The Geography of Coal in the U.S.

The Geography of Coal in the U.S.

Where in the United States does coal come from? Where do we make and use coal-powered electricity? Learn more with these maps.


5 - 8


Earth Science, Geography, Human Geography

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Which U.S. states mine coal? Where does the U.S. create electricity from coal? Using data from the Department of Energy, these maps look at the spatial patterns of coal production and use in the United States. 

Fast Fact

  • The total number of employees in U.S. coal mines in 2014 was 74,931, down almost seven percent from 2013.
  • More than 90 percent of the coal produced in the U.S. is used to create electricity. A small amount is used in industrial settings (mainly cement production and iron smelting), and to heat buildings.
  • 70 percent of the coal produced in the United States comes from Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Illinois—but the electricity from coal is produced largely within Texas.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, about 6.5% of the coal produced in the U.S. was exported to other countries.
Media Credits

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Hannah Dempsey, National Geographic
National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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