What your state is the worst at – United States of shame

In a survey of rankings from a variety of sources, Pleated Jeans maps the United States of Shame. Because all states must be bad at something. Go, California. If we’re the worst at air pollution, does that mean we actually have really clean air? Must be.

See also a spinoff from Political Language: The United States of Awesome. Because all states must be good at something. Go, California.

[Pleated Jeans via Laughing Squid]


  • Weakest government influence? That’s a bad thing?

    • Weakest government influence? That’s a bad thing?

      I’m also a bit puzzled why low teacher salaries are assumed to be bad.

      • Weakest government influence is bad in the sense that they have the least say in Congress. And lowest teacher salary is bad because, well, if you’re a teacher, you get paid less in North Carolina than if you were to work somewhere else.

      • He’s a libertarian…you have to explain the obvious to him. He doesn’t understand why paying crap wages to people who teach children to read could possibly be a bad thing.

      • um, its a bad thing because 1, they are teaching the worlds children and 2, they have to pay their way through life just like you and me. it is bad. what if they cut your salary? you would probably have to cut back on life, the way you live. well, so do the teachers.

      • Really, you have to ask why low teacher’s salary is a bad thing? Do you have any idea what we “teachers” go through on a daily basis? We are the only profession that is not paid professionally! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but it would be nice to be able to help support my family more. We are constantly facing more and more budget cuts. Which means no raises to help with the increase of cost of living expenses. We have to have materials in order to teach, but we are not supplied with enough funding in order to provide those necessities such as copy paper, technology, basic supplies, lab supplies, etc. So in order to do our job properly, we usually end up purchasing a lot of the basic supplies and such out of our own pocket. So glad to know that some think that we should not be paid professionally. Especially since some of our paycheck goes back into supplying materials for your children to be able to receive a proper education. Not to mention the amount of time and money that we spend outside of school working on continuing education, professional development, working on lesson plans, etc. Most of those workshops or classes are not free! So if you have never been in a classroom to experience what we do, you have no business commenting on the amount of money we should be receiving.

    • In a similar fashion, ‘Most liberalized prostitution laws” is not necessarily a good thing either.

  • Huh, NY is worst in daily commute but best in transit use. Does that mean NYers are really great at using a really terrible transit system?

  • it means not enough people are using a pretty good transit system or it means a lot of people are using it, but it still takes forever to get wherever they’re going.

  • I like that the best and worst in my home state of Ohio are kind of the same thing. Louisiana’s may be related, too.

    • Actually, the “Nerdiest state” claim in the first map came from the library use rate. So they’re not “kind of” the same thing. They’re EXACTLY the same thing =)

  • Evidently the only reason colorado is not obese is because there more interested in cocaine than food.sorry to ironic for me.Lets give colorado another chance!

  • Inquiring minds want to know….

    Does “porn usage” lead to well-being? (Utah)
    Do female criminals really make better license plates? (OK)
    Does church attendance cause strokes, or does having a stoke contribute to subsequent church attendance?
    It makes sense that paying educators poorly translates into cheaper education.

    • I was wondering about the same thing! LOL
      However, you have to note that it’s a ‘reported’ well-being (UT) and ‘value’ in education doesn’t necessarily translate into ‘cheaper’ education (NC). ;)

    • I was assuming by porn usage for Utah they meant the least amount of porn usage–either that, or they have their supply of really liberal Mormons.

  • Gerard St. Croix January 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I find it interesting how the negatives can all be expressed much shorter and way more succinctly than the positives.

    • I think that’s mostly b/c the positive map includes a lot of “best” and “most” and “least” whereas the negative map only shows a lone topic.

  • In the link, the only reason Maine is the ‘dumbest state’ is because that’s based off average SAT Score. Maine requires all students to take the SAT as a standardized test, so that includes the population of people who are in high school but don’t choose to go on to college.

  • Colorado: high cocaine use => low obesity rate.

  • samcalmlyweeks January 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Utah is the worst at porn usage? Does that mean they’re using porn incorrectly?

  • I like the way the “Awesome” map includes several dubious honors and backhanded complements:

    “Most Average” (best at being just like everyone else)

    “Best License Plate” (now that’s something to be proud about)

    “Spaceport Home” (couldn’t come up with anything else, huh?)

    “Best Armed” (the Hatfield-McCoy feud is still going on, I take it)

    “Most Liberalized Prostitution Laws” (okay, that one is pretty awesome)

  • So we prevent intentional fires and kill wildlife in PA….. I like the “most hunters” comment too..lol

  • Although MN had the most tornadoes in 2010, a better measure is the density of tornadoes (number per square kilometer in the state). There is a nice density plot of the 30 year average for tornadoes at http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wtornavg.htm. For a more whimsical Top Ten Tornado list, see http://www.tornadoproject.com/toptens/topten1.htm
    I say we take away Minnesota’s tornado claim and put the shame where it rightfully belongs: largest per capita consumption of lutefisk.

  • Wow…How about the State with all the ugly people?.Glad im not homeless ,breathing dirty air and dont live like Mad Max. Happy that I just drink (Wonder how they knew)….But UGLY now that would be a cause for concern LOL.

  • Go Ohio! Proud to be using the library so much I’m a nerd!!!!!

  • I think most tornadoes makes MN rather awesome.

  • Should the title of the first map be what the state does best? For Michigan, it’s unemployment. Aren’t we best at unemployment.


  • If you take the worst and best distinctions, and pair them together, you get some pretty funny correlations
    1)CO has the lowest obseity rates, and the highest cocaine use…
    2)WY has the most fatal car crashes-but also the cleanest air…
    3) NJ has the lowest suicide rate, but highest taxes…apparently death and taxes not inexorably linked!
    4) UT has the most internet porn usage and the highest overall wellbeing…

  • The state with the highest rate of rape is the one with the lowest mental health days taken. Well hum… Something is not right. Shouldn’t they send more rapist to mental health hospitals ?

  • Monkey Foot March 24, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Wow! Utah! I’m so dissapointed in you guys! Fix that!

  • Nathan Gorey July 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Really? Porn is that bad? Just because a state has legal abortion or porn viewers doesn’t make it “worse.”