A new study revealed the most and least lonely states in the United States, the results of which show sunshine doesn’t cure all problems.
Maine, Florida, and Ohio were declared the three loneliest states in the U.S. in a study from AgingInPlace.org. On the other end of the scale, Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii were declared the three least lonely. Results were reached by consulting a loneliness scale, made up of five different metrics: percentage of single-person households, percentage of people widowed, percentage of people divorced, searches for dating apps per 10,000 people, and searches for friendship apps per 10,000 people. The results were then given a loneliness score out of 10.
Florida, with a loneliness score of 7/10, likely saw an uptick in its loneliness score due to its large community of retirees resulting in a disproportionate number of people who are widowed and divorced, the study explains. Maine, the loneliest state with a 7.6/10 score, is somewhat harder to comprehend for researchers; despite a small population ideal for creating tight-knit communities, it leads the country in divorcees, while having huge percentages of people living alone. Ohio is similarly an enigma, with a loneliness score of 6.68/10, featuring a disproportionate interest in dating apps and number of single households.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the least lonely state in the U.S. is Utah, with a loneliness score of just 0.72/10. This has much to do with the state’s massive, famously tight-knight Mormon community, which keeps divorce and single households low. Alaska is the second least lonely, with a loneliness score of 2.32/10, despite being the most sparsely populated state in the country. Though the study doesn’t offer an explanation, it has a remarkably low number of widows and widowers, at just 3.7%. Hawaii is the third least lonely, with a score of 2.56/10, perhaps due to its scenic location.
The authors of the study stress that their measurement isn’t definitive, and urge sociologists to examine it further.
“These metrics do give some unique insights into behavioral trends of the citizens of these states, and while AgingInPlace.org is not an authority on this, certainly this would be interesting data for sociologists to examine further,” AgingInPlace.org outreach associate Zeke Harker told Forbes.
Loneliness also seems mostly disconnected from politics, with red and blue states appearing haphazardly across the board. Democrat-heavy California and GOP haven Texas are neck-and-neck near the least lonely, with scores of 3.04/10 and 3.08/10 respectively. As for loneliest, blue Maine and red Florida are close together as well.