote formats (see the end of this post). Three maps are included in each presentation-software set. The first simply has the outlines of the states, as well as the District of Columbia (note that Alaska and Hawaii are mapped out-of-scale and in the wrong locations). The second map includes the names of the states as well. The names of the small states of the northeast are placed near but not on the state shapes, due merely to a lack of room. (I did not include lines linking the names to the shapes, as this did not seem necessary.) The final map in each set includes the physical-political map that was used to make these customizable maps. The outlines of each state have been traced in here, and hence can be easily manipulated. The three maps in each set are also located at the same place on each screen. As a result, as long as the maps are not moved, elements can be transferred from one map to another and remain in the correct location.
To illustrate what can be done with these customizable base maps, I have made a map of population change in the United States from April 2010 to July 2015, based on data that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. As can be seen on the map, West Virginia was the only state to lose population during this period, largely as a result of the continuing decline of coal mining. North Dakota, on the other hand, shows the largest proportional gain, due mostly to the fracking boom in oil and natural gas. The phenomenon, however, has virtually come to an end, owing to the drop in the global price of oil.
Population growth in the United States continues to be strongly geographically pattered. New England saw little expansion, with Vermont adding only 297 residents. Massachusetts saw the largest absolute and proportional growth in this region, although its 3.8% growth rate over the period was lower than that of the United States as a whole, which came in at 4.1%. The Mid-Atlantic States also saw little growth, with the exception of Delaware and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.). New York State did add over 400,000 residents, but its growth rate was only 2.2%. Below-average growth also characterized the Great Lakes states. Here the fastest growing state, Minnesota, saw it population expand by only 3.5%.
The South Atlantic states registered strong population growth, with Florida alone adding almost a million and a half residents. Growth was much slower in the south-central states, with the population of Mississippi expanding by less than one percent. Further west, Texas posted the largest absolute gain, at 2.3 million, and the third largest proportional rate of expansion. Growth was moderate in most of the Great Plains, with the exception of booming North Dakota. The West experienced relatively rapid growth overall, but with significant variability from state to state. Colorado, for example, grew by 8.5%, whereas New Mexico, a much poorer state, grew by only 1.3%
Overall, states that usually support the Republican Party grew faster than states that generally support the Democratic Party. One exception here is the Pacific Coast, a strongly “blue” (or Democratic-voting) region that exhibited faster-than-average growth. Several “purple,” or swing-voting, states also expanded rapidly. Examples here include Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.
Click on the links below to download the customizable map sets: