Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young

America is rapidly aging in a country built for the young | Geography Education |

"Although we seldom think about them this way, most American communities as they exist today were built for the spry and mobile. We've constructed millions of multi-story, single-family homes where the master bedroom is on the second floor, where the lawn outside requires weekly upkeep, where the mailbox is a stroll away. We've designed neighborhoods where everyday errands require a driver's license. We've planned whole cities where, if you don't have a car, it's not particularly easy to walk anywhere — especially not if you move gingerly.

This reality has been a fine one for a younger country. Those multi-story, single-family homes with broad lawns were great for Baby Boomers when they had young families. And car-dependent suburbs have been fine for residents with the means and mobility to drive everywhere. But as the Baby Boomers whose preferences drove a lot of these trends continue to age, it's becoming increasingly clear that the housing and communities we've built won't work very well for the old."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Population change is frequently a concern of city planners at the local level.  This article shows that major demographic shifts are going to mean major changes in our patterns in our cities as we become a 'greying' society. 

Tagsurban, unit 7 cities, housing, sprawlneighborhood, planning, densityplanning, declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, October 18, 2014 6:48 PM

This is also an issue in Australia where the overwhelming majority of people live in single story dwellings and are very car reliant.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:59 PM

I can definitely see this as a real problem. Both my Uncle and my Great Uncle moved their condos from ones that had numerous steps to climb to the second floor to more elder-friendly options. My Great Uncle even went a step further to move him and his wife to a senior living community, where there food, entertainment, etc. is all provided within an enclosed neighbourhood with other people of their age group. More of these communities that act like oversized retirement homes could be the answer. They give the illusion of suburban living, something the baby boomers liked, while providing the accessibility they need.

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, April 8, 2015 12:27 PM

APHG- HW Option 1

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Local Shifts in Labor Demand

Local Shifts in Labor Demand | Geography Education |

"Daily oil production in the Bakken is approaching one million barrels per day, placing it in an elite group of only ten super-giant oil fields in the world that have ever produced that much oil at peak production. In total, nearly one billion barrels of oil have now been produced in the Bakken oil fields, and all of that oil production and related activities have brought the unemployment rate in the Williston area down to below 1% in most months over the last three years. For the most recent month – April – the jobless rate here was 0.9%."

Seth Dixon's insight:

As an oil boom has transformed North Dakota, the influx of oil workers has changed all the sectors of the local economy.  Agriculture has historically been the #1 economic contributor in the region, but huge piles of grain aren't be shipped to the market, as oil by rail is much more profitable.   

Questions to Ponder: Why is WalMart offering such high wages in North Dakota?  What local factors impact the prevailing wage rate?  What does this tell us about places with low wages?  How does the oil industry impact all the others in the region?     

Tags: manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 2015 11:38 AM

this is great for the economy of not only this area, i hope this sustained income trickles throughout the United States. the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota are grabbing around 1 million barrels of oil per day. it sounds crazy and it really is. this super production of oil has brought down unemployment in this area to 1%. This booming production of oil has also raised wages all over the state, and in return basically has made a cult minimum wage. if Walmart tried to use the state minimum of $7.25 then nobody would want to work at the said Walmart. Walmart must accurately pay their employees to keep them. it is now a competition for workers rather than workers competing for jobs in North Dakota.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 4, 2015 6:31 PM

Its crazy but understandable that the oil boom is having an effect on everything in the local economy, even the wages at store like Walmart.  If these are the prices being offered at Walmart, i'm sure other jobs in the area are paying well also.  On top of that, i'm almost positive that the cost of living here is also high.  But I don't care how much these jobs are paying...Your not going to find me moving to the Dakotas!

