Map #32: March 27, 2017

Difficulty Level: 8

Click here for a full-size version of this week’s map.

This map is a choropleth of the counties of the United States. (Do you need a refresher on what a choropleth is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, each county is shaded in accordance with a particular statistic. Counties with darker shades of pink/purple have more of the statistic in question. As was the case with Map #24, the scale on this map is not linear. In other words, the darker counties have a lot more of this week’s mystery statistic than do the ligher counties. Your job, as always, is to figure out what this choropleth represents.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, April 3. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint: Most counties on this map are in the lightest shade. Remember that we have an extended scale, so the counties in the lightest shade have very small values of this week’s statistic and barely register, if at all. One thing that is unique about this choropleth, in comparison to most of the other choropleths we have had, is that you have some single counties in the darkest purple that are surrounded by counties of the lighest shade. For example, McDonough County, Illinois, has a lot of this week’s statistic, but all its neighbors have essentially none. When you submit your guess, make sure it’s something that makes sense to be very concentrated. Can you figure out what specific type of places these statistics tend to be concentrated around?

Wednesday’s hint: Most—but not all—of the dark areas on this choropleth are in fairly urban areas. Let’s look at one of the rural areas. In the Panhandle region of Texas, there are three counties that are fairly dark. Two of these counties contain parts of the city of Amarillo. Amarillo has been in the news a lot lately because it has for many years been especially welcoming to refugees. Can you think of a reason why an area with a large number of refugees might stand out on this map?

Thursday’s hint: A lot of urban counties in the eastern part of the United States are quite dark on this choropleth. One such county is Wayne County, Michigan. You might think that Wayne County is dark because of Detroit, the largest city in the county, but in this case we also have to pay attention to the city of Dearborn. Dearborn is best known as the home of the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford held some fairly objectionable ideas about race. He was reluctant to hire Jews or African Americans to work in his factories. Whom did he hire instead? What’s special about Dearborn’s demographics today?

Friday’s hint: One state that stands out on this map as having very few light counties is New Jersey. And one of the darkest counties in New Jersey is Passaic County, which is in the metropolitan area of New York City in the northern part of the state. Passaic County is home to the city of Paterson. Paterson is home to very large communities of immigrants from two particular countries: the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh. In our case, we aren’t especially interested in the former. But the latter is interesting. Yesterday, we encouraged you to learn about Dearborn, Michigan, which has a very large Arab-American population. What is something that many Bangladeshis and many Arabs have in common?

Answer: Click here to see an explanation of the answer to this week’s map question.

Next map: Click here to try out our newest map question.