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The number one most selfish state in the US makes perfect sense

Published Dec 29th, 2020 5:49PM EST
selfish states
Image: Design Pics/Keith Levit/Keith Levit/Newscom/The Mega Agency

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  • A new 50-state ranking attempts to determine the most selfish state in the United States.
  • The data used to make the ranking includes the number of volunteer hours contributed by citizens, how charitable each state’s residents are, and how empathetic each state is, based on a recent study. 
  • The rankings appear somewhat random, but the number 1 most selfish state certainly does make sense.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of giving, and there are plenty of people who go out of their way to make life better for others. But are the residents of some states more giving than others? Are there really states that are, overall, more selfish than the rest? Best Life says yes, and the site has come up with criteria for ranking states based on how selfish they are.

In order to come up with what the site calls the “Selfish Index” number for each state, the site used a bunch of data from different sources. Included in the index score is data from a recent study on the empathy of each state, the percentage of its residents that volunteer on a yearly basis, and how charitable its residents are.

It’s definitely an interesting experiment, though the results are somewhat hard to parse. There seems to be a great deal of randomness here that I can’t really make sense of, but perhaps you can. First, let’s start with the bottom of the list, meaning that these are the least selfish states in the United States:

  1. Utah
  2. Oregon
  3. Minnesota
  4. Montana
  5. Connecticut
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Maryland
  9. North Carolina
  10. Washington

See what I mean? Aside from always hearing that people from Minnesota are really nice, I don’t really see a clear trend in these, though the data does appear to indicate that these states have the highest percentage of people that are willing to go out of their way to make life better for others. That’s awesome, any way you slice it.

Now, for the opposite end of the list. These are apparently the most selfish states in the entire country. Again, there’s no clear trend, but the state at the very top of the list definitely makes sense:

  1. Nevada
  2. Kentucky
  3. West Virginia
  4. New Mexico
  5. Alabama
  6. Delaware
  7. Florida
  8. Indiana
  9. Lousiana
  10. Alaska

Okay, so let’s just get the obvious one out of the way. Nevada, home to the gambling capital of the United States and a place where people go in the hopes of making themselves wealthy, definitely doesn’t seem like a place where selfless people would want to congregate. Now, as for the other states on the list, there again isn’t a very clear connection. Maybe I’m missing something, but regardless of anything else, the data makes it pretty clear that these states are selfish.