With the internet at our fingertips, talking about bullying is more important than ever. A recent study analyzed bullying rates across states, ranking them based on where bullying is the least and most common.
Innerbody.com compiled bullying data to rank the states where bullying is the most common. They assessed the following factors:
- Number of physical fights on school property
- General bullying on school property
- Online bullying
- Attempts at taking one’s life
- Truancy (skipping school) due to bullying
Not all states had data to share, so Innerbody’s bully ranking only included 41 states. In addition to studying statistics, Innerbody also surveyed 891 people across the nation to learn about their perceptions and experiences around bullying.
Least to Most Bullying Prevalence
Below are how different states stack up on the bullying front, starting with states where bullying is the least common.
1: North Dakota
North Dakota has the least amount of bullying in the U.S., according to Innerbody’s data. The Flickertail State received a total bullying score of 7.23. The lower the score, the better. For context, the state where bullying is most common had a 64.25 score.
Only 4.9% of North Dakotan students miss school for fear of being bullied, which is the lowest of the states studied. North Dakota also has the lowest cost of truancy ($0.4 million) for schools due to bullying.
Delaware jumped into the double digits with its total bullying score of 10.2, but it’s still well below the national average. It ranked number one for both the lowest percentage of high school students bullied on school property and the lowest percentage of high school students bullied online.
Massachusetts’ total bullying score is 14.6. Just over 7.5% of high school students in the Bay State have attempted to take their lives, which is the fifth-lowest in the U.S.
Indiana has a bullying score of 16.35. Of the categories Innerbody assessed, Indiana ranks the lowest in truancy due to bullying. However, the Hoosier State has significantly more students attempting to take their lives compared to the states before it.
Maine’s bullying score of 17.55 is relatively low, thanks in great part to having few physical fights on school property and truancy due to bullying.
The Aloha State lands a 20.05 score on the bully scale. Hawaii ranks above average for the nation in having low rates of bullying on school property, online bullying, and people attempting to take their lives.
7: South Carolina
South Carolina has a 21.03 total bullying score, which is significantly low for the U.S. and, even more notably, for a Southern state. The Palmetto State ranks best for having a low rate of truancy due to bullying.
Montana ranks below South Carolina by only 0.02 points. As with South Carolina, it ranks best in the low school skipping due to bullying category.
9: South Dakota
South Dakota’s 22.58 total bullying score is largely due to the Mount Rushmore State having low rates of physical fights on school property and low truancy due to bullying rates.
Missouri snags the top ten spot for states where bullying is the least common. The Show Me State has a total bullying score of 22.63 and a low rate of people attempting to take their life.
Nebraska’s 23.63 total bullying score is significantly better than most other states. This is due in large part to a low truancy rate. But unfortunately for Nebraskan students, bullying on school property is the highest of all states covered up to this point.
With a total bullying score of 23.68, Utah is only 0.05 worse than Nebraska on the bullying scale. The Beehive State ranks moderately well for most categories, particularly with having relatively low rates of physical fights on school property.
Connecticut’s 23.9 total bullying score is greatly helped by having the lowest percentage of high school students who attempt to take their lives (5.9%). Of course, any percent is too much.
14: Rhode Island
Don’t let Rhode Island’s 14th ranking fool you; the Ocean State has the second-lowest percentage of high school students bullied on school property in the nation, and the fifth-lowest percentage of high school students bullied online. Unfortunately, its mediocre ratings in the other categories dropped its total bullying score to 24.3.
Virginia’s bullying score jumps up to 27.88, with it ranking higher than average for bullying on school property and online bullying. That said, it has below-average statistics for truancy due to bullying.
Oklahoma’s 28.45 total bullying score isn’t anything to write home about. But as the states to come will show us, it could be worse. The Sooner State’s best category is truancy due to bullying, where it has low reported rates.
Wisconsin ranks a hair below Oklahoma, with a total bullying score of 28.88. The Badger State ranks better than average for a low rate of students taking their lives and truancy due to bullying. That said, it ranks below average for most of Innerbody’s other categories.
Idaho is the first state to move into the unwanted 30s territory for a bullying score (31.38). Of the categories, it ranks relatively better for lower rates of physical flights on school property and truancy due to bullying.
A quick glance at Florida’s category rankings makes it seem like the Sunshine State should have a better total bullying score than 31.45. However, a poor truancy due to bullying rating drags it down.
Ohio’s total bullying score is 32.73. The Gem State ranks particularly poorly for bullying on school property and bullying online.
Maryland marks the halfway point of the states Innerbody had data to analyze, and it’s a far cry from the statistics for the states at the top of this list. That said, of the categories, Maryland has a relatively low rate of students being bullied on school property.
Kansas has an even 36.0 total bullying score. It ranks especially poorly for the number of attempted student suicides, with relatively low physical fights on school property and truancy rates due to bullying.
