Here’s what the U.S. map should really look like


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❝ State boundaries matter for all sorts of reasons. The state you live in determined how much your vote counted in the 2016 election. It shapes what kind of benefits your employer might offer you, what taxes you pay, what kind of schools you can attend, and much more.

And yet, most state boundaries were drawn during the 17th to 19th centuries, says Garrett Nelson, a historical geographer at Dartmouth College. “Why should we think that areas which were drawn up for horses and buggies still make sense for interstates and telecommuting?”

Nelson, along with Alasdair Rae of the University of Sheffield, has published new research in the journal PLOS❝ ONE that shows how we might redraw state lines today, if given the opportunity. Their insights have profound implications for how business and political leaders can better organize as a region to work toward policies and projects that help their communities, as well as how Americans should think about the rural-urban divide following the 2016 election.

“One of the biggest conclusions from our research is that the familiar division of the U.S. into states isn’t always the most useful way of thinking about how geographic patterns work in the twenty-first century,” says Nelson.

A truly interesting read – whether you’re a history geek, interested in political economy, whatever. Of course changes derived from this kind of study on the geopolitical level have as much chance of coming to pass as, say, the United States adopting the metric system.

After all, the whole world may agree; but, if there’s some question of profit for either of the two self-conscious ruling political parties being disturbed – forget it!

One thought on “Here’s what the U.S. map should really look like

  1. Nikohl Vandel says:

    Yet, then I think, how do we ever grow if not surrounded by things to learn? I appreciate our messy states and even the electoral colleges because it forces us to know better our neighbors, even if they live way out there, and expand our common ground even if in ways that trump good behavior.

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