By Bob Smietana
Turns out folks in the Bible belt still need Jesus.
Six Southern states—Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana—were among the top 10 most sinful states in a recent study.
Alabama, consistently rated as one of the most religious states in the country, was ranked just outside the top 10.
Staff at Wallethub.com, a financial site, compared the states using 38 metrics from dimensions modeled after the seven deadly sins: anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity, and laziness.
Among the factors were crime statistics, real estate values, rates of pornography use, drinking, and gambling, along with other data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI.
Have a lot of casinos or low rates of charitable giving in your state? You’re greedy, says Walletub.com. Search for porn or spend time on X-rated sites? Your state is lustful.
States where there are a lot of beauty salons or where residents spend their time Googling “plastic surgeons” rated as vain. States where residents watch TV instead of exercising got high marks for sloth.
Florida was ranked the most sinful state. It led the nation in jealousy and was fourth in vanity and greed.
Texans were lustful, vain, and jealous. Georgians were jealous and lustful as well, while Tennesseans led the nation in wrath and ranked third for excesses and vices.
Nevada, home to Las Vegas—also known as “Sin City”—ranked as the third most sinful state. California was second.
Vermont was named the least sinful state—though the state was one of the top 10 greediest states.
North Dakota, Maine, Utah, and Iowa rounded out the top five least sinful states.
Overall, Southern states rated as more sinful than Northern states. Illinois ranked number 7, while Washington state was 12th.
Ironically, Vermont is also one of the least religious states, according to Gallup polling. Only 21 percent of that state’s residents qualify as “very religious.”
By contrast, more than half of residents of Bible belt states like Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas qualify as “very religious.”
Still, some states are both religious and less likely to indulge in deadly sins. Folks in North Dakota and Utah go heavy on religion and light on deadly sins.
“We thought it’d be a really interesting thing to try and map out,” Mitchel Stimers, one of the Kansas State geographers, told the Tennessean in 2009.
“When you look up the seven deadly sins in a physical brick-and-mortar library or on Google, you get theological interpretations and how they have changed over the year. But you never see how they play out spatially.”
- How Charitable is Your State?
- The Most (and Least) Evangelical States
- Are Megachurches Crowding Your State?
- One State Dominates the Bible-Minded Cities List
- How Many Americans Think They’re Sinners?
BOB SMIETANA (@BobSmietana) is senior writer for Facts & Trends.