Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today's Interesting Fact about American Geography

The modern West is the most urbanized part of the United States. About 90 percent of Westerners live in areas defined by the census as urban. Utah, where most people live along the Wasatch Mountain Front, is slightly more urban than New York State.

--Timothy Egan


G. Verloren said...

This is a weird quirk of context.

The midwest is sparsely populated throughout, with inordinately high concentrations of people in the cities - resulting in a large percentage of the total population being urban. The northeast is moderately populated throughout, meaning the cities there aren't that much more populated by contrast - resulting in a smaller percentage of total population being urban.

Cities are also built differently between the two regions, and what is "urban" in one area would be considered more "sub-urban" in another. Compare, for example, the difference in population density between places like Boston and New York (clocking in at 13,340/sq mi and 27,778.7/sq mi respectively), and places like Denver and Boise (boasting a mere 4,044/sq mi and 2,675.2/sq mi each). Yet presumably all of these examples are considered equally "urban" for the purposes of these measurements - while at the same time. By the same token, we can also presume that there are "suburbs" in the northeast that are just as densely peopled as the largest cities in the midwest, but which are not treated as "urban" areas due to their designations and charters and whatnot not.

John said...

Part of what interests Egan is the role of Federal land ownership in limiting sprawl. In the East, the population is spread across almost the entire landscape, whereas in the west the presence of so much Federal land limits that spread and confines people to urban/suburban areas.