Florida is the most sinful state in the U.S. while Vermont is the country's most virtuous, according to a new report.
The Sunshine State came out just ahead of fellow sinners in California, Nevada and Texas. Vermont, North Dakota and Maine came in at the other end of the scale as the least sinful states in the U.S.
In the report produced by WalletHub, Florida pipped its rivals to the dubious honor after 38 key “indicators of immorality” were considered. Categories included anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness.
Within the categories, researchers used a variety of statistics to determine the sinfulness of each state.
Although Florida came out top—or bottom—overall, it placed first only for jealousy. Nevadans were the most greedy; Tennessee was worst for anger; Ohioans were most susceptible to excesses and vice.
Vermont, on the other hand, was the least lustful and least jealous, and ranked in the bottom five for laziness and vanity.
Among the other findings:
- Alaska has the highest per capita rate of violent crimes in the country. New Mexico and Nevada also rank highly for this particular vice.
- The most thefts per capita were recorded in New Mexico. Washington and Alaska were close behind, while New Hampshire seems to be the state most respectful of personal property.
- Alcohol consumption is a major vice in many states. Northern states are the biggest boozers, with Wisconsin leading the way in most excessive drinking just ahead of North Dakota.
- Mississippi has the lowest percentage of people with gambling disorders and is also one of the states with the lowest amount of excessive drinking. That said, its citizens spend the most amount of time watching porn.
- The people of New York and Florida are the vainest Americans, hence their ownership of the highest per capita number of beauty salons in the country.
- The least active adult Americans live in Arkansas and Mississippi, scoring those states high up in the laziness category.
Explaining the variation among states, Kristie Blevins, associate professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, told WalletHub, “Over time, government officials, hopefully with the input of the general population, shape the culture by determining what is right or wrong, and ultimately enacting or retracting laws that reflect those beliefs.”
Jill McCracken, associate professor of verbal and visual arts at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, questioned the validity of “sin” as a moral guide, meaning there is still hope for Florida.
“Sin is typically associated with a Christian moral code that clearly defines what is and is not allowed," McCracken said. "I do not subscribe to that worldview, nor do I think it is helpful.”
McCracken warned that the categorization of what was sinful and what was not gave people power over one another.
“I think many people categorize actions as ‘sinful’ in order to have them achieve greater power, according to a divine framework, than they would in stating that this act is ‘wrong’ or ‘unethical,’" she said.