Putting Out the Vibe Random observations from my day-to-day life

September 30, 2009

Delaware: Statistically the worst place to live

I finish grad school this spring.  Which means I will have to become a real person.  Which also means I’m currently in the midst of a job search.  As if this weren’t stressful enough, I also have the daunting task of figuring out where I want to live for the next few years.  I was thinking about this while sitting through a lecture on Utility Analysis of Healthcare Decisions last Friday and think I came up with a fool proof method. My conclusion: Delaware is the worst place to live in the US (from a completely unbiased, 23 year old, male perspective).  When it comes down to it, my criteria for choosing a place to live boil down to the following:

  1. Price of Beer
  2. Attractiveness of Women
  3. Cost of Living
  4. Weather
  5. Music Entertainment
  6. Sports Entertainment
Average Pint of Beer Price by State
Rank State Price/Pint
1 South Dakota $1.66
2 Arkansas $1.75
3 West Virginia $1.87
4 Mississippi $2.26
5 Iowa $2.32
6 Kentucky $2.34
7 Nebraska $2.41
8 Wisconsin $2.44
9 Illinois $2.45
11 Missouri $2.48
11 Kansas $2.48
12 Ohio $2.52
13 Michigan $2.56
15 Virginia $2.64
15 South Carolina $2.64
16 Pennsylvania $2.66
17 North Dakota $2.73
18 Texas $2.76
19 New Mexico $2.77
20 Maine $2.78
21 Montana $2.81
22 Florida $2.84
23 Utah $2.87
24 Tennessee $2.89
25 Arizona $2.91
26 North Carolina $2.92
27 New York $2.93
28 Louisiana $2.99
29 New Hampshire $3.01
30 Indiana $3.04
31 Minnesota $3.05
32 Alabama $3.08
33 Hawaii $3.10
34 Maryland $3.19
35 Vermont $3.30
36 Washington $3.34
37 Georgia $3.46
38 Oregon $3.57
39 California $3.58
42 Alaska $3.71
42 Oklahoma $3.71
42 Rhode Island $3.71
43 New Jersey $3.75
45 Massachusetts $3.86
45 Colorado $3.86
46 Delaware $4.12
47 Connecticut $4.29
48 Nevada $4.43
49 Idaho no data available
50 Wyoming no data available

1. Price of Beer
Beer currently constitutes a healthy chunk of my monthly credit card bill and, although I hope this spending will decrease when I become a real person, I’m sure it won’t disappear completely.  On Pintprice.com, users submit beer prices from cities all over the world and I was able to obtain hundreds of pint prices from US cities and calculate a per state average.

Limitations: Reporting of average pint price is voluntary, and therefore the sample size isn’t consistent; no data is available for Idaho and Wyoming (people must not drink there); the website didn’t indicate the recency of any of the prices.  Assumptions: Any submitted beer price <$1 was an outlier and therefore thrown out.

America’s Health Ratings by State
Rank State % Dev. from US Norm
1 Vermont 24.8
2 Hawaii 21.6
3 New Hampshire 19.9
4 Minnesota 18.8
5 Utah 18.2
6 Massachusetts 17.7
7 Connecticut 17.5
8 Idaho 16.1
9 Maine 15.3
10 Washington 14.9
11 Rhode Island 14
12 North Dakota 12.5
13 Nebraska 12
14 Wyoming 11.8
15 Iowa 11.6
16 Oregon 11.3
17 Wisconsin 10.3
18 New Jersey 9.8
19 Colorado 9.7
20 Virginia 9
21 South Dakota 7.5
22 Kansas 6.7
23 Montana 6.5
24 California 5.3
25 New York 3.8
26 Maryland 3.4
27 Michigan 2
28 Pennsylvania 2
29 New Mexico 1.7
30 Alaska 1.3
31 Illinois 0.8
32 Ohio 0.7
33 Arizona 0.4
34 Indiana -0.6
35 Delaware -1.6
36 North Carolina -3.2
37 Kentucky -3.6
38 Missouri -4.9
39 West Virginia -5
40 Alabama -7
41 Georgia -7.8
42 Nevada -7.9
43 Arkansas -8.1
44 Oklahoma -8.1
45 Florida -8.9
46 Texas -9
47 Tennessee -9.7
48 South Carolina -10.7
49 Mississippi -15
50 Louisiana -15.2

