Correlations of the Day

I just came across a fun little site called StateStats, which uses Google’s state-by-state search history data to correlate search terms with demographic information. This article from Silicon Alley Insider found a few good ones, such as that searches for “myspace” correlate moderately with state illiteracy rates.

A few good finds of my own:

  • Wine has a strong negative correlation (-0.71) with the proportion of the population who voted for Bush in 2004, implying that wine is more popular in less Republican states. Interestingly, arugula has the exact same correlation with the 2004 election, but it should be noted that there is a restaurant of the same name in Connecticut.
  • Obviously, I also tried latte but was surprised to find that Minnesota blew past every other state for this search term. On a per capita basis, Minnesotans searched for “latte” 50% more than did the coffee mecca of Washington, its closest competitor.
  • Guns have a 0.76 correlation with voting for Bush. I’ll leave this one to the gun control groups, but that search also correlates 0.7 with suicide rates.
  • Meth strongly correlates with the area of a state, and negatively correlates with the density of a state and its longitude. This leads to the intuitive finding that methamphetamine (or at least Google searches for it) is most prevalent in the mountain west region.
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I suggest you get in contact with any friends or family that you may have in South Dakota.