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Coronavirus Social Distancing: States Where It’s Easiest and Hardest

Coronavirus Social Distancing: States Where It’s Easiest and Hardest

Socializing, leisure time and spending money all have an effect

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Humans are social creatures. We gather at school, work, church, parks, parties, bars and restaurants and other places for activities. Social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus has kept us largely isolated from many of the people we are closest with and has tested our mental health.

We are continuing to flatten the curve and save lives with our efforts. However, according to a study from personal finance website WalletHub, it’s easier to maintain proper social distancing in some states than others.

Methodology

Methodology

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To determine where it’s easier or more difficult to practice social distancing in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on social environment, time spent on social activities and money spent on social activities. Relevant metrics include: leisure time spent socializing or communicating face-to-face; leisure time spent on exercise, spiritual activities and volunteering; money spent on social activities, travel and tourism; how effective each state was at reducing non-essential traffic; and share of residents who participate in local groups or organizations. A score of 100 represents the most difficult place to social distance.

#51 Alabama

#51 Alabama

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Alabama is the easiest state to social distance in, with a score of 29.15 out of 100, according to Wallet Hub’s calculations. The state ranked low for social environment, which includes things like participating in an organization or being physically active. It also ranked low for money spent on social activities.

#50 Mississippi

#50 Mississippi

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The Magnolia State scored closely behind Alabama with a 29.78 out of 100. Mississippi ranked as one of the states with the lowest volunteer rate and the shortest amount of time spent each day on sports and recreation — two factors that make it easier to social distance.

#49 West Virginia

#49 West Virginia

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West Virginia scored a 30.96 out of 100. The state’s score was a result of ranking lowest for money spent on social activities and for being one of the states with the shortest time spent on sports and recreation.

#48 Kentucky

#48 Kentucky

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Kentucky scored a 34.54 out of 100 — a reflection of its low ranking for social environment and money spent on social activities.

#47 Rhode Island

#47 Rhode Island

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Rhode Island scored a 35.71 out of 100. Although Rhode Islanders spend a lot of time each day on sports and exercise, they ranked low for money spent on travel and tourism. Perhaps residents are planning staycations during the pandemic instead.

#46 Arkansas

#46 Arkansas

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Narrowly falling outside the five best states in the country for ease in social distancing, Arkansas scored a 36.29 out of 100.

#45 New Mexico

#45 New Mexico

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New Mexico scored a 38.64 out of 100. The tendency for residents to spend a short amount of time socializing each day and their low spending on social activities contributed to this.

#44 Oklahoma

#44 Oklahoma

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Coming in as the eighth-easiest state to practice social distancing in the United States, Oklahoma scored a 39.31 out of 100.

#43 Louisiana

#43 Louisiana

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Just slightly behind the Sooner State, Louisiana scored a 39.99 out of 100 in WalletHub’s study.

#42 Illinois

#42 Illinois

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The state’s low ranking in social environment earned Illinois residents a 40.96 out of 100 in WalletHub’s study.

#41 New York

#41 New York

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New York City is known as an expensive travel destination with a high cost of living. But overall, New Yorkers have a low volunteer rate and a low consumer expenditure on social activities, so they scored a 41.73 out of 100, falling just outside of the 10 easiest states to distance.

#40 Indiana

#40 Indiana

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Indiana scored a 42.23 out of 100. The state ranked low for travel and tourism spending — something that might continue to decline around the country now that Americans are planning vacations differently in the wake of coronavirus.

#39 New Jersey

#39 New Jersey

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New Jersey scored a 43.63 out of 100. Although New Jersey scored higher than many other states, it is the state with the second-highest annual consumer expenditures on social activities per household.

#38 Ohio

#38 Ohio

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Ohio residents spend some of the least money on traveling and tourism, something that helped them score a 43.97 out of 100.

#37 Wisconsin

#37 Wisconsin

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Wisconsin also scored a 43.97 out of 100, with its residents spending low amounts of money on traveling and tourism as well.

#36 Michigan

#36 Michigan

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Michigan scored a 44.25 out of 100, which made it the 16th best city for social distancing in WalletHub’s rankings.

#35 Nevada

#35 Nevada

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Those who live in Nevada spend a lot on travel and tourism, but they also have a low social environment rank and a low volunteer rank, scoring their state a 45.17 out of 100.

#34 Arizona

#34 Arizona

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Arizona scored a 45.25 out of 100. The state’s residents spend a short amount of time socializing during the day. This might not be too hard to do in the warmer months when the state is known for its extreme temperatures.

#33 Pennsylvania

#33 Pennsylvania

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Almost tied with Arizona, Pennsylvania scored a 45.26 out of 100.

#32 California

#32 California

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California had the highest level of unemployment claims filed in the U.S. by the fourth week of March 2020. In terms of social distancing, the state scored a 46.66 out of 100.

#31 South Carolina

#32 South Carolina

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South Carolina scored a 47.01 out of 100, landing it just outside the 20 best states for distancing in WalletHub’s ranking.

