Best States For Romantic Relationships: Zip Code Influences Personality Traits When It Comes To Dating

Paris is known as the "City of Love" where starry-eyed lovers walk hand-in-hand along the Seine River with an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower. There are places around the world where hopeless romantics are more likely to find like-minded individuals looking for romance — with some close to home. Researchers at Michigan State University have found that the best and worst U.S. states for love all depend on the overall personality traits of their population.

“When I think of New York, I think of the anxious Woody Allen type, and New York had one of the highest scores for attachment anxiety,” said Bill Chopik, an assistant psychology professor who studies relationships and their effects, in a statement.

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Chopik expressed he was surprised at how well many states fit stereotypes. Unsurprisingly, New York was the ninth worst state for lovers. Previous research confirms New York singles have a lower chance of finding love than other singles across the country due to the high cost of restaurant meals, movie costs, taxi costs, and beauty salon costs, among other factors. A popular belief is that “you can always find someone better” in a large city because there are so many choices, which makes people feel romantically and sexually overwhelmed.

In the new study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, the state of California outdid its east coast counterpart; it tied for 10th place with Maine and Washington for the best states for lovers. Chopik explains California seems like a romantic place with beautiful sunsets, oceans and warm weather. He wasn't surprised it was listed among the top 10 best states, as most West Coast states were less anxious about romantic relationships than Northeast and Mid-Atlantic populations.

So, does geography influence personality, or do like-minded people tend to migrate to the same places?

Environmental factors, like temperature and weather, can affect how people interact with one another. For example, a 2005 study in Psychological Science found pleasant weather improves mood and broadens cognition in the spring, since people are deprived of this weather in the winter. This may be why California is less anxious in relationships, and is rated among the best states for singles. Winters in New York can lead to more aggressive behavior with temperature drops doing anything but setting the mood.

Man holding pink roses A University of Michigan study finds the best and worst states to be single, based on your personality. Photo courtesy of Clem Onojeghuo, Public Domain

There are personality traits that appear to be more prevalent in different parts of the country. We tend to be drawn to people who are similar to us, therefore, we’re more inclined to migrate toward like-minded people.These traits, along with genetics and perspectives, can shape the personality of an area.

Chopik and his colleague Matt Motyl studied survey data of over 127,000 adults from all states, measuring both attachment anxiety, in which people are "clingy" and constantly worried their partner will leave them, and attachment avoidance, in which people don’t want intimacy, and act more distant and cold toward their partners. This allowed them to examine how people view relationships and how they function within them by observing state-based personality trends. Chopik emphasizes neither clinging or avoiding intimacy is healthy for a relationship.

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The best states for love included: Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin (which essentially tied for No. 1), followed by Vermont, Alaska, North Carolina, Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon, while Virginia finished mid-pack. Tying for 10th place were California, Maine and Washington.

Meanwhile, the worst states for love scored high on both attachment anxiety and avoidance.

The worst states included: North Dakota, followed by Kentucky, Kansas, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Ohio, South Carolina, Colorado, New York and Indiana.

The researchers explain secluded mountainous areas tend to appeal to loners and those who dislike social interactions.

The researchers do warn: “we do not recommend changing all of the affectionate mottos used to describe places or finally moving out of North Dakota."

Healthy, romantic relationships can be found everywhere. People are interested in knowing if they’re in an area where it’s easier to foster close relationships. In this sense, the study does provide guidance.

Maybe it's time to pack up your bags and move closer to love, or stop avoiding the love close to home. 

Source: Chopik WJ and Motyl M. Is Virginia for lovers? Geographic variation in adult attachment orientation. Journal of Personality in Research . 2017.

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