The United States of Starbucks: An astronomy student’s map

Mar 14, 2013, 7:49 AM | Updated: 8:37 am
Starbucks end up clustering, as you might expect, around cities and around highways. (Image courtes...
Starbucks end up clustering, as you might expect, around cities and around highways. (Image courtesy
(Image courtesy

There are Starbucks everywhere. As a PhD candidate at the University of Washington, James Davenport was well aware of this. He calls the Northwest home, and as he put it – grad students drink a lot of coffee.

So Davenport did what all other scientists do with their free time: mapping.

“I found when you map out about 17,000 Starbucks locations you trace the United States,” Davenport told Seattle’s Morning News.

Starbucks end up clustering, as you might expect, around cities and around highways. Davenport also point out nodes in the middle of the Southwest and Midwest where you can find airline hubs.

You also find dense clusters around major cities – especially Starbucks’ hometown Seattle, and the largest city in the country, New York.

Davenport’s research found that 80 percent of Americans live within 20 miles of a Starbucks. He said it’s because they’re often concentrated around shopping centers.

While most people wouldn’t drive 20 miles to buy a cup of coffee, they might drive 20 miles to get to a Costco, a hardware store, or somewhere where they might buy home goods. Then, they might stop for that frothy and delicious caramel macchiato.

But if you want to get away from “the green monster” Davenport has pinpointed the furthest spot away from a stand-alone Starbucks in the lower 48: seven miles east of Alta, Wyoming.

The spot is located in Grand Teton National Park.

But, if you’re willing to settle for a Starbucks located inside a grocery store – Davenport believes there is one in the Safeway about 18 miles away.

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The United States of Starbucks: An astronomy student’s map