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, September 9, 2015 2:32 PM

Wages for companies are like everything in the economy based on supply and demand. Walmart currently has a large supply of jobs in a region where job demand is low, or vice versa. Either way for Walmart needs to increase their hourly pay in order to compete in the job market and appeal to the employees they are looking for. In Rhode Island where our unemployment rate is so high there is  huge supply of workers and a lesser demand for workers. In this scenario a corporation such as Walmart does not need to compete for workers they are in a sense disposal and in excess, therefor even only paying minimum wage  they know they will have no problem finding employees.

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Worst Hurricane

Worst Hurricane | Geography Education |

"What's the worst Hurricane anyone in your town remembers?""

Seth Dixon's insight:

Click here to see a higher resolution version of this map (don't dismiss it as just a cartoon!).  

Nancy Watson's curator insight, August 24, 2014 7:59 PM

Andrew  was bad, Katrina was most memorable

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 21, 2014 1:24 AM

The worst Hurricane that I remember is Hurricane "Katrina" in 2005. I was living in Puerto Rico but I remember seen the devastating news. The largest number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, which was flooded because its levee system failed. Also "Katrina" was the hurricane that has caused more economic damage as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. It was a very sad event. I hope that does not happen again.

Jake Red Dorman's curator insight, October 29, 2014 1:51 PM

My father is actually good friends with a guy who he went to school with that specifically help clean up after natural disasters such as hurricanes. I got to talk to him for a little bit about hurricane Katrina, since that was his most recent natural disaster that he helped with at the time. He said it was probably one of the, if not the worst of the natural disaster to help clean and rebuild. He spent the most time with that natural disaster than any others he said. From de-flooding homes, to destroying homes, to rebuilding homes was one of the most strenuous things he has ever had to do in his career.

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Changes in the U.S. Economic Geography

Changes in the U.S. Economic Geography | Geography Education |
In 1990, the manufacturing industry was the leading employer in most U.S. states, followed by retail trade. In 2003, retail trade was the leading employer in a majority of states. By 2013, health care and social assistance was the dominant industry in 34 states. This animated map shows the top industry in each state and the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2013.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This interactive map is a powerful way to visually display the changes in the economic geography of the United States.  It is especially useful when discussing the transition of an economy from the secondary sector to tertiary sector.  

Tags: manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, January 26, 2015 4:19 PM

I found it quite interesting to see that most of the world in 1990 had manufacturing jobs because working at factories was the only job that was accessible with not many health care service oppurtunities. While in 2013 health care takes up most of North America, when you might expect the majority of North America to be made up of retail trade because so many malls and building are being constructed throughout the world. One positive part of this map is that job opportunities were even there in the first place, without working the economy will go downhill.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, February 2, 2015 6:49 PM

It's amazing to see how priorities have shifted over time.  Also, this is a great display of how technology has taken over what once was human labor.  

Alex Smiga's curator insight, March 14, 7:43 PM

Shifting economies.

This interactive map is a powerful way to visually display the changes in the economic geography of the United States.  It is especially useful when discussing the transition of an economy from the secondary sector to tertiary sector.  

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U.S. Hispanic and Asian populations growing, but for different reasons

U.S. Hispanic and Asian populations growing, but for different reasons | Geography Education |
Both Hispanics and Asians been among the fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups in recent years, but since 2010, number of Asians have increased at a faster rate.
Seth Dixon's insight:

It is often noted that the cultural composition of the United States is undergoing a shift, referred to by some as the "Browning of America."  The story of Asian and Hispanic growth in the United States are occurring simultaneously, which makes many assume that they are growing for the same reasons.  The data clearly shows that this is not the case.  

Tags: migration, USA, ethnicity.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:55 PM


Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 26, 2014 9:46 PM

A very interesting fact, because I thought that Hispanic race had grown rather than Asian race in the last few years but I see that not. Another thing that caught my attention was that the Hispanic  population has  growth due to the Hispanic  birth here in U.S and not because they immigrate to U.S. But in the case of the growth of the Asian population, is because they immigrate. I didn't know that, now I am more  informed.

Suggested by Sylvain Rotillon!

