In light of the return to in-person schooling this fall, the personal finance website WalletHub measured the prevalence and prevention of bullying in 47 states and the District of Columbia to help bring awareness to its harmful effects not only to America’s young people but also to society as a whole. Virginia emerged from the survey as one of the states in which bullying is least prevalent, winding up as No. 43 in the rankings.
The website examined each state based on 20 key metrics.
The website noted that in the next 7 minutes, a child in the U.S. will be bullied. It may be the son or daughter of someone you know. It may even be your own child. Meanwhile, only four in 100 adults will intervene. And only 11 percent of the child’s peers might do the same. The rest — 85 percent — will do nothing.
According to the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, WalletHub reported, 19% of students in grades 9-12 said they were bullied on school property in the previous 12 months. 14.9% of students surveyed said they were cyberbullied. Bullying takes many forms, and technological advances have opened new ways for bullies to hide behind anonymity.
Besides the physical, emotional, and psychological tolls it takes on victims, bullying produces adverse socioeconomic outcomes. The Association for Psychological Science found that those who are bullies, victims, or both are more likely to experience poverty, academic failure, and job termination in their adulthood than those who were neither. In addition, the affected individuals are more likely to commit crime and to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Even our schools take a financial hit from bullying. Research shows that schools stand to lose millions of dollars in attendance-based funding due to students staying home to avoid bullying.
With Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington excluded from the survey because of data limitations, WalletHub determined that the states with the lowest incidences of bullying were 39) Kentucky 40) Maine 41) Utah 42) Ohio 43) Virginia 44) Indiana 45) Delaware 46) Colorado 47) Vermont and 48) Massachusetts.
The states where bullying is the most prevalent are 1) California 2) Wisconsin 3) Alaska 4) Missouri 5) Mississippi 6) Louisiana 7) Montana 8) New Hampshire 9) West Virginia and 10) Alabama.
To identify the states with the biggest bullying problems, WalletHub compared the 47 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Bullying Prevalence, 2) Bullying Impact and Treatment and 3) Anti-Bullying Laws.
The website then evaluated these categories using 20 relevant metrics. The metrics used in the bullying prevalence dimension were the bullying incidents rate, the cyberbullying incidents rate, and the physical violence rate.
The metrics employed in the bullying impact and treatment dimension were the share of high school students who missed school for fear of being bullied, psychologists per capita, the share of students who attempted suicide, the share of high school students who experienced feeling sad or hopeless, the student-to-counselor ratio, the child or adolescent therapists per capita, and the cost of truancy for schools due to bullying.
WalletHub examined the anti-bullying laws dimension through the following metrics: state anti-bullying laws and policies, state anti-cyberbullying laws including criminal sanction, state anti-cyberbullying laws including school sanction, state anti-cyberbullying laws requiring school policy, state anti-cyberbullying laws including off-campus behavior, the share of secondary schools that engage in practices related to LGBTQ youth, the presence of adopted and enacted laws regulating mandatory school resource officers, the share of secondary schools with practices in place to prevent bullying and sexual harassment, and the presence of the CDC’s National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention.