Random states of America

Neil Freeman, 2016
interactive map

This interactive map creates randomly-generated state boundaries for the United States, and see who would recent presidential elections under the map. Under different combinations of states, different regions become the deciding factor, and even broad popular support can be overturned by the specific state boundaries.

This tool generates states by choosing starter counties and then slowly attaching neighboring counties. Because they're far away from other states, Alaska and Hawaii are always the same (same for D.C). Congressional representation is apportioned based on Census data, and then results are calculated using county-level results. The new states are given the name of one of their constituent counties.

The process of generating states begins with 48 starter counties. Different methods of choosing states will produce slightly different patterns.

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name votes pct. e.v.

population data: US Census 1990 population estimates, 2000 and 2010 decennial censuses
election results: Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (1996), Spatial News and Wikipedia (2000), National Atlas (2004, 2008, 2012), New York Times (2016 preliminary results), Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ohio Secretary of State
data converted to 2016 county boundaries.