At 163,695 square miles, California is a big state — the third largest, of course, after Alaska and Texas. Surprisingly enough, if California were a country it would also be considered relatively big, ranking as the 59th largest country by area out of around 200 countries, just a tad larger than Paraguay. However, those stats may not give you a great idea of how California’s girth actually compares to different countries, since size is often better understood visually.
But before you head off to Google Maps to see how California compares to other countries, keep in mind that Google Maps uses the Mercator projection, a 2D map projection that sacrifices size in order to maintain shape. These map distortions warp landmasses to make them look larger the further they are from the equator.
In order to get around Mercator distortions, we used thetruesize.com, which corrects for Mercator distortions, to create our maps comparing California to countries around the world, then added some extra data around each country. Which is bigger: Japan or California? How about California vs. the UK? Check out the infographic to find out.
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