Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. Dude. Awesome way to present it.

    I’ll guess — statewide average decline in single-family home values since 2008.

    • I’d go with that, except that if NY were the nation’s loss-leaders I feel like we’d have heard a lot less the last three years about how Nevada and Florida were “Ground Zero” for the mortgage/real estate collapse.

      I don’t have a better guess though. And if it is the case that NYS homes lost a third of their value in the last three and a half years, wow. It’s not Japan, but still. Wow.

        • I don’t think that it’s gone up, but housing prices in the DC metropolitan area have definitely not fallen much off of their highs, no more than 5-10 percent, IIRC.

          I’m going to guess percentage of population living in areas officially designated as urban by the census bureau.

  2. Percentage of population living in multi-unit housing structures.

    • A very reasonable-seeming guess. Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota seem high, though (especially compared to South Dakota, our favorite state-to-state comparison).

      • I would actually guess that most of the numbers would be higher than the ones on the map, including the states you mention, if that were the answer.

  3. I always wanted to play this, but never remembered to look here until late in the week or weekend when it is already too late.

    I’ll guess the numbers are the percentages of underemployed (rather than unemployed)

      • You know Ryan, except for those two I was amazingly close. Unfortunately I didn’t expand the map and thought they were in the 20’s not 30’s. I really only knew the number for my state and spot-checked a few more and guessed at the rest.
        While I like economics more than politics, the colors may indeed be a clue as Tod opines below.

  4. There are some interesting pairs in there. My gut tells me it’s some kind of economic or tax statistic- my head looks some contrasting contiguous states (WY/MO, WI/IL, MI/IN, GA/SC, MS/LA) and thinks it has to be some kind of metro-population statistic.
    I’ll stick with the gut since everyone else is going to guess census type data and say state export growth.

  5. Something to do with tourism? Percentage of state GDP resulting from tourism?

    FLA, CA, and NY are obviously huge tourist destinations. Illinois stands out in the midwest due to Chicago. I suppose Nevada is low, though I may be overestimating the Vegas impact.

  6. It can’t be anything to do with race or immigration status, because I know that Maine is literally 98% white.

  7. Wednesday Hint: Most people will find parts of this map distressing. But not necessarily the same parts, and not necessarily for the same reasons.

  8. Percentage of the population who would never vote for a Mormon. (In contrast to yellow for don’t know and blue for would conceivably.)

  9. Percentage of the population that are members of non-Christian religions (ie Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans).

  10. How about: percentage of the population whose favorite TV show is Jersey Shore?

  11. Thursday hint: It’s tangentially related to issues being discussed around here and elsewhere, lately. I actually created the map for another purpose and decided (after some thought) that it would work for Monday Trivia.

      • How is that calculated? Abortions/(Births + Abortions)? What about miscarriages? And how do they knowow many abortions are being performed?

          • Thanks. I didn’t mean to doubt the figure… I was just surprised they existed.

            I wonder whether the states with particularly low numbers attribute that more to local attitudes toward abortion (either as social pressure or individual preference) or to lack of access.

          • It’s all good, BSK. I meant to cite in the previous comment.

            I think you have to consider culture and access, as well as a third thing: the cost of raising children. There seems to be a pretty notable correlation between cost-of-living and abortion rates.

          • Alternatively, there might be a loose correlation between abortion rates and one or two other factors — degree of urbanization, and religiosity.

          • Religiosity should also be thrown into “culture” probably.

            There is also probably something relating to unwanted pregnancies, obviously. Fewer unwanted pregnancies is naturally going to depress the percentage. I just wonder about a state like Colorado with it’s 1%… what is going on there?

          • Colorado is 16%, it’s Wyoming that’s 1%. That’s still odd about Wyoming, though, because it’s conservative but not in an exceptionally religiousy way like Utah and the Bible Belt. Access no doubt plays a part (the state has one provider), though outside of Casper most of the state lives within good driving distance (by western standards, at any rate) to big places in Colorado (or SLC).

            (The access question actually has me wondering what the elasticity of demand is for abortion. By which I mean, you’d think it would be pretty inelastic given the consequences of not having one. Yet, looking at the map, it’s hard to conclude that a degree of distance isn’t playing at least some of the role.)

          • Geography fail.

            Your last question is an imteresting one. Getting an abortion is not an easy decision. It’d shock me if driving distance was really a factor. If you wanted/needed one nadly enough to truy pursue it, would how fa you had to go change that? Fascinating.

          • Seems highly correlated to voting Obama.

            Why miscarriages are lumped in by Guttmacher is puzzling. I’m sure somebody can gin up a reason.

          • What do you mean lumped in, Tom?

            They track the ways pregnancies end–whether in a successful birth, a planned abortion, or a miscarriage. How would you do it?

          • Looking at the numbers on Wyoming and doing a bit of extra research, I’ve come to a few conclusions:

            1) The Guttmacher Institute notes that its numbers might be off due to women receiving abortions in a state where they don’t live. I suspect Wyoming is particularly vulnerable this since it’s only advertised abortion provider is on the Idaho border. For most women, a trip out of state would be quicker.

            2) According to Guttmacher’s numbers, Wyoming has 94 pregnancies per woman of reproductive age. With the exception of Montana (which has 96), all of its neighbors have at least 100, with Idaho and Utah having even more than that. I can’t help but wonder if Wyoming has an unusually high number of illegal abortions, which are then never reported as pregnancies at all.

          • Mr. Scott, I would report the abortion rate, duh. BTW, nationally, the Hispanic abortion rate is nearly 3 times the white; the black rate nearly 5 times the white. This would be reflected in the map as well.

            We need not stare dully at it. Well, actually we do, without context.

          • Tom-

            No one is staring dully at it. We are tryingt make sense of the vast range. Looking at the racial/ethnic breakdown ks helpful but doesn’t tell the whole story, especialy since we don’t know what is chicken and what is egg.


            Your point about out-of-state anortions is a great one and throws all the numbers into a bit of question.

            For instance, NY, CT, NH, WA, HI, and OR require no parental notification; all those staes are above 18%. Of all the staes that require one or two consenting parents, none are above 18%. This is going to have a huge impact on the numbers, since it is not uncommon for minors to cross state lines to seek abortionsin less restrictive states. Comsidering the map doesn’t accounter for cross-state abortions, it throws a wrench into the whole study.

          • The statistic I used *does* account for interstate abortions. It’s looking specifically at the results of a pregnancy in each state, rather than the numbers of abortions.

            The other statistic that Guttmacher looks at, which I did not use, looks at abortion occurrences per 1,000 women. That is the one that Guttmacher says is influenced by interstate abortions.

  12. My bad. I’m from California.

    I was looking at New York.

    • I was not surprised at New York, though Delaware’s 32% was surprising (and I was genuinely surprised that the differences from region to region and state to state were so great).

      New York is the perfect nexus of accessibility, cultural permissibility, and high costs of raising families.

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