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Michigan ranked 33rd most romantic state in study by MSU professor

January 22, 2017
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Or so the stereotypes go. But, according to a recent study by MSU professor Bill Chopik, which ranked the states based on how romantic its inhabitants are, the most romantic states are some you might least expect: Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin. Michigan did not fair well, ranking 33rd in the study.

The way Chopik ranked the states was by looking at two factors: Attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance.

The states ranked poorly on attachment avoidance had a lower percentage of married households on average, smaller household size, high percentage of individuals living alone, fewer volunteers and fewer hours volunteered on average, while the states ranked poorly on attachment anxiety had a high amount of married households.

Chopik said the attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance were also related to where the states were spatially.

“Anxious states were in the Northeast and the really avoidant ones were in the mountain regions (and) sparsely populated areas,” Chopik said.

Chopik said there was also a strong relation to neurosis traits and people living in insecure states and as a result, fewer average people who were married.

The idea for this study was first thought of when he and his co-author, Matt Motyl, noticed people like to talk about places in terms of characteristics of certain places in the U.S., Chopik said.

“We kind of wondered, where do these kind of things come from (and) is there any sort of truths to these sort of phrases of what people say about these places,” Chopik said. “We thought maybe we could survey people actually living in these places and see if there’s any sort of truth to this.”

To collect the data, Chopik had people go to a website that had personality questionnaires focused on happiness and well-being, Chopik said.

“I think in all 125,000 people, they wanted to learn more about themselves,” Chopik said. “They would get feedback about how they approach relationships, and are you more interested in the average person or avoid intimacy more so than the average person.”

Chopik said the most interesting part in the study for him was to see how places around the U.S. coincide with the stereotypes that we have about certain places.

“When I think of New York, I think of a Woody Allen type, who’s always sort of nervous about relationships,” Chopik said.

Mechanical engineering sophomore Sarah Daugherty also expected similar results. She said she was surprised with New York’s poor ranking and thought it would be in the top 10.

“There’s so many people and it’s so big, you would think people just get together all the time,” Daugherty said.

Journalism junior Xavier Thompson said he was surprised by Michigan’s ranking and thought Michigan would be in the top 20.

“I feel like in Michigan (and) in the midwest, a lot of people get married younger and so maybe they don’t have the same stress to try and be romantic,” Thompson said.

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