Animations showing the population of every U.S. county from the 18th century until now


Originally published at:


Thanks Rob, that was informative.


You mean, the (white) population of every US county, don’t you? The 3/5ths compromise, and indigenous populations would throw the actual totals off by quite a bit.


Thanks for sharing this Rob! My favorite part is that the visualization actually shows how US population growth isn’t really about “westward expansion,” but rather jumps inward from the coasts. California (statehood 1850), Oregon (statehood 1859) are the 31st and 33rd states, respectively. In practice, coastal Alaska and Hawaii were under federal military control before big chunks of the interior west.

Westward expansion is a powerful story, but the data show a pattern of geopolitical or resource interest, conquest, and then settlement along rivers or railroads.


From the beginning, US Census did (carefully) enumerate enslaved and free black people. Indian peoples are another matter.


Yea, I was going to remark on all that empty land. Almost like it was our “destiny” to fill it up.


All full!! See!!
This why we have to keep all those foreigners out!



Both the sourcing information and I think this shows the progression of population and the Census Bureau hasn’t moved.


Aw man, all the good places are already taken.


Early on, there was actually a slave census, which counted slaves without identifying them individually. As a separate data set, I doubt this map incorporated it. It’s also important to note that the map shows American residents: all that empty space in the 1800’s wasn’t exactly empty.


haha - boundgar & great paris are still using “our” and “we”. if “you” are unaware the spanish reported cities “to rival any in europe” and set out destroy all known codices (documents;) of indigenous histories. there are many others if anyone chooses to read


I’d like to also see contrasting colors for counties that have significantly reduced populations decade over decade (say, for the last 30-50 years) as I imagine it may be a striking element of modern history.


A perfect illustration of why continents that catch Americans should seek treatment early.


It’s good to see that rainbow colour maps are finally disappearing. I’m curious about the reverse-viridis though - is this an R thing, or was it done to make the visualisation work better?


Does it show Native American genocide?


Was that reported by the U.S. Census, the source of this data?


I somehow doubt it.


Then why did you ask?


Surprising to see so little change in the last century.


I was making what is called a rhetorical point about the value of such data and our history.

Why do you ask?