Lots of brave guesses. “How bust each state is relative to the Fed” is not true – the most bankrupt states are outside the orange zone and run by liberals. “Percentage of Americans who can find America on a map of the world” and “states with the highest number of MBAs per capita” both suggest higher education standards in Arkansas and West Virginia than Colorado or Connecticut, which sounds sort of unlikely.
Why? Partly because it’s true. But also because there is a popular image (Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon) of Southern and Appalachian regions as borderline Third World or atavistic. Hence such suggestions as: “Listening to heavy metal = fornicating with the devil / Obama is the anti-christ / Possum fat and lye are two major food groups / Readin’ and writin’ is for cissies and uppity city folk”; “loving big trucks”; “number of folks w/o indoor plumbing”; and, cruelest of all, “percentage of the people in each state who’ve married their cousins”. Note, by the way, that Georgia and the Carolinas do not make it into the orange Jesus/Klansman-shaped region.
By way of balance, we have “It is a map of some of the most gentlemanly, kindest, most hospitable, and soft-spoken people you’ll find anywhere in the world”. Having been to the majority of the 30%+ states – and knowing one very well – I’m inclined to agree (apart from the retard who shot at me with a .22 calibre rifle while I was swimming in a pond in Missouri once). But sadly, civility and charm do not end up in official statistics.
The correct answer is prevalence of obesity among adults. (The proportion of adults who are obese varies from 18.6% in Colorado to 34.4% in Mississippi. In 2009, nine states had obesity rates of 30% or more, compared with none in 2000.) This was spotted by Mr Webb, who wins a lifetime’s supply of Crisco-flavour polyunsaturated Krispy Kreme donuts glazed with extra corn syrup.