US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Sin across the country

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The Midwest is a lot better than the South, according to a geographical study of sin.

This just confirms my suspicions as a lifelong Midwesterner with a number of friends from the South. Oops! There goes my pride.

The study, conducted by the Kansas State University geography department for a convention of geographers in Las Vegas, is not serious or authoritative of course. But it came up with some interesting maps of “hot spots” for the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.

According to Catholic News Service, they did use hard data to make their maps: expenditures per capita on entertainment and recreation for sloth; the total number of fast-food restaurants per capita for gluttony; FBI data on stealing for envy, and rape, assault, and murder for wrath; the number of sexually transmitted diseases per capita for lust; comparing total per capita income with the number of people living in poverty per capita for greed; and an aggregation of the other six sins for pride.

Check out the Las Vegas Sun for the colorful maps that show where there are pockets of sinful activity. The aggregation of the other six sins finds most sin in the South and the least in the Midwest and Western Appalachia.

This reminds me of a highly unscientific analysis of sin and gender that I wrote about earlier this year. It might be interesting to think about but are such studies helpful? Does where we live make us more or less likely to be plagued by a particular vice?