General Question

pleiades's avatar

If you had to pick top 5 states in the U.S. that you felt were the most progressive in terms of overall culture and industry what would be your guess?

Asked by pleiades (6576points) March 10th, 2014

List them in order! Let’s go in blind and then see what they really are.

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31 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Mississipi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and DC.

JLeslie's avatar

Shot in the dark:


Edit: maybe LA or GA should be in there? Even MI? Or, I hope MI will make the list within the next ten years if it isn’t on it now.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Hmmm… Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tenesee, Virginia.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We’re all being sarcastic, I hope. Sorry Sothern dudes.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

In all honesty, I feel Texas is one that could go either way. It certainly has the potential.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m serious, not sarcastic. Austin is in Texas. Raleigh has Duke UNC Chapel Hill and research triangle, and Charlotte is seen as a very nice metroplitan medium sized city. Although, I admit I was bored living in Raleigh. Ashville has more and more people retiring there from the north. Nashville has Vanderbil, the country music industry and the car industry is putting some factories in TN. The arts in Memphis are really good. NY is NY. Parts of FL continue to become more and more international. Atlanta continues to grow. Detroit is beginning to turn around. MI is a wonderful state with excellent universities.

When the OP says progressive, does he mean liberal? Then I would change some of my answers.

Cruiser's avatar

Culture and industry almost polar opposites that in a sense cannot thrive without each other.

My Votes are for

jerv's avatar

Seattle alone has Boeing and quite the shipyard industry. While most of WA (by geography) is rural and regressive, I think the Seattle area (where over half of WA residents live) is progressive and industrial enough to put WA on the list.

Aside from that, I can’t think of any states with appreciable industrial bases that are remotely progressive.

Silence04's avatar


I don’t know why people mentioned Florida, lol.

GloPro's avatar

Without knowing what the OP means by progressive, I would include NC. Bank of America’s hub is in Charlotte, and the research triangle is definitely putting out legitimate technological and medical advancements.

CA – if progressive means liberal
TX (advancements in energy)
WA – I agree with @jerv

pleiades's avatar

@GloPro Let me use it in a sentence for you. For instance, Google is a highly touted and progressive company. Here are several progressive job types in San Francisco alone.

GloPro's avatar

Progressive – favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.
So yes to California, as I originally stated. Still undecided on NC. It would depend on what aspects were being considered. Those I mentioned above would classify NC in the top 5, in my opinion. However, NC is currently facing big backslides in politics. Huge deficits in education, for example. not colleges, but through high school.

hominid's avatar

OP needs to elaborate.

If by progressive you mean liberal (they are used interchangeably here in MA), Gallup says its:
– DC
– MA
– OR
– VT
– DE/CT/WA/RI/HI/NY (tie)

The “industry” thing is throwing me off. When you say that Google is progressive, are you referring to innovation, or the fact that it’s a technology company?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here’s my guess:

stanleybmanly's avatar

The inclusion of Texas on so many of the above lists sent me quickly to google for a definition of “progressive”. @hominid I think I would define google as progressive in regards to its treatment of its employees, as well as its societal outlook. But back to Tx. To claim that the islands of Austin and Raleigh qualify Tx. and NC as progressive states is equivalent to stating that hell is balmy because the devil’s office is air conditioned.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I might agree with you but it is not clear in the OP if they are asking simply in terms of progressive as in politics or “progressive in terms of overall culture and industry” and by the later definition, Texas’s growing economy and favorable business tax climate is very progressive in terms of supporting both cultural growth and industrial growth.

janbb's avatar

People, North Carolina has an extremely conservative government in right now and is passing very reactionary legislation, as is Florida.

New York/ California

GloPro's avatar

Duke University alone could put NC on the list. The school ranks in the top 3 percentile in medical education in the country. Last year $651 million was spent in research, ranking 10th in the country for grant funding, at about a third of the amount spent.

Bank of America’s hub being in Charlotte also says quite a bit.

Although I totally agree the politics are currently corrupt and in the toilet, advancements in technology, finance, and medicine are definitely putting North Carolina in the running for “being progressive” in the manner intended by OP.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser Point taken, BUT the striking resemblance of both Texas and North Carolina to 3rd world notoriety is worthy of mention. On the one hand you have cities with big shiny buildings, and concentrations of industries attracted to cheap labor. The necessary cultural amenities (museums and a symphony orchestra) are in place to deflect suspicion that the enormous wealth concentrated is in the hands of the “untutored”. Universities and the cities which house them are ALWAYS progressive and strikingly in contrast with the political notions which define the remainder of the state. And here we arrive at the stark similarities between Texas and Guatemala. Both are places of grinding poverty with isolated islands of wealth and flash. Both are places noted for regressive and thoroughly corrupt CONSERVATIVE politics where disparities in income are off the charts.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I would love to appreciate your comment above but have a hard time accepting it as little more than liber mud slinging. Can you cite sources where you are able to justify this comment of your??

“thoroughly corrupt CONSERVATIVE politics where disparities in income are off the charts”
At face value and no further proof I might concede Guatamala to you but Texas??

