The Best (and Worst) States for Lovers

Sorry, Virginia, you're not on the list.

Since 1969, the commonwealth of Virginia has used the advertising slogan "Virginia is for lovers," but that's just not true, according to researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, who have conducted the first nationwide study of positive relationships--state by state.

The No. 1 state for lovers is actually a three-way tie between Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin. Virginia didn't even make the top 10, coming in in the middle of the pack.

Led by William Chopik of Michigan State and Matt Motyl of Illinois, the team studied survey data from 127,070 adults from all 50 states, analyzing two key relationship factors:

  • Attachment anxiety in which people are clingy and constantly worried their partner will leave them.
  • Attachment avoidance in which people dislike intimacy and are more distant and cold toward their partners.

Neither characteristic is healthy for a relationship, and the best states for lovers scored low on both measures. Also in these states, marriage rates were highest and fewer people reported living in isolation.

The best states for lovers:
1. Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin (tie)
4. Vermont
5. Alaska
6. North Carolina
7. Delaware
8. Minnesota
9. Oregon
10. California, Maine and Washington (tie)

The worst states for lovers:
1. North Dakota (and the Great Plains)
2. Kentucky
3. Kansas
4. South Dakota
5. Rhode Island
6. Ohio
7. South Carolina
8. Colorado
9. New York
10. Indiana

The study findings were published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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