After the 2004 election, many Americans joked that the states that voted for John Kerry should just form a union with Canada. Although the Jesusland maps were meant to be a joke, what would a divided US look like? First, Let us divide the US in half like this:
It does not perfectly coincide with state by partisanship but it does line up rather well. It also considers geographical boundaries. For example, Idaho and Montana were included to keep the hypothetical the United States of Canada continuous. Let us call the Red part of this map the American Confederacy of the Heartland. I know the names are absurd, but that is the point. I am not seriously advocating for the breakup of the United States but I would like to demonstrate that the Northern half of the United States is much wealthier, healthier and educated than the southern half. Here is the breakdown:
|The North||The Heartland||The North + Canada|
|GDP per capita a:||$52,858||$42,965||$49,144|
|% 25+ with bachelor:||29.5%||25.8%||28.8%|
|% 25-34 with associate:||43.5%||38.4%||44.5%|
Meaning that those in the northern half of the US would expect to live 1.4 years longer, make $8,072 more(in GDP terms) and have 3.7% more of its populace holding a 4 year degree or higher. In percentages: 18.4% wealthier, 1.8% healthier and 14.3% more college educated.
|World Rankings:||USA||Canada||The North||The Heartland||North + Canada|
|GDP per capita:||6th||12th||5th||11th||5th|
|% 25-34 with associate:||12th||2nd||8th||19th||8th|
So there it is; a stark contrast in the standard of living between two Americas. I will allow you to create your own narrative to explain the disparity. My only comment is that public policy really does matter. Originally, my intent was to calculate the HDI for two separate Americas. This is an oft used economic metric calculated as the geometric average of life expectancy, GDP per capita and mean years of school. Unfortunately, the US does not provide the equivalent data for education on the state level. As a part two I plan on comparing the USA and Canada .
a. In International Dollars according to IMF 2011 data.
Methodology: In case you are wondering where these numbers came from: population data comes from the 2011 estimate from the US. Census1. GDP per capita figures are simply the GSP2 for 2010 divided by the state population. Education figures come from the College Board 20113. Life Expectancy by state is once again an easily accessible public figure and comes from the American Human Development Project4. Then with an excel chart, these numbers were incredibly easy to crunch(It’s just weighted averages). Speaking of the American Human Development Project; let’s see what the differences are in HDI for the US states4. The weighted average for HDI is 5.42 for the American half Canadaland and 4.78 for the Heartland. That is a 13.5% difference. Thus, their findings are consistent with my own.
4. http://measureofamerica.org/maps/ (chart)