Map the Hunger Games! Use BLS Data to Find the Districts of Panem
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released an article that describes how to use the occupation, industry, and area detail in the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) to find the Districts of Panem in the Hunger Games series.
Mapping “The Hunger Games:” Using location quotients to find the Districts of Panem
Fans of the popular The Hunger Games trilogy know that the stories are set in Panem, a futuristic area previously called North America. Panem is divided into districts, each of which has a primary industry.
Because BLS data cover the United States, this article uses clues from U.S. locations rather than from North America as a whole. BLS employment data can help you solve the puzzle of where in North America those 12 Districts of Panem would be.
Finding the Data for Total Employment and Calculating the Location Quotients
Each district’s primary industry offers the best evidence of its geographic location. To find where an industry has a high concentration of workers, look at employment data by industry and occupation.
Industry employment data tells you how many workers are in a particular type of firm or group of firms. Occupation employment data tells you how many workers do a similar set of tasks.
Two BLS sources of employment data that will help in your analysis are the QCEW and the OES programs.
QCEW data show industry employment and are provided here at the county level. OES data for occupation employment are shown here for metropolitan and non-metropolitan statistical areas.
For example, District 11 specializes in grain production and District 12 in coal mining.
Total employment can show you where lots of workers are in an industry or occupation. But, the total number employed also may highlight areas where there are a lot of workers in every industry or occupation, such as large cities. Identifying a large number of workers does not provide enough information for locating the districts.
Instead, you want to find where there are high concentrations of workers in a particular industry or occupation compared with the nation as a whole. For that, you’ll need the location quotient.
The location quotient is a ratio of the percentage of workers in an industry or occupation in a certain area to the percentage of workers in that industry or occupation nationally. A location quotient greater than 1.0 indicates a higher-than-average concentration for an industry or occupation.
Have fun following the mapping instructions!