Visualizing the State of America
America might be a young country, but it has changed a lot over the past 244 years. In fact, practically everything has changed about America since it was founded in 1776, from its top industries down to how we draw state borders.
One of the most important ways we chronicle the ever-changing shape and makeup of America is through the United States Census Bureau, which has been collecting and analyzing data of the U.S. population since 1790.
These 30 graphs, charts and maps from the bureau — some historical, some modern — cast an interesting light on the country's changing demographics and how Americans have lived, worked and played through the ages.
Age and Sex of the American People in 1900
This age-sex pyramid shows the number of men and women and their ages in America in 1900.
From 1900 until 1939, the census aggregated all people aged 75 or older into one age group, which makes it a bit more difficult to tell how many people lived past 75. This graph is fairly equal, although there are more men overall.
America's population was just 76.2 million in 1900.
Age and Sex of the American People in 1950
In 1950, we can start to see the beginning of the Baby Boomer generation, with several million children under the age of five "booming" into existence after World War II.
From 1900 to 1980, people aged 85 years or older were lumped into one age group. There were about twice as many women 85 or older than there were men.
America's population grew to 151.3 million in 1950.
Age and Sex of the American People in 1981
We're taking a look at 1981 because this is the first year that the government did not lump senior citizens above the age of 85 into one age group.
Plus, it's cool to see just how much of an effect the Baby Boomers had on our population. There were so many people aged 35 or younger in 1981.
America had a population of 229.5 million people in 1981.
Age and Sex of the American People in 2000
America's population has grown significantly over the last 100 years, with a total of 282.2 million people in 2000.
That's over 200 million more people living in American than in 1900.
Today, the United States has a population of 331.6 million.
Marriage and Divorce Rates Among Women: 2009-2019
In October 2020, the U.S. Census released this interactive visualization on marriage and divorce rates among women between 2009 and 2019.
Marriage rates among women fell slightly over that decade. In 2009, there were 17.6 new marriages for every 1,000 women aged 15 years or older. In 2019, there were 16.3 new marriages among the same group. That's no surprise, since millennials are getting married at older ages than previous generations.
Divorce rates have also declined. In 2009, there was an average of 9.7 new divorces for every 1,000 women 15 years or older. In 2019, there were 7.6 divorces per 1,000 women in the same group. Millennials, in particular, have cratered the divorce rate because they only seem to get married when they think it's a sure thing.
The entire census study goes over divorce rates by state as well.
Percentage of People Without Health Insurance by State in 2008
This is what insurance rates among the United States populace looked like before the Affordable Care Act.
The majority of states had 14 percent or more of its populace living without health insurance.
Percentage of People Without Health Insurance by State in 2015
After the Affordable Care Act, most states lowered their rate of uninsured people.
But because some states, like Texas, Florida, and Mississippi, did not opt into the Medicaid expansion, a relatively high percentage of people were still uninsured.
Texas currently has an uninsured rate of 17.7 percent, or five million people, still the highest state in the nation.
Fields Where Male STEM Majors End Up Working
This graph homes in on male STEM graduates and where they find work after college.
The overwhelming majority of these STEM majors work in engineering and mostly go on to the engineering field.
Nothing too thrilling, but it paints a wider picture when paired with a graph about female STEM majors.
Fields Where Female STEM Majors End Up Working
There are much fewer female STEM majors than males.
There are more female STEM majors in the fields of psychology and social sciences, as well as those in the biological, environmental and agricultural science fields.
This graph shows the 2018 median earnings of full-time women workers across a select number of industries.
There are notable pay discrepancies between men and women across all fields, and particularly among financial managers, where women make over $25,000 less than their male counterparts.
Across all occupations, women make roughly 76 or 77 percent of men's earnings.
Shifting Occupational Shares by Sex: 2006-2010
Over just four years, from 2006 to 2010, women increased their share of dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists and physicians.