#30 Maine

#30 Maine

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Per household, Maine residents spend some of the lowest consumer expenditures on social activities. The state scored a 47.47 out of 100.

#29 Texas

#29 Texas

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Texas scored a 47.74 out of 100. The Lone Star State is one of the states where residents spend the most on social activities.

#28 Vermont

#28 Vermont

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Not far behind Texas, Vermont scored a 47.87 out of 100. Residents spend a low amount of money on social activities and a short amount of time socializing, but their high ranking for social environment got them their score.

#27 Nebraska

#27 Nebraska

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Nebraska is one of the states where residents spend the least amount of time socializing and communicating, scoring them a 48.40 out of 100.

#26 Delaware

#26 Delaware

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Delaware scored a 48.63 out of 100, sitting right in the middle of WalletHub’s rankings.

#25 Tennessee

#25 Tennessee

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Tennesseeans spend a fair amount of time on sports and recreation. The state scored a 49.02 out of 100.

#24 Georgia

#24 Georgia

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Georgia scored a 49.59 out of 100. The state might have scored near the middle for social distancing, but it had the highest percent increase of unemployment insurance claims during the weeks of March 16 through May 11, 2020, compared to the same weeks in 2019.

#23 Connecticut

#23 Connecticut

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Connecticut, one of the best states in the country to raise a family, scored a 50.55 out of 100.

#22 Kansas

#22 Kansas

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Barely below Connecticut, Kansas scored a 50.57 out of 100.

#21 Missouri

#21 Missouri

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Missourians spend quite a bit of time on social activities, and their state scored a 51.31 out of 100.

#20 North Dakota

#20 North Dakota

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North Dakota fared better than its southern sister South Dakota with a score of 51.46 out of 100.

#19 Florida

#19 Florida

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Florida has a low volunteer rate, but the state has some of the highest spending on travel and tourism. It scored a 51.75 out of 100.

#18 Maryland

#18 Maryland

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Maryland, which is one of the happiest states in America, scored a 52.30 out of 100.

#17 Washington

#17 Washington

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The state of Washington scored a 52.73 out of 100.

 

#16 Washington, DC

#16 Washington, DC

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It’s a bit more difficult to social distance in the nation’s capital than in nearby Maryland — Washington, D.C. scored a 52.80 out of 100. Though residents spend a small amount of time on sports and recreation compared to other states, they also spend a lot of time socializing and a lot of money on travel and tourism.

#15 North Carolina

#15 North Carolina

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Not faring as well as South Carolina, North Carolina scored a 53.97 out of 100.

 

#14 Hawaii

#14 Hawaii

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Since they live in a state known as a dreamy warm-weather destination, it might not come as a surprise that Hawaii residents spend quite a bit on social activities and travel. They scored a 54.19 out of 100.

#13 Iowa

#13 Iowa

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Iowa has a high volunteer rate and a high rate of socializing and communicating, which can make it difficult to social distance. The state scored a 54.66 out of 100.

#12 Oregon

#12 Oregon

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Oregon scored a 55.55 out of 100. The state ranked high for time spent on sports and recreation as well as volunteering.

#11 Minnesota

#11 Minnesota

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Close behind Oregon, Minnesota scored a 55.65 out of 100. Residents spend a lot of time and money on social activities, and they also have a high volunteer rate.

#10 South Dakota

#10 South Dakota

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South Dakota ranked highest for time spent socializing per day. It scored a 56.15 out of 100.

#9 Idaho

#9 Idaho

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Idaho scored a 56.22 out of 100. Its residents spend more time on social activities than other states.

#8 Virginia

#8 Virginia

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Virginians spend some of the most money in the U.S. on social activities. The state scored a 56.25 out of 100.

#7 Wyoming

#7 Wyoming

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Wyoming scored a 56.77 out of 100. Although their time spent on social activities was low, residents do spend more money on travel and ranked high for their social environment.

#6 Massachusetts

#6 Massachusetts

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Massachusetts scored a 57.35 out of 100, making it the sixth-hardest state to practice social distancing in.

#5 Alaska

#5 Alaska

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Alaska spends a shorter amount of time socializing than most states, but Alaskans do volunteer and at a higher rate than most. They scored a 58.41 out of 100.

#4 Colorado

#4 Colorado

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Colorado scored a 60.41 out of 100. Residents ranked high for both money and time spent on social activities.

#3 Montana

#3 Montana

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Despite being known for its big skies and wide-open spaces, Montana is actually the third-hardest state in the country to maintain social distancing. It scored a 62.84 out of 100.

#2 New Hampshire

#2 New Hampshire

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New Hampshire scored a 63.29 out of 100. Residents of New Hampshire ranked highest in the country for time spent socializing.

#1 Utah

#1 Utah

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With a score of 74.53 out of 100, it is more difficult to maintain social distancing in Utah than any other state. Utah is also one of the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions — here’s how its restrictions compare to other states across the country.

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