Which are the most neurotic states?

Personality map neuroticism

There is much more here on the geographic distribution of other major personality traits.  The high conscientious people seem to cluster in the Plains.  Openness is strong in the Pacific West, New England, Texas, and Florida.  The upper Midwest dominates for extroversion.

I thank Ian Plosker for the pointer.  The underlying research is here.


Some random M.I.T. student created an automated "which state are you test" based on this data:


DC is first in openness and last on agreeableness. That somehow seems fitting.

(But I have to brag about my home state! Georgia is top 10 for agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extroversion, and top 20 for Openness. And holding up the rear for neuroticism. Gotta love that southern hospitality.)

I was quite suprised to see the extraversion map reporting top 10 for states populated by descendants of nordic immigrants (Scandinavian etc). Modern Scandinavian people (at least Norwegians, Swedes and Finns) are still famously introverted (I am norwegian myself and I hate other people;).

Could this be evidence that extraversion is not very heritable? Or has something happened to the genepool of Fargo-people the last 100 years?

Michigan would be a good control. You pretty much know how they feel right now.

I was wondering how Mississippi could be Highly Agreeable ("reflects warmth, compassion, cooperativeness, and friendliness") & Conscientious("reflects dutifulness, responsibility, and ... is positively associated with... health-promoting behavior) while at the same time being Highly Neurotic ("related to antisocial behavior, poor coping, and poor health")...

I've never found the Big 5 personality trait tests to be as reliable or useful as IQ tests. Audacious Epigone has done a lot of work on IQ by state, which turns out to be a lot less anomalous than this kind of personality data.

aka giveacrap: Proud to be a Pennsylvanian, and among the top 10 states in extraversion ( "higher levels of social involvement" and "generally associated. . . with "sociability, energy, and health") AND neuroticism ("less likely to join clubs and spend time with friends" and "emotional instability . . . antisocial behavior, poor coping, and poor health"). I KNEW we were special. Now I know why. :)

Re: Neurotic tendencies in Mississippi.

Residents of Mississippi certainly are Agreeable and Conscientious. Yes, we can be neurotic. However if you lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and survived Hurricane Katrina--as I did--you will naturally have some neurotic tendencies. "Hurricane Neurosis" is not a bad thing, it keeps you prepared and prepared people survive.

Unfortunately I feel the research design lacks some essentials such as the standard demographics like income, education, political party identification, specific religion, percent taking mood altering pharmaceuticals, percent recent immigrants etc. Including such variables would increase the overall explanatory power and robustness of the model.

Got to go read the latest hurricane forecast--not that I am neurotic or anything.

As a Floridian, I'm glad to see my state is near last on this list, we usually get blamed for everything, and most of the time rightfully so.

Comments for this post are closed