Maximum Summer Heat

Maximum Summer Heat | Geography Education |
A new analysis shows when summer reaches peak heat across the U.S.

Tags: physical, weather and climate, seasonal.

No comment yet.
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High-School Dropouts and College Grads Are Moving to Very Different Places

High-School Dropouts and College Grads Are Moving to Very Different Places | Geography Education |
Cities like Washington and San Francisco are gaining the highly skilled but losing their less-educated workforce.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This article, with its charts and interactive maps, is worth exploring to show some of the important spatial patterns of internal migration.  It's not hard to realize that larger, cosmopolitan metro areas will have an advantage in attracting and keeping prospective college graduates; the question that we should be asking our students is how will this impact neighborhoods, cities and regions?    

Tags: migration, USA, mappingcensus, education.

Kaylin Burleson's curator insight, June 19, 2014 8:47 AM

Good charts/grafts - worth looking at and using with the concept of migration.   

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Disruptive Demographics

Disruptive Demographics | Geography Education |

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a tremendously entertaining and incredibly informative professional development evening at the APHG reading (that isn’t an easy combination to pull of either, and he did marvelously). Dr. James Johnson is a trained geographer teaching in the School of Business at the University of North Carolina.  His talk, entitled “Disruptive Demographics: Implications for Global Competitiveness” (PDF file available here-- video of an earlier version is here) follows in a tradition of superb presentation at the reading; in 2012, Roger Downs gave a great professional development presentation on geographic expertise.

Dennis V Thomas's curator insight, June 3, 2014 9:45 PM
great overview of America's changing demographics!
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The Next America

The Next America | Geography Education |
Demographic transformations are dramas in slow motion. America is in the midst of two right now. Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes.  Interracial marriage, declining fertility rates, migration, economic opportunities and politics are just some of the issues that can be seen in these excellent populations pyramids, charts, videos and graphs.      

Tag: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

CB New Hire Onboarding's curator insight, April 25, 2014 9:35 AM

"The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes.  Interracial marriage, declining fertility rates, migration, economic opportunities and politics are just some of the issues that can be seen in these excellent populations pyramids, charts, videos and graphs." - Seth Dixon 

Amanda Morgan's comment, September 18, 2014 10:46 AM
The demographic shifts will most definitely have an impact on politics and economic opportunities. With as many 85 year olds as 5 year olds, we will see an increase in the need for health care and general overall care for the elderly. There will be more need for social security and retirement plans. While it is a good thing overall that life expectancy is increasing, it may create other issues.
Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 18, 2014 10:48 AM

The demographic shifts will most definitely have an impact on politics and economic opportunities. With as many 85 year olds as 5 year olds, we will see an increase in the need for health care and general overall care for the elderly. There will be more need for social security and retirement plans. While it is a good thing overall that life expectancy is increasing, it may create other issues.

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Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick's Day

Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick's Day | Geography Education |

"Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year."

Seth Dixon's insight:

We celebrate St Patrick's Day to commemorate him for driving out the snakes from Ireland in the 5th century (or to just have an excuse to party, kiss and pinch people).  What does the biogeography of Ireland have to tell us about this legend?  Some believe that the non-believers (figurative 'snakes') were what he drove out of the Emerald Isle, a land with a rich culture.     

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Military industrial complex: These 15 countries have the largest defense budgets

Military industrial complex: These 15 countries have the largest defense budgets | Geography Education |
World defense spending is expected to go up for the first time in five years, thanks to China and Russia.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The top 3 shouldn't come as any big surprises, but there might be a few farther on down the list though that might raise some eyebrows.  There are specific geopolitical, historic, economic and cultural rationales for each of these countries that explain why they are on this list, and discussing those reasons is a conversation would having. 

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:32 PM

Russia is the third highest goverment military that spends around 143 million people lived in Russia in 2012 and they spent around $475 per person on it's military. Russia compared to China and the US is another story the US is number one in who spent the most on their military forces at $600.4 billion. As far as China is concerened it comes in at number two at spending around  $112.2 billion. These numbers make sense especially for the power house that China is and how their values of militarism affect their spending and their way of society/life.

