The Carolinas Rank Among 2021’s Most “Sinful States in America”

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Every state has virtues and vices, and vices are especially hard to conquer during the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harmful behavior on the individual level can result in staggering economic costs, considering that gambling addiction costs the U.S. $5 billion per year and smoking costs dwarf that with over $300 billion per year.

In light of these statistics, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Most Sinful States. To determine where the U.S. has the most moral growing to do, the site compared the 50 states based on a wide range of data points* that they fit into seven sinful categories: anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness.

South Carolina ranked the 8th most sinful state (with exceptionally low marks for ‘anger and hatred’ and ‘jealousy’) and North Carolina ranked the 13th most sinful state in America (fairing worst in the ‘jealousy’ and ‘lust’ categories).

Most Sinful States in the U.S.

Overall Rank  State WalletHub Vice Index  Anger & Hatred  Jealousy  Excesses & Vices  Greed  Lust  Vanity  Laziness 
1 Nevada 55.69 9 2 5 1 4 29 6
2 California 54.22 12 7 46 21 2 2 31
3 Texas 52.00 25 9 36 29 1 6 30
4 Georgia 51.52 14 1 26 49 5 11 10
5 Florida 51.30 31 3 39 46 7 3 20
6 Louisiana 51.07 4 6 1 25 6 35 2
7 Tennessee 50.26 1 12 6 9 9 24 18
8 South Carolina 48.54 3 4 11 14 14 26 13
9 Illinois 47.49 8 24 21 43 3 7 28
10 Mississippi 47.21 11 23 14 3 8 49 1
11 New Jersey 46.02 43 28 49 8 24 4 23
12 Alabama 45.18 10 11 10 34 16 34 3
13 North Carolina 44.64 33 15 27 19 12 16 27
14 Delaware 44.61 29 5 4 2 32 37 22
15 Missouri 44.43 7 16 7 31 20 23 9
16 New York 44.40 15 27 43 50 23 1 15
17 Michigan 43.99 13 36 9 15 19 15 17
18 Arkansas 43.97 2 19 12 39 10 44 7
19 Pennsylvania 43.82 36 31 18 28 25 5 33
20 Maryland 43.34 28 8 16 44 11 12 37
21 Oklahoma 42.47 17 22 29 4 17 38 21
22 Arizona 42.34 22 10 41 32 15 18 25
23 Ohio 42.30 30 25 3 45 18 13 19
24 Virginia 42.26 40 29 44 11 21 8 38
25 New Mexico 41.71 16 13 30 17 26 43 4
26 Washington 40.45 38 18 47 13 33 10 43
27 Colorado 39.71 18 17 32 33 28 14 47
28 Hawaii 39.26 49 21 25 6 13 28 36
29 Kentucky 39.18 21 37 2 24 22 36 11
30 Alaska 37.58 6 20 20 16 37 39 40
31 Indiana 36.86 20 35 13 41 27 22 12
32 Oregon 35.91 26 14 24 42 36 25 32
33 Wisconsin 35.33 24 42 34 26 31 20 35
34 West Virginia 35.15 35 41 8 22 30 50 5
35 Massachusetts 35.08 46 43 19 40 42 9 34
36 Rhode Island 34.15 39 39 23 7 48 33 8
37 Kansas 33.19 27 30 33 37 29 32 41
38 Montana 33.07 5 32 22 23 43 48 46
39 Connecticut 32.37 47 34 37 36 46 19 26
40 South Dakota 31.37 19 50 45 12 41 47 16
41 Minnesota 31.26 48 33 48 30 38 17 49
42 Nebraska 30.86 34 38 28 27 34 31 48
43 North Dakota 30.32 41 45 40 5 44 40 42
44 Maine 29.21 45 49 17 20 47 42 14
45 Iowa 29.03 32 44 35 35 39 30 44
46 New Hampshire 28.38 50 40 15 18 49 27 39
47 Utah 28.36 44 26 50 48 40 21 50
48 Vermont 27.32 23 48 31 10 50 45 29
49 Idaho 27.15 42 46 38 38 45 41 24
50 Wyoming 25.19 37 47 42 47 35 46 45

Note: With the exception of “WalletHub Vice Index,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative tank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

