Local

Amazing Map Shows Where Nobody Lives In Chicago Area

View Comments
The green shows where the U.S. Census reports zero population. (Credit: Maps By Nick/Tumbler)

The green shows where the U.S. Census reports zero population. (Credit: Maps By Nick/Tumbler)

Featured & Trending:

Latest News Headlines:

By John Dodge

CHICAG0 (CBS) — Hello, is there anybody in there?

There are many places across Chicagoland where nobody lives, according to the U.S. Census.

“Mapsbynik” is a blogger on Tumbler and examined all the U.S. Census blocks that reported zero population across the United States.

A block is the smallest area unit used by the Census for tabulating statistics. The blocks are not all the same size, as the bureau creates boundaries based on things like major borders, rivers and streets. In the U.S., about 43 percent of the blocks have zero population.

Zooming into the Chicago area, it is a bit surprising to see so many spaces without people in such a densely populated environment.

Most of the zero-population zones are places, depicted in green, that are uninhabitable, such as large factories, airports, office complexes, rivers and forests. According to Census data, nearly 14,000 or the nearly 452,000 blocks are just water.

One can see O’Hare on this map, or the line of industrial factories, including BP and Inland Steel, that curl along the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

Can you spot other landmarks? Like Fermi lab or various forest preserves?

“Mapsbynik” created an interactive map that allows users to zoom into any area of the United States.

“At the local level, city and county parks emerge in contrast to their developed urban and suburban surroundings,” “Nik” wrote in his blog post. “At this scale, even major roads such as highways and interstates stretch like ribbons across the landscape.”

As of the 2010,, the United States consists of 11.1 million Census blocks. Of them, more than 4.8 million blocks totaling 4.61 million square kilometers were reported to have no population living inside them, according to the research.

Much of the Western United States, along with Alaska are totally void of human population.

“Ultimately, I made this map to show a different side of the United States. Human geographers spend so much time thinking about where people are. I thought I might bring some new insight by showing where they are not, adding contrast and context to the typical displays of the country’s population geography.”

View Comments