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Isolation: Where in America Do They Want You to Just Go Home?

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
New Hampshire 5821.51
Hawaii 2421.99
South Carolina 2064.82
New Jersey 1957.93
Vermont 1570.98
New York 1554.62
Maine 1010.29
Arizona 558.446
Idaho 523.029
Florida 522.142
Oregon 488.119
Colorado 425.148
Texas 396.268
California 291.104
Wyoming 58.1976
Alaska 55.3699
Montana 47.5482
North Dakota 20.2656
Delaware 18.3257
South Dakota 12.4348
Nebraska 12.3358
Rhode Island 11.42
Utah 10.2323
Nevada 8.84559
Washington 7.4818
West Virginia 7.16463
New Mexico 6.55124
Mississippi 6.12533
Kansas 4.63932
Arkansas 4.20258
Kentucky 3.74774
Wisconsin 3.55368
Iowa 3.3305
Minnesota 3.25646
Connecticut 3.14173
Virginia 3.08917
Massachusetts 3.07789
Missouri 2.8757
Oklahoma 2.74547
Louisiana 2.7206
Maryland 2.48509
Alabama 2.35955
Tennessee 2.09175
Indiana 1.88182
Georgia 1.8584
North Carolina 1.62647
Ohio 1.48007
Michigan 1.29956
Pennsylvania 0.88366
Illinois 0.85261

I see a few patterns here.  What do you see?

5 thoughts on “Isolation: Where in America Do They Want You to Just Go Home?”

  1. Dave says:

    I am too curious. Besides the fact that no state with a name beginning with the letter O is in the top ten. Other than that, I’m not seeing patterns.

    In Florida they say happiness is seeing a New Yorker headed north with a Canadian under each arm. Six thousand people mover here each week, so a local “go home” sub-culture is inevitable. South Carolinians never considered themselves part of the U.S.A., never will. New England states in the top ten are a little mystifying, but it may be the accelerating exodus from the big cities that accounts for it.

  2. Tom says:

    Connecticut is pretty dog-gone close to pi (3.14159…)! Dave, I hadn’t heard that Florida saying – thanks for the chuckle.

  3. Dave says:

    Tom, folks from Connecticut always seem well rounded.

  4. Jim Cook says:


    Here’s what I see: a combination of states where a lot of tourists visit and states where not a lot of people come through. The tourism part is pretty self-evident: Hawaii, Florida, Maine Look at all those mid-country states, crossroads states where people drive through or move over all the time. Ohio, Missouri, Ilinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee … some red states, some blue states, but all crossroads states and none telling anyone to come home. A lot of those high-ranking states are on edges or corners. I don’t think this explains all the variation, but I wonder if it has something to do with it.

  5. Dave says:

    Oregon, Colorado, Texas, California. All in the top fifteen. You may have a point about edges and corners. I’ve been to almost all 57 states and the top fifteen are some of the loveliest. Go home probably just means “this is our idea of paradise and we want to keep it that way.”

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