Zipf's Law for U.S. Cities

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Zipf's law implies that a log-log plot of the rank-size distribution will be a straight line with a slope of negative one. A linear regression shows that the best fit to Zipf's law is found when close to 150 metropolitan areas are included.

Contributed by: Fiona Maclachlan (September 2007)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The data for city sizes was obtained using the CityData function in Mathematica (September 2007), and the data for the metropolitan areas was obtained from the United States Census, 2000.

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