Where in the U.S. People Aren't Getting Enough Exercise, Mapped

iStock
iStock

The U.S. is a notoriously sedentary country. A huge portion of the population doesn't meet the government's recommendations for physical activity, and that can have some serious ramifications for public health. But not everyone is equally sedentary. Physical activity rates can vary significantly from state to state, as a CDC report spotted by Thrillist illustrates.

The U.S. government currently recommends that adults squeeze in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, plus two days a week of "muscle strengthening activities" like weight lifting or calisthenics. Across the board, the number of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 who actually meet that recommendation hovers at around 23 percent, but some states are much more physically active than others. (Men were also more likely to meet the recommendation than women, and working people were more likely than non-working people to get the recommended amounts of exercise.) The map below draws on data from the 2010 to 2015 National Health Interview Surveys, part of which included questions about exercise habits.

A color-coded map of activity rates in the U.S. with active states in blue and inactive states in red
Age-adjusted percentages of adults aged 18–64 who met federal guidelines for physical activity from 2010-2015
National Center of Health Statistics

Some of the states with the highest rates of exercise are ones we already associate with health and outdoor activity. California, for instance, scores relatively high, with 24 percent of adults meeting the guidelines. Colorado has the highest percentage, at 32.5 percent. Meanwhile, the South, a region already associated with high rates of obesity and poor public health, has some of the lowest activity rates, including 13.5 percent in Mississippi.

It's not just a matter of region, though. Much of the Midwest, including Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri, is at or slightly above the national average, while South Dakota is far below average. New York has a very low activity rate (18.9 percent) while next door, Pennsylvania has a much higher rate of 25.6 percent.

Even in more active states, these numbers may look exceedingly low. If—at the very best—less than a third of adults get enough exercise, that's bad news. But take a few caveats into account before you go judging the entire country as a bunch of couch potatoes. These are broad recommendations, and don't necessarily reflect everyone's health needs; people who are injured, disabled, or chronically ill, for example, aren't going to be able to go for hour-long runs every week, and they shouldn't.

Plus, there are some gaps in this data. The survey relates specifically to leisure time exercise, meaning that it can't reflect the full activity levels of people who have physically demanding jobs. If you're a door-to-door canvasser who walks all day, a yoga teacher, or a UPS driver who lugs boxes around, the bulk of your physical activity might not happen in your down time, but that doesn't mean you're not exercising. Commute time doesn't count as leisure, either, so the results don't factor in the exercise you might get if you bike or walk to work each day.

That said, there is plenty of other evidence that Americans spend too much time in their cars and in front of screens and not enough time moving. The problem is just much worse in Indiana than in Colorado.

[h/t Thrillist]

The '90s PBS Shows We're Still Talking About Online, Mapped

Were you a Barney kid or an Arthur kid? Or maybe you were obsessed with the Teletubbies instead? Or maybe you're still that kid inside, off making PBS memes as an adult. You're never too old to appreciate public television's kids programming, if the recent box office success of the Mister Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? is any indication.

Knowing that today's adults still have a soft spot in their hearts for the PBS shows of their childhoods, the telecom sales agent CenturyLinkQuote.com used Google Trends to figure out what kind of impact different kids' series had on each state. They created the map above, showing the most talked-about PBS Kids show in every state over the last 14 years.

According to this data, the Midwest is all about Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street is big in New Jersey and Delaware, and Wishbone reigns in the Southwest. Mister Rogers, despite his status as a TV icon, only dominates in Pennsylvania. The short-lived Canadian-American show Zoboomafoo makes a surprisingly strong showing, coming in as the favorite in four different states despite only having two seasons.

Did your favorite make the list?

How Much Money You Need to Earn in Each State to Rent a House, Mapped

iStock
iStock

In many places across the U.S., the rent is simply too damn high. Average housing prices are rising twice as fast as wages are, and as a result, more and more people are renting. And that's not cheap either—as of 2015, 38 percent of American households were "rent-burdened," meaning spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

What does this mean for you? This map from the cost information site How Much, spotted by Thrillist, can tell you. It details what kind of monthly income you need to make in order to rent the average home in each state without spending more than 30 percent of your salary.

The map may confirm what you already suspected: Places like California, New York, Massachusetts, D.C., and Hawaii are very expensive to live in. You might be surprised to learn just how expensive, though. While a renter in Iowa only needs to earn $3500 or so a month to comfortably pay for housing, someone living in Washington, D.C. needs to make almost $8500 a month, or almost $102,000 a year.

A pink and red map of monthly wages needed to afford housing in each state
How Much

Here's what you need to make each month to live in the top 10 most expensive states in the U.S.:

1. Washington D.C.: $8487
2. California: $8313
3. Hawaii: $7806
4. New York: $7223
5. Massachusetts: $7193
6. New Jersey: $6717
7. Colorado: $6197
8. Washington: $5993
9. Maryland: $5863
10. Connecticut: $5590

And here are the 10 cheapest:

1. West Virginia: $2960
2. Oklahoma: $3117
3. Arkansas: $3157
4. Alabama: $3313
5. Missouri: $3367
6 Kansas: $3437
7. Iowa: $3473
8. Mississippi: $3493
9. Kentucky: $3570
10. Ohio: $3613

But before you pack up and move to West Virginia or Mississippi, be aware that those states also have some of the lowest median wages in the U.S., meaning that in reality, housing isn't all that affordable there, either.

There are, to be sure, some weaknesses with this particular data. The map doesn't take into account what kind of home you'd be renting—it just looks at the median price for a rental in each state—nor does it distinguish between locations within states. (The rent in Syracuse, New York is a lot different than the rent in Manhattan, just like the rent in San Francisco is a lot different than the rent in Fresno, California.) But it's still a useful snapshot of our current housing situation.

Take a look at the rest of the data over on HowMuch.net.

[h/t Thrillist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER