What words are used most to describe your state? To find out, we went to every U.S. state’s wikipedia page and did a word count. (Don’t give us too much credit, we used this handy word frequency counter that did most of the work for us.) After that, it was a matter of setting some ground rules for which words we would allow and which we would discard. Our map excludes:

  • Linking words like “the”, “an”, “a”, “but”, etc.
  • State, city, and county names (that are located within the state we’re analyzing)
  • The words “state”, “city”, and “county”
  • Wikipedia-centric words like “edit”

We just picked the most recurring word that abided by our ground rules, slapped them on a map of the United States, and this is what we came up with:

The dark states include words that are specific to only that state. Some of the results aren’t too surprising (West Virginia has coal, North Dakota has oil) while others are downright head-scratching (why is Maine so set and Wisconsin so first?) But every entry gives us a fascinating insight into what words are used to describe each of our 50 states.