51

In The Hunger Games, the nation of Panem (implied to be North America after some sort of post apocalyptic scenario) is divided into 13 districts and the Capitol. District 12 is hinted to be in the Appalachia Mountains, and the Capitol is hinted to be in the Rocky Mountains. District 13, which was destroyed, is described as "east of District 12", which made me think it's where Washington D.C. is today.

The other districts, however, were mostly ignored, and almost no detail was provided as to their locations in the books. Has there been any supplemental information that reveals where the districts are?

  • 4
    Hmmmm...I had always kind of assumed that District 13 was in the southeastern US, specifically in the east Tennessee area. That is, after all, where Oak Ridge National Laboratories and Y12 are located and it is the site of the former K-25 plant which was the uranium enrichment facility used during the Manhattan Project. Just made more sense in my head for District 13 to be located there than somewhere north of District 12. – Meg Coates Mar 16 '12 at 0:41
43

Panem is actually where North America currently is, they're not confined to just the current area of the USA. Here's a map from a brief shot in the Catching Fire film. They haven't released an official map, as far as I know, nor do the books fully describe the locations of all of the districts.

Map of Panem on computer screen

  • 30
    It derives from the Latin saying 'Panem et circenses', as in 'bread and circuses'. – user1027 Dec 8 '11 at 21:42
  • 3
    I haven't read the books, but the sea level on this map doesn't make any sense. It shows the Cascade Range completely underwater while the low-lying Mississippi basin is mostly dry. If the sea level rose significantly, most of what is shown as Districts 4, 8, 9, and 11 would be underwater. – Travis Christian Feb 21 '12 at 17:54
  • 4
    @TravisChristian That's a case of the Writer Not Doing The Research. It's known that the sea levels have risen, but the book doesn't mention then traveling over water on their trip from District 12 to the Capitol. – user1027 Feb 21 '12 at 18:24
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    This seems way to large. Most districts can send all their children to the reaping, which occurs in a city square typically. District 12 is implied to have only one town in it. How can that make sense if Panem is all of America? Is America really that devastated or the Capitol really that brutal that the population is that low? How can they control such vast areas -- why doesn't Katniss and friends just escape into the wilderness within district 12? I'm thinking it can't be much larger than a state like, say, Georgia. – zipquincy Jul 12 '12 at 14:03
  • 1
    @KeithS: Of course, you need a lot of land for farming, ranching and timber. But the population of panem is a LOT lower than that of modern-day North America. Thus, the area needed is also a lot smaller. I think what you describe in your answer is a lot closer to the author's intention than the map drawn in the answer here: "large swaths of wasteland" that just don't belong to any district. – Hendrik Vogt Oct 7 '12 at 13:51
25

Although I think the fan map Keen shows is very good and logical, there are some things that bug me about it:

  • Panem is located in the "remains" of North America, and was formed at a time when the human race was dangerously close to wiping themselves out. This would imply that large swaths of formerly densely-populated areas are now uninhabitable from the use of some form of WMD. Think of any current North American city with a population >1m, and pretty much wipe a 100-mile radius around that city off the map permanently. Most of what the map shows as District 12 wouldn't be habitable.

  • District 12 is described in the book as being one urban center with mines just underneath it, and the whole complex within the electric fence is within pretty easy walking distance. Everybody in District 12 was expected to be in the square for the Reaping, and they only got Reaping Day off to be there; that means there likely aren't other urban centers within the District.

My view of the world of Panem was of small areas of habitable land in between large swaths of wasteland around what used to be dense population centers. These Districts aren't "states" or "regions" as we'd know them; they're more like cities; small population centers in areas where people can still live, and that have economic interest to the Capitol.

Let's say the nukes didn't hit present-day Beckley, WV; it's only got a population of about 20,000 people, and there are a lot of coal mines around it. That could well be the location of District 12 in the novels, after the human race re-centered around what was left. The fences would basically enclose what was needed (which would be within walking distance) and everything else around that very small dot would be "the wilds".

