If you’re still searching for your perfect Valentine, maybe you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.
A new study contends that the best states for lovers are Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin.
Virginia — the state with the longstanding ad campaign that claims “Virginia is for lovers” — didn’t fare as well as expected in the new research. The scores placed it in the middle of state rankings.
The study included surveys of more than 127,000 adults across the United States. Participants answered questions about the quality of their relationships, specifically attachment anxiety, in which people are “clingy” and constantly worry their partner will leave them, and attachment avoidance, in which people shun intimacy and are more distant and cold toward their partners.
The top states for lovers scored low in both those areas, had the highest marriage rates and fewer people living in isolation.
Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin essentially tied for first. Other states in the top 10 for lovers were Vermont, Alaska, North Carolina, Delaware, Minnesota, Oregon and California. Maine and Washington tied for 10th place.
North Dakota was the worst state for lovers, followed by Kentucky, Kansas, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Ohio, South Carolina, Colorado, New York and Indiana, the study found.
On a regional basis, the Pacific Coast scored highest in quality relationships. The Great Plains scored the lowest, according to the study.
Study authors William Chopik, from Michigan State University, and Matt Motyl, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, wrote: “We do not recommend changing all of the affectionate mottos used to describe places or finally moving out of North Dakota. To a certain degree, positive relationships are found everywhere and transcend time and place. After all, home is where the heart is.”
The findings were published recently in the Journal of Research in Personality.
The American Psychological Association offers relationship advice.