The 10: Not so true city and state stereotypes

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1. Breeding is relative in West Virginia. Vice President Dick Cheney got in trouble in June for making a joke based on this assumption. While research on the subject is slim, a study of 140 years of marriage records conducted in 1980 by anthropologist Robert Tincher concluded that “inbreeding levels in Appalachia … [are neither] unique [n]or particularly common to the region, when compared with those reported for populations elsewhere or at earlier periods in American history.” Also, unlike Virginia, Vermont and several other states, first cousins are not permitted to marry in West Virginia.  Source: Slate Magazine.

2. Kentucky has more horse barns than houses. While Kentucky does have a lot of horses – 320,000 according to a 2005 study, it’s not even close to having the most total horses much less the most horses per square acre. Texas has a whopping 979,000 horses and while New Jersey once took the title for most horses per square mile and still does have a higher percentage than Kentucky, Maryland claims 12 horses for every square mile. Source: Horse Council.

3. New Jersey is the armpit of America. By armpit, people usually mean it’s a state with a LOT of toxic waste dumps and landfills. Landfill data isn’t prevalent on the Web, but, according to a map from a 1999 Biocycle Magazine, New Jersey isn’t even close to having the most landfills much less the most landfills per capita. New Jersey doesn’t even crack the top 10 with its 11 landfills when compared to 322 in Alaska, 181 in Texas and 66 in Wyoming. Source: Zero Waste America.

4. Chicago is the windiest city. Not even close. In a 1990 study, Chicago ranked 21st out of 68 U.S. cities with an average wind speed of 10.3 miles per hour. Cheyenee, Wy., ranked first with an average wind speed of more than two miles per hour more than Chicago. The nickname Windy City may have more to do with an old rivalry with Cincinnati or politics than it does the actual gusts that sometimes carry baseballs onto Waveland Avenue at Wrigley Field. Sources: Enotes | Wikipedia.

5. People in Massachusetts are terrible drivers. This state stereotype is sophisticated enough to have its own slang: masshole, a word that according to Urban Dictionary basically means terrible driver. But if you go by national statistics on the number of fatalities per capita, Massachusetts actually had fewer fatal accidents in 2005 and 2006 than most other states. Wyoming had the highest fatalities per capita in each of those two years, roughly one fatality for every 3,000 people compared to one fatality for about 14,000 people in
Massachusetts. Sources: Urban Dictionary | National Highway Traffic Association.

6. People in Oklahoma live in teepees. Few people live in teepees at all these days and while Oklahoma does have a large Native American community it is only the fourth largest in terms of its percentage of the total population in the U.S. South Dakota, New Mexico and Alaska all have a larger concentration of Native Americans than Oklahoma, where 6.8 percent of the population has Native American ancestry. Source: Wikipedia.

7. Kansas is the tornado capital. While Kansas is known for the most famous fictitious tornado, the one that swept Dorothy to Oz, Texas is frequently cited as the state that gets the most tornadoes per year, more than 100 according to several sources. Source: Live Science.

8. Las Vegas is stripper central. Actually, the strip clubs in Portland, Ore., outnumber those in Sin City. Portland, according to a Portland weekly, has 41 to Las Vegas’s 31. That means there are 7.74 clubs per 100,000 residents in Portland, compared to 5.85 per 100,000 residents in Sin City. Source: Willamette Week.

9. Seattle is the coffee capital. While Seattle is known for its coffee, Anchorage, Alaska, actually has the most coffee shops per capita of any city in the U.S., according to a 2005 study. Anchorage has three shops per 10,000 people, according to the study. Seattle, however, is a close second with 2.5 per 10,000 people. Sources: Pop Matters | Wikipedia.

10. Florida is retiree heaven. Before 2006 that may have been the case, but a study by East Carolina University professor Don Bradley ranked Florida fourth in the nation in the net migration of people 56 years of age and older in 2006. Texas, Georgia and North Carolina all ranked higher, according to the study. Source: Tampa Bay Online.

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