Facebook > Email > More Pinterest Print Twitter Play

How Big Is Texas, Compared to Other Land Masses?

By Comments

Texas is enormous, but it’s hard sometimes to put its size in perspective: just listing the distance from, say, El Paso to Beaumont (824 miles!), and noting how it compares to the distance from Dallas to Sioux Falls, SD (841 miles!) doesn’t quite do the trick—unless you’ve done both drives, it’s still kind of abstract. 

Here’s one way to get a better look at exactly how big Texas is, though, as our friends at MySA.com found last week: Using the web app MAPfrappe (fun to say, too!), you can cut out the shape of Texas, and then superimpose it throughout the world via a Google Maps API. 

MAPfrappe isn’t the same as just taking your scissors to the World Atlas and moving Texas around to compare things—maps become less accurate at different longitudes, so MAPfrappe distorts the size of Texas to show exactly how big it would appear on the map at a given location. For example, this is what it would look like if you simply took Texas and superimposed it over the part of the map where Alaska is: 

tiny alaska

Tiny, right? But when Texas is distorted to more accurately reflect how size is magnified at higher longitudes, you get a better idea of how the two states stack up (spoiler: Texas is still smaller than Alaska, but not as much smaller as you’ve heard).

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how Texas stacks up to some other parts of the US.

A few things here: First off, Montana is friggin’ huge, too, and we don’t spend enough time giving the state credit for its mammoth size. What’s up with that? You’re big, too, Montana, don’t let anybody ever tell you otherwise. Out in the Midwest, meanwhile, the amount of area you can cover while still staying within what would be the borders of Texas is impressive. People in St. Louis don’t tend to think of folks out in Charleston, South Carolina as living close to them, but they’re almost the exact same distance as El Paso and Brownsville. Charleston is similarly geographically disparate from Detroit, but they’re about as close together as Amarillo is to the Rio Grande Valley.

Everything’s a bit more spread out in the west, but still—you can get a good chunk of California in the boundaries of Texas, and pack in Nevada, and parts of Arizona and Utah, too. 

Now let’s head over to Africa. Africa, of course, is a gargantuan continent, which is something that our maps have often failed to portray. (When you live in a country whose maps literally cut Asia in half so that you can be in the center of the world, it tends to be a little distorting.) But even a relatively obscure West African nation like Mauritania is bigger, on balance, than Texas. Countries like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are much larger.

This puts some things in perspective regarding the Ebola scare of 2014, as well: the countries facing an Ebola epidemic were West African nations like Liberia and Sierra Leone. You can spot them a bit underneath Mauritania in the first map up there. Those countries are a massive distance from other parts of Africa. They’re a solid Texas-sized distance from Nigeria, which is itself a couple of Texases away from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has still another couple Texases to go to get to South Africa (not pictured here, because Africa is huge). That’s a thing worth considering, when thinking about how big Africa is. You could fit literally dozens of Texases in there.

Over in Europe, though, things are a little different. France is roughly the same size as Texas—but you can comfortably stuff Switzerland in alongside it like an accessory. The further east you go, meanwhile, you can smoosh a whole lot of a whole lot of countries within the Lone Star State: Paris, Prague, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich, and Florence could all be little bits of Texas, in an alternate reality. (This’ll help explain why, if you live in Texas and have a European friend visiting New York, they might suggest you drive up to meet them—they have no idea that Texas alone is as large as much of their continent.) 

A continent that is much bigger than Texas, though, is Australia. We’re basically just a random smattering of outback to them.

Over in Greenland, though, we take up a lot more space than it appears on the map, because of the longitudinal distortion. Texas gets a bit funny-shaped that far north, but the Greenland land mass isn’t as big as we think it might be.

It can also be instructive to look at the size of parts of the world we’ve been involved in conflicts. In the Middle East, for example, things are pretty spread out, which is useful to keep in mind. Our ally Saudi Arabia is considerably larger than Texas, while there’s a great deal of distance from, say, Iran (also big enough to hold a Texas) to Libya (which is to the left of Egypt in the top map). That’s perspective that it’s hard to get without a frame of reference—and when you need a frame of reference, there’s Texas.