2. Attractiveness of Women
Since I’m single, this is an important one since I’m likely to date some ladies in my new home town and attractiveness would be a plus.  Also, my stock is probably only going down at this point.  I figured that a decent predictor of female attractiveness in my hypothetical new state would be America’s Health Ratings.  The data is expressed as a percent deviation from the national norm.

3. Cost of Living
In addition to beer prices being reasonable, since I’ll likely buy things other than beer once in a while, a low overall cost of living would probably be nice. The US Government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), although not exactly cost of living, is a pretty good indicator of this.

Consumer Price Index (CPI) by State
Rank State Consumer Price Index (CPI)
1 Arizona 117.335
4 Maryland 140.810
4 Virginia 140.810
4 West Virginia 140.810
5 Alaska 190.032
6 Texas 196.175
7 Missouri 198.261
8 Kentucky 198.945
9 Kansas 199.152
10 Ohio 199.752
11 Indiana 200.244
12 Wisconsin 200.999
13 Georgia 203.351
14 Michigan 204.673
15 Florida 204.955
19 Iowa 205.632
19 Nebraska 205.632
19 North Dakota 205.632
19 South Dakota 205.632
20 Minnesota 206.167
21 Colorado 207.444
29 Alabama 209.000
29 Arkansas 209.000
29 Louisiana 209.000
29 Mississippi 209.000
29 North Carolina 209.000
29 Oklahoma 209.000
29 South Carolina 209.000
29 Tennessee 209.000
30 Pennsylvania 210.468
31 Illinois 211.441
32 Oregon 214.102
38 Idaho 219.884
38 Montana 219.884
38 Nevada 219.884
38 New Mexico 219.884
38 Utah 219.884
38 Wyoming 219.884
39 Delaware 226.039
40 Washington 227.138
42 Rhode Island 230.883
42 Vermont 230.883
43 New Jersey 232.161
46 Maine 233.018
46 Massachusetts 233.018
46 New Hampshire 233.018
47 Connecticut 235.650
48 New York 238.282
49 California 421.605
50 Hawaii 627.870

Assumptions: I would live near a large city in each state (since CPI represents urban areas).  Limitations: If no CPI state data was available, I took regional average (shown above in italic).

Average Days of Sunshine by State
Rank State Average Days/Year
1 Arizona 90.0
2 Nevada 79.0
3 New Mexico 71.0
4 Colorado 72.7
5 California 74.8
6 Utah 66.0
7 Florida 69.3
8 Kansas 65.8
9 Arkansas 68.3
10 Wyoming 67.3
11 Texas 69.8
12 Oklahoma 61.0
13 Idaho 63.0
14 Louisiana 63.0
15 Nebraska 63.5
16 South Dakota 64.0
17 Georgia 63.3
18 Mississippi 63.0
19 South Carolina 62.0
20 Virginia 62.3
21 North Carolina 62.5
22 Iowa 62.0
23 Hawaii 61.3
24 North Dakota 60.0
25 Montana 58.8
26 Missouri 58.5
27 Tennessee 58.0
28 Alabama 58.3
29 Rhode Island 58.0
30 Indiana 57.3
31 Illinois 57.4
32 Kentucky 58.5
33 Maine 57.0
34 Maryland 57.0
35 Connecticut 56.0
36 New Jersey 56.0
37 Massachusetts 57.0
38 Minnesota 58.0
39 Wisconsin 56.7
40 Pennsylvania 55.5
41 New York 53.8
42 Ohio 52.2
43 Michigan 51.3
44 Vermont 49.0
45 Oregon 48.0
46 Washington 49.8
47 New Hampshire 44.0
48 West Virginia 40.0
49 Alaska 38.3
50 Delaware no data available

4. Weather
Living in Wisconsin can be rough and when Winter seems to span from September until May during some years, it’s hard not to think about places like California and Florida.  Living in a place that has nicer weather that Wisconsin would probably improve my well-being (especially during January and February).  To analyze weather by state, I used the National Climate Data Center’s Average Percent of Possible Sunshine data.