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 7, 2015 10:00 PM

Wow looking at all these defense military budgets show why some economies are not producing well, but at the same time its astonishing how much money is spent protecting homelands. It will grow in the next 5 years, and hopefully i'll be around to see what has changed who has taken the top position because i feel as if their will be a shift in the tides.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 2015 6:10 PM

Not surprised at many names on the list, but am surprised at The US figure, how much it costs per American, and at the gap between The US and China.  Its scary to see some of the names on the list though and wonder if they are using that money for defense, or an offensive attack.

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The States of Our Union ... Are Not All Strong

The States of Our Union ... Are Not All Strong | Geography Education |

"On Tuesday, President Obama, if precedent holds, will declare that the state of America’s union is 'strong.' Is it?" 

Politico Magazine rounded up 14 different state rankings from reputable sources like the Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI, and on important factors such as high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate. Then we averaged out each state’s 14 rankings to come up with a master list—atop which sits none other than New Hampshire. The approach isn’t scientific or comprehensive (we also hold no grudges against the State of Mississippi), but given that eight of the lowest-ranking states on our list overlap with the bottom 10 on his, maybe less has changed in the past 83 years than you’d think.

Cam E's curator insight, January 29, 2014 2:23 PM

It's no surprise to me that New Hampshire is the top, it's my favorite state after all! From its tax policies to its fireworks legality, all of it resonates with me! It's one of my top choices for states to move to, rural areas with mountains and forests rate at the top of my list, and this one has snow and skiing to boot! I'd love nothing more than to teach at a small school up in the high elevations once I get my Elementary Education degree.

Shiva Prakash's curator insight, February 3, 2014 11:20 PM

Technology is changing the shopping habits of buyers. Compete recently conducted a survey that reported a rapid increase in the number of people using their mobile devices for shopping Online shopping which u can buy from home easily with lots of designs of cloths and new technology mobile phones without going out for shopping just click here to go eaZy

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 16, 2014 1:29 PM

Determining how strong a state is is kind of ridiculous. Sure, you can look at the states per capita income and such, but really determining which states union is strongest is a whacky idea. This article has no scientific method research within and it and the idea of a never-changing society is just absurd.

Suggested by Thomas Schmeling!

Most Americans live in Purple America, not Red or Blue America

Most Americans live in Purple America, not Red or Blue America | Geography Education |

"We're far less politically divided by geography than it may seem....Of course, it’s true that Americans aren’t of one mind on many political issues.  But it is important that we not look at these maps and infer that we are so politically polarized by geography.  In fact, most Americans live in places that are at least somewhat politically and ideologically diverse — even if that’s not reflected in how congressional district boundaries are drawn.   In terms of the most important driver of political choices — partisanship — most of us live in a purple America, not a red or blue America."

Chamath Gunawardena's curator insight, December 15, 2013 5:06 PM

I like this article because it shows that the preference of a political party doesn't divide america completely so that that some states are completely republican or completely democratic. Showing that america isn't as politically divided in certain areas means we can view other's views in those areas as a unique view.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 16, 2014 2:01 PM

Americans are entitled to their own beliefs. If they want to be a democrat thats fine. If they want to be a republican thats fine too. Back in the day, this map may have looked different and more on the red and blue sides than purple, but in todays world people have changed. They are not entitled to be a democrat just because they live in a democratic society. People live in areas of purple (more so than just red or just blue), not red or blue and the purple color gives Americans a chance to think for themselves.

Gabby Watkins's curator insight, May 13, 2014 7:50 PM

Unit 5

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This Fall, Minorities Will Outnumber White Students in U.S. Schools

This Fall, Minorities Will Outnumber White Students in U.S. Schools | Geography Education |

"While 62 percent of the total U.S. population was classified as non-Hispanic white in 2013, when public schools start this fall their racial landscape will reflect a different America."

