Our Most Sinful States: Where Does Your State Rate?
Pride, Greed, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth. The 7 Deadly Sins are as familiar as daylight – and just as as revealing. They define us as people, and as a people. Yet not all Americans commit sins equally. Neither do all states. And if anybody is going to do anything about any of it, we need to know our Most Sinful States.
That’s gotta be why the good folks at WalletHub took a state-by-state measurement of America’s sinning. Oh, sure, sin is a juicy topic. And yes, juicy topics attract eyeballs. But a company doesn’t dive this deeply into a topic unless its got some serious inner altruism to go with the crackerjack SEO. Then again, we’ve become so used to seeing WalletHub’s inner goodness rise alongside its in-house marketing practices, we sometimes forget they’re masters at the art of Altruistic Capitalism.
Why else would WalletHub’s Most Sinful States investigation stretch from Kars4Kids to PornHub and include data from the likes of the CDC, FTC, HHS and the EEOC, as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center?
Why else indeed.
While WalletHub’s marketing practices might seem to be a matter best left to the marketing mavens, where the company culls its data actually concerns us all. Again, if anybody is going to do anything about the sinful state of our union, it’s crucial to know how each state fares in various categories. Well, it’s equally crucial to know the data used to make those determinations comes from reputable sources. Seems in this question too WalletHub answers above and beyond, and in this report the friendly financial services company sourced no less than 23 of the most reputable sources we’ve got.
The Sins of Our States
Sin – or sins – generally come packaged as seven. Cynics might say that’s because so few of us can seem to commit just one. The rest of us simply cite the Bible. Granted, sins seldom come alone. However even our most accomplished sinners would find trouble committing seven at a time. The truth is the Bible so deftly branded the Seven Deadly Sins, they’ll likely always come as a set.
WalletHub isn’t about to break up the union. Yes, they change a few names and rearrange the order a bit, but for all intents and purposes, the sins remain the same.
So it takes no time to find the parallels between the Bible’s Pride, Greed, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth, and WalletHub’s Anger & Hatred, Jealousy, Excesses & Vices, Greed, Lust, Vanity and Laziness. Deciphering the findings, however, isn’t such a quick get. Not because the chart isn’t easy to read, but because the findings are so difficult to take.
What does that mean? It means that wherever a state ranks, there’s some serious sinning going on within its borders. Worse, much of that sinning is not only as ugly and and egregious as ugly and egregious get, but it’s a helluva lot uglier and more egregious than anyone would ever want.
The 10 Most Sinful States
- 1. Nevada
- 2. California
- 3. Louisiana
- 4. Florida
- 5. Pennsylvania
- 6. Texas
- 7. Tennessee
- 8. Illinois
- 9. South Carolina
- 10. New York
WalletHub’s metric breaks down its Seven Sins from worst to best in order to come up with an overall Vice Index (check it out). But it’s in the components used to calibrate each category where things really begin to get interesting.
Or frightening. Take Anger & Hatred for instance. Per Capita Violent Crime is one of the key components used to calibrate this category, and here we’ve got a five-way tie for Number 1. The, er, winners? Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Tennessee. Yep, WalletHub found that all five states reported enough violent crime per capita to put them at the top of the proverbial heap. In contrast, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine reported the fewest violent crimes per capita. Why there seemed to be less violent crime in the Northeast is anyone’s guess, but with densely-populated New Jersey and Connecticut on the list of fewest per, no one can blame smaller populations for the higher rankings.
Thefts per Capita were also among the calibrated crimes – in this case to determine Jealousy. Here too New Jersey ranked among state’s with the fewest, while Louisiana and New Mexico again ranked among the highest, though this time they rose to #1 and #2. Joining them at the top of this unfortunate heap were Colorado, Washington and South Carolina.
What about those usual vices, you ask? Those that concern unmitigated excess like drinking? Well, oddly enough, the least populated states had both the most and the least amount of excessive drinking. That might bode well for residents of Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah (which ranked in the bottom three); not so well for those who live in Wisconsin, Montana and Vermont (which were the most drinkingest).
Another interesting oddity: the most-populated (or at least the most-crowded) states also have the most Beauty Salons per Capita (which, of course, falls under the category Vanity). Apparently, people in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey are determined to look damn good for each other. Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, Vermont and Alaska? Not so much.
Are Sinful States Dangerous?
Yes and No. Take Nevada. As you might suspect, the Silver State ranks #1 among WalletHub’s Sinful States, yet it comes in at #10 the Anger & Hatred Category. Since that category includes everything from Road Rage and Agg Assault to Firearm Deaths and Mass Shootings, you might say it’s dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as, say, Arkansas, Tennessee or South Carolina, which, respectively, ranked #s 1, 2 and 3 in Anger & Hatred. The same applies to California, which ranked #2 Overall but #12 in Anger & Hatred.
Danger comes in all shapes and sizes, of course, and it isn’t always violent. Theft, Identity Theft and Fraud (Jealousy) also represent significant dangers, so do alcohol, smoking and drugs (Excesses & Vices). In both cases, Louisiana tops the chart. Add the fact that the Pelican State also ranked #5 in Anger & Hatred and, well, it wouldn’t be wrong to say it was definitely dangerous state. In fact, it seems that ranking #23 in Greed and #34 in Vanity was our #3 Overall Most Sinful State’s only saving grace.
How did our beloved Florida rank on WalletHub’s list of our Most Sinful States? Well, we came in at #4. Before you pack your bags though, remember that Lust (porn, etc) and Vanity (beauty salons, plastic surgeons, etc) are given full weight and the Sunshine State (dis)respectively scored #7 and #3 in those two categories. The only other Top 10 category placing was in Jealousy (#6), which, considering our state’s propensity to steal isn’t to very surprising.
Living in Sinful States
While it can be entertaining to find out which sins are most favored in your state, it can be a bit disheartening to learn you live in one of our most sinful states. The news doesn’t have to break you though. Heck, it doesn’t even have to throw you off your game. If anything, finding out where your state rates can strengthen your game. Forewarned being forearmed and all that.
Say you live in Florida. And you know it’s a hotbed of thievery. So you simply step up the security – in your home, your car and your person. What? You live in Louisiana, where folks have a tendency to drug, drink and steal to excess? Well, you may want to move, especially if you’ve got a drug or a drinking issue. If that’s not in the cards, at least make sure you’re hanging with a healthy crowd and that you’ve got friends and family to hold you accountable.
Now, before you uproar, we know geography isn’t a guaranteed fix. That we bring our issues with us wherever we go. Geography can though provide the distance necessary to get a better read on your situation. It might just also remove you from the people, places and things that make said situation so untenable to begin with.
What it comes down to though, is knowing where you are – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and geographically. So it definitely won’t hurt to know whether or not you’re living in one of America’s Most Sinful States. If, however, you see yourself as one of America’s most sinful citizens, reach out for some help. Drugs or drink. Gambling or sex. Even the need to rob and to steal. All can be successfully addressed. But only if you make the call.