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Did you know That 60% of Canadians Live South of Seattle?

    While Americans commonly perceive Canada as “the North,” a sentiment shared by many Canadians, the geographical reality diverges significantly from this stereotype. Surprisingly, over 60% of the Canadian population resides south of Seattle, challenging the conventional notion of Canada as a predominantly northern expanse. The geographical extremities further emphasize this point, with the southernmost part of Canada sharing a latitude with California.

    This geographical nuance prompts a reconsideration of traditional perspectives, as the majority of Canadians find themselves situated south of the U.S.-Canada border. This demographic concentration below the 49th parallel not only defies expectations but also positions Canada’s southern regions in closer proximity to the climate and latitudinal coordinates associated with more southern U.S. states.

    The southernmost reaches of Canada align with the latitude of California, highlighting a surprising parallel between the northernmost parts of the United States and the southern extent of the Canadian landscape. This geographical revelation challenges preconceptions, underscoring the complexity and diversity inherent in Canada’s population distribution and its relationship with the concept of “the North.”

    The distribution of Canadians across the vast expanse of Canada is far from uniform, revealing a significant concentration in the southern regions adjacent to the U.S. border. The expansive northern and central areas of the country, in contrast, remain largely uninhabited. This demographic pattern has led to a somewhat ironic characterization, as many Canadians can be considered “southerners” due to their predominant residence in the country’s “Deep South.”

    Exploring the specifics, the eastern section of the U.S.-Canada border extends well below the 49th parallel, encompassing major urban centers such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Québec City. Several key metrics underscore the demographic imbalance within Canada:

    1. Approximately 90% of the Canadian population resides within a relatively narrow band of 100 miles (160 km) from the U.S. border.
    2. More than 70% of Canadians inhabit areas situated below the 49th parallel.
    3. A notable statistic reveals that over 60% of Canadians have chosen to make their homes south of Seattle.
    4. Canada holds the distinction of being the second-largest country globally in terms of land area; however, when it comes to total population, it occupies the 37th position.

    Discover more maps about the phenomena of Mental Map Oversimplification MMO as featured on Atlas Obscura.

    (Image credit: Victoria Ellis)

    Tony M.