The United States represents a vast area of land with 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million square kilometers) in size. With about 317 million residents , the U.S. is the third most populous country (after China and India) and the fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and China).
Nik Freeman, who runs a popular maps blog, mapsbynick on tumblr, decided to take a look at where people don’t live across the United States. Using 2010 Census Bureau block data, Freeman pulled census blocks with zero recorded inhabitants. The 2010 Census broke down the areas of the United States into 11,078,300 census blocks. Freeman found that 4,871,270 of the blocks covering an area of 4.61 million square kilometers were uninhabited. A little under half of the census block areas (47%) were vacant.
Freeman noted that two main categories determined areas of human absence. The first is areas where it is physically impossible or challenging to live such as water bodies, steep mountainous terrain, or extreme desert areas. The second are areas where human habitation is prohibited such as protected wilderness areas or military bases.
To explore the map and to see more of Freeman’s analysis of the map visit: Nobody lives here: The nearly 5 million Census Blocks with zero population.
A similar map showing uninhabited areas of France was also recently posted to Freeman’s blog. Created by @matamix, the map uses population data from INSEE to show that about 31% of France is currently unpopulated.