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What if we drew the map of the United States based on how people actually live?

Instead of dividing the country up into the familiar outlines of states, this map shows what the U.S. might look like if we based our regions on the pattern which commuters weave every day between cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

More than 4 million lines on this map show the direction and volume of commuter flows. The white borders show a new geography of megaregions based on an algorithmic detection of related communities.

Zoom in and out to explore the map. Tap on the regions to learn their new names. Use the layer control in the upper right corner to turn on City Labels if you need help orienting yourself. Tap and hold on a spot to see the commutes coming and going from that place. Can you find where you live in this new geography of the U.S.?

This visualization was designed by Garrett Dash Nelson (Dartmouth College) and Alasdair Rae (University of Sheffield) based on research published in the journal PLoS One as “From Commutes to Megaregions: A New Economic Geography of the US.”

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Showing Inbound commutes Outbound commutesClear