Thursday, May 17, 2007
"If It Plays In Peoria..." 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Is apparently rather true. Turns out that Illinois is...
...the most average state, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the Census Bureau.

Illinois is the fifth largest state, with a big city in Chicago, rolling countryside in the south and a lot of sprawling suburbs. And it has Peoria, which, it turns out, really is a barometer of America's preferences. Many companies continue to use the city in central Illinois as a test market, taking literally the adage about how things play there.

"Illinois has always been a mirror of America," said state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Republican. "With all due respect to South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire, they are not reflective of the overall American population." The AP ranked each state on how closely it matched national levels on 21 demographic factors, including race, age, income, education, industrial mix, immigration and the share of people living in urban and rural areas. The rankings were then combined to determine the state that best mirrors the country as a whole. Illinois was followed by Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Delaware.
The least average state? West Virginia - too old, too white, and too rural to accurately reflect the American Melting Pot today. NPR has a detailed audio report on the ranking. Time to break out the Sufjan Stevens CD?