*Here is how they scored each category:

Anger & Hatred – Total Points: 14.3

  • Violent Crimes per Capita: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Sex Offenders per Capita: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Bullying Rate: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Share of Public-School Students in Grades 9–12 Who Carried a Weapon on School Property: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Hate-Crime Incidents per Capita: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Hate Groups per Capita: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Share of Maltreated Adults: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
    Notes: This metric measures the prevalence of rape, physical abuse and or stalking (emotional abuse) among men and women by an intimate partner.
  • Share of Maltreated Children: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
    Notes: This metric measures the prevalence of physical, psychological or sexual abuse and maltreatment among children.
  • Teen Dating Violence: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
    Notes: This composite metric includes the percentage of teens that:

    • Were ever physically forced to have sexual intercourse
    • Experienced sexual violence by anyone
    • Experienced sexual dating violence
    • Experienced physical dating violence
  • Share of Internet Comments that are Hostile: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Road Rage Ranking (Share of Rude Drivers): Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Discrimination Cases Filed per Adult Population: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Number of Mass Shootings: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Deaths due to Firearms per Capita: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Share of Persons Arrested For Aggravated Assault: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)
  • Share of Elder-Abuse, Gross-Neglect and Exploitation Complaints: Full Weight (~0.89 Points)

Jealousy – Total Points: 14.3

  • Thefts per Capita: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Identity-Theft Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Fraud & Other Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~4.77 Points)

Excesses & Vices – Total Points: 14.3

  • Share of Obese Adults: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Fast-Food Establishments per Capita: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Excessive Drinking: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the age-adjusted prevalence of binge and heavy drinking among the adult population.
  • Share of Adults Who Have Reported Having Driven After Drinking Too Much: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Adult Smokers: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Adult Coffee Drinkers: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults who drank ready-to-drink coffee in the past six months.
  • Share of Population Using Marijuana: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of residents aged 18 years and older who used marijuana in the past month.
  • Retail Opioid Prescriptions Dispensed per 100 Persons: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Drug Overdose Deaths: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of deaths due to drug poisoning per 100,000 residents.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)

Greed – Total Points: 14.3

  • Casinos per Capita*: Double Weight (~4.77 Points)
  • Gambling-Related Arrests per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Charitable Donations as Share of Income: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Share of Population with Gambling Disorders: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Persons Arrested for Embezzlement per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)

Lust – Total Points: 14.3

  • Teen Birth Rate: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of births per 1,000 female residents ages 15 to 19.
  • Google Search Interest Index for “XXX Entertainment”: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
    Note: This metric measures search interest for online adult entertainment.
  • Average Time Spent on Adult Entertainment Sites: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)
  • Persons Arrested for Prostitution and Commercialized Vice per Capita: Full Weight (~3.58 Points)

Vanity – Total Points: 14.3

  • Beauty Salons per Capita*: Full Weight (~5.72 Points)
  • Google Search Interest Index for “Top 5 Plastic Surgeries”: Full Weight (~5.72 Points)
    Note: This metric measures search interest for the five most common plastic surgery procedures (breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty and facelift).
  • Consumer Expenditures per Household on Personal Care Products and Services: Half Weight (~2.86 Points)

Laziness – Total Points: 14.3

  • Share of Adults Not Exercising: Full Weight (~2.60 Points)
  • Average Weekly Hours Worked: Full Weight (~2.60 Points)
  • Volunteer Rate: Half Weight (~1.30 Points)
  • Average Daily Time Spent Watching TV: Full Weight (~2.60 Points)
  • High School Graduation Rate: Full Weight (~2.60 Points)
  • Share of Disconnected Youth: Full Weight (~2.60 Points)
    Note: “Disconnected Youth” refers to the population ages 16 to 24 who are neither working nor in school.

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Trade Commission, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, TransUnion, National Council on Problem Gambling, Corporation for National and Community Service, Esri’s Updated Demographics (2020 estimates), Parents For Megan’s Law Inc., The Crime Victims Center, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Wired, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Gun Violence Archive, Fraser Institute, PornHub, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Center of Education Statistics, United Health Foundation, Google Ads, Kars4Kids and The Southern Poverty Law Center.

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