Virginia is for Bolivia lovers

If summer travel abroad was in your plans, whether you’re back already or have yet to go, I’m curious about your destination. If you live in the US, you might be interested in an article I found last week in the New York Times Sunday Review. The authors explored the relative popularity of different world destinations based on which state people live in. For me, there were lots of surprises. It’s easy to see why Canada would be a popular destination for people in Maine: they share 611 miles of border (compared to just 184 miles of Maine-New Hampshire border), but would you have guessed that Virginians would be more likely than other Americans to visit Bolivia?

As you may already know, I love an interesting map (like these on dialect, population spread, voting, giant Africa, and languages of Spain). This map and the accompanying article provide plenty of opportunity to look at states in a new way. Who would have thought that Minnesota is a hot spot for Somalis? In the bleak midwinter, “hot spot” is probably not the term they would use, but 30% of all Somalis in the US are in Minnesota.

Arkansas is all about the Marshall Islands, which is not something I would have predicted. Someone from Indiana is more likely to go to Macedonia; Iowa and Missouri can’t get enough of Bosnia and Herzegovina, apparently, and in Wyoming, the big draw is Thailand. Kansans going to Sri Lanka, Coloradans going to Croatia–I told you this was unexpected stuff.

The research comes from data collected by Facebook, identifying where users were located when they checked in during travel. The map doesn’t show the most popular destinations for Americans–those are Canada and Mexico, but rather indicates “which locations are unusually popular with people in a given state, compared with where most Americans travel during the summer.” It’s not that nobody from Massachusetts goes to Cape Verde, but folks from Connecticut are much more likely to.

Take a look at the map and the article; look up your state to see where your neighbors are more likely to visit. And then come back and tell me what surprised you, what didn’t at all surprise you and where you travel when you get the chance.

The article is by Stuart Thompson and Jessia Ma, and can be found here.

[Images: New York Times Sunday Review, Pinterest]

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