The same is true in Southeast Asia. A good deal of Vietnam fits snugly alongside the stretch from Corpus Christi to Texarkana, which is a lot of miles—but you’ve got a whole second Texas to go if you want to include the Northern part of the country and Hanoi. But only the eastern edge of the state—by the time you get as far west as Austin, you’re in Cambodia. 

Afghanistan, meanwhile, is smaller than Texas on its own. 

If you’re the right kind of nerd, you can probably do this forever and not get bored—check it out, Mexico is maybe two and a half Texases! As a frame of reference for how big parts of the world are, Texas is a pretty good one. 

(h/t MySA.com)

Related Content

  • KatWoo

    Aren’t Mercator projection maps distorted based on latitude, not longitude?

    • Ingles

      Correct, the amount of distortion is based on Latitude, but the distortion takes place via manipulation of Latitude and Longitude. Specifically, a degree of Latitude is the same distance everywhere from the equator to the poles. A degree of Longitude is a different distance depending on what Latitude it is (higher Latitude = less distance). The Mercator projection shows all degrees of Longitude as being the same distance regardless of Latitude, and the distance of each degree of Latitude is shown as increasing the further you are from the equator. Hence why Alaska looks half the size of Africa on a Mercator projection. In reality, the entire upper and lower edge of a Mercator projection of earth should converge to a single point each.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Mercator_projection_SW.jpg

  • Sorry to burst your bubble, but the “correct” map of Texas on Alaska is still off, Fact is Alaska has 663,300 square miles and Texas has 268,820. That is 2.5 times bigger and the adjusted map distorts that fact :). Don’t worry we Alaskas still love our little brother.

    • Darnitol

      Texan here: Yeah, the maps do seem off to me too. It seems weird to me that they’re doing this weird distortion instead of just taking the political boundary as it sits on the globe, moving it to another part of the globe, and then rebuild your projection from the center of that map. The Mercator projection has given people a horribly skewed concept of geography in the first place. It doesn’t make sense to frame a new (and cool) geography lesson within the idea of “we’re going to re-distort Texas to the same distortion as someplace else so you can see how a distorted Texas compares to the distorted place you already misunderstand because it’s always distorted on maps.” Like Alaska.

      Meanwhile, kudos to Alaska. They have the biggest land mass, by far. Give the folks credit where it’s due.

    • Ingles

      Eh, the way they show it is probably accurate given the distortion. Even the picture they show has at least another Texas-sized chunk of Alaska that lies outside the Texas borders. They also don’t show any of the Aleutian Islands, and most of the large strip of Alaska that runs south along the border with British Columbia is not shown either. There’s your other half-a-Texas. Looks pretty accurate to me. Referencing my two western-Canada and Alaska centered wall map projections concurs with my deductions above. I’ve driven the Alaska Highway, and I’ve driven from Orange to El Paso on I-10. Both are heinous, but the radio selections were better in Texas, haha.

    • Rick Gudnason

      663,300 square miles compared to 268,820 square miles ? , But, you have to know square miles of what ???????? Texas…equals land !…. Alaska, you can’t count ice and snow or water, so, Texas is still bigger !

      • Its_Your_Brain

        Hey Rick, 663,300 sqaure miles of land. Glacier ice or snow is still over land. Compared land mass verses land mass, Alaska is over 2 times bigger. Just a fact 🙂
        Another fun fact, the northern part of Canada (the regions of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunuvat) are 2 times bigger than Alaska.

  • KD2012

    Only thing bigger in TX than the land are size of the Teaxans heads.

    • Halbs

      It’s not bragging if you can back it up!

    • Glenn Gallaher

      Texans have a right to be, Remember the Alamo where it was 20 to 1 and a well armed military and we still kicked A__. No other state in the Union can claim anything close. And remember the original Boarders of Texas, not what was stolen. So if you want to get picky. The original mass of Texas which almost reached the boarder of Canada. Remember the North stole land under an imaginary right. What will happen when the people realize and understand the truth about this little lie?

