What does Twitter show about prejudice in Idaho?

Are Idahoans more tolerant of cultural differences than New Yorkers?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But Idahoans who use one social media app — specifically, Twitter — are much less likely to use racist, sexist or homophobic language than Twitter users in most other states, including New York, according to an analysis of more than 12 million tweets posted over an 18-month period (June 2014 to December 2015).

Idaho ranked the fifth-lowest in the country for derogatory language, according to apartment-finding service Abodo.com’s report “America’s most P.C. and Prejudiced Places.” Wyoming and Montana had the lowest rates in the country.

Idaho, politically correct? Well, this might be a first.

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Moeller, Katy - Boise

But how many people in Idaho actually use Twitter? That’s unclear, but a 2014 Pew Research Center study found that 23 percent of online adults in the United States use Twitter. Demographic data show it skews toward college-educated people younger than 50.

Louisiana topped the list of states where Twitter users’ messages contained the most derogatory language, according to Abodo.

most derogatory
Moeller, Katy - Boise

The headlines on the stories about the Abodo study are as interesting as the study itself:

“Most anti-gay city? What Twitter shows about tolerance in America.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Where do the most hateful Twitter users live?” — AdWeek.com

“Study shows the most prejudiced places in the U.S. by tweets.” — La Voz de Houston

There weren’t any cities in the Northwest that made the anti-black tweets list. Data analysts scraped tweets for several slurs. The cities that topped this list — Baltimore, Atlanta and New Orleans — are some of the cities with the highest proportions of black residents, the study noted.

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Moeller, Katy - Boise

Anti-gay language was found to be more common than racist slurs. The most anti-gay tweets came from Buffalo, N.Y.; Arlington, Texas; and Riverside, Calif.

The study also looked at language used to describe women, transgender people, those with intellectual disabilities and people who are overweight/obese. Read it here.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller