60% of the U.S. population lives within 700 miles of Columbus Ohio?

This sounds like total bunk to me, but I’ve heard stranger. A guy quoted on the news tonight said “Someone once told me that if you drew a circle 700 miles around Columbus, you’d hit 60% of the U.S. population.”

I have no idea how to go about debunking or verifying this at all.

Not sure why that’s so astounding. That’s a 1,400 mile radius circle, which includes most of the east coast. Population is heavily skewed east in the US:


Perhaps more interesting is that (and I’m guessing), I’d bet it includes more than half the population of Canada, too.

Does that go out as far as Kansas? I’m horrible at estimating distances.

Bing says it’s 661 miles from Kansas City, Kansas to Columbus Ohio.

Yes, here is a site where you can see a pic.

Seems believable. As a rough guess I looked at population by states and excluded California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Massachusetts*, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, Louisiana, Oregon, Arkansas, Kansas,** Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Montana, South & North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming.

The other states have 52% of the population.

*parts of Massachusetts are within 700 miles but not Boston.
**Kansas City is within 700 miles, but most of the state is not and KC MO is the bigger city which is included.

I suspect not. Montreal is 716 miles from Columbus, though that may be driving distance not air miles. But in any case, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Quebec City, and Winnipeg are definitely outside the distance. Only Toronto and Ottawa are major cities definitely within distance.

Montreal is well inside the radius (use brickbacon’s link).

Well over half the population is in Ontario and Quebec (almost 60%), and that population tends south. More than 90% live within 200 miles of the US border, and are heavily concentrated toward the east. The Toronto metro area alone has 25% more people than all of British Columbia.

More than half of Canadians live in the Windsor-Quebec corridor, so it wouldn’t surprise me a whole lot if a 700 (air) mile circle from Columbus (or Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Detroit) bit off enough to get to 50%. Maybe it doesn’t get quite to 50% but it comes close. The circle from Columbus goes out to about halfway between Trois-Rivières and Quebec City.

According to brickbacon’s link, both Boston and Kansas City are within the range, as the crow flies at least.

Yes it’s true, and the traffic is horrible.

I find that statistic utterly believable

Interesting that it doesn’t include California, which has over 12% of the U.S. population. So only 28% of the population is in the intervening states.

Here’s a U.S. map showing population densities by county with a very rough version of the circle superimposed. Most live in “purple” counties, though the map doesn’t distinguish moderately dense counties from very dense counties.

I find this disturbing. I think we need to beef up security on our northern border. Maybe some armored cav divisions? And some SP Artillery batteries equipped with artillery deliverable anti-tank and personnel mines? Scorpion filled ditches?

Check out the “NASA SOCIOECONOMIC DATA AND APPLICATIONS CENTER (SEDAC) – HOSTED BY CIESIN AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, Gridded Population of the World, Population Estimation Service”:

their map client:

which lets you draw a polygon (not a point and radius) and it will tell you how many people live in it.

If you moved the center of the circle to somewhere more southeast like West Virginia or eastern Virginia you could probably get a higher percentage in it as you would trade off the empty UP of Michigan and Lake Superior for more heavily populated Florida.

…how horrible a person does it make me that my first thought was “Awesome! I can use that with nukemap!”? :frowning:

I used Wikipedia’s state pop. totals and figured at least 120M or 38% in more populous states outside the circle, and that’s not even counting a lot of flyover country. Using SmartAlecCat’s link, I got 56% using a quick and dirty approximation.

I think the 60% number is slightly on the high side but in the ballpark.

Drawing 700 miles around Cincinnati gives a bit more of N. FL, but you lose the Boston area.

Using that tool and a 63-sided polygon, I get a US population inside the polygon of 175 million (in 2005) vs. a total US population of 296 million in 2005. That’s 59%, which is close enough I think. Expanding the polygon to include parts of Canada inside the 700 mile radius brings the total population to 193 million, meaning 18 million Canadians live inside the radius. That’s about 56% of the Canadian population in 2005.