Why 1 in 3 Americans live in just four states

Wednesday, 20/03/2024, 16:24 (GMT+7)

The population distribution across the United States is far from uniform, contrary to common belief.

The population of the US is not distributed. 

During election nights, you may have encountered discussions questioning why certain political parties seem to wield significant influence despite occupying relatively small geographical areas.

The explanation lies in the considerably higher population density of those regions.

Why 1 in 3 Americans live in just four states 1
The misconception of even population distribution within the US is debunked. Image Credits: Getty

Conversely, vast rural expanses colored red on electoral maps do not equate to voting power, as land itself does not cast ballots. However, the uneven distribution of the U.S. population is even more pronounced than commonly perceived.

One-third of the U.S. population resides in just four of the most populous states. 

As of 2023, if you are a resident of the U.S., there is a one in three chance that you reside in one of these states.

Why 1 in 3 Americans live in just four states 2
Despite vast rural areas often colored red on electoral maps, their representation in votes. Image Credits: Getty

The leading state in terms of population is California, boasting a total population of nearly 39 million individuals. Following closely is Texas, with a population of 30.5 million, yet it possesses the lowest population density among the top ten most populous states due to its vast size.

Florida comes next, with a population of 22.6 million and the highest density among the top ten states, in terms of population density, that is. Finally, New York state houses 19.5 million people.

Why 1 in 3 Americans live in just four states 3
A significant proportion of the US population resides in just four states. Image Credits: Getty

These four states account for a staggering combined total population of 111.6 million individuals constituting just under one-third of the entire U.S. population of 336.1 million.

However, residing in a state with a higher population can entail certain drawbacks,.

Linking to the electoral college system, when dividing the number of electoral college votes by the population, it becomes evident that the value of a vote varies significantly across states. This discrepancy has prompted debates about the fairness of the electoral system.

For instance, in California, where there are nearly 39 million residents and 54 electoral college votes, approximately 722,200 votes correspond to each electoral vote.

Why 1 in 3 Americans live in just four states 4
California, Texas, Florida, and New York housing one-third of the total population. Image Credits: Getty

In contrast, Wyoming, with a population of around 578,000 and three electoral college votes, has only around 192,000 votes per electoral college vote.

Thus, it takes approximately 3.76 times more actual votes to secure one electoral college vote in California compared to Wyoming, raising questions about the equity of representation in the electoral process.