If you've had a tough time in the dating world, you might be able to blame it on the state where you live. A new study from a Michigan State University researcher reveals the states where people have the best - and worst - aptitude for healthy relationships.
We've all heard the motto "Virginia is for lovers," but the state of Virginia actually received a mediocre ranking on the list. The top state for lovers was a three-way tie between Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin.
Many states on the list ranked in accordance with their common stereotypes, said William Chopik, an assistant psychology professor who studies relationships and their effects. For example, New York City often conjures TV and film scenes of work-focused singles, perpetually struggling in romance, and sure enough, New York ranked as the ninth worst state for lovers.
"When I think of New York, I think of the anxious Woody Allen type, and New York had one of the highest scores for attachment anxiety," Chopik said in a press release.
The Western U.S. and Pacific coast ranked high for lovers on a regional basis, which Chopik also found logical.
"California... seems like a romantic place with beautiful sunsets, oceans and warm weather," he said. "And Utah residents are known to be very nice, warm and generous, which many people attribute to the large Mormon population."
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Chopik and his fellow researcher Matt Motyl of the University of Illinois at Chicago looked at 127,070 adults from every state. They measured both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance - whether people were likely to be very clingy in a relationship or more likely to be distant from their partner - both of which are considered detrimental to a healthy relationship. The best states for lovers scored low in both categories.
High ranking states also had corresponding marriages rates and the lowest number of people living in isolation. After Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin, the other top spots went to Vermont, Alaska, North Carolina, Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon. Tenth place was another three-way tie between California, Maine and Washington.
On the other hand, if you consider yourself a loner and finding true love isn't a top priority, you may fare quite well in the Dakotas and the mountainous regions of the U.S. North Dakota ranked as the worst state in the country for relationships, followed by Kentucky, Kansas, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Ohio, South Carolina, Colorado, New York and Indiana.
The study suggests that states with mountain ranges typically cater towards people who seek out a loner lifestyle and intentionally avoid social interactions, which could explain the trend.
While the findings are certainly intriguing, the authors point out that, of course, not all romantic success is bound by geographic location. "To a certain degree, positive relationships are found everywhere and transcend time and place," the authors wrote. "After all, home is where the heart is."
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