In the small town of Circle, Montana, the one coffee shop—a drive-through window serving drip coffee—recently shut down. Lindsey Mitchell, who owns a bakery and restaurant called C-Towne Bakes, told me that there’s nowhere nearby to pick up an espresso-based drink, let alone a Starbucks. “People don’t realize,” she says, “how much we’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Having lived in Seattle, where Starbucks began and the international coffee chain is still headquartered, Mitchell is familiar with the world of frappuccinos and pumpkin-spice lattes. But in Circle, part of McCone County in northeast Montana, she has located herself in the vicinity of the spot that is the farthest from any Starbucks in the continental United States—more than 192 miles from the nearest green-aproned barista.
This is according to an analysis of Starbucks’ store-location data collected from the company’s website by Chris Meller, an open-data enthusiast. (Starbucks broadly confirmed the calculations that he derived, but noted that the number of operating locations is constantly in flux. New stores are opened and closed around the world on a daily basis.)
Mitchell may not have to live without a hazelnut macchiato for much longer. In response to questions about the dearth of Starbucks in this pocket of Montana, company spokeswoman Linda Mills told me the chain is “continually growing our footprint,” and noted that some Starbucks products and bottled drinks are available at grocery stores across the U.S. and for order on the Internet.
Here are some of our takeaways from the Starbucks data.
The United States of Starbucks favors cities
Unsurprisingly, Starbucks shops tend to pop up around densely populated areas of the U.S. But outside of urban centers in wealthier countries, there’s plenty of territory that the vanilla-chai-skinny-latte has not yet claimed. Vast swaths of the U.S., not to mention the rest of the world, are untouched by the Starbucks green-siren logo.
Starbucks has stores in 63 countries
That leaves few wealthy nations frappuccino-free. There are no Starbucks in any of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries. A noticeable dearth of stores can be seen not only in African states, but in Central Asian and Eastern European ones as well.
The geography of a city is the geography of Starbucks
In cities around the world, it can feel like there’s a Starbucks on every corner. And in many of them, that’s almost true. The distribution of Starbucks locations in many cities mirrors the shape of each city—or at least its wealthier neighborhoods.
Seoul is the most Starbucks-filled city
Shanghai has 256 Starbucks, the most of any Chinese city. But the city with the most Starbucks in the world is Seoul. The South Korean capital has 284 locations, seven more locations than New York City’s 277. Seven of the 25 most Starbucks-filled cities are outside of North America. Twelve are outside of the U.S.
(Our calculations were based upon the city-listed postal addresses in the Starbucks database. For some cities, this may overstate the number of locations, since postal cities may include the surrounding area. In other cases, this may understate the number of locations, since a municipality might have multiple postal areas. For this reason, we combined Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Bronx addresses into New York City and Kowloon addresses into Hong Kong, among others.)
There really is a Starbucks everywhere you look in Midtown Manhattan
There are 210 locations in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, slightly more than six per square mile. That’s one store per 14,762 people in Manhattan’s 3.1-million-person daytime population. Of those, 91 branches are in Midtown.
On a trip from Boston to Philadelphia, a Starbucks is never more than 10 miles away
In the U.S., there are more Starbucks stores per person in the north and west of the country. But Starbucks’ East-Coast faithful can be comforted by this map. It shows that it is possible to travel from Boston to New York City to Philadelphia without ever being more than 10 miles (16.1 km) from a Starbucks. The trip could continue to Baltimore, Washington, then Richmond, Virginia by only leaving the 10-mile radius of a Starbucks twice.
Canada has the most Starbucks locations after the U.S., but China is catching up
Sales in China and the Asia-Pacific region are growing faster than those in any other region, increasing 9 percent in 2013 at stores that were open in 2012, according to company filings. (Including revenue from new stores, sales grew 27.1 percent.) China and Asia-Pacific sales accounted for 6.2 percent of Starbucks Corporation’s sales in 2013. (Starbucks Corporation sales includes the company’s other products, and brands such as Evolution Fresh and Seattle’s Best Coffee.) Last year, 588 Starbucks locations opened in China and the Asia-Pacific region.
In its 2013 annual report, the company says it looks forward to establishing China as its largest market outside of the U.S. Starbucks also noted in the filing that its growth company-wide “increasingly depends” on operations located outside of the Western Hemisphere.
Starbucks’ uneven invasion of Europe
In the U.K., where tea has been the hot beverage of choice for centuries, Starbucks is entrenched. Britain has 784 Starbucks locations. Almost all of them—87.6 percent—are in England. London has 26 percent of Great Britain’s Starbucks, with 202 cafes. France only has 97 locations (one more than Hong Kong), with 62 of them in Paris. In Italy, there are zero.
Per capita, Canada has the most Starbucks
Canada is a distant second when it comes to the number of stores, but is on top when adjusted for population, using the most recent population estimates compiled by the World Bank.
There are nearly 40 Starbucks locations for every 1 million Canadians. Noticeably absent from the list of countries with the most Starbucks per person are some of the Asian nations accounting for much of the company’s growth. China, with 1.37 billion people, has less than one store per million people.
Of course, some of the highest Starbucks-per-capita countries are there because they are geographically small. Singapore is smaller than New York City (which has about 33 stores per million) and Hong Kong is about the size of Los Angeles (27.2 stores per million).
The farthest you can get from a Starbucks on Earth is off the coast of South Africa
With the exception of the three locations in Morocco and 18 in Egypt, there are no Starbucks in continental Africa.
As the map above shows, the farthest you can get from a Starbucks anywhere in the world is 1,370 miles (2,200 kilometers), off the coast of South Africa, in the Indian Ocean.
That place is 4,787 miles away from the Starbucks on Spencer Street in Melbourne, Australia, the Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Starbucks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Farmer Market Starbucks in Bogor, Indonesia. If you ended up on the North Pole, Antarctica, or even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’d be closer to a Starbucks than this spot.
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