All Politics is Local

Washington and Vancouver can’t compete with Nevada and Vegas

Tuesday is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday for the practice of giving up rich, fatty foods for Lent.

In New Orleans, one of the most Catholic cities in the U.S., Mardi Gras is also reason for one big parade and blowout party, with more than $1 billion of economic impact for the Big Easy.

Fat Tuesday in Washington might be comparatively tame, based on a WalletHub ranking of all 50 states for how sinful they are using a variety of metrics.

Despite Mardi Gras revelry — and year-round debauchery on Bourbon Street — Louisiana ranked only seventh for all-around sinfulness. At the top was Nevada, with its largest city, Las Vegas, widely known as “Sin City.”

WalletHub, a personal finance website, just named Vegas as America’s most sinful city. New Orleans was No. 16. Vancouver ranked an unremarkable 101st among 182 U.S. cities.

Washington ranked an equally banal No. 28 for sin among the 50 states, comfortably behind the Top Five — Nevada, Texas, Florida, California and Georgia — but ahead of New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Wyoming and Vermont, with the latter being classified as the nation’s least sinful state. Utah, somewhat surprisingly was ranked 43rd, but it did finish 50th for lowest amount of excessive drinking.

WalletHub evaluated the states using 47 indicators of “immorality” grouped into seven sinful categories, not quite the seven deadly sins pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth — but in the same ballpark.

Some of WalletHub’s 47 measures correlate with a traditional understanding of sinful behavior: drinking, gambling, smoking, prostitution and adult (porn) websites.

Other metrics were for crime, including thefts, fraud, mass shootings and hate crimes. Still others dealt with vanity: beauty salons per capita, consumer spending on personal care items, even Google searches for cosmetic surgery.

Mississippi did not fare well in several measures, finishing first for share of population with gambling disorders, average time spent on adult websites and percentage of residents who don’t exercise.

Washington ranked much lower in all three categories: 31st for gambling disorders; 44th for time spent on adult websites; and 49th for percentages of adults who don’t exercise.

The rankings give the Evergreen State other reason to crow:

  • 49th for maltreated children (physical, psychological and sexual abused).
  • 48th for percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes.
  • 48th for sex offenders on a per capita basis.
  • 45th for persons arrested for embezzlement on a per capita basis.
  • 45th for charitable donations as a share of income.
  • 43rd for average daily time spent watching television.

But there always is the other side of the story. Here are some metrics on a per capita basis for Washington that aren’t so flattering:

  • First for hate crimes.
  • First for casinos.
  • Fifth for thefts.
  • Sixth for marijuana use.
  • Seventh for high school graduation.
  • Seventh for spending on personal care items.