A few days ago, I saw a bumper sticker in Central Maine that read, “Welcome to Maine… Now Go Home!” It didn’t take me too long to react emotionally to that statement; I hear some version of that sentiment almost every day living here in Maine. Whether it’s someone talking about what “real Mainers” would do, someone speaking disparaginly about how they do it down in Massachusetts, or the ever present phrase “from Away” used to refer to anyone who can’t count generations of ancestry back, the rejection of people who aren’t natives is a persistent cultural theme (although the quietly welcoming arms of other Mainers is a noticeable contrary trend).
Is this unique to Maine? I’ve lived a lot of places in my life and in only one other place have I felt the same intensity of insular pushback against people who had the gall to visit. But I haven’t lived everywhere… and neither have you. To get a systematic sense of isolationism in the American states, I used the Bing search engine to get counts of web pages that read “Welcome to [state name]… Now Go Home.” I controlled for different state populations, generating counts of pages per million people.
The following ranking results. No, Maine’s not alone, but it’s in the top 10:
|State||Bing results per million population|
I see a few patterns here. What do you see?