The Best Places to Find Your Virtual Valentine

Whether you’re swiping right on Tinder or verifying if there really are Plenty of Fish in the sea, online dating has become the way to snag your perfect partner. However, after perusing hundreds of carefully curated profiles, you’ll begin to suspect that not everyone is who they seem to be. (And they aren’t.)

So what can you do to ensure your online dating life doesn’t end in disaster? Well, you can start with where you live. According to our research, some parts of the country are safer than others for online dating. Where are these coveted safe zones? Oh, look at that. We made you a map.

In the interest of keeping your Valentine’s Day enjoyable (and STD free), the teams at highspeedinternet.com (HSI) and SafeWise thought we’d do you a solid and find out which states have the best odds in this online dating roulette. We analyzed the FBI’s cybercrime and violent crime rates per capita for each state, as well as the CDC’s reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are the most common STDs in America. We adjusted this data to account for population, then correlated our stats with various demographic information from Gallup and other sources as noted. Our findings? Don’t online date in D.C. Just don’t. While large parts of the South are definitely sketchy, the numbers on crime and STDs coming out of DC are next level. And not in a good way.

Top 10 Safest States for Online Dating Top 10 Most Dangerous States for Online Dating
1. Vermont 1. DC
2. Maine 2. Alaska
3. New Hampshire 3. Louisiana
4. Utah 4. New Mexico
5. Idaho 5. Nevada
6. Wyoming 6. South Carolina
7. West Virginia 7. Arkansas
8. Connecticut 8. Tennessee
9. Minnesota 9. North Carolina
10. New Jersey 10. Alabama

 

In fact, the District of Columbia’s rates per capita for both violent crime and STDs are almost double the rates in Alaska, its nearest competitor on our Most Dangerous list. We do see some predictable reasons for the alarming stats in DC, including a concentrated and heavily populated urban area accompanied by a younger population that doesn’t benefit from state-mandated sex education. However, the statistics are disconcerting and should send a clear message to singles everywhere. Our nation’s capital is not where you want OkCupid to find love for you.

On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont enjoys the number one spot on our list of safest states for online dating. Although it does have an older population and the lower crime rates that often come with rural areas, Vermont also has less STDs per capita due to robust sex education.

“Since being named chief just over two years ago, I have completely overhauled the police department.  Vermont is overall one of the safest states in the country and the town of Windsor is an accurate depiction of a quaint New England town where our citizens feel safe!”

Chief William Sampson, Windsor Police Department

 


Here are a few other surprising stand outs from our research on the safest states for online dating.

Violent Crime and STDs are Closely Connected

That’s probably not an accident — no pun intended.

Highest Rate Per Capita of STDs Highest Rate Per Capita of Violent Crime
1. DC 1. DC
2. Louisiana 2. Alaska
3. North Carolina 3. Nevada
4. Alaska 4. New Mexico
5. Michigan 5. Tennessee

As you can see, both the District of Columbia and Alaska rank pretty high on these less-than-desirable lists. You’ll notice similar correlations between the states that rank lowest.

Lowest Rate Per Capita of STDs by State Lowest Rate Per Capita of Violent Crime by State
1. New Hampshire 1. Vermont
2. Vermont 2. Maine
3. Maine 3. Virginia
4. Idaho 4. New Hampshire
5. Wyoming 5. Idaho


Researchers have long noted the unsavory relationship between violent crime, incarceration rates
, STD transmissions. If you live in a state with a higher crime rate, you’ll want to suit up with protection to be safe rather than sorry.

“With online dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid etc. sexual contact amongst teenagers has increased significantly. Over 60% of the cases of STDs we get are males and females aged sixteen to twenty-five years. Online dating is definitely exacerbating the trend.”

Dr. Aditi Gupta Jha, MD, Sexual Health Specialist at JustDoc

 

Age Doesn’t Always Equal Wisdom

You might think a younger population would mean more crime and STDs, but that doesn’t always hold true. Utah has the youngest median age in the United States while Maine has the oldest at forty-four, but they both make the top five safest states in our data.

Youngest Median Population Age by State Oldest Median Population Age by State
1. Utah: 30 1. Maine: 44
2. Alaska: 33 2. Vermont: 42
3. DC: 33 3. New Hampshire: 42
4. Texas: 34 4. West Virginia: 41
5. North Dakota: 35 5. Florida: 41

Even states like Florida, known for an aging population, aren’t safe from the scourge of higher-than-average STD and crime rates. Call Grandma now and make sure she takes down that Tinder profile, stat.

The Division Between Church and State Will Predict the Rate of STDs

Well, isn’t this depressing: there’s some strong correlation between states with the highest regular church attendance and an increased risk of STDs. As you might suspect, when you don’t discuss sex, STDs happen. It’s a fact of life.

Highest Church Attendance Percentages by State Lowest Church Attendance Percentages by State
Utah: 51% Vermont: 17%
Mississippi: 47% New Hampshire: 20%
Alabama: 46% Maine: 20%
Louisiana: 46% Massachusetts: 22%
Arkansas: 45% Washington: 24%

The exception to this rule is Utah, home of the Latter Day Saints. Apparently all that wholesome behavior keeps their young people STD free and curbs crime rates.

Red, White, or Blue? It Doesn’t Matter

Now that we’ve discussed religion, we might as well talk politics. Correlations between political affiliation and religion are usually pretty tight, but they fall apart when we look at the crime and STD rates that determine if a state is safe for online dating.  In this case, politics don’t seem to be a defining factor in whether or not that match from Match.com really is a good match. Whew! That’ll probably hold true right up until you take your date to meet your parents. (Good luck with that!).

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

The data on this is clear. If your state talks about sex, specifically contraception, it has less crime and STDs. Go figure.

Top 5 Safest States for Online Dating Requires Sex Education Includes Contraception Information
1. Vermont Yes Yes
2. Maine Yes Yes
3. New Hampshire No No
4. Utah Yes No
5. Idaho No No

“Vermont has school-based sex education. In Utah school based sex education emphasizes abstinence until marriage and has less robust content.  Planned Parenthood Association of Utah provides comprehensive sex education in partnership with community organizations to increase the chance that teens will avoid having sex or if they do engage in risky behavior they will be less likely to get an STI or to transmit one to a partner.” 

Annabel Sheinberg, MM , Director of Education, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah

 You’ll notice New Hampshire and Idaho don’t require sex education, but are still doing pretty well on our list of safest states. Students may still get sex education in these states because school policy and curriculum is left up to districts to decide rather than mandated by the state.  New Hampshire’s public school systems, in fact, are funded and run almost entirely at the local level.

 

Top 5 Most Dangerous States for Online Dating Requires Sex Education Includes Contraception Information
1. District of Columbia No No
2. Alaska No No
3. Louisiana No No
4. New Mexico Yes Yes
5.  Nevada Yes No

Ummm. . .what on earth is happening in New Mexico? Back in 2014, New Mexico had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, but that’s only part of the story. Crime rates and STDs are also closely correlated with prostitution and sex trafficking, and New Mexico’s border towns see unusually high rates of both. There are probably plenty of perfectly safe fish in the sea of Albuquerque, but it’s probably a safer bet to scoot on over to neighboring Utah to throw your lure out in the Great Salt Lake area instead.

Are you searching for the perfect match online or do you know someone else who is? Share our map with your friends and stay safe out there, lovebirds.