Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Bad Stripe and Sexual Curiosity

That's a heat map from okcupid showing the density of self-identified straight people who have had, or would like to have, a same-sex experience. Note the appearance of the Bad Stripe again: markedly less adventurous. Richard Florida has frequently shown positive correlations between economic growth, innovation as measured by number of patents, education and property values between gay-tolerant attitudes in cities and states, the assumption being that this reflects the post-scarcity values that promote innovation in a modern economy. (You can see the Bad Stripe jumping out at you again in this map, and others before it.) No surprise to most that West Virginia, Mississippi and Oklahoma are not the places to start your software company or make discoveries about yourself.


Grego said...

Surprising that Utah doesn't fall into that bad stripe. I guess the Mormons have less success than they'd like at unifying their population into a single Borganism?

Michael Caton said...

Well, to be fair I think Mormons would like to be happy while they do whatever they do. In fact Utah has recently been one of the happiest states in the country (earlier post on this). Interesting question, to what degree does religiosity correlate with happiness in U.S.? How about specific religions (Bad Stripe is more Methodist) and if in a causal pathway is this cause or effect?
Utah is economically/historically unlike the other Bad Stripe states in the following ways that may have to do with Bad Stripe status: a) it never had slavery (then again, for all intents and purposes WV never did; was part of VA but those counties were never friendly to agriculture, so WV still has low % Afr Am pop) b) Utah is ethnically very homogenous, which is usually a good sign for any government (then again, not an absolute relation, compare Singapore and Somalia) c) off the top of my head I think Utah's Gini is low and agricultural areas tend to be high, but this is worth looking up at county-level; of Bad Stripe states, not all counties in those states are in the Bad Stripe. The Stripe also tends to be a trade and custom boundary - again you can see it roughly in the eastern Inland South zone on the dialect map of the U.S. (to be placed in new post) but who knows if any of these things are cause or effect.