      • MrClean417

        You can always tell a Texan,,,,,
        You just can’t tell em very much.

        • Glenn Gallaher

          Remind me, what other Nation (state) in the union can claim they fought to win their independence from one of the major super powers at the time? The last I heard they never have had any of the problems Texans have faced. They have never fought to Succeed form the government that was in control at the time. Out of 50 different Nation (States) of the Union of the United States has ever had any thing anywhere close. So please remind me again of the plight of having land stolen and given to other Nations (States) under the guise of a bill that Texas never was part of? Again remind me of why we have been at war for the last 200 years while you are at it. And remind me again how since we were in the south we had the government of the North forced upon us after we had just fought for our freedom. And how we had our representatives of the south replaced by puppets of the north to pass legislation against the people? Oh, that is right, that is not what is taught in schools. Please learn the truth before you make a comment like that and be more respectful of those that know the lies from the truth.

          Texans deserve respect for what they have accomplished. And to criticize like that just shows how little you really know. It shows that you are not really worth the effort. But I am Texan and will teach you the truth in the face of the lies you were told. As for learning, I can not help those that look at the truth and claim that I am a conspiracy nut and want to believe a group of known lairs. So be proud that you know the lies and think yourself smart, because that is exactly what those in charge want you to think. Because those in charge know if you knew half the truth, you would not support them. Maybe it is time you quit acting like a child and that of a childish mind and try to educate yourself on what has happened in the face of what you were taught to repeat. It takes an open mind to understand, can you?

          • ursois

            As a fellow Texan, I’d ask that you take the time to correct your grammar before posting long rants about Texas, as you’re making the rest of us look bad.

      • Traci

        I’m guessing the original boarders of Texas were the American Indians. Who was the original boarder of Canada?

        • Glenn Gallaher

          No, I am talking about the original land mass of the Nation of Texas that was stole in an attempt to take the land away from the people. It was under the guise of paying a bill that was incurred because of war. Remind me again what other nation has the United States North invaded and stolen land under the guise of paying off a bill incurred it had a right to do? I do not see where the United States has claimed any land in Europe as a result of WWII or in Iraq. Instead it used money it has stolen from the public and paid a debt for killing.

          See it yet? See how it is acceptable for the north to push and steal from those in the south under a guise and steal land and lives and never held to the same standards as it would if it was a nation across the sea. Maybe it is time that we of the south demand compensation for the deaths that the North caused. Maybe we are not the ones that should be held accountable for a single sent of the debt of the North.

          If you are not educated in the facts and truths and lies, please do a bit of research. You learn about the Louisiana Purchase, but you are kept in the dark about the size of Texas and why the North wanted the land. It would have cut the United States in half where there would be a state or two that the military could move through that was not Texas. So please spend some time and learn the true history of the United States that no person that is taught in public de-education is taught.

          • David Kip

            Oh, you were there during the wars and the Alamo and all that?!
            YOU actually fought for Texas?!
            ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE IN TEXAS TODAY?!
            Lol, it’s funny how some people can be so full of pride about something they never did, yet even so try to claim it as their own victory. Patriotism can be a strange and addictive thing. You’re trying to lay out some kind of claim to how “badass” Texans like yourself are because of things in the past that nobody alive today has anything to do with. It’s entirely false pride. Lol. Your “bragging” is weak and unjustified. Go on, swell that ego up, keep it up, hope it makes you feel better. Also, Texas has some backwards ass laws as far as civil rights go. Keep your Texas, I don’t want anywhere near it man. Hilarious XD.
            Also, I’ve lived in the south my entire life (but have visited the north)
            and I have to say, I’ve met the most ignorant, hillbilly, uneducated, racist people here in the south. Don’t even get me started about the religious bigotism. It drags down our progress as a species, drags down science, EQUAL RIGHTS, CIVIL RIGHTS even. It’s a shame. It’s even more of a shame that most southerners like this seem to be PROUD of the ignorance that they display. Grow up already, get with the program like the rest of America, jeez.

