Does your neighborhood have more bars or grocery stores? This map gives you an answer to that question — and tells you by just how much — for both your neighborhood and all the others in the country.

Top image and country maps at the bottom showing bar to grocery store ratios: Nathan Yau / Flowing Data.


The map is the work of Nathan Yau over at FlowingData, who explains that after seeing FloatingSheep's map that divided areas of the country into simply whether bars or supermarkets predominated, became curious about by just how much one was more prevalent than the other. The map above, which scales out by how much bars are beating grocery stories, or vice versa, was the result.

Some of the neighborhoods and states had only slight preferences, while others were strong. Wisconsin, for instance, came in with almost three times as many bars as grocery stores. From a bars per capita perspective, North Dakota came in highest, with 9.9 bars for every 10,000 people, followed closely by Montana (8.6 bars for every 10,000) and Wisconsin (8.0 bars per 10,000 people). On the opposite end of the spectrum were Delaware, Maryland, and Mississippi which all came in at fewer than 1.5 bars for every 10,000 people. But just what might those results mean? Yau explains:

I've actually been to none of these six states, so I'm not sure how to interpret these rates. The gut reaction is to assume that states with a lot of bars must drink a lot, relative to the others, but it might just mean that people like to hang out at bars in these areas. Maybe they don't even drink. Maybe people in other states drink more at home.

I'd actually also add one other explanation to the list: It's not that these areas always have a lot of bars, it's that some of them have very few grocery stores. Consider this map of food deserts generated by the USDA's Food Access Research Atlas, which for the purposes of this map are defined as areas where a significant portion of the residents are either one mile (in urban areas) or 10 miles (in rural areas) from their nearest grocery store:

Image: Food desert map generated by the USDA / ERS.

It's not a perfect overlay of the two by any means. Still, the sparseness of the grocery stores in some areas — and the corresponding move towards looking for alternate food shopping venues — is also a factor that can push the bar-to-grocery ratio.


Yau also compiled maps for several countries around the world. In France, Italy, Spain, and the UK, bars all predominated, while in Germany, India, Japan, and Poland grocery stores were the clear winners. Only two of the countries had what looked like an approximate tie, Australia and Canada, where the proportion of bars to restaurants was roughly even throughout the country, although grocery stores had an edge.

Do the maps line up with what you've seen in your neighborhood or part of the country? Tag the map and tell us.