A new report analyzes 38 indicators of immorality related to anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness
The Sunshine State has a dark side.
Florida is the most sinful state of the union, according to a new analysis from WalletHub, based on 38 indicators of immorality related to anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness. Rounding out the top five are California, Nevada, Texas and Georgia.
“It was surprising that Florida outranked Nevada when it comes to what most people first think of for ‘sin,’” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Moneyish in an email. “But when looking at the metrics, it makes more sense.” Florida has more sex offenders per capita than Nevada, she pointed out, as well as more mass shootings.
The report considered variables including violent crimes, sex offenders and hate-crime incidents per capita; number of mass shootings; thefts per capita; binge-drinking prevalence; shares of obese adults, adult smokers, coffee drinkers and marijuana users; casinos per capita; teen birth rate; average time on adult entertainment sites; share of non-exercising adults; and volunteer rate.
Accessibility, Gonzalez said, “plays a major role” in why some states are more prone than others to such sins. “Nevada, as one would presume, ranks first in the Greed category, because it has the most casinos per capita and the fifth highest number of adults with a gambling problem at 2.7%,” she said.
While New York came in no. 20 overall, it took the top slot in vanity — even besting California, home of Hollywood glitz and glamour. “New York ranked first in vanity because it has the most hair salons per capita and the highest Google Search Interest Index for ‘Top 5 Plastic Surgeries,’” Gonzalez said. “For comparison’s sake, California ranked 5th with regards to hair salons per capita, even though it tied with New York for its interest in plastic surgery.”
Other states carved out their own niches: Alaska had the most violent crimes per capita, while Maine had the fewest; New Mexico had the most thefts per capita, while New Hampshire had the fewest. Wisconsin had the most excessive drinking, compared to Oklahoma on the lower extreme. States that spent the most time on average with adult entertainment sites were Mississippi, Hawaii, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana.
In states seeking to curtail the staggering costs associated with these vices, Gonzalez said, “(g)overnmental officials have the ability to shape culture by enacting laws that clearly separate right from wrong. And as a consequence, laws may help maintain bad behavior from becoming too widespread.” Lawmakers, she suggested, could take a page from San Francisco, Oakland and Boulder footsteps in passing a “soda tax” on sugary drinks to potentially curb obesity rates. “Similarly, gambling laws help manage gambling addiction by giving the activity a legal frame,” Gonzalez added. “If they become more lenient, more people would have access to gambling, and the chances of addiction then increase.”
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