Future Tense

See What Percentage of People in Your State Were Affected by Cambridge Analytica

HANOVER, GERMANY - JUNE 12: The Facebook logo is displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018 in Hanover, Germany. The 2018 CeBIT is running from June 11-15. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
The Facebook logo is displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018 in Hanover, Germany. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

On May 1, Facebook released a state-by-state breakdown of how many people’s profiles were affected by the Cambridge Analytica data spill. Not many people noticed, because it was appended to a post originally published back in April. But on Wednesday, Business Insider pointed out its existence, helping us learn more about specifics of the scandal, in which the political consulting firm improperly obtained the Facebook data of more than 87 million people ahead of the 2016 election.


Facebook’s chart provides a state-by-state breakdown of the total number of users whose data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

As you might expect, the most affected states are among the most populous—California, Texas, Florida, and New York top the list. But we were curious about what that map looked like in terms of percentage of population. We asked Facebook whether it had that information and it said no, so we decided to crunch the numbers. To do that, we used the numbers released by Facebook and data from the 2017 population estimates from the U.S. Census. Percentages were rounded up to the nearest percentage point.


The place with the highest percentage of affected users was the District of Columbia, which clocked in at 50 percent. It’s followed by a swath of Southern states: West Virginia (31 percent), Kentucky (29 percent), Mississippi (29 percent), Alabama (28 percent), Arkansas (28 percent), Georgia (27 percent), Louisiana (27 percent), and Tennessee (27 percent). Trump won all of these states, which wasn’t unexpected, given that they tend to vote Republican.


California is second to last on the list, with only 17 percent of its population affected. But it tops Facebook’s list, since it’s the most populous state (about 39 million).

Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida—four states that flipped to Trump by a narrow margin in 2016 after supporting Obama in 2012—were in the middle of the pack of states affected in terms of population: Florida came in at 21 percent, Pennsylvania at 23 percent, Michigan at 24 percent, and Wisconsin at 21 percent.

Some critical caveats: Not every state resident is a voter or has a Facebook account. And of course, correlation doesn’t equal causation: Just because these states were the most targeted doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But it’s still worthwhile to crunch the numbers from a population standpoint. Maybe it reveals a strategy on the part of Cambridge Analytica—or perhaps it just gives us a glimpse of where Facebook users were the most likely to be interested in the quiz that the political firm used to collect data.


Find the full list of states below.

District of Columbia: 50 percent

West Virginia: 31 percent

Kentucky: 29 percent

Mississippi: 29 percent

Alabama: 28 percent

Arkansas: 28 percent

Georgia: 27 percent

Louisiana: 27 percent

Tennessee: 27 percent

Missouri: 26 percent

Indiana: 25 percent

Ohio: 25 percent

South Carolina: 25 percent

North Carolina: 25 percent


Oklahoma: 24 percent

Michigan: 24 percent

Maine: 23 percent

Pennsylvania: 23 percent

Illinois: 23 percent

Rhode Island: 23 percent

Kansas: 22 percent

New York: 22 percent

Iowa: 22 percent

Vermont: 22 percent

Nevada: 21 percent

Delaware: 21 percent

Florida: 21 percent

Wisconsin: 21 percent

Virginia: 20 percent

Nebraska: 20 percent

Texas: 20 percent

Utah: 20 percent

Hawaii: 20 percent

Wyoming: 19 percent

Washington: 19 percent

New Hampshire: 19 percent

Oregon: 19 percent

Idaho: 19 percent

Alaska: 19 percent

North Dakota: 19 percent

Minnesota: 19 percent

Massachusetts: 18 percent

Connecticut: 18 percent

Maryland: 18 percent

Arizona: 18 percent

New Jersey: 18 percent

South Dakota: 18 percent

Montana: 17 percent

Colorado: 17 percent

California: 17 percent

New Mexico: 17 percent