Say what you will about the heart of the Midwest, it’s certainly not hard to find a bar. Geography blog FloatingSheep took a look a the bar-to-grocery store ratio in different parts of the country and it became immediately apparent that Illinois and Wisconsin (and part of Iowa) team up to form the beer belly of America.
Starting in Illinois, the beer belly expands up into Wisconsin and first spreads westward through Iowa/Minnesota and then engulfs Nebraska, and the Dakotas before petering out (like a pair of love handles) in Wyoming and Montana.
The clustering was so apparent that we wanted to check how it compared to the “official” data on this activity. So we gathered 2007 Census Country Business Pattern on the number of establishments listed in NACIS code 722410 (Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)) and divided by Census estimates for state population totals for 2009 and found remarkable correspondence with our data.
On average there are 1.52 bars for every 10,000 people in the U.S. but the states that make up the beer belly of America are highly skewed from this average.
We wonder if this information will help improve tense Illinois/Wisconsin diplomatic relations.
Alisa, the tipster who sent this in, says, “I am from Wisconsin, and I would say this is accurate!” Well, I am from Illinois, and I would have to agree.
Have to say I’m disappointed in Chicagoland, however. Guess that’s why we have to vacation in ‘Sconsin. Or maybe they’re just counting Binny’s as a grocery store.
The Beer Belly of America [FloatingSheep]