Monday Trivia #64

The color spectrum goes gray-orange-navy-royal-green, based on quintiles.

The delineations are congressional districts (from last decade), though there is no reason it had to be mapped that particular way.

Click on it for a larger image.

UPDATE: Tuesday Hint:

Statistics from 2000

Red: 8.7-11.7%
Violet: 7.5-8.3%
Blue: 5.6-7.3%
Green: 5-5.5%
Yellow: 3.2-5%

Hawaii: Blue
Alaska: Yellow
DC: Violet

Will Truman

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


  1. First theory: This map has to do with water. TVA areas are in the upper quintile, as is the lower Mississippi, the entire border with Mexico, and the agricultural areas of central California.

    Second theory: This map has to do with religion. The South and the border states around it have a characteristic religious distribution, and this map looks a bit like that, with allowances for congressional districts (and those allowances must be wide). On any such map, Utah will be an outlier, and it is. I do not understand why central Washington and central California are outliers on the other side, however. In all don’t have much confidence in this theory.

    Slight annoyances: You mean sky blue, not royal. Dense urban congressional districts are too small to resolve on the map; I can’t tell much about what’s going on in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

  2. With classic red/green color-blindness I REALLY hate these kind of maps. Totally worthless to me.

  3. My Alaska is light brown, what color is it supposed to be? I’m guessing gray, but my Nevada is obviously gray. Is Nevada supposed to be Navy? Orange, green, and light blue come through just fine.

  4. HI 1 (the Honolulu urban congressional district) is in Green (highest quintile), while HI 2 (the rest of the state) is in Navy (middle quintile), correct?

    • Though I suppose figuring out which color is ‘highest’ and which is ‘lowest’ is part of the contest.

    • Like Jason, I wish it were easier to see the urban areas. I think you are correct about Honolulu, but can’t say for sure.

  5. Percentage increase in Hispanic population from 20oo to 2010, with green being the top quintile.

  6. As usual, I come in after Randy Harris’ amazingly good guess.

    Undeterred, I will offer my own: FHA loan approvals for first-time homeowners.

  7. You claim that there is no particular reason to map this… thing by congressional district. Doesn’t that suppose that your information is available through a demographic source that makes it mappable by, say, zip code or county? If so, the resulting map might look a little different, no?

    Is this a trivial point? Am I overthinking this?

    • It’s a trivial point. I just didn’t want people zeroing in on “number of congressional outreach offices” or something directly related to congressional activity. I figured that if I saw a map that was separated out by congressional district, I’d immediately think it was something that congresspeople had direct influence over (offices, earmarks, etc.).

      I found some statewide statistics from 2000. I’ll have a new map that’ll show the data that way as the Tuesday Hint.

  8. The Dakotas are different in the second map and the same in the first.

    Not that focusing on the Dakotas has ever helped me, of course.

    • North Dakota and South Dakota are *both* right at (different) cutoffs. Throw in some congressional district placement and they can be in the same or different groupings.

    • That’s a nice touch. And we know that inexplicable differences between the Dakotas are always amusingly confounding in this forum.

  9. People who never made it to high school. The north/south divide is incredible.

    • Any theories for why the Dakotas seem so out of step with their neighbors? Is this still a part of the country where the kids bail out of school to work on the farm? Or is there a high portion of the population in American Indian reservations, with their tragic but well-documented challenges to academic achievement?

      • It doesn’t seem likely that the Dakotas lag so far behind their neighbors academically because of agriculture. And although SD does have the 3rd highest percentage of Native-Americans, but both Montana and Oklahoma are higher than ND.

        I’d first look to see if this has been a constant in these states and, if not, at changes in their education systems in the last twenty or so years. California, NY, and Illinois sure surprised me, too.

        • Not me. Large, dense urban centers are cesspits of academic failure. The reasons for that are complex and murky, but for whatever the reasons might be, you see lots of high school dropouts in the inner city and so it stands to reason that there’s similar numbers who’ve never been at all.

        • Reservations tend to vary from one to the next. Maybe the Dakota reservations are particularly problematic?

          Here’s an odd thing, though: North Dakota’s graduation rate is among the highest in the country. So either they drop out very young, or they graduate.

          West Virginia’s is higher-than-average, too.

    • Never made it TO high school? As in didn’t step in the door? Or didn’t make it out of high school? If it is the former, that is scary!

      • Less than a 9th grade education, to be precise.

        It is very scary. I think this is the most depressing Monday Trivia I have ever done.

        • Something I picked up yesterday (not contagious) is that about 1/3 of high schools dropouts occur in the ninth grade. Some go back, of course, but I don’t remember the number (or the year of the study)

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