People like to stay put.
Although a slight majority of Americans have changed communities at some point in their lives, four out of every 10 of you reading this have never moved from the town you were born in, according to the Pew Research Center.
Why is that? Family? Comfort? Laziness? Or do we just have a healthy attachment to our state?
That must be it, because not only have most Americans never moved from their home state, 54 percent have never traveled outside of it.
Is your state really that great?
Even those with an above-average love of their home that sometimes borders on psychotic (I’m looking at you, Texans) must know their state is bad at something.
For example, Wisconsin is bad at not drinking.
South Dakota is bad at not drinking and driving.
And New Jersey is bad at … well, let’s let the lovely Wanda spin the Wheel of Chance to see if the Garden State wins a brand new washer/dryer. Oh, no. The wheel landed on “Snooki.” Looks like New Jersey’s leaving empty handed.
Being from Missouri, I can look past a lot of things we’ve done wrong, like elect a dead man to the United States Senate, and allow Scott Bakula to be born in St. Louis instead of kicking him across the state line to Illinois where he belongs. But I can’t look past our bad pronunciations (Versailles pronounced “Verr-sales” instead of the original French “Vehr-sai?” Seriously, guys?). We have a state flower, state mineral, and state dinosaur. Why can’t Missouri have a state dictionary?
If you’re not willing to recognize the good and bad of your home state, the nice people at Distractify and Thrillist have done it for us. Here are the national rankings of some the best and worst things about our homes in the four-state region of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
Your state has the (best):
Missouri – Best trails.
Iowa – Lowest divorce rate.
Nebraska – Most homes with indoor plumbing.
Kansas – Most teenage volunteers.
Your state has the (worst):
Missouri – Most bankruptcy.
Iowa – Fewest young people.
Nebraska – Most domestic violence.
Kansas – Poorest health.
What your state does well:
Missouri – Political bellwether.
Iowa – Fewest sick days taken.
Nebraska – Least public corruption.
Kansas – Wheat production.
What your state has more of per capita:
Missouri – Meth labs.
Iowa – Lost chickens.
Nebraska – High school graduates.
Kansas – Pornography page views.
What your state Googles most:
Missouri – The Family Circus.
Iowa – Canadian rapper Drake.
Nebraska – Jazzercise
Kansas – Hoof and mouth disease.
Most bankruptcy, most meth labs, lost chickens, jazzercise, hoof and mouth disease (I’m not even getting into The Family Circus) – that looks pretty bleak, until we take into consideration Colorado’s raging cocaine use, Pennsylvania’s arson rate, Louisiana’s gonorrhea, New Mexico’s “to hell with you” attitude toward people in general (it’s on the list), Mississippi’s obesity, Oregon’s high rate of selling cigarettes to children (not minors, children), Arkansas’ hate groups, and North Dakota’s ugliest females.
So, outsiders, if you’re going to relocate, look here. The Midwest ain’t half bad.
Jason Offutt’s novel, “A Funeral Story,” is available at amazon.com.