Texas is not much different than Illinois in terms of Culture and Industry except the Democrats of Illinois have bankrupted this state and lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands while Texas is adding jobs by the hundreds of thousands and there is no other state that is more corrupt than Illinois and the City of Chicago. Texas can’t even hold a candle to what Madigan and his posse are doing to this state. Plus Illinois holds the dubious distinction of having 4 of the last 7 Governors tossed in jail!

hominid's avatar

@stanleybmanly – Re: income inequality…

According to the Gini coefficient, it appears that Texas scores high in inequality, but certainly not the highest. And if we look at this by country, it appears that Guatemala is higher. Note: I’m not sure of the validity of this measurement, or if I’m even reading it correctly. I’m also sure there are other ways to look at income inequality. Just wanted to see if we could get some data in here.

bolwerk's avatar

“5” is such an arbitrary number.

Culturally? New York and California dominate, California or New Jersey (they’re almost clones of each other, except guidos v. porn) are #2s for diversity and probably openness, probably in no particular order after more northeastern postage stamp and less northwestern coastal states in general. You might throw Illinois somewhere in that last bunch, but it doesn’t fit geographically. Rule of thumb: states with gay marriage, starting with the ones with more international makeups. Vermont and Maine are probably near the bottom.

Industrially? ⅔ of the main Axis Powers (hint: not Italy), Korea, China, California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and in no particular order Massachusetts or Washington. I’m thinking R&D centers, not just places with lots of industry growth because those probably would be more Southern states.

You missed post-industrially. That list might be California, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and then pretty much any other state with a top-tier research school. This is a broad category diffused across the country, but perhaps most importantly California and New York probably dominate media in different ways. It ties back into culture; if you regard information sector economics as “progressive” then it would tip California unambiguously ahead of New Jersey.

You also missed political progressiveness. This is probably dominated by New England states, but after them probably northwestern states. I’m tempted to give Colorado and Washington way more props for scaling back drug war thuggery, but really it was just marijuana. States lead the way on gay marriage arguably deserve the highest marks. Most politically conservative states: New York, California. Nothing changes until it has to.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Cruiser To my humiliation, it appears you are correct. I can’t pull up a single article in line with my “blather” and I will not dispute that Illinois is a land of corrupt PROGRESSIVE politics. Both you and hominid deserve “great answer” recognition for setting the record right. While hunting, I did come across some fascinating stuff regarding both Texas and Illinois. I’ll post some links later in the day.

GloPro's avatar

@bolwerk You mentioned California and New York for “dominating media.” Did you know that the largest special effects water tank in the country is in Wilmington, NC? Screen Gems Studios, headquartered in New York, operates the third largest recording studios in the country in Wilmington. Hundreds of movies were/are filmed there.
I’m telling you, other than the political situation in North Carolina, which could fuck everything up for the state at any time, North Carolina has got it going on.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly I think humiliation is a bit strong. It is easy to get swept up in the emotional element of politics no matter what side of the isle you reside.

What I would like to see is more accountability for states records and even on this Gini coefficient inequality component. Problem there is it requires an understanding of the economics behind these numbers and most peoples eyes will glaze over when confronted with them.

I would also like to see some serious campaign reform that will force elected officials to do their job they were elected to do instead of campaigning for election or re-election. We already have Christy, Rubio, Paul and Cruz are already stumping for an election that is 2 years away. Obama was a junior senator only for 4 DAYS before he started campaigning for the Presidency! What can we do to get these people to do their job?? All they can do is bitch and argue over Climate Change and the ACA all the while we have real issues about jobs and the economy that seemingly very little is being done about. Fix jobs and economy and watch that inequality greatly improve.

dxs's avatar

Definitely not Florida.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Hawaii, California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Progressive to me means making great strides towards a better life for all. That means good jobs, moderate cost of living, government that makes sense to me, clean air, not afraid to veer away from the norm and follow a different – maybe better, path. Not too many wild-eyed crazy tree-huggers and not too many stick-up-the-butt religious fanatics.

With that in mind:

JLeslie's avatar

This Q is impossible without more information and better definition of terms.

Illinois has Chicago, but the rest of the state is the bible belt! NC as much as is has been purple-ish politically lately, still is extremely conservative, trust me. It just has pockets of liberal, but the majority of liberal, should I say Democrats, in the southern states are blacks who tend to be socially conservative. It’s tricky down in the south, the political parties have a different make up than in the rest of the country. I would never say a Baptist black person who is a democrat who is bitching that gay marriage is not a civil rights matter is progressive.

If progressive is being used in a way to indicate growth and new businesses and new business formats, then that is something else.

The south has been trying to attract industry with low taxes. Delaware has great tax loopholes for business. New York is advertising tax incentives for business in a big way right now.

WA seems like a good possibility from was @jerv wrote.

I hope the OP comes back and give us the answer soon. I would assume he read something somewhere. 50 states with many states having some cities that are backwards and others cities that are progressive all in one state. Recently I read western MD wants to become it’s own state. Good Lord. LOL. It’s true that western MD and even Southern MD is very different than the suburbs around DC, even that tiny state is very varied.

rojo's avatar


#1 in Worker Deaths
#1 in Poverty Level Jobs
#1 in Carbon Emissions
#1 in Corporate Tax Breaks (averaging $19 Billion per year)
#49 in School Funding
#50 in High School Graduation Rates.

Go Progressive Texas!

JLeslie's avatar

LOL. Great stats @Rojo!

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