The most demographically average counties in the US

This is the first in a series of posts where I will discuss various statistical analyses I've done with data collected by the US Census Bureau. The data used for the analyses was downloaded from the US Census Bureau's State and County QuickFacts site.

For awhile now I've had some ideas for interesting statistics I could calculate from Census data, but I had never really played around with it until yesterday. The first idea I decided to pursue was to calculate the most demographically average county in the US. In other words, the county that is, on average, the closest to the average for each of the 82 different demographics available.

First, I will explain how I calculated the results. If you don't care, you can skip this paragraph. Basically, for each of the 82 demographics, I calculated the average and the standard deviation. Then for each of the 3146 counties, I calculated the average of the distances from each average as a percentage of each standard deviation (in order to normalize it). That gave me a single value for each county that should represent the overall averageness of each county. The lower the number, the more average the county.

Below, I've listed the top ten most demographically average counties in the US. If you're interested in a breakdown of all of the demographics for these counties, click here to see them all in one big table. Keep in mind, when looking at this data, that this does not represent the average person nor the area in which they live. These are average places based on demographics. More than 50% of people in the US live in less than 5% of the counties in the US (none of which are even close to any of the averages).

  1. El Paso, Colorado
  2. Fairfield, Ohio
  3. Miami, Ohio
  4. Oldham, Kentucky
  5. York, South Carolina
  6. Ouachita, Louisiana
  7. Blair, Pennsylvania
  8. Marion, Oregon
  9. Wood, West Virginia
  10. Sumner, Tennessee

Also, below is the first in a series of maps that go along with this series of posts. It represents the demographical averageness of all US counties. The darker the color, the more average the county. Click on it to enlarge.

Demographical averageness of US counties

That's all for now. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments for other interesting calculations I could do with Census data.

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