            “Texans deserve respect for what they have accomplished.”
            ^^ Double-thumbs-down, triple-whoopie-cushion. ^^
            Because…
            The people in the PAST who have done good things for our people and country, deserve that respect. You had no part in it; why should you gain that same respect? Texans TODAY don’t even compare, nor do they deserve that SAME respect, for they have NOT done what the Texans in the PAST did. Simply living in the same state as those people did does not entitle you to any amount of respect.
            False pride is a bitch eh? Time to hop off the high horse.
            Being a member of any particular state or country does not make you better or deserving of more respect than aaanybody else.
            Your actions as an individual is the only thing that can earn that.

          • Glenn Gallaher

            Dip is it? Where in there did I not state fact? For one you are scared to show who you really are. Two calling me out on pride where there is no pride and just facts listed. I expect you moved to the south from the north and all you are right now is a bunch of hot air that wants to be heard by calling names. But if you think that once property is stolen, it now belongs to the ones it was given to, right? Or is it still wrong in the fact that the land was stolen? Or does that work out for you or does it cause you a headache? Does the concept of returning property once stolen, bother you for some reason?

  • TheBigMachine

    What kind of bogus propaganda is this article?! Why is Texas so small in your “maps”? Here’s the real Texas map…

    http://www.happinessplunge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/A-texans-map-of-the-united-states-of-america-big.jpg

    • Halbs

      I had a buddy in college who refused to acknowledge that people were from other states. Instead, he would say you were from the Texas city closest to your state. Ex. New Yorkers were from Texarakana, Floridians were from Beaumont.

    • BDS

      I lived in Texas for a couple of years and find this map to be more accurate

      • unbelieveable_wow

        glad you left…

  • $22570111

    Why no Texas/China, Texas/Canada or Texas/Russia?

    Why only compare Texas to small countries?

  • Tom Tobin

    How about showing how many Englands would fit into Texas?

  • Narcissus Oncidium Amorphophal

    Oddly ( or not), Texas, roughly has the same population of the whole of Australia!!

  • BIg G

    You can always tell a Texan…it’s just hard to tell us much.

  • Oliver

    Bottom line, is there a map that doesn’t distort land masses and is an accurate database? If so, what is it?!

    • CORMAC___NJ

      It’s called a “globe.”

  • richard whaley

    When i was young, my daddy told me to never ask where someone was from. If they’re from Texas, they’ll tell ya. If not, don’t embarrass them.

  • jason

    The bottom line is Quebec is the bigger you can fit all Europe (exculding Russia in quebec)

    • Guest

      This simply isn’t true; Europe = 3,930,000 sq mi, Quebec = 595,400 sq mi

  • John

    Texas is huge not just in land mass. It is the second most populated state in the US. It has the largest economy of any state in the US. Heck, if Texas was its own country it would have the worlds 13th largest economy all by its self. With all that going for them why not brag.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-the-texas-economy-2014-11?op=1

    Also, Texans make up roughly 13% of the US total fighting force

    http://www.kgbanswers.com/what-percentage-of-the-military-are-from-texas/4023261

    More military officers come from Texas A&M than any other university with the exception of the military schools

    http://corps.tamu.edu/military-focus/

    Chris Kyle is from Texas

    Chuck Norris while born in Ok. decided to be a Texan

    6 of the 20 largest US cities are in Texas

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763098.html

    YEA, we Texans have a right to brag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dobby the House Elf

      Chuck Norris and Chris Kyle are the best native Texans you can list? LOL…..

      • Dennis Hanson

        They are two of the best to be sure. Also Marcus Lutrelle, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dwight Eisenhower, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (ZZ Top) and numerous others.

  • Ken Erickson

    You can fit Texas twice into the province of Quebec and have 58,229 square miles left over. They talk French there too!

  • Ken Erickson

    A Texas rancher visiting British Columbia, Canada got a bit insecure when he learned that BC is 35% bigger than Texas, so he started bragging about the size of his ranch back home.
    “Why, at my spread in Texas I can get in my car and drive that big old Cadillac as hard as it will go all day and never leave my property!”
    The Canadian replied, “I used to have a car like that.”