You probably know that New York City is an expensive place to live. But did you know that the total value of property in Manhattan is about the same as the total in Michigan? Or that the total value of property in Queens is on par with that of Louisiana?

Max Galka, who runs the blog Metrocosm, has created a series of fascinating maps that show just how much wealth is locked up in the towering property values of America's coasts.

This gif below, for example, cycles from a map of the U.S. where each county is colored to reflect the total value of its property to a special kind of map called a cartogram. For the cartogram, Galka enlarged or shrunk the land area of each state to represent its total property value, using data from The Economist.


In the second map, the east coast, the Bay area and southern Florida all swell to gargantuan proportions. You can also easily identify Chicago, Seattle, and other metro areas around the U.S. Much of the Midwest, West and South, however, shrink down to almost nothing.

Here's a closer look at Galka's second map:


Here's another map where Galka contrasts this kind of data by state. As the map intimates, about half of the total property value in the U.S. comes from only five states: California, New York, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania. You can visit his website for an interactive version of the map:


Finally, this map contrasts how property values in New York City compare with the rest of the country.

Galka has drawn this map so that New York and the United States are on the same scale -- so the size of the boroughs and the size of the states are directly comparable. The colors show each area's total property value.

The interactive version of the map, which you can see on Galka's site, lets you thumb through and see how the property values of different New York boroughs compare to states around the U.S.


As Galka writes, New York City is only 305 square miles -- representing a tiny 0.008 percent of the total land in the U.S. Yet its housing value makes up about 5 percent of the total, and collectively is worth more than the housing in all but four states.

The housing in the Upper East Side alone, which is less than one square mile, is worth more than all the housing in New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming or Alaska.

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