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A State-By-State Ranking Of Where Bullying Is The Worst

Back in your day bullying may not have been considered a big deal, and that might be why only 4 percent of adults reportedly intervene when it happens. But, much like video games, phones, and asbestos-lined buildings, they’re not making bullies like they used to. Nowadays, one kid is bullied every 7 minutes. According to the National Education Association, 160,000 kids miss school every day out of fear of being bullied. To prepare parents and kids for back-to-school bullying season, Wallet Hub analysts have figured out where all these villains are living, and ranked which states will give you the worst wedgies (among other things).

States were scored on 3 categories: Bullying Prevalence; Bullying Impact and Environment (such as school absences and, tragically, incidents of suicide); and Anti-Bullying Laws, using 17, 100-point metrics for each. Unlike past Wallet Hub rankings, being number one actually means your state sucks. Michigan was the worst state for bullying overall (it must be something in the water), followed by Louisiana, West Virginia, Montana, and Arkansas. The state with the least amount of bullying was Massachusetts, trailed by North Carolina, Vermont, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island. Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington were excluded from the list, which could seem like the researchers were threatened, but were actually due to data limitations.

Bullying Mapped By State

The biggest gaps between categories occurred in Montana, which was number one for anti-bullying laws, number 7 for prevalence, but number 40 impact, which suggests that those laws are getting the job done. Most of the outliers, like Illinois, fared fine in laws and prevalence (34th and 29th, respectively), but topped out at third place for impact. California and Florida were similarly conflicted, ranking low in areas of laws and prevalence, but high in terms of impact — 4th and 7th place.

Part of the reason for these gaps could be because the methodology used anti-bullying laws as an indicator of a problem, rather than the thing that was helping to resolve bullying. That means states which ranked lower in laws tended rank higher in prevalence and impact categories. Given that the Association for Psychological Science found that bullies and victims are both more likely to experience poverty, academic failure, and job termination as adults, it might be best to just make the pastime illegal all together. But, since there are no federal laws about swirlies on the books, it’s up to your state to shoulder that responsibility.

[H/T] Wallet Hub