There are countless reasons why your relationship might (or might not) be working—shared interests, goals, and maybe even sense of humor. But there might be one more factor you haven’t thought of before: where you live. According to a new study from the Michigan State University, in some states people are more likely to have healthy relationships.
For the study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers analyzed data from a nationwide survey of 127,070 adults. Participants answered questions that assessed two negative relationship qualities: attachment anxiety, or how afraid one is about their partner leaving them, and attachment avoidance, how much one dislikes intimacy and tends to be distant and cold toward their partners.
Researchers then grouped survey responses by state and ranked each location based on participants' answers. A state received a higher rank, and was deemed more positive, if their citizens had low attachment anxiety and avoidance scores.
The best states for healthy relationships, receiving the lowest scores in both categories, were Mississippi, Utah, and Wisconsin. North Dakota, Kentucky, and Kansas were the worst states for healthy relationships, and received the highest scores in both categories. Regionally, people on the Pacific Coast were more likely to have healthy relationships. The Great Plains had the most states with unhealthy relationships, as did those with secluded mountainous areas.
Researchers were surprised at how well some states fit widespread stereotypes. For example, one might presume singles in New York are anxious Woody Allen types. In the study, it was the ninth worst because of high attachment anxiety scores. California, perceived as the land of romantic sunset walks on the beach, was one of the best states for healthy relationships in the study.
Happy with your partner in North Dakota? It doesn’t mean you’re delusional or doomed for a breakup. “To a certain degree, positive relationships are found everywhere and transcend time and place. After all, home is where the heart is,” study authors William Chopik and Matt Motyl wrote in a statement.
See below for the best and worst states for relationships:
The top 12 states for relationships:
- North Carolina
The bottom 10 states for relationships:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- New York