Alongside the Capitol, there are 12 districts in Panem (well, 13, but that's all part of the journey of the series), each one linked to specific industries, activities, and ways of life. Panem is, according to The Hunger Games, “the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America.”
But there is no official map of Panem.
The Hunger Games does offer various levels of information about each of its districts. With what information exists, there have been plenty of attempts by various fans - and even the US government - to map Panem.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, assessed industries across the nation with an eye toward their Hunger Games district. What it determined matched up with many other efforts to establish the geography of Panem, but differed in a lot of instances, too. As a result, we're not sure anyone knows exactly what Panem would look like - but here's a breakdown of what fans and experts alike have to say.
- Photo: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire / Lionsgate1244 VOTES
District 2: Masonry And Weapons
In The Hunger Games:
District 2 is a large district, as one might expect, composed of a series of villages spread across the mountains. Each was originally associated with a mine or quarry, although now, many are devoted to the housing and training of Peacekeepers. None of this would present much of a challenge… except for one thing: At the center of the district is a virtually impenetrable mountain that houses the heart of the Capitol's military.
As a district dominated by rock quarrying, masonry, and weapons manufacturing, District 2 is in the Rocky Mountains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies parts of Wyoming, western Montana, and southwestern Colorado as parts of the US with strong mining and quarrying industries as well as large numbers of quarry rock splitters.
District 2 enjoys wealth and favoritism comparable to District 1, and its tributes are also called Careers due to their pre-Games training. The headquarters of the Capital military is nicknamed the Nut and, given the strength associated with the district, it's no surprise that Cato, one of District 2's Careers, is described as a “monstrous boy” and a “ruthless killing machine.”
District 2 took over many of the activities once carried out in District 13, the part of Panem destroyed in the wake of a rebellion.
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District 10: Livestock
Comparable to District 9's association with grain, District 10 is the land of livestock. As a part of Panem that needs a lot of land and ideal conditions to raise animals, District 10 is in the North American heartland. Individuals who've attempted to map Panem locate it in states like Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, as well as in Texas and Oklahoma.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists counties in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as those with the highest animal production in the US. The fact that tributes wear cowboy costumes may lend credence to the idea that District 10 calls Texas and Oklahoma home.
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District 11: Crops And Produce
Agriculture in District 11 is different from grain production. In contrast to the types of crops found in District 9, District 11 grows things like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Washington, Oregon, and Georgia are among the top locations for this type of farming in the US, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Hunger Games mentions seeds, orchards, and bread from District 11 - among the poorest areas in Panem. The hard work and poverty in District 11 allows for a kinship to develop between Katniss Everdeen and District 11's tribute, Rue.
Generally, a location in the south is believed to be where District 11 is found, in large part for producing fruit. As a result, many observers locate District 11 in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.
- Photo: Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 / Lionsgate4123 VOTES
District 13: Nuclear Technology
District 13 was one of the original districts of Panem but was destroyed by the Capitol after it started a rebellion:
During the Dark Days, the rebels in 13 wrested control from the government forces, trained their nuclear missiles on the Capitol, and then struck a bargain: They would play dead in exchange for being left alone. The Capitol had another nuclear arsenal out west, but it wouldn't attack 13 without certain retaliation… The Capitol demolished the visible remains of the district and cut off all access from the outside.
District 13 was the military hub for Panem but, after it was destroyed, those activities shifted to District 2.
In The Hunger Games, readers learn that District 12 was “pretty much the end of the line” for traveling in Panem, explaining that “beyond us, there's only wilderness. If you don't count the ruins of District 13 that still smolder from the toxic bombs.” This indicates that District 13 was - and is - located in the northeast United States and Canada.
After District 12 is destroyed during the Second Rebellion, many of the survivors fled to District 13, which exists as the center of the still-present resistance movement.
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District 12: Coal
The location of District 12 is explicitly stated by Katniss Everdeen:
District 12 was in a place called Appalachia. Even hundreds of years ago, they mined coal here, which is why our miners have to dig so deep.
Just how important is coal to District 12? In past Hunger Games, tributes “were stark naked and covered in black powder to represent coal dust.”
Coal mining, poverty, woodlands, and mountains correspond to West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and parts of North Carolina according to Appalachian studies scholars, as do “the weather, plant life, and food practices” found in District 12.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics certainly supports the placement of Appalachia, too. The top locations for coal operations in the US are in West Virginia and Kentucky.
- Photo: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire / Lionsgate6162 VOTES
District 3: Electronics
District 3 is where electronics are produced, specifically things like televisions, cars, and computers. When Katniss takes her victory tour after she and Peeta win the Hunger Games, she notices the underlying resentment of the people there. She sees District 3 as a place that is more rebellious than many other districts. Beetee, a former winner of the Hunger Games, is also from District 3 and exhibits engineering skills as the Second Rebellion unfolds.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the strongest computer and electronic product industry in the US is located in the area around Portland, OR, and Santa Clara, CA. While there's a reasonable amount of electronic manufacturing in states like Minnesota and Texas, District 3 would be on the West Coast.