Number of Concerts by State
Rank State Concerts
1 Missouri 2053
2 California 2048
3 New York 1439
4 Illinois 1207
5 Florida 696
6 Ohio 684
7 Pennsylvania 663
8 Massachusetts 646
9 Nevada 612
10 Texas 587
11 Washington 511
12 Michigan 439
13 Minnesota 362
14 New Jersey 313
15 Virginia 303
16 Maryland 274
17 Colorado 265
18 Georgia 250
19 Arizona 223
20 Louisiana 214
21 Tennessee 197
22 Oregon 187
23 North Carolina 185
24 Kentucky 152
25 Indiana 139
26 Wisconsin 133
27 Mississippi 130
28 Iowa 102
29 Connecticut 79
30 South Carolina 67
31 Alabama 64
32 Idaho 58
33 Kansas 57
34 New Mexico 57
35 Nebraska 25
36 West Virginia 25
37 Rhode Island 23
38 North Dakota 19
39 New Hampshire 11
40 Arkansas 10
41 South Dakota 9
42 Oklahoma 8
43 Wyoming 7
44 Hawaii 6
45 Maine 5
46 Alaska 3
48 Delaware 2
48 Vermont 2
50 Montana 1
50 Utah 1

5. Music Entertainment
Entertainment offered is crucial to having a social life outside of work and since I like concerts, plays, and especially Neil Diamond, I felt I needed to include this factor.  If cost of living is low, but there is nothing worthwhile to spend my extra money on anyway, I might as well just move back in with my parents.  To try to represent how many concerts are offered in each state, on 9-27-09, I searched ticketmaster.com for musical events in each state.

6. Sports Entertainment
Another important entertainment factor is how many sporting events I will be able to attend.  Therefore, I included in my analysis the total number of major professional sports teams in each state.

Pro Sports Teams by State
Rank State Pro Sports Teams
1 California 18
3 New York 10
3 Texas 10
4 Florida 9
5 Pennsylvania 8
7 Maryland 7
7 Ohio 7
9 Illinois 6
9 Missouri 6
11 Colorado 5
11 Massachusetts 5
16 Arizona 4
16 Georgia 4
16 Michigan 4
16 Minnesota 4
16 Wisconsin 4
19 North Carolina 3
19 Tennessee 3
19 Washington 3
24 Indiana 2
24 Louisiana 2
24 New Jersey 2
24 Oregon 2
24 Utah 2
25 Oklahoma 1

Assumptions: Since I would rather watch Wisconsin Badger football or basketball over any professional sport, I added an additional professional sport to Wisconsin’s total.  For geographic purposes, I included Washington D.C. as a part of Maryland.  Also, this data assumes that I care about the NBA.  In reality, in the last decade, I have really only attended pro football and baseball games.
Linear Transformation

Results

To compare results across the six criteria, I linearly transformed the data to a 0 to 100 scale.  The equation to obtain this new score is shown at right.  If low values were preferred instead of high values (such as price of beer and CPI), the result was subtracted from one before multiplying by 100.  After applying this transformation to the data, the following scores result.

State Price of Beer
Score
Attractive Women
Score
CPI
Score
Sunshine
Score
Concerts
Score
Pro Sports
Score
AVERAGE
SCORE
California
30.8
51.3
40.4
73.0
99.8
100.0
 
