Sunday, October 17, 2010

Top 5 Most (and Least) Loved States

A few months ago...wait, June? Really, that long? Wow, time is stupidly fast now. Anyway, a few months ago I completed a list of the most and least hated states in the United States, based on the number of Google hits returned for the phrase "I hate [state]." Turns out people aren't too fond of Arizona, New York, Kentucky, North Carolina, and especially Nevada for some reason. The hatred is less severe for Washington, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Rhode Island.

But where's the love? It was the 70th anniversary of John Lennon's birth recently, and for some reason there's a lot of press today about how he would have been a septuagenarian today if he hadn't been shot by a deranged security guard with a thing for Holden Caulfield...look for a repeat of this every decade for the next 30 years, maybe. So I guess it's time to do this list, considering how Lennon knew that "All You Need is Love."

Love is all you need...

So will the positives outweigh the negatives for any, some, or all of the states? Considering New York City has pretty much made a slogan out of it, I'm sure they'll be a lead contender in the "I love [state]" tally...even if they were one of the top five in the most hated list. But I'm willing to bet that more people enjoy where they live than despise it. After all, if you dislike the place so much, there's a reason moving companies are around.

So without further ado, let's get started!

5. California (1,180,000 hits)

Well, you've got the ocean, forests, mountains, and nifty bridges. Plenty of the results have qualifiers (beaches, girls, homes, Republicans...), so the list seems to go on. I've got a few relatives and friends there, so it's good to see it in one of the top spots.

4. Texas (1,170,000 hits)

What, another one where the GOP is part of the reason? Well, probably not in Austin (pictured above). And a few country singers probably jack up the results with some easy lyrics. And someone linked it with Texas skiers, for some reason. I think it's also been noted that there's something in the Texas water that consistently results in the creation of gorgeous brunettes.

She looks this good IN A POLAROID

3. Iowa (1,210,000 hits)

Iowa! America's quilt.

Judging by the search results, this tally is so high for the same reason that Maine's hate count probably shot up after 2009: Iowa legalizing gay marriage on a bit of a fluke. Aside from that, the people are apparently pretty nice. Oh, and football.

2. New Jersey (1,320,000 hits)

Spoiler alert: New York doesn't make it. New York comes in 22nd place. So why does its commuter neighbor get second place, especially since New York put a copyright on the phrase itself? Well, it's tough to say. One result is a "defend your state" portion for the website A few others are those brave souls who admit that they like to watch upper-class harpies scream at each other. Having gone through some of the less sprawly parts of the state, though, I can definitely say the state gets a bit of a bad rap. There are a lot of nice neighborhoods where the nature has escaped the megalopolis.

1. Michigan (1,530,000 hits)

A portrait of every resident of the state of Michigan

Well, the count is apparently down since I checked this on October 10, but I'm still going with those numbers and it's still a respectable 1,030,000 when I checked it out today. Wait, so the state suffering from chronic unemployment and a city that needs robotic policemen to keep crime levels on par with the rest of the nation also gets the highest dose of Google love? Perhaps the communities are closely knit; perhaps there's a thriving arts scene; maybe the recreational activities are boundless.

Or football. It might just be football.

"That's what you get for messing with the mighty Glove and Scarf State!"

And who are those poor states that have only a few scattered tens of thousands of admirers?

5. Vermont (37,800 hits)

Because idyllic country landscapes are as unremarkable as it gets

Full disclosure: I'm a little biased here. In fact, I'll boost the count with another "I love Vermont" added in. I lived in Vermont for a little while, and this was a little unexpected given that most people who live there seem to adore the place. There's plenty of skiing and friendly folk, maple syrup and foliage, and it's politically stable enough that it can have a socialist Senator without imploding in Tea Party rage. I think I'll say it's akin to Dramarama's take on why the dead don't come back: they're having too much fun, too much fun in heaven.

4. Kentucky: (28,300 hits)

Kentucky kind of gets the short end of the stick here. Not only is it one of the least loved, but it's also one of the most hated (thanks mostly to a self-hating sports rivalry). Apparently more people hate the school then love it. As for those who like it, there's KFC. And horses. And then your thrilling weekend is over.

3. Mississippi: (22,400 hits)

For those who like it, it's because of football. It's a lot of football. Again. Except for 1960s governor Ross Barnett who gave a quick speech (at a football game) to declare,
"I love Mississippi! I love her people! Our customs. I love and respect our heritage." The customs and heritage that Governor Barnett loved so much included keeping the races separate.

2. North Dakota: (17,100 hits)

"Wait a minute...I can see that other list from here!"

North Dakota was one of the states with the least number of people to angrily declare that they hated the state. It's also one of the states where people don't care enough to say they love the state. North Dakotans must look upon their state with a resounding "Eh, good enough. I guess."

1. Wyoming: (15,800 hits)

"I really don't love this place, honey..."

Someone started a Facebook group boasting that Wyoming could get to a million fans before any other's got 28,512 fans, about 2.9 percent of that lofty goal. A more general Wyoming site has about 1,300 more admirers. In terms of reasons why people wouldn't love the state, there was that whole Matthew Shepard vicious hate crime thing (ironically, the play based on this incident, coupled with Brokeback Mountain, generally associate the pop culture contributions of one of the most conservative states in the country with homosexuality). But two murderers shouldn't malign the entire state, and Wyoming has plenty of gorgeous landscapes and, well, maybe nice people and such. The low count may just be a reflection of the low population, since most of these posts seem to come from residents and Wyoming is the most sparsely peopled state in the country.

Results by state:

Michigan: 1,530,000
New Jersey: 1,320,000
Iowa: 1,210,000
Texas: 1,170,000
California: 1,180,000
Virginia: 1,090,000
Connecticut: 1,060,000
North Carolina: 1,060,000
Illinois: 1,050,000
Pennsylvania: 1,020,000
Wisconsin: 990,000
Maryland: 989,000
Nevada: 977,000
Arizona: 954,000
Indiana: 940,000
New Hampshire: 933,000
New Mexico: 933,000
Georgia: 930,000
Massachusetts: 930,000
Florida: 928,000
Missouri: 915,000
New York: 899,000
West Virginia: 897,000
Louisiana: 881,000
Oklahoma: 878,000
Tennessee: 854,000
Idaho: 849,000
Ohio: 834,000
Maine: 816,000
South Carolina: 803,000
Delaware: 732,000
Alabama: 700,000
Nebraska: 685,000
Washington: 648,000
Minnesota: 627,000
Colorado: 621,000
Kansas: 609,000
South Dakota: 429,000
Montana: 341,000
Rhode Island: 248,000
Arkansas: 223,000
Hawaii: 196,000
Utah: 94,300
Oregon: 49,300
Alaska: 48,500
Vermont: 37,800
Kentucky: 28,300
Mississippi: 22,400

North Dakota: 17,100
Wyoming: 15,800

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