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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has overseen an explosion of growth at the company. (GeekWire File Photo)

Amazon has been growing at an unprecedented pace in recent years, and 2015 was no exception. Last year, the tech and online retail giant added 76,500 jobs to its workforce, bringing its total employees around the globe to 230,000 people, not counting seasonal workers.

While a large chunk of Amazon’s workforce is in distribution or other non-tech sectors, the numbers are still staggering — putting Amazon on pace to someday rival or surpass companies such as UPS and Target on the list of Fortune 500 companies with the most employees.

But those numbers tell only part of the story.

Amazon has recently begun publishing data on its presence across the U.S., including state-by-state employee counts, plus the combined number of Amazon authors, sellers, and developers that operate in each state — providing a new glimpse into its national footprint.

The company’s booming Amazon Web Services cloud computing division also provides approximate locations of its data centers and related facilities. In addition, logistics consultant MWPVL International compiles data on Amazon’s distribution network across the country, including fulfillment and sortation centers, and a growing number of Prime Now one- and two-hour delivery hubs.

GeekWire drew on all of those data sources and used Tableau to create an interactive map of Amazon’s presence across the nation. The map, above, shows how the company has grown in recent years, especially since resolving disputes over the collection of online sales taxes in states where a large physical presence was previously a potential liability.

The colored base map shows Amazon’s state-by-state employee count as of the fourth quarter of 2015. Use the menu at the top of the map to toggle between different variables, and hover over any state for specific numbers.

The map reveals several notable patterns and numbers.

  • Amazon’s employees are, for the most part, concentrated on the West Coast and in the Northeast. The company has 20,000 employees in California, second only to Washington state, Amazon’s home state, where the company now reports 26,500 employees.
  • Kentucky has the third highest number of Amazon employees (10,500), and is home to four distribution facilities of varying types. It also has four centers for returns throughout the state, and four centers for fashion and clothing in Shepherdsville (not included in the count of distribution centers).
  • California, the most populous state, is home to the highest number of Amazon authors, sellers, and developers (465,000), followed distantly by New York (230,000). California also has the most Amazon Web Service locations, including five Edge locations. Amazon has a larger distribution network in California than in any other state. The company has a total of 18 distribution-related centers in the state: seven fulfillment centers, two sortation centers, and nine Prime Now hubs.
  • Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas have the second-largest Amazon distribution networks in the country, with seven distribution-related facilities each.
  • Amazon has no presence (employees or distribution centers) in two large swaths of the country: a stretch of the West and Midwest, from Idaho to Iowa, and a stretch of the south, from Alabama to Oklahoma.
  • Every state is home to thousands of authors, sellers, and developers that use Amazon’s services, and to thousands of charitable organizations that partner with AmazonSmile to receive a percentage of eligible purchases. California has the most Amazon Smile partners, 106,000; followed by Texas with 66,000 and New York with 61,000. Washington state is further down the list with 22,000 AmazonSmile partners.

As the map shows, Amazon has expanded from its home in Seattle to many different corners of the U.S,, and as the company continues to grow it will doubtless spill into many more American communities. Perhaps we’ll soon be tracking Amazon’s physical retail stores on the map, too.

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