Seth Dixon's insight:

A new report new shows the changing demographics in American education and how it differs from that of the general population.  The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes.  What are some of the reasons and what are some of the impacts?

Tag: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

Linda Rutledge Hudson's curator insight, September 15, 2014 6:02 PM

Have observed the transition in our suburban school district.  I love the diversity -- yet, teaching students from all over the globe, sometimes with limited English, can be challenging.  And, our working population will eventually see the change as well -- at all levels.

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Topography of Religion

Topography of Religion | Geography Education |

"The Pew survey sorts people into major groupings--Christians; other religions, including Jewish and Muslim; and 'unaffiliated,' which includes atheist, agnostic and 'nothing in particular.'  Roll your cursor over the map to see how faiths and traditions break down by state."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a particularly useful interactive map with a lot of teaching applications.  It is a nice visual aid to process the religious data in the United States.  

Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you notice?  Are there religious regions that could be drawn based on this data?   What geographic factors have created the differences in the religious geographies of the United States?

Tags: culturereligion, Christianity, USA. regions, diffusion, mapping.

Ignacio Quintana's curator insight, December 1, 2014 6:56 PM

Even though this is just an info-graphic, this is very interesting. What we can see from this map is the spatial organization of religion specifically in the U.S. It's interesting to see how protestant makes up the majority (but apparently not according to the article above this from Haak's page) and how drastically these views can change from coast to coast, and state to state. What I find particularly interesting is that you can clearly find hearths of many of these religions, for example, Utah has an extremely out-numbering amount of Mormons. For obvious reasons that is, but still very educational to see the centers of many of the big religions in the United States.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:46 PM

Looking at the map, it looks like the Northeast is predominately Catholic while the further South you go along the Eastern coast, you find more Protestants, mostly Evangelical, especially in the from Confederate States. The Mid and Northwest seems to hold a healthy mix of all the Christian denominations while places in the Southwest have a higher Catholic percentage, my guess would be from immigration from Mexico. The one odd ball out in the Southwest is Utah with its 58% of Mormons.

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:04 PM

Different cultural religions and senses of place in America. This graph shows the diversity of religion around the united states as it varies from place to place. 

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Where We Came From, State by State

Where We Came From, State by State | Geography Education |
Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This incredible series of interactive charts from the New York Times show where the residents of every U.S. state were born and how that data has changed over time (update: now available as an interactive map).  This graph of Florida shows that around 1900, most people living in Florida were from the South.  Around the middle of the 20th century more people from other parts of the U.S. and from outside the U.S. started moving in.  What changes in U.S. society led to these demographic shifts?  How has demographics of your state changes over the last 114 years? 


On the flip side, many people have been leaving California and this article charts the demographic impact of Californians on other states.  

Tags: migration, USAvisualization, census, unit 2 population.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 17, 2014 3:42 PM


samantha benitez's curator insight, November 22, 2014 2:51 PM

Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years. helps show the nature of change around the United States and its impact in the enviorment.

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Local Population Pyramids

Local Population Pyramids | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

Have you even wanted to explore an interactive map of the United States and be able to click on any neighborhood to see the local population age structure and compare that to the national, state or county data?  If not, you don't know what you've been missing.  This is a fantastic resource that lets you and your students explore the data AND ask spatial questions.  It's definitely one that I'll add to my list of favorite resources.  


Tag: population, population pyramidsmappingcensus, visualization, USA.

Mrs. Karnowski's curator insight, August 27, 2014 7:13 AM

1G Theme 2: 6 Billion people and me

CT Blake's curator insight, August 29, 2014 8:27 PM

Useful for explaining population pyramids.

Sarah Ann Glesenkamp's curator insight, September 16, 2014 12:08 PM

Unit 2

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Revolutionary War Battles

Revolutionary War Battles | Geography Education |
America's war for indpendence began on April 19, 1775, when the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.

