Why Is NY So...Expensive? The U.S. Via Autocomplete Searches

5 comments

mapPhoto: Courtesy of @Amazing_Maps.


As proud U.S. residents, we think a map of the USA is something to behold — a beloved quilt, if you will, with each color-coded state representing a unique set of residents and a unique set of traits. But, when it comes to those traits — think Florida's hot weather, or California's priciness — we can't help but wonder: Why is it that way? So, of course, we turn to Google to get to the bottom of things. And, we're not alone.

The team behind @Amazing_maps found the most popular autocomplete searches for “Why is [state] so…” and then filled in a U.S. map with the word that pops up first in each state’s list of auto-filled adjectives. The results are pretty amazing.

Some states got very logical questions, like “Why is Minnesota so cold?” and "Why is Florida so hot?" But, some truly existential questions are hidden in the map, like “Why is Texas so big?” and “Why is Alabama so good?” People seem to be especially worried about Pennsylvania and Connecticut, regularly turning to the interwebs to find out why those states are "so haunted." That's news to us, and definitely something we want to investigate.

Since the District didn’t make it on the map, we did a quick search and found the most popular autocomplete to be “Why is D.C. so liberal?” Whether that's a question just for these four quadrants or the U.S. government in general, we'll sadly never know.

The best part about this fairly unusual map? These inquiries aren’t from a few random people on the street. Nope: Enough people wanted to know the answer to "Why is Texas so big?" that they went to Google and searched for answers, and the rest is autocomplete history. (The Atlantic)