This Study Ranks Wisconsin the 41st-Kindest State. We Don’t Buy It.

Sorry, but these results seem suspicious.

Verizon Wireless teamed up with Kindness.org, a non-profit “whose mission is to educate and inspire people to choose kindness” and commissioned a study about kindness in America. They ranked all 50 states from the most to the least kind.

Wisconsin ranked 41.

We were kinder than only: Texas, Michigan, Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Kansas and Maryland.

The five kindest states were: Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Georgia and North Dakota.

These results smell just a little bit fishy.

I mean, Illinois is ranked 35. You’re seriously going to tell me Illinoisans are kinder than Wisconsinites? I’ve been to Illinois.

 

 

These dismal results beg the question – how did they do this study?

“We surveyed thousands of people from all 50 states and from all walks of life on what kind acts they would do,” said Dr. Oliver Scott Curry, research director for Kindness.org in a press release. “Overall, our research revealed a surprisingly high capacity for kindness across America, and the results across all the states were remarkably similar.”

So it was a self-reported survey. Aha! That explains it.

They asked people what kind acts they would do (i.e. donating a part of their liver to a family member, lending money to a pal in need, donating vacation time to a colleague) and used their answers to rank the states.

Which, if we can all take a moment to be honest here, kind of makes this a ranking of which states have the biggest liars. Not which states are the most kind.

Would you adopt a needy child? Yeah, absolutely.

Ok, well here’s a needy child for you to adopt. Oh, wait, uh … I actually kind of have a small house, and my dog doesn’t really like kids so…

My theory as to how we ranked so low is that the Wisconsinites who filled out the survey were humble, realistic and self-effacing. When asked about the kind acts they would do, they didn’t reflexively paint themselves as peons of virtue (looking at you, Kentucky), but instead answered with the bracing honesty that makes our state the best.  

So, in the final analysis, I reject these results. Wisconsin is overflowing with kindness. All the other states can suck on that.

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.