Robot 6

Which states are the nerdiest? You may be surprised

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience

I’ve never given any thought to which state might be considered the “nerdiest,” but if pressed I may have guessed California, with Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Comic-Con International, or Massachusetts, because of MIT and Harvard. However, it turns out I would’ve been way off.

Estately, the real estate blog that recently ranked the states most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, has now turned its attention to the nerdiest states in America, and — surprise! — Utah comes out on top. I guess that helps explain why Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanXperience spinoff pull in such large crowds.

While the zombie-survival chart was compiled using 11 metrics, ranging from U.S. Census figures to gun-ownership rates, Estately arrived at its nerd rankings through much simpler means: Facebook searches for people who list interests in any of 12 categories, including cosplay, comic books, live-action role-playing, Dungeons & Dragons, anime, Doctor Who and Harry Potter.

The Beehive State (look it up!) was No. 1 in half of those categories, leading Estately’s Ryan Nickum to conclude, “Utah is just so unbelievably nerdy it could be a Harry Potter theme park.” It was followed by Alaska (which was tops on the zombie-survival) ranking, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado, with Kentucky, Oregon, New Mexico and West Virginia (represent!) filling out the Top 10.

There must be something in the water out West. “Rural western states are prime habitat for nerds,” Nickum writes, an observation he follows with, “States with large populations don’t tend to have high percentages of nerds.”

So which are the least-nerdy? Washington, D.C. (not a state, but included in the survey), Mississippi, New Jersey, Georgia and Alabama. Nickum notes, “The South is a virtual nerd desert, and a damn hard place to get a game of D&D going.” I guess that would make DragonCon an oasis of nerdom …

As for my initial guesses: Massachusetts came in near the bottom, at No. 44, and California at No. 35. Shows what I know.

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Comments

17 Comments

I would disagree a bit with these findings. I would have thought that California would be on top. They have so many cons (i.e. comic con, wondercon, sacanime, comikaze, LBCC, LBCE, powercon, Frank and sons, Nuke the fridge, etc). I live in Texas now and its hard to find good cons in the San Antonio area. Or a place like Frank and sons.

Using Facebook data? No wonder it’s inaccurate! Minnesota and Wisconsin have TONS of older nerds not on FB that grew up (or were already grown ups) around the time D&D came out. FB should never be used as a reliable measurement tool.

So… how does this correlate with their zombie survival chart?

Salt Lake Supa Man

April 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

It’s funny, the nerds in Utah are “nerdy” to the extent that they dress up and go to the premier of Captain America or Spider-Man in cosplay, but I can’t honestly say that the actual comic book business is thriving there. PS, first person to open a comic shop in Draper wins!!!

I’m ashamed of you Texas . . . seriously ashamed. You didn’t crack the top 25. *glares*

First, using Facebook is crap. Because Facebook is crap. More specifically, many people don’t use it and that includes “nerds”. None of my RL friends use it. Second, those criteria are crap. They’re skewed toward very specific corners of “nerdland”. For example, I’m a big-time nerd I have no interest in half of those and, while I like the rest, I wouldn’t list most of them as interests. Why list “anime movies” instead of “anime” or simply “animation” (personally I’d use anime and non-Japanese animation)? Why list STTNG and not simply Star Trek? Why list “fantasy lit” and not sci-fi or just literature? I’m a major literature geek but I’ve never read Harry Potter (I probably will at some point in the future when I have nothing better to do :p) and fantasy is a relatively minor spot in my reading preferences. I could go on.

akkadiannumen –

I suppose the stereotypical nerd is not interested in “serious” literature or any genre that is not SF, fantasy, or horror. Yes, I used the word “stereotypical”. I like other kinds of literature, but a poll like this must be targeted to stereotypical traits.

Wow!
I can’t believe you didn’t mention Washington in your article, number six on the list. You’ve got to come up and see our ECCC!!! It’s a huge comic con still largely devoted to comic books. It will be on the last weekend of March next year, as it was this year.
Check it out.

To be honest, I’m surprised that my beloved WV did so well. Taken in with the zombie chart…WV is filled with zombie killing survivalist nerds.

@Rene: that’s basically my point. They went for very specific types of nerd, SOME of the best known, the most vocal, etc. The criteria they used affected their results and left millions out. Even staying with the stereotypes they left too many out. Like horror fans or SF-fans that aren’t big on SW or STTNG or Doctor Who (I like all of them but I wouldn’t mention them as interests). What about videogame nerds? Tons of them around, many of which follow releases with religious fervor and play until they drop dead or nearly so. I honestly can’t define being a nerd without mentioning videogames.

Um, not even close. Considering Atlanta is the center for Cosplay for the entire planet and DragonCon is the LARGEST and LONGEST-RUNNING multi-genre non-commercial convention in history, um, no, Georgia is clearly number one–or at least in the top5. Utah? Please.

Most of my nerd friends don’t use Facebook, or any social media. If they do, they only use it to keep in contact with family friends, not to share their lives.

I am into all of those things listed (except Cosplay & LARPing) and I only have Star Trek (not ST:TNG) and the Hobbit (not LotR) listed as likes, so my interests were not counted at all.

People still LARP?

Huh…. These are interesting findings…. I like the list of nerd activities to measure nerdiness.

I wonder if the reason we think of California first is because it’s population is so huge that it has a larger total amount of nerds than a lot of other states who have a larger percentage of nerds. I mean, if every single person in Rhode Island was a nerd, but only 5% of Californians were nerds, California would still have a larger total amount of nerds than Rhode Island. Hence its huge amount of cons.

Alabama is trying to up it’s nerd game. We have a handful of smaller regional cons starting up, and it’s becoming more and more common. Montgomery is hosting Zombie Walks and stuff like that. Their are facebook pages such as Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fans of Alabama – https://www.facebook.com/groups/449445811768700/ – or cosplay pages for the southern areas.

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