Everyone is familiar with the U.S. map that we use every day to check out the weather, drive across states or plan our vacations. But the map we’re all so familiar with is just one way of looking at the country.
Over the years we’ve gathered data on all sorts of real estate, demographics and lifestyle metrics. But, occasionally, we’ve also stumbled upon cool maps and interesting information that helped us reimagine the country and better grasp its diversity. For example, will there be snow this winter season in the state you live in? Or how many ski resorts are there in your home state? If Santa brought us all new houses this year, would America be big enough to fit them all? Or how much does Santa need to travel to reach your home? Find out the answer by checking out the maps below:
- The Real Estate Chapter
- The Winter Chapter
The Real Estate Chapter
Percentage of Land Covered If Each Resident Had a House
The COVID-19 pandemic — and especially the lockdown — forced everyone to rethink their relation to their own home. Now that people need to spend so much more time inside than ever before, the home must meet new space and design requirements to be everything the family needs it to be — the place where parents work, where everyone eats and sleeps, where children go to school and study and where the entire family exercises, has fun and unwinds.
To cover all of these new needs, each American family could benefit from owning a median-sized detached house. At 2,355 square feet and usually boasting at least a small backyard, with great potential for outdoor features and amenities, this house could be the answer to everyone’s quarantine prayers. But is it geographically possible for the country’s millions of people to own a median-sized, detached house? The short answer is a resounding yes. Check out the stats below for a clearer picture:
- If all Americans moved into a median-sized, detached house, their homes would take up a meager 0.78% of the nation’s total land area, meaning a jaw-dropping 99.22% of the U.S. territory would be left bare.
- To put that into perspective, everyone would fit snugly into South Carolina.
- Zooming in to the state level, a staggering 45 out of 50 states are so large that less than 5% of their land would be covered by houses if each of their residents had one.
- Washington, D.C. is the only place that would be covered almost entirely — 97.2%, to be exact — if each of its residents had a house.
Number of Median-Sized Homes per Resident to Cover an Entire State
If that much land in the U.S. would still be uninhabited even if every single resident had their own detached house, how many houses would residents in each state have to own in order to cover the entire surface of their state?
- At a national level, if the aim were to fill America with homes and leave no inch of empty space, it would take an astonishing 127 houses per person to cover the entire country.
- Twenty-one U.S. states have so much space that they could easily hold up to 100 houses per person.
- In 24 other states, the lower population densities and more sprawling lands would allow each resident to own several hundred houses.
- Five states offer virtually limitless housing opportunities:
- South Dakota – 1,017 homes per resident
- North Dakota – 1,074 homes per resident
- Montana – 1,621 homes per resident
- Wyoming – 1,989 homes per resident
- Alaska – a shocking 9,160 homes per resident
Homeownership Rates by State
According to U.S. Census Bureau historical data, homeownership rates at a national level reached their highest point in 2004 — when 69.2% of all U.S. residents owned a home — and plummeted to the lowest levels in the second quarter of 2016, when only 62.9% of people owned their home. The last time homeownership rates had been that low was at the beginning of the 1960s, when homeowners represented around 62% of the population. More recently, after a steep increase in the second half of 2019 and first half of 2020, the homeownership rate in the U.S. crossed the 67% threshold.
- At the state level, West Virginia leads the way with the highest homeownership rate in the nation: 73%.
- Nine other states have rates more than 70%: Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont.
- At the other end of the spectrum, Washington, D.C. has the lowest share of homeowners of all the states: 42%.
Median House Prices by State
Since 2010, home prices have been increasing at a staggering rate almost across the board. In the largest U.S. cities, Los Angeles has seen its home prices go up 57%, while prices in cities like Seattle and Santa Ana went up 77%. In Fremont, CA, home prices are now 88% higher than a decade ago. But few cities compare to Oakland, CA, Aurora, CO and North Las Vegas, NV: here, price tags are currently 90% and even 100% higher than 10 years ago.
And, just like cities, some states are more affordable than others. Analyzing the most recent numbers, the states that make it easiest for their residents to become homeowners are West Virginia, Mississippi and Arkansas. In these states, the median house price is less than $150,000. At the other end of the spectrum, Massachusetts ($418,600), California ($568,500) and Hawaii ($669,200) boast the top three highest median house prices.
Population Density by State
Population density varies tremendously across the 50 U.S. states — going from the most sparsely populated Alaska, with only two inhabitants per square mile to Rhode Island and New Jersey, which boast more than 1,000 residents per square mile.
Property Tax Rates by State
Property taxes are one of the main sources of income for local governments. This money is used to fund different types of projects related to public infrastructure, maintenance and parks and recreation programs, as well as the payroll for municipal employees. Property taxes are levied by states and local governments annually and are based on the value of the land and structures owned.
However, while all U.S. states have some form of property taxes, they are by no means equal. For instance, in some states — such as New Jersey, Illinois and New Hampshire — taxes can represent a little over 2% of the home’s value. Conversely, there are also states with extremely low effective property tax rates. Hawaii has the lowest rate in the whole country (0.3%), followed by Alabama (0.4%) and Louisiana (0.52%).
Median Income by State
Compared to 2010, median household income at the city level increased between 15% and 80% in the 100 largest U.S. cities. San Francisco, Seattle and Denver have seen the largest jumps, while median incomes in cities like Winston-Salem, NC, Chesapeake, VA and Paradise, NV only went up between 15% and 20%. Currently, the large city with the highest income in the entire nation is Fremont, CA ($150,603), while Cleveland, OH stands at the other end of the range ($33,495).
Zooming out to the state level, four states boast median incomes greater than $80,000: Maryland ($86,738), Massachusetts ($85,843), New Jersey ($85,751) and Hawaii ($83,102). Mississippi has the lowest median income, at $45,792.
Cost of Living by State
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center,
The most expensive areas to live were Hawaii, Alaska, the Northeast, and the West Coast. The least expensive areas were the Midwest and Southern states. For the past 15 quarters, Missouri has been in the top 10 for lowest cost of living in the nation.
MERIC derives the cost of living index for each state by averaging the indices of participating cities and metropolitan areas in that state.
The Winter Chapter
What Are the Chances You’ll Have a White Winter Holiday?
While some people just can’t imagine the winter season without snow, others are blessed with balmy temperatures, white sand and amazing waves and beach access all year round. But, when Santa comes this year, will he bring a small piece of his North Pole winter wonderland with him? We’re guessing that … it depends. Check out the map below to see what your chances are to see some snow this winter season.
How Many Miles from Santa’s Home to Your Chimney?
Whether you’re expecting tons of presents or just a little something from Santa, he is definitely coming. But it might take him a little while because the North Pole is so far away. Just how far, you ask? Well, if you want to know how many miles there are from Santa’s home to yours, just check out the map below!
What Games Should Santa Bring? Don’t Worry, He Already Knows
Speaking of presents, Santa has a pretty good idea about what most of us really like: to leave this year behind. Unfortunately, 2020 was not a great year for reality, but it was an amazing year for virtual reality. And who could blame us? Exploring the parallel universes in Ghost of Tsushima and Among Us seem like the only reasonable choice to escape the pandemic.
What Are the States with the Most Ski Resorts?
Traveling is not recommended this year and spending the holidays at home is definitely the best option. But when this is all over, spending a few days at a ski resort might be one of the best ways to celebrate!