I'll probably land in hot water for the stereotypes I am about to bring up, but here goes. I was thinking this morning about the lack of gaming stores in my area, Connecticut. As far as I can tell from a few years of looking, there are none. I have to go browse for books at the local big chain retail bookstores, and they basically only carry official D&D books. The closest ones are in NY City and Boston. Even then, NY only has like 2 decent ones. That's for a city of what---11 million people? All crunched into just a few miles?
Then I read on various blogs about states in the midwest and west having tons of FLGS (friendly local gaming stores) all over the place, in little towns even and they stay in business. In some instances, new ones are opening up. I know these states don't have anywhere near the population density of NY City or Boston. Some states probably don't even have the population of these cities in total. And it's not as if the whole state is serviced by one or two stores. The geographic distances make that an impossibility.
So, what's the deal? Are there more gamers in the midwest and western states? Is there something about the culture that fosters this? Or do the metropolitan coastal areas just buy the books online and value a sense of community less than these states? Is the slower paced lifestyle more conducive to gaming and a gaming lifestyle? Is this the same in less metropolitan areas around the world? Are hobbies like gaming and other hobbies in which you get benefits from having a FLGS nearby more prevalent in non-east coast-metropolitan regions?