The Map With Only 38 States

[click map to enlarge]

If George Etzel Pearcy had his way, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s famous song would have been called “Sweet Home Talladego.” In 1973, the California State University geography professor suggested that the U.S. should redraw its antiquated state boundaries and narrow the overall number of states to a mere thirty-eight.

Pearcy’s proposed state lines were drawn in less-populated areas, isolating large cities and reducing their number within each state. He argued that if there were fewer cities vying for a state’s tax dollars, more money would be available for projects that would benefit all citizens.

Because the current states were being chopped up beyond recognition, part of his plan included renaming the new states by referencing natural geologic features or the region’s cultural history.

While he did have a rather staunch support network—economists, geographers, and even a few politicians argued that Pearcy’s plan might be crazy enough to work—the proposal was defeated in Washington, D.C. Imagine all the work that would have to be done to enact Pearcy’s plan: re-surveying the land, setting up new voter districts, new taxation infrastructure—basically starting the whole country over. It’s easy to see why the government balked.

The map above was published in 1973. Oddly, it doesn’t show any city locations to help illustrate Pearcy’s argument. At this point, I should tell you that I make maps for a living. So I did my best to replicate Pearcy’s map using population data from the 2000 census to show current high population cities and where they would fall within the new states. Here’s what I came up with:

[click map to enlarge]

As you can see, many of the new states contain a small number of major metropolitan areas, and the problem of dual-state cities has been solved.

[by Rob Lammle]

  1. damnn-unf-son reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    [view larger map sizes on the original post here] So, I would be calling myself an El Doradan… "Oh, you’re from SG? I...
  2. syyddnneeyy reblogged this from mentalflossr
  3. thecheshireman reblogged this from mentalflossr
  4. ghostferatu reblogged this from matthewknell
  5. norzyboo reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    craaaaaazy
  6. fredredrika reblogged this from sadnessandglory
  7. bootska reblogged this from mentalflossr
  8. slangs reblogged this from mentalflossr
  9. reckshow reblogged this from mentalflossr
  10. spacemonkeyx reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    Hey! I wrote this! (And made the second map)
  11. twentyeighttaylors reblogged this from mentalflossr
  12. jonasfiel reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    Yes! Viva Cascadia!!!
  13. peteisaac reblogged this from mentalflossr
  14. tunefulruminations reblogged this from mentalflossr
  15. lemonistas reblogged this from beckalina and added:
    In this case, I’m from Hudson and currently live in Plymouth. (Western Mass should really be Mohawk. Just saying.)
  16. matthewknell reblogged this from nightline and added:
    Wow… how could he have possibly done this without a stupid infographic to guide the way?
  17. naderm reblogged this from nightline
  18. onehundreddollars reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    File this under: things I’d like to see, reasons I love mental_floss.
  19. em-aytch reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    These are some ugly-ass states. Also, why split Alaska into two states? Seems like it would give it undue power in the...
  20. winstonwolfe reblogged this from mentalflossr
  21. the-mtblog reblogged this from nightline and added:
    “There are too many states now adays. Please eliminate 3." - Grandpa Simpson
  22. climbinglyell reblogged this from sadnessandglory
  23. thisisntlisa reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    I just stared at this map for 20 minutes. If the state boundaries were redrawn according to this proposed map, I would...
  24. masscub reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    Am I a dork for finding this REALLY interesting?
  25. sadnessandglory reblogged this from mentalflossr
  26. beckalina reblogged this from mentalflossr and added:
    So if I’m reading this right, I’m from Allegheny, currently living in Erie, and attending school in either Erie or...
  27. vagrant reblogged this from mentalflossr