The top 10 “most sinful” cities in the United States were uncovered in a recent study that ranks America’s urban areas using the seven deadly sins – divulging everything from where the most “potential cheaters” live to where the most violent crimes per capita take place.
WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez, whose personal finance company conducted the study, explained that the research also involves metrics and sins related to personal finance, which include fraud, identity theft and debt-to-income ratio.
"With 2017 right around the corner, we're hoping residents of these cities incorporate the findings into their New Year's resolutions," Gonzalez told The Christian Post.
The 150 most populous cities in America were analyzed according to seven key sinful factors: 1) anger and hatred, 2) jealousy, 3) excesses and vices, 4) avarice, 5) lust, 6) vanity and 7) laziness.
In its research, WalletHub utilized 27 relevant metrics that carry their own respective weight based on a 100-point scale. The numbers were then crunched by researchers to reveal he highest- and lowest-ranked cities when it comes to various vices.
Living up to its name, Sin City claimed the number-one ranking overall. Here is a look at the top 10 with the lowest morality rates, with their overall “vice index” score in parenthesis (the lower, the better).
- Las Vegas, Nevada (63.6)
- St. Louis, Missouri (59.0)
- Cincinnati, Ohio (57.0)
- Orlando, Florida (56.7)
- Springfield, Missouri (54.8)
- Miami, Florida (52.8)
- Richmond, Virginia (52.7)
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana (52.6)
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (52.1)
- New Orleans, Louisiana (51.9)
Surprising to many, New York City and Los Angeles – America’s two most populous cities – fell well outside the top 100 most sinful cities. The Big Apple finished 131th and the City of Angels registered at 137th.
Despite this finding, Gonzalez stressed that the ranking is by no means an indication that large cities are less susceptible to vice than smaller ones.
"Las Vegas, for instance, is No. 1 – smaller than New York City and Los Angeles, yes – but by no means a small city," Gonzalez explained.
Focusing on hostile, physical aggression, one particular vice stigmatizes a handful of cities in a negative light.
“When it came down to the separate sin categories, factors such as violent crimes per capita, sex offenders per capita, bullying rate, and suicide rate were all weighed for the ‘anger and hatred’ classification,” The Christian Post reported.
Here is how American cities stacked up when it specifically comes to violent crimes per capita:
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Detroit, Michigan
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When it comes to the area of lust, the number of adult entertainment establishments per capita were taken into consideration. Again, a familiar name made it to top five …
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Portland, Oregon
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Tampa, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
Other factors were also examined when monitoring cities’ lust rankings.
“Looking further into the ‘lust’ section, lists such as ‘most active Tinder users,"’ teen birth rates, and adult entertainment were all incorporated into the ranking,” The Christian Post’s Stoyan Zaimov noted. “But ‘potential cheaters’ per capita, based on the number of Ashley Madison users – referring to the infamous adultery website – was given double weight.”
The research group made some key distinctions about rating cities based on lust.
"The potential cheaters key metric was awarded more points in the 'lust' category because of the intent associated with it,” Gonzalez pointed out. “Signing up for a website that condones and solicits cheating involves more intent than simply living in a city with a high number of adult entertainment establishments.”
Rounding off sin …
Different results were produced when looking at all of the sins equally and as a whole.
"The seven sins we analyzed were awarded the same number of points because we considered them equal,” Gonzalez explained. “When it comes to the points, these were awarded according to both the number and severity of metrics analyzed for each category"
However, just because one city registers high in a virtuous category does not mean it will fare well in a sinful one.
“Some cities, such as Salt Lake in Utah, found themselves on both the best and worst lists,” Zaimov pointed out. “Salt Lake had the highest charitable donations as percentage of income, but also most thefts per capita, and third most plastic surgeons per capita.”
But the city by the Great Salt Lake is not alone.
"It's very common for cities to rank high for one key metric and low for another, which is why we gave separate rankings for each sin," Gonzalez impressed.
10 least-sinful cities
When analyzing the data further, out of the 150 cities analyzed, many the 10 that ranked lowest in sin – and highest in moral behavior – are in California. Take a look – again, the vice index is noted in parenthesis …
- San Jose, California (26.4)
- Fremont, California (28.3)
- Yonkers, New York (29.0)
- Brownsville, Texas (30.6)
- Chula Vista, California (30.8)
- Garden Grove, California (31.2)
- Santa Ana, California (31.2)
- Irvine, California (31.3)
- Glendale, California (31.4)
- Santa Clarita, California (32.2)
Following the trend for the Golden State of having comparably less sinful behavior per capita, Anaheim – the home of Disneyland – came in a close 11th place.
The information collected to produce the rankings was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Advameg and a number of other national organizations that assisted in calibrate the ranking lineups.
Included in the study was the analysis of several experts who addressed he sociological and psychological issues involved with those living in the cities scrutinized for the study.
University of Washington sociology professor Pepper Schwartz was asked what role nature vs. nurture had to do with the results of the 150 cities, which can be viewed in their entirety on WalletHub’s website.
"Everything in life is contextual,” Schwartz contended. “While we could argue about the meaning of the word 'sin' – I think of it in an ironic way about erotisized behavior and environments. Obviously, there are places that are organized around illegal or semi-illegal behavior (i.e. lap dancing but not fondling or sexual intercourse) that have a feel to them that more or less says 'Why would you be here if you weren't going to indulge in sinful behavior?’”