The most read article in the Wall Street Journal during the past year was “The United States of Mind,” about the geography of personality—how people differ across these United States. The more I look at it, the more I see quite a lot in it. I went to high school in Connecticut, for example, and met my wife there. Despite that wonderful bit of luck, I didn’t like it much; I found the place dull and the people generally unfriendly, though my school was excellent. That’s not too surprising, perhaps: the article rates Connecticut residents as open to new ideas but introverted, neurotic, highly unconscientious, and highly disagreeable. I’ve lived in Texas for almost thirty years, and I’ve liked it much better. Texas residents are open to new ideas, but they are extroverted and conscientious.
You’d like a place where people are both very agreeable and very conscientious? There are five such states: North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Utah. You’d prefer, in addition, they they be very psychologically healthy? You’re down to Nebraska and Utah.
Where, besides Connecticut, are people highly unconscientious and highly disagreeable? Alaska, Wyoming, Maine, Rhode Island, and New York. In the last two, they’re highly neurotic as well.
Maybe there’s a point to regional stereotypes.