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Can you guess the most unfriendly state in the United States?

Updated Dec 5th, 2022 9:55AM EST
unfriendly states
Image: Design Pics/Keith Levit/Keith Levit/Newscom/The Mega Agency

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  • In the U.S., each state has a personality of its own, and some states are known as being more welcoming than others.
  • Attempting to quantify how friendly or unfriendly a state is, however, poses a challenge, but BestLife attempted to do just that with a new state ranking. 
  • Using a variety of data sources, the site crunched the numbers and came up with a list of the most unfriendly states in the country.

Is your state friendly? You might think so, based purely on where you live within that state, and the overall impression you have of your neighbors and other locals. Quantifying something like friendliness poses a huge challenge, as there isn’t a lot of data related specifically to how kind or unkind a state’s populous is. BestLife did its best to mine some metrics and come up with a ranking, and it might surprise you.

As the site explains, they gathered data from a number of different sources, including the amount of volunteering that happens in each state, the violent crime rate, and rankings from travel sites that direct people to the friendliest destinations. Census data was also included, revealing population changes that may serve as an indicator of how happy people are to live in a given state. The result is a top-20 list of the most unfriendly states in the country.

Normally, these rankings include all 50 states, allowing us to see what the bottom of the list looks like. In this case, the bottom of the list would have indicated the most friendly states, but since this ranking includes just 20 states, we can only really study the top of the list and try to figure out why the states have been deemed so unfriendly.

Here are the top 10 most unfriendly states in the country:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arkansas
  3. New York
  4. Michigan
  5. West Virginia
  6. Alaska
  7. Connecticut
  8. New Jersey
  9. Alabama
  10. Rhode Island

So, there’s a lot of takeaways here if we study the various data points for each of these “unfriendly” states. New Mexico takes the top spot thanks to low volunteer opportunities and a sky-high violent crime rate. However, it ranked as the 17th most friendly state by travel experts and saw an overall population increase of 1.8 percent in the past decade. Still, that wasn’t enough for it to overcome the other metrics weighing it down, and it was deemed the most unfriendly state in the country.

That’s the story for many of the other states as well. Some of them have several relatively decent data points that are pulled down by one metric that is just terrible. Arkansas, for example, saw a 3.5 percent population increase in the past decade, and much lower violent crime than New Mexico, but had even lower numbers of volunteer opportunities and was ranked the second most unfriendly state by travel gurus.

If you want to check out the full list and see where your state might rank, head over to BestLife.