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The Geography of Drug Use in Montana – and in the Rest of the United States

By Martin W. Lewis | August 2, 2022 |

If there is a take-home message from these maps, it is that drug use tends to be higher in rural areas than in major metropolitan zones, particularly their suburban counties. This pattern is mostly clearly evident on the methamphetamine map. Many rural areas of the United States are experiencing economic and social distress, which is often associated with heightened drug use.

The Cost of Housing and Essential-Worker Relocation in Booming Southwestern Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | August 1, 2022 |

But will such cities as Anaconda and Helena retain their affordability?  Footloose and often well-compensated Zoom workers also find them attractive. And prices are increasing.

What Is a Zoom Town?

By Martin W. Lewis | July 30, 2022 |

Bozeman, Montana is often described as a quintessential “Zoom town,” a city or small town that has experienced explosive growth owing to the relocation of remote workers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Bozeman is certainly booming, and many of its new residents do work remotely, usually through Zoom. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and where might other …

Voting Patterns of Native Americans in Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | July 29, 2022 |

In racial/ethnic terms, Montana is not a diverse state. It has the lowest percentage of Black Americans in the country, the fifth lowest percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans, and the third lowest percentage of Asian Americans (tied with Wyoming). It does, however, have the fifth largest percentage of Native Americans. Its indigenous population, moreover, is expanding. As can be …

Montana’s Changing Electoral Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 28, 2022 |

The main electoral geographical divide in the United States now pits metropolitan areas against small towns and rural areas. This pattern, however, is only vaguely apparent in Montana’s county-level data

Montana Population Change in Comparative Context

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Recent posts have emphasized population decline in the Great Plains of eastern Montana. Comparative analysis shows, however, that eastern Montana has fared better than most other parts of the region. Almost every county in western Nebraska, for example, experienced population decline from 2010 to 2020.

Montana’s Changing Population Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 27, 2022 |

Montana has experienced several demographic cycles, each marked by different geographical patterns. Geographer William Wyckoff has extensively documented these changes.

Why Mapping Sovereignty Matters: IR Theory, Realism, John Mearsheimer, and the Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Martin W. Lewis | July 26, 2022 |

While there are problems with the ethnic/civic distinction,[18] it is nonetheless essential for understanding the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The ideology underwriting Putin’s invasion is one of ethnic essentialism, fixated on the world historical destiny of the Russian people, spiritually entwined with the Russian Orthodox Church. It deviates from garden-variety ethnonationalism by its imperial pretensions.

Recent Population Growth — and Decline — in Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | July 24, 2022 |

. Although most Montana countries grew sharply during this time of COVID, the Northern Great Plains continued in its seemingly inexorable decline. All of Montana’s larger cities, except Great Fall, saw rapid growth. So did Ravalli County in the scenic Bitterroot Valley, a zone of high rural population density (by Montana standards). Also of note is the growth rate of Flathead County in the northwest surpassing that of Gallatin County (which includes Bozeman) in the south-center.

Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Gains and Losses

By Martin W. Lewis | July 21, 2022 |

Although sub-Saharan Africa registered impressive improvements, it still has the world’s lowest HDI figures, and by a substantial margin. A world map showing only countries in the World Bank’s “low human development” tier, posted here, includes just three countries outside of the region (Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan).

Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Gains and Losses

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Although sub-Saharan Africa registered impressive improvements, it still has the world’s lowest HDI figures, and by a substantial margin. A world map showing only countries in the World Bank’s “low human development” tier, posted here, includes just three countries outside of the region (Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan)

Human Development Index (HDI) Rankings in South & Central America

By Martin W. Lewis | July 19, 2022 |

razilian HDI levels are higher than average in the far south (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina) and southeast (Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states), and lower in the north. But the disparities in these numbers across Brazil are much lower than they had previously been, as is evident in the final map posted here.

The Development of National Languages in the Germanic Zone of Northern Europe

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2022 |

As is largely the case across the world, the development of national languages in the Germanic zone of northern Europe was more the product of state consolidation than the reflection of preexisting ethnolinguistic communities.

South Asia’s Human Development Progress

By Martin W. Lewis | July 15, 2022 |

One of my take-home messages for college geography students is that the world is probably both in worse shape and in better shape than they realize: in the geopolitical context of war and conflict, conditions are worse than might be expected from a casual reading of the news, whereas in regard to human development they are considerably better.

Are Small Towns Really Urban Places? Eastern Montana According to the U.S. Census Bureau

By Martin W. Lewis | July 14, 2022 |

In 1910, when the urbanization rate in the United States stood at only 45.6 percent (with Montana recording 35.5 percent), it made sense to classify small towns as urban places. It no longer does. Depicting Dawson County now as “mostly urban” is misleading, based on an antiquated classification system.