A brief snapshot with some updated numbers: 33.4 percent of dentists are female, and females make up 57.9 percent of pharmacists.
The trucking industry is still overwhelmingly dominated by men. In 2018, only 6.6 percent of America's 3.5 million truck drivers were women.
Net Migration Between California and Other States: 1955-1960 and 1995-2000
This graphic shows the 10 largest-state-to-state migrations to and from California from 1955 to 1960 and from 1995 to 2000.
A huge amount of people from the northeast moved to California from 1955 to 1960. Why? While the Gold Rush was long over, postwar Americans saw a new kind of opportunity for a better life in the Golden State. California offered great weather, and its economy was growing.
However, over the years, all of those people drove up the cost of living. California is an extremely expensive place to live, and not everyone can land a six-figure job in Silicon Valley. Additionally, the state has a poor business climate in terms of taxes and costs, which appears to be keeping some businesses away.
Most people who left California between 2007 and 2016 went to Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
U.S. Territory and Statehood Status by Decade: 1790-1960
From 1790 to 1920, the United States acquired and converted vast amounts of territory, with the most dramatic changes occurring within the country's first 100 years.
Hawaii and Alaska were admitted as states in 1960.
Work-Life Earning by Bachelor Degree (In Millions)
This chart gives a decent visual representation of how a bachelor's degree holder can expect to earn relative to the industry they find work in.
A liberal arts major may find they can make $3 million worth of work in a lifetime in the management field, but only $1.8 million if they go into education.
Engineers make the most, so long as they stick to related fields.
Changes in Languages Other Than English Spoken Since 1980
This graphic shows the number of speakers of the top 17 languages other than English spoken since 1980 and their change in relative rank.
It's a little confusing since the size of the square denotes the number of speakers, and the sizes aren't uniform throughout, but you can get a rough estimate of how many people speak these languages.
More useful is the rankings. Italian went from being the second-most-spoken foreign language in 1980 to ninth, while Chinese shot from ninth place to second place by 2010. Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, steadily grew from seventh place to fourth place since 1980.
Population Change by State: 2001-2012
This map shows how each states' population has grown or shrunk between 2001 and 2012.
The most dramatic dip in population is in Louisiana, which had a population drop of 6 percent in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.
Many Louisianans had to relocate to the surrounding states, notably Texas, while their cities and towns were slowly (very, very slowly) built back up.
America's Biggest Boom Cities: 1830-2010
This chart only includes cities if they grew 200 percent or more between any two successive decades and if they had certain population thresholds. According to the census, those thresholds are "10,000 or more for the period 1790-1890; 25,000 for the period 1910-1950; and 50,000 for the period 1950-2010."
It's a little difficult to parse, but there's still some cool stuff here. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Phoenix, Arizona, after World War II, lured by its growing tech industry and favorable climate.
Hamtramack, Michigan, greatly benefited from the main Dodge factory, which opened there in 1914, along with a burgeoning population of Polish immigrants.
Percentage of People Without a High School Education by Area, Sex and Race
This chart uses data from 2011 about adults 25 or older who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent.
In the West, 57 percent of Hispanic males 25 or older not born in the United States did not have a high school degree or equivalent education, while only 19 percent of American-born Hispanic males did not graduate high school or have the equivalent degree.
Native-born Asian men and women were the most likely to have attained a high school degree or equivalent across all regions.
Age of Business Owners
This simple graph, presented by a happy florist, shows the percent of business owners' ages in 2020.
Fifty-one percent of all business owners in America are age 55 or older, followed by 43 percent of business owners aged 35 to 54, and 6 percent of business owners being 34 or under.
Areas Where People Make $75,000 or More
A $75,000 annual salary is supposed to be the magic number where money-related happiness peaks. According to this 2012 chart, these are the cities and counties where people make a median of $74,000 or more.
Conceivably, this is where you'll have the best shot at making that amount, provided that the cost of living doesn't eat you alive.
