The Pretentiousness Index: A Quest to Quantify the Most and Least Pretentious States in the U.S.

Devoted readers of this blog, I have decided to take a break from football from the week, so hopefully you enjoy this change of pace!

As a proud driver of a Toyota Prius who has no qualms with using words like pedantic and kerfuffle in everyday speech I can safely say that pretentiousness is in my blood.  Whether it is saying that American Football isn't as enjoyable as real football (you know, the kind where you kick the ball) or simply rolling my eyes at someone who says the word literally before making a wildly unrealistic claim (OMG, those french fries are literally the best thing I have ever eaten), pretentiousness can be a blast!

But which states do it best?  To answer this question I set out to define a "Pretentiousness Index" based off of some search terms using Google Trends.

To obtain data, I settled on four search terms, two representing pretentiousness and two representing "average joes".  For the first group, I selected "Kale" and "Yo-Yo Ma", and for the second group I selected "Monster Trucks" and "Cheetos".  The resulting data set, along with the index calculations, is below.

As you can see, the Pretentiousness Index (PI) is a simple calculation.  Now let's throw it into our old friend Tableau to see it in color!

To the surprise of very few (presumably), the Northeast and Northwest were clear winners in the most pretentious rankings.  Vermont came in at a staggering 240% (the runner-up, Massachusetts, was way behind at 190%).  On the other end of the spectrum Mississippi cleared the field comfortably at 32%, while the Mountain Momma herself, West Virginia, came in second at 40%.

Well, I'm going to cut this post off here before someone takes offense to this nonsense; I'll be back next week!

Author: Chris Bick