I moved to Westchester County, New York in late May. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out why Westchester is so different from where I grew up in Panola County, Texas.

It’s not that there aren’t obvious differences: Westchester happens to be a suburb of New York City. Panola County is in the middle of East Texas nowhere. On East Texas radio, you hear mostly country music. In Westchester, it seems they really, really, really like Prince. Prince of the “Little Red Corvette” and “Raspberry Beret” era. One is suburb, the other rural.

But they both have cities (or in Westchester’s case, villages) that are small. I grew up in Carthage, which had a population of 6,660 at the time. Irvington, one of the villages I cover, has a population around 6,000 as well.

I’ve been trying to describe how this could be, but the only thing I seem to be able to put together is that Panola is much less dense than Westchester. Everything’s spaced out and wider.

That doesn’t really hit you until you look at Census numbers. So thanks to a really interesting infographic tool (Creately) and the fabulous Census Bureau (every journalist’s best friend), I made an infographic comparing population and area size. Yes, this does solidify my nerd status:

Next up: a look at municipalities and New York’s quad-municipality system.

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