Friday, June 03, 2016

America in Decline

The best years for many American towns are now way in the past. Their peak years are behind them and all the future seems to offer is more and more population decline.

Using historical census data Lyman Stone has been able to work out in which year every U.S. county recorded its peak population. With an ever increasing national population you would imagine that most U.S. counties are also nearly always seeing an increase in population. However for more than half of counties their peak population is sometime in the past.

In Where Has Population Fallen? Lyman Stone has created a number of interactive d3.js maps visualizing this population data, showing which counties are in decline and which are seeing population increases. He also provides some interesting analysis of these trends (shrinking rural populations and suburbanization being two likely culprits).

The Washington Post has also been working with Lyman's cleaned up census data to create maps of this historical population data. In The places in America that already have their best days behind them the Post has created an animated map which shows the year in which each county reached its peak population. It has also created a static choropleth map of the same data.

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