What is a region? How are regions defined in the United States? How do we define it for this project? Is it by geography? By climate? By natural resources? By political ideology?
Defining regions of the US and using them as a unit of analysis in the study allows us to see whether there are regional differences and similarities in the data. It is a layer of nuance to the US data analysis. It helps us to see if the way we are defining “region” makes a difference when regional data is measured against national data. Do some regions have more jobs per capita or fewer? Are people younger, older or the same? Do people in one region make more than people in another? How do costs of living differ?
As lovers of maps we used a map to define the lines that separate our regions. The map can be found here: http://www.bls.gov/regions/home.htm. We considered an array of maps that sometimes grouped Texas with the South, sometimes with the Southwest, and ultimately determined that the map we chose to define our study regions would be best represented by US Census Region, since a good deal of our data will be drawn from the Census. We used the regional boundaries to aggregate state level data into regional data, since not all data is collected at the regional level as we have defined it. It is the same data that we collected for the national view, and we offer side by side comparisons of regional and national data for convenience.
CityLab Study on Boston-Washington Corridor.