Special Report

The Best and Worst Thing About Each State

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Best: home of the most U.S. presidents

Virginia is the birthplace of eight presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson — more than other state.

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Worst: bad state for sports fans

Virginia is the 11th most populous state, but does not have a single team in the NHL, NBA, MLB, or NFL.

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Best: highest one-year GDP growth

Washington’s GDP grew by nearly 4% in 2016, higher growth than in any other state.

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Worst: rain, rain, rain

Seattle doesn’t quite as much total rainfall as its reputation suggests compared with many other American cities, but it rains often — 152 days a year.

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West Virginia
Best: Fewest excessive drinkers

While some parts of West Virginia face addiction problems, that does not extend to alcohol. According to the latest CDC figures, less than 12% of state adults drink to excess, which is the lowest share among states.

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West Virginia
Worst: most smokers

Almost one in four West Virginian adults smoke, the highest share in the country.

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Best: cheese

If you had any doubt that Wisconsin is the center of the cheese universe, this next fact should put it to rest. In August 2018, a cheese board with 4,437 pounds of fromage graced a Madison, Wisconsin, street to set a Guinness World Record.

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Worst: most excessive drinkers

Over one in four Wisconsin adults drink to excess, which is the highest share of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

Best: Yellowstone

Almost all of Yellowstone National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the country, can be found in the northwest corner of Wyoming.

Source: Thinkstock

Worst: unequal representation

Just 11.1% of state senate and legislature seats are occupied by women, the smallest share of any state.