MAP: Making Sense of Each State's Most Popular Emoji

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Photo: SwiftKey

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a huge proponent of emojis. I was psyched when they finally announced more diverse characters. And I wasn't surprised by the study that reports e-laughing with an emoji has become more wide-spread than using LOL. So of course I'm excited about this map by SwiftKey, which shows which emoji each state uses more than any other state. Let's take a look at what they found, shall we?

We have to start with California for obvious reasons. I bet it's the rainbow! No, the heart-eye cat! Or the smiling sun or the chick hatching!

Yeah, no, it's taxi.

Most people I know use Lyft and Uber these days. Maybe Californians are using the traditional yellow cab emoji as a nostalgic nod to a simpler time? Please leave guesses in the comments because I don't get this at all.

What about the other states? Glad you asked.


Alabama: x1f418.png.pagespeed.ic.cpfcl4fT1w

I didn't realize people from Alabama were concerned about the ivory trade. Or maybe they're just still torn up about Dumbo's mom being locked up and cradling him through the bars? Oh, damn, I just realized I'm still torn up about that.

Alaska: 387

Again, this makes no sense, but the caterpillar is cute enough that one doesn't really need a logical reason to use it. Maybe Alaskans believe in what the caterpillar represents? You can be a small-town mayor and morph into a candidate for Vice President! The sky's the limit so fly,  butterfly, fly!

Arizona: 160x160x269-cactus.png.pagespeed.ic.zJX6lGA04u (1)


Arkansas: 315-fireworks

Okay, two possibilities: either it's a shout-out to the Star of Bethlehem (people in Arkansas are pretty religious, right?) or Katy Perry's "Firework" is still the state's song of the summer.

Colorado: open-book

This emoji's popularity is either based in being pretentious, promoting literacy, letting your friends know that you'd rather read than go out with them or a way of saying "Damn, you just got read!" I'm hoping it's the latter, although literacy is cool too.

Connecticut: koala

They're cute and chill. We should all use this emoji more.

Delaware: american-football

Did you know footballs aren't actually made out of pig skin and never were? Can you tell I have nothing else to say about this sport?

Florida: trumpet

I would have guessed a palm tree or a gator, but okay. Famed trumpet player Fats Navarro (what a name!) was born in Key West and went on to pioneer the bebop style of jazz in the 1940s. Maybe that's it?

Georgia: 0239

Georgia is either full of witches, werewolves, astrophysicists or fans of the era when McDonalds' mascot was a dude with a crescent moon face.

Hawaii: surfer

Nailed it.

Idaho: 261-sunflower

I looked up whether Idaho is the state with the highest sunflower production. It's not even in the top 9 so I guess people in Idaho just think sunflowers are pretty?

Illinois: 160x160xfuel-pump.png.pagespeed.ic.4vUUjjFClq

People in Illinois like the smell of gas? (No judgment; I do too.)

Indiana: video-game

What else is there to do in Indiana but play video games? I guess driving by the house the Jacksons used to live in is another option, but that would probably get boring after a while.

Iowa: ear-of-maize

Iowa does produce the most corn in the nation. Way to show Idaho how it's done!

Kansas: 0328

People in Kansas probably take a lot of photos of wide open spaces, while listening to "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks.

Kentucky: 160x160xbarber-pole.png.pagespeed.ic.V4uH1q8VSH

Apparently, Kentucky takes barbering pretty seriously. They have an independent agency of the state government called the Kentucky Board of Barbering, whose mission is "to protect the health and safety of the public or to protect the public against misrepresentation, deceit, or fraud in the practice or teaching of Barbering." Carry on with your weird selves, Kentucky, carry on.

Louisiana: 88-skull

Oh. That's too dark/real to joke about.

Maine: volcano

Did you know that Maine once was home to some of the largest supervolcanoes on Earth? Now you do!

Maryland: 159-jeans

Sigh. I'm from Maryland and this is so disappointing. It couldn't have been a nod to the Orioles or crabs or Utz chips or Old Bay or The Wire or Serial? This lack of creativity is why I moved away!

Massachusetts: 160x160x216-hatching-chick.png.pagespeed.ic.lpyOG6_8Q9

Maryland could learn something from its alliterative neighbor to the north. Why use a boring emoji of a pair of pants when you could use the sassy "Hey, world! I'm here!" baby chick?

Michigan: strawberry

California and Florida produce the most strawberries so I'm not sure why people in Michigan are using this emoji so much. Probably cause they're freaking delicious and make every picnic better.