Tags: USA, historicalmapping, National Geographic.

No comment yet.
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The Invasion of America

The Invasion of America | Geography Education |

This interactive map, produced by University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776, offers a time-lapse vision of the transfer of Indian land between 1776 and 1887. As blue “Indian homelands” disappear, small red areas appear, indicating the establishment of reservations (above is a static image of the map; visit the map's page to play with its features).

Seth Dixon's insight:

In the past I've shared maps that show the historic expansion of the United States--a temporal and spatial visualization of Manifest Destiny.  The difference with this interactive is that the narrative focuses on the declining territory controlled by Native Americans instead of the growth of the United States.  That may seem a minor detail, but how history is told shapes our perception of events, identities and places.


Tags: USA, historicalmapping, visualization

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 23, 2014 12:25 PM

unit 1 Perception and bias of maps

Tom Cockburn's curator insight, June 24, 2014 5:51 AM

This will likely resonate with 'first peoples' everywhere

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From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century | Geography Education |
Today's volume of immigrants, in some ways, is a return to America’s past.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The source of migrants today has changed the cultural composition of the United States from what is was 100 years ago.  Cultures are not static and migration is one of the key drivers of change. These maps produced by the Pew Research Center. Despite what media reports would have you believe, immigration into the United States is not on the rise, but maps such as these can be construed to imagine that there is a flow of immigrant coming from south of the border.  The reality is that migration from Mexico to the United States has steadily dropped since 1999.  

Tags: migration, historical, USA, mappingcensus, ethnicity.

Lena Minassian's curator insight, February 4, 2015 6:56 PM

This article was very interesting to look at. I had knowledge that the majority of the immigrant population came from Mexico but it gave a different perspective to see it on a map. The one aspect that caught my attention was how the map of the United States looked like in 1910. The majority of the immigrants back then came from Europe, mainly Germany. Germany was the top country birth among U.S. immigrants because it was very dominating. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 5, 2015 2:12 PM

Many people in 2015 feel that immigration-reform is an absolute must for America.  They usually use words like, "illegal", "terrorists", or "welfare-recipients" to try and scare the rest of the country into thinking immigration has spiraled out of control.  Immigration definitely has a different make-up from a hundred years ago, but that doesn't equate to it being a problem.


An article like this puts much into perspective.  What most naive and ignorant immigration-reformers might not now before reading this article is that the proportion of our current population has a fewer percentage of immigrants than back in 1910.  This fact is totally opposite from the picture that some critics try to draw, essentially, comparing immigration to millions of fire-ants invading our country.


Most immigrants now come from Latin America, whereas, in 1910 they came from Germany.  By reading the article, common sense will tell you that there might be more of a "racism" problem than an "immigration" problem in America.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, September 16, 2015 1:03 PM

Its interesting to me how the primary source of immigrants only shifts from Germany to Mexico in the 1990's, as opposed to when the country was cut in half in the fifties or during WWII. I had always thought that those events would limit German immigration more, however it appears that the primary reason for the shift is more due to the recent (relatively) drug war which erupted in Mexico.

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America's fastest shrinking cities

America's fastest shrinking cities | Geography Education |

"The U.S. population rose by just 0.72% in 2013, the lowest growth rate in more than 70 years. Not only has the country become less-attractive to immigrants than in years past, with net immigration down from nearly 1.2 million as of 2001 to 843,145 last year, but also the U.S.'s domestic birth rate has dropped to a multi-decade low.

While the population of most of the country's metro areas grew at a low pace in recent years, in a small number of metro areas the population actually shrank. Looking at the most recent years, the U.S. population rose by just 2.4% between April 2010 and July 2013, but in 30 metro areas the population shrank by at least 1%. The population in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, fell a nation-leading 4.4% in that time. Based on recently released U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 24/7 Wall St. examined the cities with shrinking populations."

