If You Believe These 10 Things About US Cities and States, You're Not Alone

In much of the country the kids are getting out of school and summer vacations are starting, so I thought now would be a great time to debunk 10 myths about US cities and states that resurface over and over again. Maybe you'll visit one or more of these places during your summer travels and can correct a few misconceptions along the way.

1. Seattle has the highest suicide rate in the country.

Seattle has regrettably suffered the title "Suicide City USA" for a long time, presumably because of the weather.  Rainy weather equals higher suicide rates – perfectly logical!  But the truth is Seattle doesn't even make the top 10 list.  According to a study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine,  Las Vegas is the true suicide capital of the US, followed by Colorado Springs, Tuscon  and a list of other cities that don't include Seattle.  Among states, Alaska tops the list.

2. The Pacific Northwest is the rainiest part of the country.

Not even close. Hawaii and all of the states along the Gulf Coast get more annual precipitation on average than the Pacific Northwest by a wide margin.

3. Minnesota has the most lakes of any state.

Minnesota may be the “Land of 10,000 Lakes," but Alaska is the state of more than 3 million lakes.

4. Florida receives the most sunshine of any state.

According to the National Weather Service, the “Sunshine State” is less sunny than five other states: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Florida may instead have the strongest sunshine of any state, because the sun’s rays arrive at a steep angle, delivering more UV radiation.  Florida ranks in the top five highest skin cancer states nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

5. New YorkChicago and Los Angeles are the most dangerous cities in the country.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report, as reported by Forbes,  says they don’t even make the top 10.  DetroitMemphis and Springfield are the top three most dangerous cities.

6. Los Angeles and New York must have the busiest airports in the country.

The busiest airport in the country is actually Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. What's surprising is that if you add together annual total passenger boardings for LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports in New York City,  the number is still several million passengers less than what Hartsfield handles in a year.  Los Angeles is third busiest, just behind O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

7. States with drier air are the best places to go for people with bad allergies.

Since many places with high rates of pollen allergies are humid, the dry air of states like Arizona is thought to be a great choice for allergy sufferers. But according to Quest DiagnosticsPhoenix, AZ is the second worst place in the country if you suffer from pollen allergies, just behind another dry air city, Dallas.

8. States with the biggest cities have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

While states like New York and California have their fair share of STDs, the Centers for Disease Control reports that for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia--the two most prevalent STDs--Mississippi and Alaska take top honors, respectively. In fact, Mississippi's Gonorrhea rate per 100,000 people is more than twice that of New York. Louisiana, meanwhile, is the grand roi of Syphilis.

9. States with the biggest cities have the worst drunk driving problems.

Nope. Once again, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it appears that less populated and rural states have the worst drunk driving issues. Alabama and Louisiana, for example, have DUI rates that double the national average, while New York's rate is just about half the national average. Mississippi, Wyoming and Montana have the most alcohol-related driving deaths.

10. Average state IQs correlate with voting patterns.

I had to throw this one in at the end because it must be one of the most successful state myths ever devised.  Several major news outlets repeated it, and a lot of people probably still believe it. Check out Snopes for the full explanation as to why this claim is completely false.

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Posted on June 22, 2012 .