Map Monday: Peak Population Percentage of US States

Here’s a fun map, made by New York-based information visualization expert (and cartoonist) Dorothy Gambrell, showing “peak state.” In other words, according to the US census, it shows the decade at which each state contained the peak percentage of the US population.

gambrell peak state map

It’s a fun map. Some of the things that catch my eye are the general Westward expansion and the recent dominance of the western states.  (Note that the “peak state” years of the old South remain firmly in the 19th century.)

Also very strange? Michigan. Detroit had a very late population growth spike, in the 1920s to the 1950s, and then cratered in a typical “boomtown” fashion.  Also the line between Montana (1920) and Idaho (2010) is sort of interesting.

Meanwhile, Minnesota peaked as a percentage of the US in 1900, alongside neighboring Wisconsin. This might be one reason why Minnesota is likely to lose a congressional district in the next census reallocation.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

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Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.