The best map of the American Census, in my judgement, is from the New York Times. You can find it here.

The best map of the Canadian Census is from You can find it here.

Many analytics practitioners have their roots in catalogs. And in the cataloging business, geography is a huge predictor. You look for exploitable geographical cleavages in electoral behavior and public opinion studies. Geo-targeting is one of the few things that many social platforms do really well.

Consider the cleavage in the chart below. The darker the red, the older the population.

Canada is a country without people. Lots of land. Not a lot of people. You see these very red areas in rural zones. You see younger populations in the far north because of the high birth rate among First Nations. Barely visible, in around Montreal and Lake Ontario, is high population density, younger people.

The same story goes for out West – an aging inland British Columbia, southern Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Hidden away are the urban areas.

You can really zoom into individual blocks on this view. Pay attention to the population charts.

The image below is my neighborhood in downtown Toronto. Note the large concentration of Baby Busters in the area.

The image below is from a small area in Northern Ontario around Bright Lake. Note the bulge of early Baby Boomers. Note how few 25 to 34 year olds there are. The last of the boomers are raising their kids, and the kids are getting out.

Here’s Victoria Park in Calgary. Note the growth: +420.9%.

Here’s the place I grew up – in Eastern New Brunswick. Note the dent.

Places have stories told by the people who stay there. Or who don’t. And, related to place is opportunity and fortune, and the disposable income and price levels that are relevant to that context.

The time that you spend the map will make you better at analytics, because you’ll gain intuition about what’s happening in different areas, and, why things are the way they are.


I’m Christopher Berry.
Follow me @cjpberry
I blog at