In Minnesota, gun retailers outnumber museums and libraries


A cool new data map from the Washington Post takes a county-by-county look at licensed gun dealers compared to the combined number of museums and libraries.

On the map (click the above image to go to the Post's interactive version), you can zoom in and see each county's ratio. The two counties with the highest ratio of libraries and museums to gun retailers? Rock County (4 libraries/museums to 1 gun dealer), and Yellow Medicine (9 libraries/museums, 3 gun dealers).

Counties with at least three times as many gun dealers as libraries and museums: Koochiching (10-3), Hubbard (17-5), Cass (28-9), Benton (13-3), Sherburne (25-4), Isanti (16-3) and Anoka (58-16).

Twenty-two of Minnesota's counties have more libraries and museums, 50 have more gun retailers, and five have an even amount of each.

Overall, Minnesota has about 1.3 times as many gun retailers as libraries and museums

Here's the thing: Those numbers basically completely average.

Only 13 of the 50 nifty United States feature more libraries and museums than gun dealers – everywhere else, guns are on top. Minnesota's 1.3 guns-to-libraries/museums ratio is actually 24th in the country; 26 states have a higher ratio of gun dealers to libraries and museums.

The inspiration for the map, author Christopher Ingraham writes, came from a Pew Research Center survey that found people who identified as politically liberal tend to be more attached to museums and theaters than those who identify as conservative. He wanted to find a similar traditionally conservative institution (such as gun ownership) and see how the two compared across the country, to create a part-cultural, part-political map.

"Keep in mind that these two quantities aren't diametrically opposed — there's no reason you can't be a fan of both guns and museums," he writes. "But viewed in relation to each other guns and museums give some sense of a community's values."

What else have we learned about Minnesota from maps?

Well, the state sits right smack dab in the middle of the Beer Belly of America, the site FloatingSheep discovered.

The New York Times specifically defined "Twins Territory," which apparently extends west into the Dakotas and a tiny bit into northern Iowa and western Wisconsin.

In December, Patch looked at changes in obesity rate throughout Minnesota (and the rest of the country).

And in November, the Washington Post sliced the country into 15 different demographic groups, from aging farmlands, to big cities, to college towns. On that map, Minnesota’s north is generally designated Graying America and Rural Middle America, with Big Cities ringed by Exurbs in the metro, and College Towns sprinkled in among more Rural Middle America in the southern part of the state.

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