Variance in Typical Behavior by US State

State Similarity Index - Culture Category - Behavior

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on culture. 10% of a state’s culture score (2% of the overall State Similarity Index score) is based on statistics related to the typical behavior of the state’s people. The following paragraphs explain regional differences in personality, tolerance, charity, and individualism.


Researchers have identified through online surveys that people with similar personality traits often cluster in specific geographic regions of the United States. In general, people in the South and Midwest regions tend to be friendly and conventional. Their people value politeness, respect for authority, and strong family ties. In contrast, people in the Northeast region of the United States are known to be temperamental and uninhibited. The assertive and blunt personalities often associated with cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and New York may be influenced by the fast-paced life and professional competitiveness of the urban environment. Furthermore, in the Western part of the country, people often have relaxed and creative personalities. The region has been associated with countercultural movements and alternative lifestyles, fostering non-conventional thinking. However, it is important to recognize that individuals within these regions can still have a wide range of personalities.

States were categorized by the following personality types:
Relaxed & Creative
Friendly & Conventional
Temperamental & Uninhibited

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


Researchers developed a tightness-looseness index and found wide variation among the states. Tightness refers to the presence of strongly enforced rules and little tolerance for deviance, while looseness indicates fewer enforced rules and greater tolerance for deviance. The study found that people in Southern states tend to have lower tolerance for deviance. Mississippi was rated as the least tolerant state. In contrast, New England and the Pacific Coast were found to be the most tolerant regions. California was rated as the most tolerant state in the country.

States were categorized by their tightness–looseness score:
26-33, 34-41, 42-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79

National Library of Medicine


There is some variation in the amount of volunteering and charitable contributions in the United States. Utah was rated as the most charitable state. This can be attributed, in part, to the influence of the Mormon community. The church places a strong emphasis on charitable giving and service to others. Mormons are encouraged to donate 10% of income to the church and volunteer for missionary work. Interestingly enough, Utah’s neighbor to the south, Arizona, was rated as the least charitable state. Its neighbors, Nevada and New Mexico, are also ranked low on the list.

States were categorized by their charitable score:
47-51.33, 51.33-55.66, 55.66-60, 60-64.33, 64.33-68.66, 68.66-73

Wallet Hub


The concept of individualism and collectivism is often studied in the context of comparing American culture to Asian cultures. However, it is important to note that there is considerable variation within the United States itself. Researchers developed an index to rank states based on their collectivist or individualist tendencies. Hawaii rated as the most collectivist. This is not surprising since it has the highest percentage of East Asians in the nation. However, the findings revealed that collectivist tendencies were also prevalent in the Deep South region. Individualist tendencies were the strongest in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions. These states are among the least densely populated, so their people developed to be more self-reliant. Montana rated as the most individualist state.

States were categorized by their Collectivism Index score:
30-36, 37-43, 44-50, 51-64, 65-78, 79-92

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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