Even after controlling for variables such as race, income and education levels, a state’s dominant personality turns out to be strongly linked to certain outcomes. Amiable states, like Minnesota, tend to be lower in crime. Dutiful states — an eclectic bunch that includes New Mexico, North Carolina and Utah — produce a disproportionate share of mathematicians. States that rank high in openness to new ideas are quite creative, as measured by per-capita patent production. But they’re also high-crime and a bit aloof. Apparently, Californians don’t much like socializing, the research suggests.
As for high-anxiety states, that group includes not just Type A New York and New Jersey, but also states stressed by poverty, such as West Virginia and Mississippi. As a group, these neurotic states tend to have higher rates of heart disease and lower life expectancy.
Lead researcher Peter Jason Rentfrow, lecturer at the University of Cambridge in England, said he was startled to find such correlations. “That just blew me away,” he said.
People are shaped by the dominant industries in the state, which introduce the stressors and rewards that define what personality attributes are promoted/demoted.
I wonder if modern society does the same to us, but probably on a lower level… unnatural selection.