Worst States for Infidelity, Ranked
Judging by the numbers, infidelity is very common, but if you want to lessen your chances of being cheated on, you can avoid these states.
These 25 States Have the Most Cheaters
Infidelity. Cheating. Adultery. Unfaithfulness. Stepping out. However you label it, going behind your partner’s back for some side action is incredibly common in America. Estimates vary on just how prevalent cheating is in marriages and relationships, but one survey found it could be as high as 25 percent!
While there are many reasons that people may seek sexual experiences outside of a relationship, researchers found the most common excuses are lack of commitment, feeling neglected at home, loss of interest in sex with one’s partner and even “situational” scenarios such as being far from home with an attractive person and consuming a great deal of alcohol. And then there are such mid-life crises as “the 9’s” — when people of an age ending in the numeral nine, anxious about aging into a new decade, choose to bury fears of their own mortality by straying from the marital bed.
Infidelity knows no limits when it comes to age, culture, religious affiliation or socioeconomic status and is very much a part of the human condition, as much as we wish to think otherwise. But, if there’s any good news, we know the states you can avoid if you hope to keep your marriage alive and, well, monogamous. These 25 places — some, thanks to big cities within their boundaries — are the most unfaithful, according to data compiled by Cosmopolitan and from the hacking of adultery website Ashley Madison.
Two words: mai tais. When you mix alcohol, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and a paradisiacal climate, it might be little wonder that the 50th state casts its beguiling spell on cheating residents and visitors alike who are on the prowl.
And while you might think the Aloha State is very come-what-may, it’s actually one of a select few states that still has an adultery law on the books. Think about that before you finish that next piña colada.
*Data was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. “Total population” refers to the number of people over the age of 15.
Arizona has a great many things to recommend it, including splendiferous outdoor wonders such as the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater. But what goes on indoors in this Southwestern state is apparently a bit naughtier. And don’t think you’ll get a free pass in Arizona, as adultery is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor in the state, potentially punishable by a fine.
It may be cheaper than a divorce, but still…
How the Silver State, home to Las Vegas, doesn’t top the list seems a bit strange at first, but Sin City is actually No. 8 on Cosmo’s list of the most unfaithful cities in America. Millions of people visit Vegas every year for bachelor and bachelorette parties, to visit the giant clubs and otherwise leave responsibilities behind.
Vegas is known for its quickie Elvis-themed weddings, but maybe right next to those all-night chapels should be divorce lawyers also dressed up like the King.
Ah, Florida, America’s living dumpster fire. (Sorry, but it had to be said.) The Sunshine State is also ground zero for some major-league adultery, as not one, not two, not three but FOUR of the top cheating-est cities in the country are located in Florida — with the top dog of deceit being Orlando, the home of Disney World.
Yes, the Happiest Place on Earth is typically thought of as a family-themed paradise, but it’s also a hotspot for business trade shows and conventions (and, well, a lot of hobnobbing into the wee hours).
Minnesotans are considered to be extremely friendly people — perhaps a little bit too friendly. Granted, it’s also one of the coldest states in the country, and northern parts of the Land of 10,000 Lakes can see extreme wintertime temperatures in excess of -31 degrees Fahrenheit.
What else can a lonely person, shivering in such temperatures, do besides find another warm body.
The Peachtree State has many a church and Southern hospitality and charm to spare, but all of that politeness and piousness can’t knock down a seeming epidemic of adultery, most notably in and around Atlanta, the state’s capital and largest city — as well as No. 6 on the Cosmo list of two-timing cities.
Adultery is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia, and it can be used against the cheater in divorce proceedings — even though “proving” it can be difficult from a legal standpoint.
Poor Delaware, the butt of so many jokes for both its small stature and because it’s, well, Delaware. Delaware may be the First State and home to tax-free shopping, but apparently, its nearly 1 million people are making up for some perceived slights by revving things up in between the sheets of strangers.
If you do find that your marriage can’t be reconciled after your spouse cheats, chances are you'll be in a good place legally, as Delaware is considered one of the “best” states for divorce.
Utahans marry earlier than many people, but those cheerful wedding bells too often turn into tolls of doom. A shocking 48 percent of people who marry before the age of 18 are likely to divorce their spouse before turning 30, so it’s little wonder that Utah keeps its divorce attorneys rather busy.
And while adultery is certainly frowned upon in this heavily Mormon state, the legislature in Salt Lake City has decreed that sleeping with someone who isn’t your spouse is no longer illegal — as of 2019.
Don’t mess with Texas, especially with someone else’s husband or wife. Three cities in the Lone Star State — Arlington, Plano and Garland — are among the country’s most unfaithful, which may explain why so many folks cram into those honky tonks on a Saturday night dressed to the nines.
In Texas divorce proceedings, the wronged spouse isn’t required to prove definitively that extramarital intercourse actually occurred, only that it likely happened.
Ever wonder what a “keystone” is? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, it’s a “wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place.” How Pennsyvlania became the Keystone Stone seems odd — but one thing that people in that populous Eastern state are certainly “locking” into is adultery. See what we did there?
Perhaps because Pennsylvania folks are fond of “uncoupling,” the state doesn’t allow for “no-fault” divorce settlements, meaning that family courts can take peccadilloes like marital indiscretion into consideration when divvying up marital assets. Also, what is going on in Pittsburgh, which ranks No. 4 on Cosmo’s cheaters list?
No doubt we all recall that rather special Rhode Islander who was so proud of calamari when his state’s Democratic votes were cast for Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention this summer.
But there are plenty of other things you might catch in Rhode Island if you cheat on your spouse, including fiduciary retribution. Adultery is still considered a crime in the tiny Ocean State, punishable by up to a $500 fine if caught. Now, that’s a lot of calamari!