The other districts would probably be very similar: small patches of habitable, even arable land that are all that's left after the major population centers surrounding them were destroyed. Districts 4, 7, 10, and 11 are highly agricultural, and so would take more land than just the urban center/manufacturing complexes of the other Districts. These Districts might count more land as being part of the District (since it's maintained and so not "wild") and may have a rudimentary, "no-frills" rail system branching off the main lines for transporting "day laborers" out to the fields/pastures/fishing grounds.

The Capitol is tricky. The map seems to center The Capitol around an area in the middle of nowhere near the T-corner of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. There's a pretty decent river/reservoir there, but not much else, making it prime real estate when everything else has been made unlivable. At first I thought the map may be inferring that the Capitol is around Cheyenne Mountain, but first being near a major population center (Colorado Springs), and second being a VERY high-priority target for WMDs (NORAD), it would be very likely reduced to smouldering radioactive glass.

  • I think the lack of anyone in Europe, Asia, and Africa covers the lack of inhabitable land. Along with the rising sealevels, humanity is definitely barely hanging in there. – user1027 Dec 22 '11 at 5:45
  • exactly right!! – zipquincy Jul 12 '12 at 14:05
  • 2
    But we don't know that for sure. Panem has largely lost the technology and resources required for trans-oceanic travel; we're limited to rails and hovercraft, no aircraft or ocean liners to speak of. As I mentioned in an answer to another question along these lines, it seems naive to assume that of the 7 billion people currently on the planet, Panem's hundreds of thousands, all in North America, are all that's left. Panem may well be the last civilization to possess advanced technology, but there could well be nomadic tribes wandering habitable areas of Eurasia or Africa. We just don't know. – KeithS Feb 21 '13 at 21:29
  • @KeithS In Mockingjay, they describe District 2 as containing a huge military facility built into a mountain - I was under the impression that was meant to be Cheyenne Mountain. It's also noted that District 2 is close to District 1 and the capital. – recognizer Nov 24 '15 at 17:20
  • 1
    @recognizer - That's one option, however if there were a nuclear apocalypse long ago, Cheyenne Mountain would be a smoldering ruin. There are lots of mountains in the Rockies that the Capitol could use to rebuild a fortress like this. – KeithS Nov 24 '15 at 18:55
14

Check out the following link: http://aimmyarrowshigh.livejournal.com/32461.html This was made by Aimmyarrowshigh & Badguys. I am VERY impressed with their rationale and final product. Big fan of their work on this. enter image description here

Explanations from aimmyarrowshigh:

  • The Capitol is in Denver.

  • D12 is Appalachia.

  • D11 shares a border with D12, is one of the largest districts, is South of D12, and is primarily used for growing grain and produce.

  • D10 is primarily used for raising livestock. They do NOT process the livestock in D10. However, to feed an entire nation, D10 is likely another very large District.

  • D9 processes food for the Capitol and the tesserae; therefore, it likely shares borders with the food production Districts (D4, D10, D11).

  • D8 produces and treats textiles and is a factory District. It is POSSIBLE to reach D12 from D8 on foot over a course of weeks/months. Therefore, it does not cross a large body of water.

  • D7 specializes in lumber. It's probably large. It has no role in food processing or manufacture.

  • D6 works closely with the Capitol in the research and manufacture of drugs (morphling, medicines). It likely has close ties to D5 in the production of mutts.

  • D5 is entirely dependent on the Capitol, so it's probably somewhat nearby, and specializes in genetic research and manipulation. Because of the necessity of creative thought and intellect, it's most likely a smaller District so that it's easier to monitor and control.

  • D4 is the ocean. It does have a role in food production. It's very large. It is a Career District, so it likely is near the Capitol and has some self-sufficiency, but not enough that it doesn't engender loyalty. (Aside from that, D4 = perfect.)

  • D3 has extremely close ties to the Capitol and works with electronics and technology. It is likely small, the Capitol can closely monitor its scientific minds. It has no role in food manufacture or processing.

  • D2 specializes in weaponry, is the most loyal District (because the Capitol needs to keep its weapon specialists happy, non?), and has no role in food production. D2 also works in some minor Mining elements and trains Peacekeepers. The Panem railroad is easily accessible in D2.

  • D1 produces luxury goods for the Capitol -- INCLUDING having a diamond mine. Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine is a defunct diamond mine in Colorado, USA. It is located in the State Line Kimberlite District, near the Wyoming border.

