Your state of mind might not be in the city
You know, I always hated telling people I was from Georgia. Don't get me wrong, I love the Peach State, andÂ am proud that I wasÂ born and raised there. What drove me crazy was when I told people who weren't fromÂ the Deep SouthÂ that I lived there. Why? Because of the inevitable question:
Like Atlanta is the only place in Georgia.
But you know, people from other places have to deal with the same thing, mainly in those states where a single city jumps to mind, like Hawaii (Honolulu) or North Dakota (Fargo). Can you name another city in Hawaii? If so, you're in the minority. But I digress.
Where am I going with this? I began to ponder the numbers.Â What are the odds that a Georgian is really from Atlanta? Or that a Hawaiian lives in Honolulu? So, I did what all good researchers do, I dug up the statistics.
The results were a tad surprising. There are only a handful of U.S. cities whose populations make up more than 10 percent of their state's population. (We're talking cities, NOT metropolitan areas.) Here's the list:
New York City
So there ya go. Atlanta isn't on the list. (But read on.)
Many of the highest entries are from the newest states in the Union "“ Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico and Arizona. It's also worth noting that Nebraska and Oklahoma have two cities each on the list.
Of course, this doesn't take into consideration metropolitan areas, which was a necessary factor since many urban areas (think NYC or Chicago) span multiple states. But those numbers do made a difference. While only 1 in 10 Californians live in the city of Los Angeles, 1 in 3 live in "metropolitan" L.A. (which includes Long Beach and Santa Ana). When you factor in the suburban influence, Las Vegas leaps to the top of the list.Â Greater LasÂ Vegas is home to 80 percent of the total population of Nevada.
And, lo and behold, although only 5 percent of Georgians live in Atlanta proper, the numbers change dramatically when you take the whole of metropolitan Atlanta into consideration. By doing that, I found what I had feared all along "“ about 55 percent of Georgia residents live there.
So if someone tells you they're from Georgia, I guess it's fair to follow up by asking about Atlanta. After all, you've got better-than-even odds of being right.