U.S. State Stereotypes Captured In One Cliché Photo
If you think about Alaska, ice, igloos, Eskimos, and a totally barren terrain probably pop into your head, and that’s partly true. Alaska has the lowest density of any state, with just 1.2 people per square mile. Much of the country is uninhabitable due to the harsh terrain.
Because of the low population density, wildlife doesn’t feel as much fear in Alaska. Two bears stopping traffic isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it isn’t that abnormal in this chilly state. Apparently, all the residents know to stay back and just let them fight it out. Imagine explaining to your boss that you’re late to work because of a bear fight!
Arkansas is best known as hillbilly heaven. If you like drinking American beer and hunting, this is the place for you. The stereotype started in the early 1900s when entertainment leaned into the idea of a hillbilly living in a shack in Arkansas.
Over the years, the stereotype of Arkansas as a hillbilly’s paradise still endures. Former president Bill Clinton hailed from Arkansas, but even that wasn’t enough to change the perception of the state.
Colorado was the first state to legalize the popular “Marie-Jeanne”. After that, people assumed that everyone from Colorado was a chilled-out hippie. They want to live their lives in peace and freedom, and they certainly don’t want to be part of “the system.”
But it isn’t just this point that gives Colorado this reputation. People from Colorado are also known for being nature-lovers who spend most of their free time outdoors. Considering Colorado is a beautiful state, it shouldn’t be that surprising that its residents like to take advantage of their beautiful surroundings. If that makes them hippies, then so be it.
With Washington and Oregon to the left and Montana and Wyoming to the right, Idaho is a gorgeous state full of mountainous landscapes and beautiful wilderness. But if you ask the locals or anyone else in America, they’ll tell you there’s nothing to do in Idaho.
This picture perfectly sums up most people’s feelings about Idaho. Once you drive into this state, be prepared to be faced with large swaths of land with absolutely nothing around you. Nevermind that there’s plenty of scenery and wildlife to capture your attention—all most people notice is the mostly barren terrain.
Connecticut is a haven for the wealthiest in society. At least, that’s what people tend to think of when this state comes to mind. Not only does everyone living in Connecticut belong to country clubs, but ultra-preppy clothing is also their normal uniform. People in Connecticut aren’t worried about cash, so the state naturally charges for everything, including throwing rocks.
While tossing rocks into a lake used to be a normal childhood activity, it comes at a cost in Connecticut. Specifically, anyone who wants to throw rocks in this Connecticut lake must pay 50 cents per rock. While that doesn’t mean much when you’re living the lifestyle of the rich, us normal people can’t afford to pay anything to throw a rock into the water.
While Florida would, in theory, be recognized as a tropical paradise, most people think this state is just plain weird. Florida is known for odd events that often include alligators or other wild animals and people who seem to be losing their marbles just a bit.
If there’s one aesthetic that could truly capture Florida, it would certainly be this man. Sporting a magnificent mullet and rooting for his favorite football team, this is undoubtedly the kind of man you’d find walking around the Sunshine State. He might even get into a tousle with a gator later—who knows?
Unlike Florida, Hawaii actually is a paradise. Unfortunately, these gorgeous islands are also completely overrun with tourists trying too hard to embrace those “island vibes.”
Most people you’ll see wandering around in Hawaii are prepped for a vacation with a fanny pack and their vibrant Hawaiin shirts. Of course, they’re bound to have the typical Hawaiin leis around their neck. Even though they knew they would be out in the sun, they didn’t pack enough sunscreen, leading to bad sunburns and embarrassing tan lines. While the locals look like they belong in Hawaii, the tourists stick out like a sore thumb.
When it comes to Iowa, there’s just not much to see. According to the stereotypes, Iowa is a completely flat stretch of land mostly inhabited by growing corn. There’s not much to do in this state, as depicted by the Iowa “rest stop” below.
While most rest stops have bathrooms, a place to sit down, and a bit of shade, this Iowa rest stop has nothing much to see, much like the rest of the state. While it’s perfect if you’re craving a cold drink, it doesn’t exactly have a welcoming feel about it. Well, that’s Iowa!
The Wizard of Oz probably pops into your mind when you think of Kansas, and for good reason. While the tornado that tore Dorothy away from her home seemed like the stuff of fantasy, it’s not too far off from reality.
Kansas is widely considered being the tornado capital of the world. In fact, the state suffers from over 50 tornados per year. With that many cyclones whipping through the land, it’s a wonder that anyone at all manages to make their home in this state!
You simply can’t think of Massachusetts without thinking of those thick Boston accents. This state has a dialect all its own that’s quite difficult to understand if you’re not from the region. Bostonians, however, embrace their unique vernacular.
Also known for its harsh winters, Massachusetts is a state full of Red Sox-loving, preppy-clothes-wearing residents. The population doesn’t love New Yorkers, but they’ll be happy to chow down on a “wicked” lobster roll or a bowl of clam chowder as a harsh “stawm” hits outside.