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Human Development Index variation

Human Development Index variation | Geography Education |

"Here's how the United States looks when it is measured on the county level by the same standards used to rank countries by the UN, the Human Development Index.  Five variables are taken into account: life expectancy, income per capita, school enrollment, percentage of high school graduates, and percentage of college graduates." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

Often we treat countries as solid areas and miss many regional patterns; in part because we view global data sets that are at that scale. 

Questions to ponder: what regional patterns do you see?  What accounts for these patterns?  What do you think other countries would look like with data at this scale?    

Tagsmapping, regions, censusdevelopment, USA.

steve smith's curator insight, March 26, 2014 3:53 PM

A fantastic resource for development studies.

Ms. Harrington's curator insight, March 26, 2014 6:57 PM

Regional patterns?

Brian Altonen's curator insight, March 26, 2014 9:18 PM

A WHO map of what life in the U.S. is like demonstrates the role of urbanization and heavily population regions for defining where U.N.'s Human Development Index scores are highest.

Three of the metrics pertain primarily to education.  The fourth is a measure of financial success for a region.  The fifth is most likely a consequence of scoring well for these first four measures.

An obvious next step in making additional use of this map is to compare its findings with the distributions of various language, culture and ethnic groups in this country, according to most recent US Census patterns.  



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Walmart Slumber Party

Walmart Slumber Party | Geography Education |
Who wants to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot?

There are a few generally accepted principles when it comes to the etiquette of spending the night in a vehicle in a Walmart parking lot. One night only. No chairs or barbecue grills outside an R.V. Shop at the store for gas, food or supplies, if you can, as a way of saying thanks. Walmart, the country’s largest discount retailer, says you’re welcome: its Web site says that R.V. travelers are “among our best customers.” The photographer Nolan Conway has been taking pictures of Walmart’s resident guests at several stores in central Arizona. Sophia Stauffer, a 20-year-old who travels the country in a van with her boyfriend and their dog, describes their lots, which usually feel quiet and safe, as their best option for most nights. “We really don’t want to work or live in a house,” she says.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Mobility studies and movement are key elements within geography.  This photo gallery is an intriguing glimpse into a distinct way of experiencing the United States that highlights a hyper-mobile subculture.  When discussing place we often think of the residents and workers, and think of those that use the place with some degree of permanence.  However, many people’s personal geographies are much more ephemeral, and some places are defined by their impermanence and flows.  Wanderlust can strike those in all socioeconomic sectors, and this is a great preview of those on the road.  Fittingly, the dog in this image is named Kerouc.   

Darien Southall's comment, March 3, 2014 1:23 AM
When I was younger my family went on a road trip before heading to a family reunion. The half a week we were on the road we stopped in Walmart parking lots during the nights. Honestly, I think that staying in a Walmart parking lot is something everyone should experience while on the road (whether it be good or bad).
Lauren Jacquez's curator insight, March 3, 2014 12:26 PM

We see this all the time at our Walmarts in Fresno!


Willow Weir's comment, March 10, 2014 12:07 PM
I can see the appeal of safety and the inexpensive nature compared to a camp. I don't think the ability to camp in their parking lots makes up for walmarts many ills considering how many families they keep in poverty
Suggested by Thomas Schmeling!

Historical Metropolitan Populations of the United States

Historical Metropolitan Populations of the United States | Geography Education |

"The graph and tables on this page attempt to show how the urban hierarchy of the United States has developed over time. The statistic used here is the population of the metropolitan area (contiguous urbanized area surrounding a central city), not the population of an individual city. Metropolitan area population is much more useful than city population as an indicator of the size and importance of a city, since the official boundaries of a city are usually arbitrary and often do not include vast suburban areas. For example, in 2000 San Antonio was the 10th largest city in the U.S., larger than Boston or San Francisco, but its Metro Area was only ranked about 30th. The same thing was happening even back in 1790: New York was the biggest single city, but Philadelphia plus its suburbs of Northern Liberties and Southwark made it the biggest metro area."

