Gloom and crime

May 13, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

If you want to check out which US state is full of doom and gloom or which state is in the grip of crime, this post has the answer for you! Apparently, the saddest state in the US is Kentucky. Researchers have been looking into frequent mental distress (FMD), which can be defined as stress, depression, emotional problems, melancholy and so on. Two nationwide surveys were conducted across all 50 US states and across 3,100 counties (1993-2001 and 2003-2006). Respondents were asked to rate their general mental state and how many days of the month their mental state was not so great.

The bad news is that between 1993 and 2001, 9% of Americans were said to be suffering from FMD but by 2006 that number had risen to 10.2%. Let’s face it: the Americans have a had a lot to suffer through – eight years of Bush, 9/11, the ongoing war in Iraq, the global financial crisis, unemployment. And so the surveys found that in order of ranking, the saddest states in the US are:

  • Kentucky with 14.4% of residents reporting FMD in both surveys
  • West Virginia with 9.6% in the first survey and 14.9% in the second, giving it an average of 11.2% of the population reporting FMD
  • Mississippi with 9.4% in the first survey and 13.7% in the second

If I was asked to name the happiest US state, without hesitation I would say Hawaii. I’ve been there four times, I like it so much. You think of swaying palms in a balmy, tropical environment. The people there always seem to be smiling. The sun shines and the water sparkles. And the survey confirms this – the Aloha state is the happiest with only 6.6% of respondents reporting FMD. The next sunniest states were Kansas and Nebraska, which tied at 7.5%. But seems that overall, by the time of the second survey, more Americans were suffering from FMD with 44 states (plus the District of Columbia) faring worse on the second survey than on the first. And seems that the most stressed are those between the ages of 18 and 24, with the least anxious being 65-plus.

And if you want to find out what crime is happening in your state, uses Google Maps to track occurrences of crime. Only 11 states have been mapped so far: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. According to the website, “ has been developed by The Omega Group to help law enforcement agencies throughout North America provide the public with valuable information about recent crime activity by neighborhood“. You can even receive Crime Alerts by entering your street address and nominating the type of crime you want to be notified about.

If you’re in LA, the LAPD has a similar service. And the Metropolitan Police Service in the UK offers crime maps showing what crime has been committed in neighbourhoods across London.


Entry filed under: Cartography, Useful resources. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. crblogger  |  May 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I’ll take it as a good sign that I don’t live in a sad area, but Utah wasn’t on the happy list either. Too bad. I’m usually in a good mood. Anyway, I just wanted to write and let you know that actually does a much better job of crime mapping than covers 44 states and has partnered with much more law enforcement agencies than In fact, only has about 20-30 police departments that use it, and has close to 500. If you really want to put your finger on the pule of crime, CrimeReports is really the way to go.


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