15. Rhode Island
Seattle is the home of Starbucks, grunge rock and, according to the aforementioned Cosmo report, a heckuva lot of cheaters. But it’s not the Emerald City alone that makes Washington so unfaithful, as the state overall ranks in the top 20 when it comes to infidelity.
And given that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who resides in Washington, recently underwent one of the most expensive divorces in history — allegedly over an affair he’d had — you can bet that case studies will soon focus on infidelity and its impact on divorce in the Evergreen State.
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: California is our most-populous state, so anything that happens there will almost certainly be writ large in the land of hope and dreams. So, it goes for infidelity, statistically speaking, and four of its cities are on the Cosmo hot list — including Sacramento, the state capital.
And you can’t blame it all on Hollywood either: Only 4 million of the Golden State’s nearly 40 million residents live in and around Los Angeles, so it’s unlikely that Tinseltown “values” are contributing unfairly to the state’s overall adultery figures.
People in the Land of Lincoln are typically polite and hospitable, but such amity doesn’t extend to family courts, as Illinois is one of the 18 states that still considers adultery a crime. Illinois criminal code doesn’t mince words either: If the adulterous parties engage in such “open and notorious” behavior, it is a misdemeanor under state law and could lead to a year in prison.
That’s way worse than some time in the dog house!
Unlike other states that impose heavy fines or even jail time — we’re looking at you, Illinois! — Maryland law says that a cheating spouse can be fined up to … $10.
Prosecutions are rare, considering court costs would likely outweigh that 10-spot before the judge has even tapped his or her gavel.
Virginia was, in fact, named for Elizabeth I, England’s “Virgin Queen” (though she never married, historians say this was almost certainly a misnomer). So, its founding nomenclature was likely premised on a lie, and little has changed in the ensuing 400 years when it comes to holding true to promises of fidelity.
Adultery is a Class 4 misdemeanor in the Old Dominion — the same class includes public drunkenness — and could cost you up to $250 if “convicted” by a court.
We have some good news for those folks in New Hampshire who prefer a partner of their own gender: Current law in the Granite State stipulates that adultery can only be committed in heterosexual coupling.
Furthermore, New Hampshire says that only extramarital activity that could theoretically result in the conception of a baby counts as “adultery,” which might make a certain former president cheer, “See, I told you so.”
9. New Hampshire
If you want to decrease your odds of marital infidelity, consider a move out of New York.
While prosecutions for adultery are rare, they happen more often than never, with over a dozen of those caught red-handed actually summoned to court for summary judgment. But such fines and jail time pale in comparison to potential public humiliation in our view.
8. New York
We could only speculate what the Puritans who founded Massachusetts might think of their former colony being in this list’s top 10, but there it is. While the Puritan ethos has largely been relegated to history, vestiges of it are still found in Massachusetts law.
And that’s not only when it comes to the banning of happy hour and “blue laws” forbidding alcohol sales on Sundays. If successfully proven of adultery, a person in the Bay State can technically be tossed into the slammer for up to three years.
Not all of the marital infidelity that takes place in Arkansas can be placed at the feet of one President William Jefferson Clinton — who actually has lived in New York since leaving office in 2001, so there’s that. In the Natural State, adultery is considered adequate legal grounds for divorce in and of itself.
But, get this, if both spouses “colluded” to plan said adultery, a judge can toss it out as a consideration for dissolution of the union — though such proceedings no doubt would make for entertaining court TV.
Portions of what is now Connecticut were once part of the greater Massachusetts Bay Colony, so it’s not surprising that puritanical laws against adultery survived well into modernity. In fact, Connecticut was still prosecuting adultery complaints well into the 20th century, with law enforcement saying they basically had no choice but to follow the antiquated codes of justice in the Constitution State.
Such prosecutions don’t happen much in the 21st century, but the courts still consider adultery as relevant in divorce proceedings.
According to Cosmo, Newark, New Jersey, is the second-most-unfaithful city in the country, just behind St. Louis of all places. The Ashley Madison data pointed to the Garden State as notorious for marital infidelity, with more than 100 of the state’s largest municipalities boasting significant numbers of clientele of the affair-enabling website.
Perhaps, that’s what Hoboken native Frank Sinatra had in mind when singing he “did it my way.”
4. New Jersey
Wait, you mean that lying, crooked politicians also cheat on their spouses? Say it isn’t so!
Jokes aside, we get that the nation’s capital is not technically a state, but the Ashley Madison data includes it as its own sector. Since it ranks so highly on our list, we guess we can see why.
3. District of Columbia
So many microbreweries, so much altitude — and so much infidelity. Even though Colorado is another “no-fault” state, a judge will often take the respective parties’ financial situations into consideration when ruling on divorce resulting from adulterous conduct.
This means that divorce is big business in the Centennial State, especially when infidelity harms the offended spouse not just emotionally but fiscally as well.
Well, what can we really say here except at least it wasn’t Mississippi (?). The reasons for the Yellowhammer State winning the extramarital sweepstakes are complicated, not the least because, as reported by E!, many Ashley Madison clients probably used not only fake names but phony Alabama addresses far from their actual residences — if only because, alphabetically, it comes first on any dropdown menu of the states.
In Alabama divorce proceedings, a pattern of adultery is typically necessary to be proven, thus to contend that the illicit sexual relationship not only occurred but would continue if not for the offender being caught.
And while it hasn’t definitively proved specifically in regard to Alabama, recent reporting has found that evangelicals, a rather healthy part of the Alabama populace, are among the most likely to be unfaithful. While more research needs to be done on any such correlation, this hypocrisy could best be summed up as: Do as I say, not as I do.