About Two-Thirds of Americans Have Lived in 30% of the States Since 1790
A modest majority have lived in 20 percent of the States since the Founding — and that isn’t projected to dramatically change in the next three decades.
Is the concentration of people in a handful of states a new phenomenon that’s attributed to mass urbanization over the course of the last few decades? Easily accessible U.S. Census data says it’s been around for a while.
As you’ll see in the chart below, since practically the founding of the country, two-thirds of the country has lived in 30 percent of the states and about half have lived in 20 percent of the states. Though this distribution isn’t as extreme as the 80–20 Pareto principle, it is yet another example of an organic occurrence.
Currently, I’m researching the historical political dynamics of each state. The country is a union of states and understanding past and present trends — and how they contradict our national-level conceptions — will provide a clearer understanding of how the people we elect are representatives of the states and the people who elect them.