April 10, 2012

A Map from the Vault: Bars, Bookstores, Bowling Alleys & Adult Entertainment

The other day when looking for a larger version of the Beer Belly of America map, I happened across a map that we made back in the early days of the blog in which we compared references to bars, bookstores, bowling alleys (an oblique nod towards Putnam) and adult entertainment.

For some reason, this map never made it on to the blog, but is worth revisiting. In it, the colors represent which of the four search terms was most prevalent at any location. A green dot means there were more bookstores, a red dot indicates more bars, yellow shows more bowling alleys and blue marks places that had more references to adult entertainment than the other three categories.
The pattern of more bars than anything else shows up solidly in Montana, the Dakotas, the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, with the exception of New England, which is interspersed with a sprinkling of places with more bowling alleys.

In contrast, much of the southern U.S., particularly the Southeast, has many more references to bookstores than to the other search terms. As this is a relative measure, this does not indicate there are more bookstores in the Southeast than the Midwest but that there is a greater number of bookstores relative to bars in this region.

Also interesting is the clusters of more bars along the Gulf coast (Texas, New Orleans and Florida), as well as the southern half of Arizona. This suggests that these parts of the southern U.S. have a different relationship with bars than much of their surrounding areas.

Lastly, the pattern of adult entertainment shows that Nevada represents a very different milieu than the rest of the U.S. The only other points in the U.S. where adult entertainment exceeds the other categories are predominantly rural areas in the Southeast and the central valley of California.

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