Map Reveals What the Cost Obsession Is in Your State

August 8th 2016

Tricia Tongco

Everyone worries about how much things cost. But what you worry about depends on where you live.

Cost obsessions map

Fortunately for the voyeur in us all, Google reported the top cost-related search terms for each state in America, and Fixr created a handy state map based on the data.

The results are surprising (or maybe not so surprising):

  • In California, "facelift" is the most-searched cost-related term.
  • In Nevada, it's "prostitute" (prostitution is legal in parts of the state outside Las Vegas).
  • In Colorado, it's "weed" (marijuana is legal in that state).

Other search terms are more perplexing. Here are five of them and possible explanations:

1. North Dakota: "a minor"

a minor in north dakota

People searching for the cost of "a minor" are likely not involved in child trafficking. Instead, they are probably searching for the penalty fee for being a minor in possession of alcohol.

North Dakota has one of the highest rates of binge and underage drinking in the country, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

2. Alaska: "gallon of milk"

milk in alaska

The price of a gallon of milk is a good measure of the overall cost of living in a state, which can be higher in Alaska because of its remote location. Alaskans pay exorbitant prices for food in general (e.g., $16 for breadsticks).

The high cost of living in Alaska has inspired people to document the shocking prices, as in this video of a shopping trip in Bethel, Alaska, that garnered almost 215,000 views on YouTube.

One of the featured items is the product in question: A gallon of milk, which appears to cost a whopping $7.99. To put this in perspective, the average cost of a gallon of milk in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive American cities, is $2.42.

3. New York: "pound of weed"

pound of weed in new york

This search term reflects the plight of New Yorkers who live in one of the 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana yet still restrict its sale.

In order to obtain medical marijuana in New York, you must have a serious condition such as cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease. Patients who qualify are "only allowed to use tinctures and oils, which can be vaporized, inhaled, or consumed orally in capsules," Vice reported. "Smoking or growing marijuana is still strictly forbidden."

Since medical marijuana in New York only comes in a non-smokable form, it makes sense that people are buying weed illegally and searching for the cost. The cost of an ounce of weed in New York, $341, is slightly more than the national average of $324, probably because of the status of legalization in the state.

4. Arizona: "vasectomy"


The reason Arizona residents are so curious about the cost of this reversible sterilization surgery for men might have to do mostly with the age of the population there.

The average age of a vasectomy patient is 41, although ages range from 22 to 72. Arizona has one of the oldest populations in the country.

Men who get vasectomies are not representative of the general male population and instead typically are "non-Hispanic and white, well-educated, married, relatively affluent, and privately insured," according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Arizona lines up with that description: Arizona is 84 percent white, compared to the United States as a whole, which is 77.7 percent white.

5. Florida: "abortion"

abortion in florida

Florida has some of the strictest restrictions on abortion in the country: requiring counseling, a 24-hour waiting period, parental involvement, an ultrasound, and limits on public funding for the surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

That's even without provisions of a strict new Florida law that was blocked in the courts, which would have prevented clinics such as Planned Parenthood from receiving any public funding, even for routine health screenings, NPR reported. The law would also have required state employees to inspect the medical records of 50 percent of clinic patients, which Planned Parenthood argued was a violation of privacy, not to mention a burden to clinics.

[h/t Fixr]