The Top 10 States for Social Butterflies

What breeds a social butterfly? According to a new study by social discovery app Hinge, a lot of it has to do with where you’re originally from, and whether you stayed there as an adult. We spoke exclusively to Hinge about the study, which hits their website next Tuesday, and you might be surprised by the results.

Hinge works by introducing you to people in your extended social circle — the kinds of people your actual friends could introduce you to, but haven’t yet. As such, your friend network determines who you can meet: The bigger the network, the more people you can connect with. Knowing this, then, Hinge wondered what factors tend to impact the size of your friend network — that is, who has more friends and why?

Every time you move to a new city, or even state, you naturally expand your social network as you make new friends while staying in contact with the old ones. So, Hinge decided to take a look at “transplants” — young professionals who had moved away from their home states — to determine which states produce the most social butterflies. By examining how many Facebook friends those transplants have and averaging them out, Hinge was able to rank each state on a sort of “social butterfly scale.” Here’s what they found, according to the average number of Facebook friends:

The Top 10 States that Produce the Most Social People/Transplants:

  1. Alabama: 1123 friends
  2. Mississippi: 1104 friends
  3. Arkansas: 1090 friends
  4. South Carolina: 991 friends
  5. Florida: 989 friends
  6. Kentucky: 976 friends
  7. Alaska: 971 friends
  8. Tennessee: 966 friends
  9. Missouri: 961 friends
  10. Texas: 959 friends

Amazingly, nine of those 10 states are Southern ones; Alaska is the outlier, but then again, maybe it’s not too surprising that it landed a spot on the list. I’ve only ever met one person from Alaska, and she definitely didn’t want to stay there once she was old enough to leave. Not to knock Alaska or anything, but I would imagine it would be tough to find career opportunities there. In any event, it looks like “Southern hospitality” is a real thing.

By contrast, the 10 states at the bottom of the list… well, they don’t seem to have as much in common with each other:

Bottom 10 States that Produce the Least Social People/Transplants:

  1. Wyoming: 736 friends
  2. North Dakota: 745 friends
  3. New Mexico: 755 friends
  4. New Hampshire: 764 friends
  5. Montana: 784 friends
  6. Vermont: 788 friends
  7. Iowa: 798 friends
  8. Wisconsin: 802 friends
  9. Nevada: 806 friends
  10. South Dakota: 808 friends

These states tend to be a little more spread out over the map; they range from the Northeast to the Southwest and everywhere in between. Interesting, no?

To be honest, I’m actually pretty amazed by the average number of Facebook friends even the least social butterfly-like states have. Me? I’m definitely one of the people skewing the results; although New York, where I lived for ten years, has an average of 874 friends, and New Jersey, where I live now, has 862, I only have a paltry 374 friends. Yep — roughly half the number of the top of the bottom list. Ah well; I’ve noticed that once I finished grad school and got out of academia for good, the number of friend requests I’ve both received and sent dropped off dramatically. I guess that’s what happens when you work from home?

Hinge, by the way, is currently up and running in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas, with more cities on the way. Be sure to check out their site next week for the full results of their study, and think about giving it a whirl yourself while you're at it. t’s way less creepy than Tinder. Promise!