Surely every single state in our United States is as American as apple pie, but what if you had to choose which state is the most American?
It’s an impossible question to answer, of course, but one which is fun to set parameters for, choose the order and then let the debate begin.
Quite a few polls pass by my desk on a regular basis from numerous sources and on numerous topics. Some, such as the ones generated by WalletHub and Elon University, are story worthy, and we have presented those on our front page from time to time.
But just the other day, a new poll surfaced by a group known as Estately, which attempted to show which state was THE most American. According to their promotional material, they used “only the most sophisticated mathematical formulas and data analysis” to rank each state “using eight separate indicators that represent the uniqueness of the United States of America.”
The fact that this is being relegated to this space and not the front page should tell you something right off the bat.
Before even seeing what the rankings showed, I took a glance at the indicators — and had to chuckle. OK, I laughed out loud. LOL, if you will — possibly even GOL (guffawed out loud). Those eight indicators used were:
— Number of bald eagles per square mile
— Number of Olympic gold-medals won per capita
— Number of native astronauts per capita
— Number of fast-food establishments per capita
— Number of Major League Baseball players per capita
— Percentage of homes with firearms
— Percentage of Facebook users liking the United States of America
— Google searches for the words “Bin Laden dead”
Are the eyebrows raised? Nose wrinkled? Jaw dropped? Belly ready to burst with laughter? I understand. No consideration whatsoever for number of veterans, number of All-American cities/towns, number of presidents, etc.
Despite our collective “wow, that’s crazy” thinking, these are the parameters given, and a list has emerged — with a surprise state wearing the crown of Most American. That state, which over recent decades has been well-known for corn and “Field of Dreams,” is Iowa.
Yes … IOWA!
Interestingly enough, Iowa didn’t even finish No. 1 in any of the eight categories. The best it could muster was No. 3 in the number of astronauts, No. 6 in the number of Olympic gold medals and No. 8 in the number of MLB players.
No. 2 on the list is Ohio, which had a No. 2 in the “Bin laden” category; No. 3 is West Virginia, which was No. 1 in the “Bin laden” category; No. 4 is Alabama; and No. 5 is South Dakota.
The rest of the top 10 was: Illinois at No. 6 (and No. 1 in the Facebook category); Oklahoma at No. 7 (and No. 2 in the fast-food category); Arkansas at No. 8; Missouri at No. 9 (and No. 2 in MLB players category); and Mississippi at No. 10.
I can already feel the anticipation oozing from your grey matter on where-oh-where did the Tar Heel State finish on the list. And I will tell you … No. 29 overall.
North Carolina did have a top 10 finish among the eight categories — No. 8 in the “Bin laden” category. But we were No. 19 in the fast-food category; No. 23 in the firearms category; No. 30 in the MLB category; No. 31 in the Facebook category; No. 32 in the astronauts category (thank you, Curtis Brown!); No. 35 in the bald eagle category; and No. 37 in the Olympics category.
How did we fare against neighboring states? Well, overall, South Carolina was No. 16; Georgia was No. 26; Tennessee was No. 14; and Virginia was No. 37.
So, like the complete list of states, we are in the middle of the pack regionally.
Of course, now that you know the best and the mediocre, you are poised and probably salivating in eager anticipation of which states are the least American — or most un-American, right? Sure, it’s human nature to want to point a finger at the losers and LOL or GOL … kind of like seeing where the Red Sox are in the standings.
So, without further adieu …
No. 45 on the list is the Quack State of Oregon; No. 46 is the Littlest State of Rhode Island; No. 47 is the Butch Cassidy Birthplace State of Utah; No. 48 is the Volcano State of Hawaii; and No. 49 is the Dry Heat State of Arizona.
And in the distinguished position of No. 50 is … Nevada, which actually had a No. 1 in the fast-food category but still sank to the bottom when all of their other rankings came in at No. 32 and lower (including No. 50 in the astronaut category).
So there you have it. Now go share your newfound trivial tidbit at the water cooler. You’ll surely start a debate that could last numerous seconds.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.