Last week, the United States elected former Vice President Joe Biden as its next commander in chief. Though votes will continue to trickle in over the next week as mail-in and provisional ballots are tallied, here’s a first look at how the nation voted in this year’s presidential election:
Most of America is purple
While a map with counties colored either red or blue can clearly show which candidate won each county, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Many counties voted overwhelmingly for Biden or for President Donald Trump, but much of America fell somewhere in the middle. Fewer than 600 out of about 3,000 counties, not including Alaska, voted over 80% for either candidate.
Tap or hover over each county to explore the map.
Land doesn’t vote, people do
There are far more people in some counties than in others, and the key to a candidate’s victory is the margin of votes they win by in each state. Although some ballots are still being counted, Biden has won the popular vote by at least 4.4 million votes.
The map below shows circles sized according to the number of votes separating the candidates in each county, colored red or blue depending on the candidate who won there. Trump won by small numbers of votes in many counties, while Biden won by much larger vote margins in fewer counties.
Voters turned out in record numbers
This year, nearly 150 million people cast a ballot and according to the U.S. Elections Project, we are on track to see the highest voter turnout for a presidential election in over a century. Most counties in America saw higher turnout than in 2016, including many in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
In some counties, like many in New York and California, the number of votes cast appears to have fallen. However, this may change as these places have been slower to complete counting ballots and the numbers will continue to climb in the coming days.
How counties shifted from 2016
In 2016, one of the keys to Trump’s victory was increasing the share of Republican votes in many counties across the U.S., particularly in the Midwest. The shift from 2016 to 2020 shows a much more complex picture. While many places continued to show growth in the Republican share of votes, others reversed course and shifted back toward Democrats, notably in key battleground states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Karina Zaiets, Dan Keemahill, Kevin Crowe and Dian Zhang contributed to this report.