  • D13 specialized in nuclear power, shares a border with D12, is both visible and reachable from D12 by foot, and is North of West Virginia. Three Mile Island was in Londonderry, Pennsylvania (107 miles west and slightly north of Philadelphia) and probably remained a nuclear reactor or was co-opted again as a reactor. D13 is small but mighty and is surrounded by Wilderness. It is self-sufficient.

  • 2
    Could you please provide a bit of synopsis of what your link covers. I agree that it provides some very well rationalized insights into the map of Panem, but without context this link could later be useless. – ahsteele Feb 21 '12 at 15:34
  • 1
    see my other comment above, this seems way too large, I can't believe Panem is much larger than a state's size. – zipquincy Jul 12 '12 at 14:04
  • Good logic, but they fail to take into account the destruction of many real-world population centers. Panem's Districts were fenced in long before the first rebellion "for their own safety", due to the use of chem/bio/nuclear WMDs in past conflicts. Denver would be wiped off the map permanently, and global warming would bring the coat many miles further inland. Additionally, each District has only one major population center, and with very few exceptions ( farming, fishing and lumber) most of the economic production of that District takes place there. So, most Districts would be rather small. – KeithS Jul 13 '12 at 18:06
  • @KeithS - The map depicts what is essentially "corporation limits" of the districts. The linked blog post describes that while the mapped land may not functionally be used by the districts, it wouldn't make sense for the Capitol to leave large swaths of land "unincorporated". Likewise, the same can be said of real maps and the location of state borders, which extend far beyond city limits. – Shauna Mar 11 '13 at 19:24
  • 3
    @HpShout: Why is the Yucatan there twice? – ThePopMachine Nov 21 '14 at 19:30
7

I know you referred to the books; but there is a brief shot in the Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie that shows the location of some of the districts.

It's near the beginning when Katniss and Peeta begin the Victor's Tour. Katniss snaps at Effie for saying they (Katniss and Peeta) have "earned" the special treatment they are getting. Katniss then leaves the dining car and gets a glimpse inside of some sort of control room with a large map showing the different districts. The operator quickly notices Katniss and closes the door:

Katniss getting a view of a map of the districts

It depicts generally what has been described here already (i.e. mainly based around the current United States in North America).

3

Like Keen said, the books refer to North America, not specifically the USA as the home of Panem, so Canada/Mexico are certainly included somehow. District 12 is definitely in the Appalachians, 11 borders on it and encompasses a large agricultural region, so it is generally portrayed in the southeast. The capitol is in the rockies, and it is likely that District 2 is as well. Other than that, it is guesswork.

One thing often missed on the fan maps - the books make it clear that the oceans have risen and the coastlines changed. How much they don't say, but it does make the more common fan maps inaccurate.

Edit - And I see now that Keen's map does account for the higher sea levels. Not sure how I missed that first time around. Makes my answer a little more redundant.

-2

Panem is located in a ruined North America (so modern-day America and Canada).

The Capitol: is located near Salt Lake City. The city would most likely be kept in one piece, and is located in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.

District 1: is located directly north of the Capitol. They produce luxury items and the district is located in northern Utah and Idaho.

District 2: is located to the southeast of the Capitol in modern-day New Mexico.

District 3: is located in California and Nevada.

District 4: is located in southern California and Mexico along the coast.

District 5: is located in Arizona.

District 6: is located near the ruins of Chicago.

District 7: is located in the Pacific Northwest.

District 8: is located near Rochester in modern-day New York.

District 9: is located in the Mid-West somewhere.

District 10: is located in Texas and Oklahoma.

District 11: is located in the Deep South, near Atlanta.

District 12: is located in Appalachia.

District 13: is located in central Pennsylvania.

District 14: is located in Maine and New Hampshire.

  • 5
    I don't know much about this book/film, but I'm pretty sure there's no District 14. Can you back this up with some evidence? – Valorum May 12 '18 at 5:02
  • 4
    I do know much about these books/films, and there's definitely no District 14. Where did you get this information from? – Rand al'Thor May 12 '18 at 15:50

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