Megaregions have become an emerging trend in economics in the United States due to labor markets, capital flows, and commutes. That is, the places where people and goods flow the most freely tend to group into specific regions that do business mostly within that region. New research is looking in to how those regions function and which regions exist in today's economy. This is one of the maps they came up with:
The first thing that springs to the eye is the vast economic desert in the west. If you live in Montana or Wyoming, you're probably wondering what is going on here. Well, the study only looked at commutes to large metro areas and simply stated, there aren't any in this region. The flow of work and capital aren't high in these regions because there is nowhere for them to flow and not many people for them to flow with.
Another interesting tidbit is how small the city flows are and how large the rural flows are. Chicago and New York City are relatively tiny compared to the neighboring Corn Belt and Upstate New York. But this can be attributed largely to farming, where agricultural goods and services travel long distances and city goods and services tend to stay within the city's borders.
And in case you were wondering, the coolest new state name is definitely Corn Belt.
(Check out the full paper online for more maps and data)