Online dating in UtahOnline dating? Stay in Utah

Those who claim there is a so-called rape culture here can’t cite online dating in Utah as a contributing factor in the state, which is the fourth safest state in which to engage in online dating, according to BackgroundChecks.org.

That’s good news for southern Utahns, whose young and elderly populations are significant. A Pew research study found that over the past four years, online dating among ages 18–24 has tripled since 2013. And 55–64 year olds are using online dating in Utah twice as much as they were four years ago.

However, the state is surrounded by what the study identifies as some of the most dangerous states in the union in which to engage in online dating. (Or a lot of things, really.)

The site used violent crime rates, infection rates for the most common sexually transmitted diseases, and the frequency of identity theft as metrics in its calculations. By those criteria, Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Nevada are ranked Nos. 40, 42, 43, and 46. Nevada’s dismal rates of sexually transmitted disease and violent crime didn’t help its scores. California is … well, it’s California.

On the other hand, Idaho and Wyoming are about as safe for online dating as Utah, coming at Nos. 3 and 5, respectively.

It’s possible that some of the reasons why these states are so safe for online dating are the lack of nightlife, low populations, and large expanses of generally uninhabited terrain. With not much going on culturally and not many people to participate, perhaps there is a lower risk of the social mischief that can make online dating potentially hazardous. Considering that two of the worst states, Louisiana (No. 48) and Florida (No. 49), are home to huge nightlife and party scenes, this theory makes some sense. The South in general ranks pretty badly according to this study.

Another factor could be immigration. A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice showed that “Nearly 95 percent of confirmed aliens in our federal prisons are here illegally.” Only seven percent of people in the United States are not legal U.S. citizens. Yet the U.S. Sentencing Commission recently found that non-U.S. citizens — those comprising mere seven-percent group — account for 22 percent of all federal murder convictions, 18 percent of all fraud convictions, 23 percent of money laundering convictions, and 29 percent of drug trafficking convictions. The bulk of those people are living in California and the southern states.

Utah’s lower illegal immigrant population may therefore contribute to why online dating in Utah is far safer than in most of the rest of the country. It stands to reason that the states with the highest concentrations of a demographic that routinely flaunts the law would enjoy the least safe online dating scenes.

TL;DR: Stay home and date your cousin, it’s safer.

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Widely regarded as the greatest writer of all time, ever, Jason Gottfried is editor of The Independent as well as a freelance editor, writer, multi-instrumental musician, and composer transplanted to Utah from Nashville by way of Gainesville, Florida. He has previously been an album reviewer, opinion columnist, humor writer, staff writer, copy editor, and opinion editor of The Independent. Before that, he was editor of SOKY Happenings magazine and wrote a column, The Vociferous Vegan. He was also general manager of Nashville’s fabled The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant and briefly co-owner of Gainesville's longtime staple vegetarian restaurant, Book Lover's Cafe. When he is away from the computer, he plays between Colorado and California as a live and session musician. He sexually identifies as an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter and cannot be accurately referred to using any currently existing pronouns.

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