Kentucky is just shy of a 37.0 total bullying score by 0.02 points. The Bluegrass State ranks moderately well for relatively few attempts at students taking their lives. It ranks average to poorly for all other categories.
There’s little to boast about with Tennessee on the bullying front. The Volunteer State has a 37.65 total bullying score, and it has below-average rankings among the bullying categories.
Texas’ 38.5 total bullying score is bad, but it has one thing going for it: It’s the third-best state in the nation for having the lowest percentage of high school students bullied online (11.9%).
In contrast to Texas, Iowa is the fifth-worst state for online bullying of the states Innerbody analyzed, with a rate of 18.8%. The Hawkeye State’s relatively best category is a low rate of truancy due to bullying.
Illinois’ 39.55 total bullying score is far from something to be proud of. However, among several low-ranking categories, it ranks above average for having relatively few physical fights on school property and attempts at students taking their lives.
Alabama has a total bullying score of 40.0. The Cotton State is one of the worst in the nation for a high rate of students being bullied on school property.
29: New Hampshire
Don’t let New Hampshire’s relatively lower physical fights on school property fool you; the Granite State has a poor total bullying score of 41.03.
30: New York
Like New Hampshire, New York’s 41.03 total bullying score is saved by lower physical fights on school property. However, New Hampshire has the highest percentage of high school students bullied online, at 21.8%.
On the other side of the country, Arizona also struggles with some of the worst online bullying in the nation. That, coupled with poor ratings in the other categories, pulls its total bullying score down to 44.78.
32: New Mexico
You wouldn’t guess it by seeing its ranking, but New Mexico has low rates of reported online bullying and bullying on school property. The problem? Its high truancy due to bullying is among the worst in America.
California is one of the worst-ranking states for bullying cases on school property, contributing to its high 46.43 total bullying score. The only reason it doesn’t rank lower on this list is because it has relatively fewer students attempting to take their lives compared to other states.
34: North Carolina
North Carolina is a mixed bag in terms of bullying, with its 46.88 total bullying score largely derived from being number one in the nation for having the highest percentage of high school students who missed school out of fear of being bullied (17.0%).
Michigan is the state with the seventh most common occurrence of bullying, according to Innerbody’s findings. A massive 15.4% of high school students report missing school out of fear of being bullied.
Colorado’s 50.18 total bullying score is far from flattering. The Centennial State ranks above average for a relatively low number of physical fights on school property. However, it ranks poorly for all other categories, especially truancy due to bullying.
A 50.28 total bullying score ranks Arkansas in spot number five for the states where bullying is most common. The online bullying category is the Natural State’s worst offender.
38: West Virginia
West Virginia is the fourth-best state in the country for having the lowest percentage of high school students involved in physical fights at school (3.7%). So, what causes it to have a terrible 50.98 total bullying score? All the other categories, with 20.6% of high school students bullied online being particularly troubling.
Mississippi has a total bullying score of 53.1. The Magnolia State is the fifth-worst in the nation for the highest percentage of high school students who missed school out of fear of being bullied (15.1%) and the fourth-worst for high school students who attempt to take their lives (16.2%).
A total bullying score of 59.2 makes Alaska the second most common state in the U.S. for bullying. The Last Frontier has poor numbers across the board, among the most notable being a 19.7% rate of high school students who’ve attempted to take their lives. That’s the highest in the nation.
Louisiana is the state where bullying is the most common, according to Innerbody’s study. It has a total bullying score of 64.25. A high percentage of high school students in physical fights (9.9%) and students who miss school for fear of being bullied (15.7%) are some of the reasons for Louisiana’s poor bullying statistics.
North vs South
Innerbody’s study discovered that there appear to be fewer cases of bullying in the North than in the South. Half of the states that had the worst bullying data were Southern states.
Innerbody’s survey revealed that 62% of participants report seeing hurtful comments on social media “always” or “often.”
Innerbody also analyzed Google Trends data for the term “bullying” and those who searched the internet for bullying solutions. South Dakota, Montana, Hawaii, Delaware, and North Dakota ranked as having the lowest search interest; Louisiana, California, North Carolina, and Arkansas ranked in the top ten for the highest search interest.
Bullying Isn’t Equal
High school students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community have an almost 40% chance of being bullied, whereas only about 22% of heterosexual students report bullying experiences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 22% of white high school students say they’ve been bullied at school or online in the last year. Surprisingly to many, 19% of Hispanic and 18% of Black high school students reported the same.
Whereas 19% of male high schoolers report being bullied, around 30% of female high school students have been bullied.
National Bullying Prevention Month
Since 2006, October has been National Bullying Prevention Month, where people work to raise awareness of the devastating impact bullying has on people’s lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with being bullied, visit this page for a list of crisis hotlines.
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