65.9
Missouri
70.5
25.8
84.1
44.0
100.0
33.3
 
59.6
New York
54.1
47.5
76.3
28.1
70.1
55.6
 
55.3
Arizona
54.8
39.0
100.0
100.0
10.8
22.2
 
54.5
Illinois
71.3
40.0
81.6
41.3
58.8
33.3
 
54.4
Texas
60.2
15.5
84.6
59.0
28.6
55.6
 
50.6
Florida
57.3
15.8
82.8
62.6
33.9
50.0
 
50.4
Pennsylvania
64.0
43.0
81.8
33.5
32.3
44.4
 
49.8
Utah
56.3
83.5
79.9
64.8
0.0
11.1
 
49.3
Minnesota
49.9
85.0
82.6
37.0
17.6
22.2
 
49.1
South Dakota
100.0
56.8
82.7
54.1
0.4
0
 
49.0
Ohio
68.8
39.8
83.9
28.0
33.3
38.9
 
48.8
Virginia
64.5
60.5
95.4
49.1
14.7
0
 
47.4
Wisconsin
71.8
63.8
83.6
34.9
6.4
22.2
 
47.1
Nebraska
73.0
68.0
82.7
54.6
1.2
0
 
46.6
Colorado
20.5
62.3
82.4
73.3
12.9
27.8
 
46.5
Maryland
44.7
46.5
95.4
40.2
13.3
38.9
 
46.5
Iowa
76.3
67.0
82.7
47.7
4.9
0
 
46.4
Massachusetts
20.6
82.3
77.3
37.0
31.4
27.8
 
46.1
Kansas
70.4
54.8
84.0
60.0
2.7
0
 
45.3
New Mexico
59.9
42.3
79.9
79.7
2.7
0
 
44.1
Michigan
67.6
43.0
82.9
24.9
21.3
22.2
 
43.7
Idaho
no data available
78.3
79.9
56.2
2.8
0
 
43.4
North Dakota
61.3
69.3
82.7
45.6
0.9
0
 
43.3
Arkansas
96.7
17.8
82.0
59.8
0.4
0
 
42.8
Maine
59.5
76.3
77.3
41.3
0.2
0
 
42.4
Washington
39.3
75.3
78.5
14.6
24.9
16.7
 
41.5
Wyoming
no data available
67.5
79.9
59.8
0.3
0
 
41.5
Vermont
40.7
100.0
77.8
24.2
0.0
0
 
40.5
North Carolina
54.6
30.0
82.0
48.4
9.0
16.7
 
40.1
Montana
58.6
54.3
79.9
45.0
0.0
0
 
39.6
Kentucky
75.5
29.0
84.0
41.3
7.4
0
 
39.5
Indiana
50.0
36.5
83.8
42.7
6.7
11.1
 
38.5
New Jersey
24.6
62.5
77.5
39.1
15.2
11.1
 
38.3
New Hampshire
51.2
87.8
77.3
12.5
0.5
0
 
38.2
Georgia
35.0
18.5
83.2
53.4
12.1
22.2
 
37.4
Tennessee
55.5
13.8
82.0
44.0
9.6
16.7
 
36.9
Rhode Island
25.9
73.0
77.8
43.4
1.1
0
 
36.9
Oregon
31.1
66.3
81.0
22.1
9.1
11.1
 
36.8
Mississippi
78.3
0.5
82.0
53.0
6.3
0
 
36.7
West Virginia
92.4
25.5
95.4
5.0
1.2
0
 
36.6
South Carolina
64.4
11.3
82.0
52.7
3.2
0
 
35.6
Louisiana
51.8
0.0
82.0
56.2
10.4
11.1
 
35.3
Nevada
0.0
18.3
79.9
82.4
29.8
0
 
35.1
Connecticut
5.0
81.8
76.8
39.1
3.8
0
 
34.4
Alabama
48.7
20.5
82.0
43.4
3.1
0
 
32.9
Oklahoma
25.9
17.8
82.0
58.4
0.3
5.6
 
31.7
Hawaii
48.1
92.0
0.0
46.1
0.2
0
 
31.1
Alaska
25.9
41.3
85.8
0.0
0.1
0
 
25.5
Delaware
11.1
34.0
78.7
no data available
0.0
0
 
24.8

In averaging the six criteria (instead of using a weighted average with importance ratings for each criteria) to calculate my overall state ranking, I’m assuming that they are of equal importance.  In reality, living somewhere with cheap beer is probably much more important than living somewhere with attractive women.  So there you have it.  It looks like I’ll be applying as much as possible in California, while avoiding Delaware like the plague.  Feel free to suggest any additional criteria that you think I should have included in my analysis.