While there are plenty of other places in Nevada, Las Vegas is certainly the defining feature of this state. Despite the fact that there’s plenty of land beyond the Vegas strip, Nevada can’t escape its stereotypical description as a place full of gambling, booze, and general bad behavior.
When you think of Nevada, Elvis impersonators, alcohol-fueled shotgun weddings, and poker tables pop into your head. If you want to get into trouble, go to Nevada. But remember to head to Vegas specifically, as the rest of the state is fairly calm and well-mannered.
12 New Jersey
While MTV’s Jersey Shore provided us with plenty of entertainment, it certainly didn’t create a positive public perception of New Jersey. However, even though Jersey Shore created a funny archetype of the Jersey population, it did put this state on the map.
New Jersey stereotypes claim the state is full of boisterous Italians with spiky hair and fake tans. If you want to live in New Jersey, lots of hair gel is almost a requirement for entry. If you ever want to visit this state, be prepared to be greeted by a few fist-pumping guidos on their way to the gym.
13 New Mexico
As a southwestern state, New Mexicans have a culture all their own. While the entire population has an addiction to green chile and speaks Spanglish fluently, they also embrace the “western” part of their heritage with gusto.
New Mexicans love riding horses, being out in nature, and exploring the deserted land around them. Plus, every New Mexican has at least one friend with a Zia symbol tattoo. If they can’t think of one, it’s probably because they have the Zia Red Sun tattoo.
14 New York
For some people, New York is defined by NYC, a bustling city full of creativity and opportunity. But if you want to know the real New York, nothing captures this region better than Pizza Rat.
An internet sensation in 2015, Pizza Rat transformed from a funny moment to a symbol of everything New York for NYC locals. While the city is full of possibilities, it’s also a dirty place where rats wander the Subway stations and trash litters the streets. Still, New Yorkers would never want to live anywhere else. They might have to deal with a few Pizza Rats, but living in NYC is worth the trouble.
If Colorado is a hippie’s paradise, Oregon is hipster heaven. In Portland especially, Oregon is known for progressive, trendy young people with their own sense of fashion. They love coffee and beer. In fact, they’re rather snobby about these beverages and won’t hesitate to critique drinks that aren’t up to their high standards.
In addition to loving the outdoors, Oregonians aren’t too welcoming to newcomers. They tend to be fairly protective of their state, which means they often reject transplants who just add to the traffic and increase the cost of living. Oregonians love their eccentric individuality, which makes this state totally unique.
While there are plenty of non-Amish people living in Pennsylvania, the state is still stereotypically known as the land of the Amish. This is partly true—Pennsylvania does house a large chunk of the American Amish population. Since there are so many Amish people in the area, seeing horses and buggies driving by or catching a glimpse of a person dressed in Amish garb while out and about isn’t uncommon.
In addition to their Amish population, Pennsylvanians are known for their love of sports, their odd accents, and their Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. While this state is full of US history, the more educational aspects of the region are often buried under the not-untrue stereotypes.
Texas is the land of the cowboys. This state is known for its gun-loving, horse-riding, bull-wrangling population. If the stereotypes are to be believed, every member of the population only wears cowboy boots and listens to country music. And according to the picture below, Texans really do ride their horses everywhere.
As the largest state in the country, Texas is obviously more than just cowboys and horses. However, Texans do love their BBQ, Whataburger, and sports teams. If that’s wrong, they don’t want to be right.
Polygamy is the ultimate defining feature of Utah, according to the stereotypes. It may not be a fair characterization, but it’s what the state is known for all the same. Utah has a large Mormon population. The church is well-known for supporting a polygamous lifestyle, otherwise known as plural marriage.
Still, Utah has a large number of people who have nothing to do with the church or plural marriage. They just want to ski, enjoy the fresh air, and live their lives in peace without everyone assuming they have multiple wives.
Vermont is well-known for its domestic and wild animal life. The state has the largest cow-to-person ratio in the entire country. If you travel to Vermont, expect to be greeted by cows around every corner.
But beyond the cows, Vermont is also known for its large moose population. It seems all the moose in the country somehow found their way to Vermont. In addition to the cows, it’s not uncommon to see a family of moose congregating in Vermont backyards, as shown by the picture above. Of course, if left alone, the moose will simply pass through your backyard on their way to greener pastures.
On the total opposite end of Alaska, Arizona conjures up images of intense heat. In this state, there are only two temperatures: hot and very hot. There’s definitely some truth to that. Phoenix and Tuscon are the nation’s hottest cities, and their summer temperatures are commonly well above 100 degrees.
Of course, the heat in Arizona doesn’t make it a barren wasteland. The winter months are rather cool and comfortable, even if snow is never a possibility. Still, Arizona is filled with its own kind of greenery that creates quite a beautiful landscape. It’s certainly not a water-less pit, as some pictures would have you believe.