Minnesota: peach

Obviously a lot of texting about butts and Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" music video.

Mississippi: red-100-emoji-snapchat

People in Mississippi must be Drake fans, going from 0 to 100 real quick.

Missouri: 160x160xbaseball.png.pagespeed.ic.mphFeJOeaC

Missouri is smack dab in the middle of the Heartland. And there's nothing more American than baseball.

Montana: 160x160xfishing-pole-and-fish.png.pagespeed.ic.hFFRkwpXyn

Montana seems like a low key place and hobbies doesn't get more low key than fishing.

Nebraska: 160x160x224-snail.png.pagespeed.ic.dcApz-TkNx

Aww! Snails don't get enough love or credit. They're actually very cute and defy gravity on the daily. Nebraska gets it.

Nevada: lgJCmtjW_400x400

So much sexting! What happens in Vegas the cloud, which is then mined and used to call out your affinity for the eggplant emoji in an online map report.

New Hampshire: leaf-fluttering-in-wind

A quaint emoji for a quaint state.

New Jersey: speaker-with-three-sound-waves

So fitting! Loud honking on the Turnpike, loud opinions everywhere else.

New Mexico: 0353

People in New Mexico either love the dramatic arts or they think all their friends are two faced.

New York: 160x160xstatue-of-liberty.png.pagespeed.ic.0-lBizaXj5

*cue Alicia Keys singing "New Yoooooooork"*

North Carolina: 7db0bd87e0d8d715bc7eb9cc31c79927

"There's a mouse in my kitchen!" or "I'm so glad Fievel found his family after that super scary trans-Atlantic commute!"

North Dakota: 160x160x157-dress.png.pagespeed.ic.JGvJdsIcWh

Prom dress shopping? Almost as bad as Maryland's most-used emoji. Step up your emoji game!

Ohio: ice-cream

If that biscotto plunging into the scoop of ice cream is any indication, people from Ohio are feeling fancy (maybe because they usually decide the outcomes of presidential elections?). Also, they obviously get a kick out of flaunting their lactose tolerance to those less fortunate in the dairy department (me).

Oklahoma: 320-ghost

Yeah, the idea of living in Oklahoma is pretty scary.

Oregon: six-pointed-star-with-middle-dot

Judaism must be big in Oregon. That, or ninja stars.

Pennsylvania: 160x160xcherries.png.pagespeed.ic.XOgYXAW7-t

Like with Michigan and their love of the strawberry emoji, this isn't because the state produces a lot of cherries, but because they're just that delicious.

Rhode Island: Screen-Shot-2015-04-06-at-1.44.58-PM

I don't think I've ever used or received this emoji. We can't get an avocado emoji, but we have this?

South Carolina: anchor

"Let's go sailing!" or "Let's get an anchor tattoo!"

Tennessee: horse

Kentucky Derby envy!

Texas: 0266

Texas is 10th in grape production so it's probably just people complaining about buying grapes with seeds when they meant to get the seedless ones.

Utah: 160x160xlollipop.png.pagespeed.ic.kk-2_I64ev

Woah, I'm kind of hypnotized by the swirl of this lollipop. It's like one of those optical illusions where you stare at a bunch of weird patterns and dots for a long time until you see Jesus' face. Are people in Utah using this spiral to get non-believers to come to Jesus and join the Mormon church??

Vermont: 0698

Okay, I've never been able to figure out what this is supposed to be. A tiara? Vats of liquid gold being poured out? Vermont, explain yourselves.

Virginia: frog-face

Like snails, I think frogs are underrated. They can snatch things out of thin air with their tongues. They used to be tadpoles. And they offer their bodies for dissection in order to get sensitive kids like me out of science class for a day.

Washington: 160x160xheadphone.png.pagespeed.ic.vTnft2qQY3

Lots of "Hey. Did you accidentally take my headphones?" texts. They say they didn't, but you know they did!

West Virginia: 160x160x265-fallen-leaf.png.pagespeed.ic.qqPUvDbebC

A more autumnal New Hampshire.

Wisconsin: church

Nice stained glass detailing, emoji artists! I guess people in Wisconsin love the lord a lot?

Wyoming: 193-wolf-face

Dogs are a man's best friend, which is a good thing because there are no  other people to befriend in Wyoming.



That's all the 50 states! Read the full report, which goes even deeper into emoji usage, like which emojis a particular state uses less than others and which state uses the poop emoji most (I know you were wondering).