The map, known as the synthetic population viewer and created by researchers at RTI International, an independent, non-profit research institute, is based on data from the 2005–2009 American Community Survey and represents more than 280 million individuals and more than 112 million households in every state in the country. Both the map and associated data are available free online.
‘The data represent the reality of the US household population very well. By representing every household as a point on the map, a wealth of complex patterns becomes apparent,’ said Bill Wheaton, director of RTI’s Geospatial Science and Technology programme. ‘In order to protect privacy, the interactive map doesn’t show actual households in their exact locations like Google Earth. Nonetheless, the data represent real households in reasonably accurate detail, enabling the map to show complex population distributions. It’s a rich tool for anyone interested in exploring the amazing diversity of human household populations in the USA.’
This story was published in the December 2013 edition of Geographical Magazine