We know the map shows $74,000 or greater and not $75,000. It would only let us choose between $74,000 and $76,000. But at this amount, $1,000 less each year won't have you clipping coupons.
Changing Ranks of States by Congressional Representation
Since 1789, the number of congressional representatives allotted to each state has ebbed and flowed with the population. California's increase in population from 1930 onward has allowed it the most reps in the United States, while New York has lost seats.
The number of congressional seats is assigned using census data, which is why the 2020 Census undercount will play a pivotal role in which states gain or lose seats in the future.
Manufacturing in America
These 2018 charts show how many millions of Americans work in various fields, with a focus on manufacturing and its subsectors.
Manufacturing is the fifth-largest employer in the United States, employing approximately 11.9 million people.
Most people who work in manufacturing work in the transportation, food, fabricated metal and machinery sectors. The total value of all shipments from the American manufacturing industry totaled $6 trillion in 2018, and made up 61 percent of the country's export dollars.
Average Annual Payroll Per Employee by Top Job Sectors
While this chart comes from the census' focus survey on the manufacturing industry, it shows some useful information about other careers.
Unsurprisingly, management jobs top the list, as it's a sector where CEOs make obscene amounts of money.
Retail, education, arts and entertainment, and food services make the least out of all classified sectors.
Selected Largest Occupations of Men and Women: 1940 and 2018
As we've shifted toward an information economy, we've dropped the plows and barrels of hay for laptops and tablets. Farming was America's top job much earlier than 1940 since it was an essential occupation needed for settling the Great Plains following the Homestead Act of 1862.
As we expanded, we needed to move more goods, giving to the rise of truck drivers. Our dramatic population increase since 1940 has required more teachers and nurses, while construction laborers are needed to build the buildings and homes we need (and want).
Number of Americans Living With a Disability by Age, Sex and Disability Type
According to the CDC, one in four U.S. adults live with a disability. The most prevalent disability is mobility, which affects the older population to a great degree.
Cognitive disability, which includes things like having serious difficulty concentrating or remembering, affects 8.7 million U.S. adults between 18 and 64.
Slower Growth of Nation's Population: 2001-2019
The natural increase — that is, the difference between the number of births and deaths — dropped below one million in 2019, for the first time in decades.
America's population increase has been slowing since 2015, when the population increased 0.73 percent relative to the previous year.
Additionally, less people have been migrating to the United States since 2016, which has slowed overall population increase.
Four states had more deaths than births between 2018 and 2019: West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Change in Rural and Urban Population Size: 1910-2010
Urban population size has greatly exploded since 1910, whereas the population of rural areas has remained virtually stagnant.
This chart is a 100-year overview, but population increase has changed even more since 2010 for urban areas. According to Statista, about 273 million people live in urban areas compared to 57 million in rural parts of the country.
Urban dwellers are younger, less likely to be married and are more educated. They are also about 3 percent more likely to be impoverished.
Where the Older Population Lives
This interactive visualization shows what states senior citizens live in and what percentage of the state's population they make up.
The greatest number of senior citizens live in Florida, where 19.9 percent of its population is made up of seniors. Maine is in second place, with 19.3 percent, followed by West Virginia (18.8 percent), Vermont (18.3 percent) and Montana (17.8 percent).
The state with the least percentage of senior citizens is Utah, where only 10.5 percent of its population is made up of seniors 65 or older.
States With the Most Breweries
As a whole, America loves beer. And some states love beer more than others.
California is America's brewery capital, passing 1,000 craft breweries in 2019.
That's more breweries than the entire country had in 1995.
Median Household Income by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1967 to 2019
Overall, the median income across all races has increased since 1967, as it should be, since the cost of living has vastly outpaced wage growth, and home prices are now 114 percent more expensive than they were during the 1960s.
This data doesn't tell us all that much, but it does show that Black people make the least out of all races, followed by Hispanics, whites, and Asians.
Among all races, the median household income is $68,703.