Friday, June 24, 2005


Massachusetts family values

So we've all heard about this red state/blue state thing. And we've all seen these 2000 and 2004 election result maps showing this huge mass of red in the heartland (You know, that's where all the red-blooded patriotic Christians live.) with little pockets of blue on the coasts and in our big cities (You know, that's where all those pot-smoking homosexual atheist commies live). The conservatives have made it clear that this map proves once and for all that their ilk makes up the true America. After all, what good American lives in Massachusetts or California?

Those blue places must really be hell on earth, according to all I've heard from Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity (We'll forgive them for being New Yorkers. When they're not in the Big Apple or inside the Beltway, they let us red-staters know how swell we really are.) I hear that blue-staters are shooting up heroin in the streets, dipping crucifixes in urine, and watching Woody Allen movies. Not only that, but I hear they know their way around a wine list! But God bless the red-staters like those of us in the Show-Me State. We listen to country music, eat barbecue, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and drive big pickups, so we must be truly good people.

Just to let those America-haters in places like Boston or L.A. know how much they're missing out on, I decided to look at real data, not just the kind of foolishness they'd appreciate like Starbucks locations per capita and availability of escarole and brie in local supermarkets. No, this is data on things that matter like infant mortality rates, out-of-wedlock births and SAT scores (although we family values types know that Bob Jones probably care much about SAT scores).

Below you'll find a ranking on states by certain issue. By each state's name, I've indicated whether they're red or blue. States going blue in 2000 and red in 2004 or vice versa, I've labeled as purple.

We'll start with those rankings where being ranked near the bottom of the list is most desirable:

Infant Mortality Rates
1. Delaware (Blue)
2. Mississippi (Red)
3. Louisiana (Red)
4. Alabama (Red)
5. South Carolina (Red)
46. California (Blue)
47. Minnesota (Blue)
48. Massachusetts (Blue)
49. Utah (Red)
50. New Hampshire (Purple)
From the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Handbook 2004

Teen Birth Rate
1. Texas (Red)
2. Mississippi (Red)
3. New Mexico (Purple)
4. Arizona (Red)
5. Georgia (Red)
46. Massachusetts (Blue)
47. Maine (Blue)
48. North Dakota (Red)
49. New Hampshire (Purple)
50. Vermont (Blue)

Percentage of Children Living in Poverty
1. New Mexico (Purple)
2. Mississippi (Red)
3. Louisiana (Red)
4. West Virginia (Red)
5. Arkansas (Red)
46. Iowa (Blue)
47. Maryland (Blue)
48. Connecticut (Blue)
49. Minnesota (Blue)
50. New Hampshire (Blue)

Percentage of Single-Parent Families
1. Louisiana (Red)
2. New Mexico (Red)
3. Mississippi (Red)
4. Ohio (Red)
5. Alaska (Red)
46. Colorado (Red)
47. Iowa (Purple)
48. New Jersey (Blue)
49. Minnesota (Blue)
50. Utah (Red)

Divorce rates
1. Nevada (Red)
2. Arkansas (Red)
3. Oklahoma (Red)
4. Tennessee (Red)
5. Wyoming (Red)
46. New York (tie) (Blue)
46. Pennsylvania (tie) (Blue)
47. Rhode Island (Blue)
48. New Jersey (Blue)
49. Connecticut (Blue)
50. Massachusetts (Blue)
From the Centers for Disease Control monthly vital statistics

Violent crime
1. South Carolina (Red)
2. Florida (Red)
3. Maryland (Blue)
4. Tennessee (Red)
5. New Mexico (Purple)
46. South Dakota (Red)
47. New Hampshire (Purple)
48. Vermont (Blue)
49. Maine (Blue)
50. North Dakota (Red)
U.S. Census Bureau 2000 statistics

Percentage of all persons living below the poverty line
1. Arkansas (Red)
2. New Mexico (Purple)
3. Mississippi (Red)
4. Louisiana (Red)
5. West Virginia (Red)
46. New Jersey (tie) (Blue)
46. Connecticut (tie) (Blue)
48. Maryland (Blue)
49. Minnesota (Blue)
50. New Hampshire (Blue)

Now let's look at those ranking in which you would like your state to come out highest:

Persons with bachelor's degree or higher
1. Massachusetts (Blue)
2. Maryland (Blue)
3. Colorado (Red)
4. Virginia (Red)
5. New Hampshire (Purple)
46. Nevada (Red)
47. Wyoming (Red)
48. Mississippi (Red)
49. Arkansas (Red)
50. West Virginia (Red)

Average Annual Pay
1. Connecticut (Blue)
2. New York (Blue)
3. New Jersey (Blue)
4. Massachusetts (Blue)
5. California (Blue)
46, Arkansas (Red)
47. North Dakota (Red)
48. Mississippi (Red)
49. South Dakota (Red)
50. Montana (Red)

Average SAT scores
1. Iowa (Purple)
2. South Dakota (Red)
3. North Dakota (tie) (Red)
3. Wisconsin (tie) (Blue)
5. Illinois (Blue)
46. Delaware (Blue)
47. Florida (Red)
48. Texas (Red)
49. Georgia (Red)
50. South Carolina (Red)
The College Board 2004 scores

Now let's tally up the rankings putting purple states aside. I counted 35 favorable rankings for the blue states and 10 for the red states. As for unfavorable rankings, I counted 42 for the red states and 3 for the blue states. Considering there were so many red states and so few blue states, the results certainly are striking. It appears that while red-staters talk the talk about family values, blue-staters statistically walk the walk.

Some might say I tried to cherry pick the lists that would put blue states in the best light, but I honestly sought out rankings that showed what most Americans agree are reliable statistical indicators of a healthy and family-friendly society. If anyone finds anything else out there that I neglected to show, I would be glad to put it on this blog, regardless of whether it favors my point of view.

All sarcasm aside, if you right-wingers promise to leave this red state/blue state nonsense alone, I promise to quit laughing at your beloved red states' sorry showing regarding the family values you claim to care so much about.

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