Update 10-5-09: The complete data that I used to reach these results can be found here.

6 Comments »

  1. I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here and poke some holes in your logic. Some of your statistics ingore the fact that not all states are of equal size. California may have 2048 more concerts than delaware, but it is also 83.8 times larger (in square mileage) than Delaware. In fairness, you should include some of the neighboring states data in Delaware’s numbers. Similarly, the sunshine data is a little misleading. With a state that size, you’re bound to see sunshine SOMEWHERE in the state nearly every day. What about pro teams? Shouldn’t you factor in the quality of the teams? In California, you have jokes like the Clippers and the Raiders. Should those teams even count? In Delaware, you have the following high quality teams within a radius well covered by the size of California: Yankees, Eagles, Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, New York Giants, Steelers. The only team decent team in California worth watching is the Lakers. But they play in LA where there is 0% sunshine days on account of the smog.

    Nevertheless, great post!

    Comment by Mike Piche — October 5, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Mike – as UW’s George Box once said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” If you’re interested, I posted a link to my complete data above. The state size point is a good one, but much of the data is only on a state level, not more local. The sunshine data is actually average percentage of sunshine, so in the case of California, I averaged results from seven different cities. The athletics point is very true since in reality, I would never really want to go to any of those games. Maybe I should factor in the additional cost of flights back to see the badgers play if I live far away from Madison.

    Comment by Matthew — October 5, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  3. Let me prefix this post with a full disclosure…obviously I’m supporting your move to Colorado. That said…

    Does quality of beer play any part in your beer drinking? From this post I’d assume you pretty much consume Olympia Ice? For example, Colorado has more breweries per capita than any state in the US. With that high number of micro brews, obviously the price of beer as a whole would be higher, but if you institute a cost/quality ratio I’d feel pretty good about where CO sits.

    Also I’d like to challenge your healthiest state rankings. That pole takes into account factors such as the rate of women’s prenatal care, immunization coverage, and prevalence of binge drinking. I would assume these factors don’t apply to your best interests of meeting attractive women? May I suggest either obesity rankings or most active state rankings?

    Finally, any poll with Texas ranked so high needs some adjustments!

    http://calorielab.com/news/2008/07/02/fattest-states-2008/
    http://www.myfittribe.com/articles/20071229/most-active-states.html
    http://www.colorado.com/Breweries.aspx

    Comment by David K — October 7, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

  4. […] “Is Wisconsin really this morbidly obese?” – No, actually, I’ve looked into it. […]

    Pingback by Is Wisconsin overweight or is my waist size really that unusual? « Putting Out the Vibe — October 24, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  5. I was definitely interested in reading this blog, after doing some research on demographics in Delaware and seeing the heading pop up in my search results… I currently reside in the “small wonder” state of Delaware. I definitely agree that it ranks lowest on the list of states I’ve lived in in my life (others include: New York, Maine, Vermont, Colorado and California). Bottom line: unless you like suburban sprawl and strip malls, prefer zero night life, very little social interaction or cultural activity and have a penchant for crap weather (too cold in winter, too hot and humid in summer), do NOT ever even visit this little hell hole. California definitely ranks #1 in my book. I lived there for 8 years, which is the longest I’ve lived anywhere. While I’ve been through a lot of the vast country of CA I settled in San Diego, and that’s where my heart still is. Colorado is fun, but I didn’t stay long, too much snow. You’re young though, have fun, see it all, except Delaware.

    Comment by em — February 6, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

  6. I hardly write responses, but i did some searching and wound up here Delaware:
    Statistically the worst place to live | Putting Out the Vibe.
    And I do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it simply me or does it look as if like a few of these remarks look like they are left
    by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing on other social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Would you list of the complete urls of all your social pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page
    or twitter feed?

    Comment by chris landry mortgage broker — May 29, 2014 @ 6:21 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2017 Matthew, puttingoutthevibe.com