Paige Therien's curator insight, February 3, 2014 11:29 AM

This information is a helpful illustrator for someone who knows about the geography and history of the United States.  It is important to note the use of "metropolitan populations" rather than "city populations" within particular city borders; as the creator states, "boundaries of a city are usually arbitrary".  In other words, the information that can be given from a "city" do not tell the whole story.  Metropolitan areas, even if spanning out of city borders, share similar local culture dynamics, industry, and infrastructure as the core city.  If one was to just examine the cities and not the entire metropolitan areas of the Northeast Megalopolis, they would be missing a huge part of the puzzle. Depending on the time period, the demanded resources, and the available technologies heavily influence how metropoloitan areas work, grow, and interact with others.   This can be seen in the charts and tables.  For example, the availability of the automobile and other transportation methods deeply affected how people and industry move and how metropolitan areas influence and interact with one another.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 17, 2014 10:26 AM

Comparing and contrasting numbers is a huge part of todays world. Looking at this chart, it indicates the size of the population of the whole metropolitan area. The difference in size of cities and of areas differs greatly and the examples provided can show how the area of a city is different that its Metro Area ranking.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, April 8, 2015 1:55 PM

I was a little confused by this graph at first, as I thought it was measuring population rather than the ranking of the respective metro areas. It is still just as telling, however, even if it is not measuring population. Despite the fact that the lines get a bit jumbled at times, it really is a fascinating graph to look at. It is representative of some tangible and traceable geographic trends that occurred as a result of politics or economics. It is especially interesting to note the decrease in rank of many northeastern metro areas and their replacement by metro areas in the western or central parts of the country. This is, of course, symbolic of the westward expansion of the country during the mid to early 1800s and the decline of the northeast as the dominant population center of the country. 


There are some things in particular that are interesting to note as an historian. For instance, New York's almost perfectly constant place as the largest metro area in the country says a lot about where the country is centered economically and socially. The rapid emergence of Los Angeles as a major metro area in the early 1900s speaks to the new wave of immigration that was occurring at that time. These trends, though not shown on or accompanied by a map, are very telling. Anyone with a basic knowledge of geography and U.S. history can see why certain things trend the way that they do. This graph also reinforces my belief that geography is an absolutely pivotal part of history. It is important to know where things are when you are talking about them in an historical context, or else you will have no visual reference or background and events may seem confusing or unclear. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Walled World

Walled World | Geography Education |
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an in-depth, multi-media interactive that explores the political, economic and cultural implications of borders that are heavily fortified or militarized (I found this too late to be included in the "best posts of 2013" list, but this will be the first to include for 2014).  Not all of these borders are political; in Brazil it explores the walls that separate different socioeconomic groups and in Northern Ireland they look at walls dividing religious groups.  The interactive examines various borders including U.S./Mexico, Morocco, Syria, India/Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Greece/Turkey, Northern Ireland, North/South Korea and Spain The overarching questions are these: why are we building new walls to divide us?  What are the impacts of these barriers?


Tags: borders, political, territoriality, unit 4 political.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 1:06 AM

We looked at this map in class its really interesting nd weird to see all the dividing walls in the world and to discover ones youve never seen before.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 12, 2015 9:53 PM

The video attached to this article reminded me made me think "racism". It is not Americas first time targeting one cultural group and antagonizing them. We did it to the Indians, Jews, at one time we denied Chinese immigrants the right to enter the country or become a citizen. The projection of walls in my opinion only creates more room for crime. I would love to research what benefits its had. I think the world is lacking the understand that people are people .period. This segregation and division is so unnecessary and creates wars, tension, hostility, and divide.


Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:41 AM

the social impact is we do not get to mingle with people of different culture, religion, ethnicity. Economically businesses do not grow at least on the small business side. There is no chance of growth. what about population once again if you stay with in a section divided by walls then the population stays within. a society would have to stay above the 2.06 fertility rate to keep their population stable.