In most major cities in America, it may feel like there are more bars popping up lately. Every block you walk, every corner you turn is a new bar. Interestingly, the bars popping up in cities like New York City for example, pale in comparison to states like Wisconsin and Illinois.
In 2008, Floatingsheep’s map, “The Beer Belly of America” showed where a high number of bars were present in each state. It mapped the highest concentration in Wisconsin and flowed west of the country.
Nathan Yau of FlowingData has created an updated map using Google Places API and wanted to address three questions:
- The original map only showed a binary comparison. That is, areas were either colored as more bars or more grocery stores. What if we mapped the magnitude of the difference?
- The data from 2008 comes from the now defunct Google Maps Directory and only represented references to bars and grocery stores (which maybe made the previous bullet point not worth doing then). Would using the newer Google Places API provide more detail?
- What about other countries?
His version of the map pretty much matches Floatingsheep’s, but includes data of the ratio of bars and grocery stores in a 10-mile radius for every 20 miles. As you can see below, darker brown represents more bars and darker green are a higher concentration of grocery stores.
Based on the data that Yau collected, per capita information breaks down to the following:
- Wisconsin has the third highest rate with about 8 bars per 10,000 people.
- North Dakota and Montana take the one and two spots at 9.9 and 8.6 bars per 10,000 people.
- Delaware, Maryland, and Mississippi have the lowest rates, all with under 1.5 bars per 10,000 people.
Yau does state on his site that the data comes from Google Places API so the numbers may be higher than the government records “because places can have multiple place types. For example, a hotel with a bar or a restaurant with a bar can be counted as bars, which is different from places that solely serve liquor.”
He also mapped out other countries. Here are the charts for Australia, Canada and UK.
One thing Yau notes about the data, the higher concentration of bars doesn’t necessarily mean high drinking rates. It could mean people like to socialize at bars, maybe they don’t drink or they drink at home.
For more information and additional charts of other countries, please visit FlowingData.com.