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March 03, 2008

« Creative Compact | Main | The World's Favorite Cities »



Via Andrew Gelman (h/t: Alison Kemper)


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Still it seems as though Starbucks American and Wal Mart America are converging.

$1 Joe from the green giant, and Premium Roast from McDonalds:


David Wakelyn

Sorry to be so difficult, but can we get legends with these maps? Black is obviously "a lot" but how much is "a lot?" You're violating an elementary standard of graphic displays.

Michael Wells

California is impressive for Starbucks, there's a lot of people for that high a per-capita.

Asside from Missouri, Wal Mart seems to be heavy in rural/small town states.


Michael - outside of the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas, most of Missouri is in fact a "rural/small town state".

I'm also a bit surprised that South Carolina does not have as many Wal-Marts per capita as the the states near its home base in Arkansas. Here in the Columbia metro area, 3 new Wal-Marts have opened in the last year and 2 are under construction. That is on top of approximately SIX existing ones (for a total of 11 in the metro's two-county core)! Even with a relatively Wal-Mart-friendly customer base, I would have to think this is overkill and oversaturating/cannibalizing the market. A handful of these Wal-Marts are only a few miles apart, and they are nearly all SuperCenters (i.e., they seem to be becoming more of the neighborhood grocer/corner store than the more regional center they have traditionally been). By contrast we 4 Targets with no plans for new ones on the horizon. Perhaps Wal-Mart went on a building frenzy to preclude competitors (like Target or others?).


These maps are flawed: they give information for a state, but not regions within that state. Example: New York State has many Wal Marts. Manhattan has many Starbucks but no Wal Marts.

Even smaller states such as MA have this issue: many SBUX in Boston, no WMT in 617.

Forget about big (in terms of square miles) states.

Michael R. Bernstein

Another way to make this more comprehensible in a population-independent way instead on per-capita normalization would be to calculate average distance to the nearest SBUX/WMT on a per-county basis (or possibly smaller).


The most interesting thing about this map is NOT the insinuation that there is a rural/non-rural, red/blue state, rich/poor Starbucks and Walmart location affect, but that despite being massive global companies, the two have their highest concentration near their origins. I wonder if this is a sign of local competition as they move further from their base?

Zoe B

States whose ranking is the same on either map (as appears to me in the pn-line version):

New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island

John Dewey

migizzle: " the two have their highest concentration near their origins. I wonder if this is a sign of local competition as they move further from their base? "

Walmart started with smaller stores in small towns. As they expanded nationwide, they discovered that large supercenters in suburban locations are much more profitable. The number of stores per capita may vary more than the square footage per capita when comparing early Walmart states with later ones. Further, the Walmarts in very dense cities - such as the Los Angeles metro area - probably generate more sales per square foot than do the stores in Oklahoma and Arkansas and Missouri. A more enlightening comparison might be Walmart's per capita sales by state - though I doubt the company releases that data.


Starbucks=housing bubble?


Very impressive post. I can appreciate the amount of effort that went into it. You have a very good feel for getting the right information out to the people. I am also very impressed with the website as a whole. Keep up the good work

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