This Color-Coded Map Pairs Every U.S. State With A Country of Similar Size

This map will rock your world. Literally.

Think you know a good deal about geography and the countries of the world? This map is about to throw you for a loop.

We created the color-coded map of the United States below, which pairs each state with a country around the world that most closely it resembles in size. For example, Massachusetts is labeled as Israel because the state has an area of 10,565 square miles while the Middle Eastern country measures only slightly smaller at 8,019 square miles. Israel certainly makes a lot of headlines, considering its size.

Although most similar maps follow a one-country-one-state rule (meaning no countries are repeated), you'll see we chose the most similarly sized country-state pairings available, meaning there are some duplicates. All states paired with a country share the same color, so that they can be more easily identified across the map.

In addition to providing more accuracy, this teaches us something about the states as well.

For example, Arkansas, New York, and North Carolina are all labeled as Tajikistan on account of their similar sizes, but New York has 29 electoral votes because it's home to nearly 20 million people. Arkansas and North Carolina (though similar in size to the Empire State) have six and 15 electoral votes, respectively, because their individual populations are significantly smaller.


Emma Kapotes / A Plus

Here's a breakdown of each state and the country it most closely corresponds to in size:

Alabama: Greece
Alaska: Libya
Arizona: Zimbabwe
Arkansas: Tajikistan
California: Iraq
Colorado: New Zealand
Connecticut: Bahamas
Delaware: Brunei
Florida: Uruguay
Georgia: Bangladesh
Hawaii: Solomon Islands
Idaho: Guyana
Illinois: Bangladesh
Indiana: Hungary
Iowa: Nepal
Kansas: Guyana
Kentucky: Iceland
Louisiana: Greece
Maine: Jordan
Maryland: Belgium
Massachusetts: Israel
Michigan: Guinea
Minnesota: Guyana
Mississippi: Nicaragua
Missouri: Cambodia
Montana: Japan
Nebraska: Kyrgyzstan
Nevada: Ecuador
New Hampshire: Macedonia
New Jersey: Belize
New Mexico: Poland
New York: Tajikistan
North Carolina: Tajikistan
North Dakota: Syria
Ohio: Malawi
Oklahoma: Cambodia
Oregon: Guinea
Pennsylvania: Malawi
Rhode Island: Cape Verde
South Carolina: United Arab Emirates
South Dakota: Kyrgyzstan
Tennessee: Guatemala
Texas: Myanmar
Utah: Guyana
Vermont: Macedonia
Virginia: Bulgaria
Washington: Syria
West Virginia: Latvia
Wisconsin: Tunisia
Wyoming: Guinea

It can be difficult to imagine the scale of various countries, particularly considering the fact that maps don't always communicate said scale very accurately, but this map helps to contextualize the rest of our world in familiar terms. 

It's also worth noting that Americans are notoriously bad at identifying countries and places. According to the New York Times, a Roper survey in 2006 found, even in the midst of the Iraq war, 60 percent of young adults failed to locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East; about 75 percent could not identify Iran or Israel; and only half could identify New York state. 

"The paucity of geographical knowledge means there is no check on misleading public representations about international matters," Alec Murphy, a professor of geography at the University of Oregon, tells the Times.

Hopefully this map will help familiarize you with these far-off places so you can think of them not as unknown entities, but as neighbors.

Cover image via Shutterstock / prokopphoto.

This story has been updated to clarify the purpose of the colors selected on the map. 


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