Population geographers typically create maps showing us where all the action is. This map, on the other hand, does not.
This map was put together by Nik Freeman using census data from 2010. All those green areas you see are census blocks in which nobody lives (a block being the smallest area unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics). The U.S. consists of 11,078,300 of these blocks. Of these, 4,871,270 blocks — totaling 4.61 million square kilometers — have no population living inside them. That means 47% of the USA remains unoccupied.
"Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States," writes Freeman at his blog. "Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country's population geography."
Unpopulated areas typically consist of federal lands, parks, grazing land, or desert. Some of these places are also challenging to live in. Interestingly, some blocks also consist of industrial and commercial areas that are, technically speaking, uninhabited, but developed.