The Beer Belly of AmericaBy CATHERINE RAMPELL
Conservatives know it as the “American heartland.” Elitist liberals know it as “flyover country.” But to serious drinkers, the Midwest should perhaps be known as the “beer belly of America.”
The map below shows the parts of America where bars outnumber grocery stores (red dots) and vice versa (yellow dots). Note where the map is rosiest:
This creation comes from FloatingSheep, a Web site where some academics are mapping some of the most bizarre data unleashed by the World Wide Web.
The data in this map are drawn from Google Maps directories, which are based on various sources like yellow page listings (directories exclude user-generated landmarks, which FloatingSheep does mine for other projects).
FloatingSheep also looked at 2007 Census County Business Patterns on the number of establishments listed as “Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)” to see if the patterns held up. And indeed, they found an average of 1.52 bars per 10,000 Americans nationwide, with a significantly higher ratio in the “beer belly” region:
|Rank||State||Bars per 10,000 Population|
The team behind this site — Matthew Zook and Taylor Shelton at the University of Kentucky and Mark Graham at Oxford Internet Institute — has found other ways to visualize how social values help shape economic markets. One particularly provocative map is this one, which shows which parts of America have more abortion providers than abortion alternative services.
This one, on the other hand, shows the interplay between pizza, strip club and gun landmarks around the country, based on user-generated Google data. Surprise: Vegas appears to be the strip club capital of America.