Web site breaks down, ranks our sins

Published 2:47 pm Saturday, June 19, 2010

It’s a good thing that Sunday is here. According to a new Web site, many area residents ought to head to church and ask for a little forgiveness.

CountySinRankings.org aims to measure each county’s tendencies toward the seven deadly sins, and it appears that Mower’s slate is not too clean.

According to the award-winning site, this southeastern Minnesota county has its fair share of pride and is home to a number of gluttons. Mower even rivals Clark County, Nev. — locale of Las Vegas — when it comes to greed.

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County Sin Rankings is the brainchild of Alexandria, Va. company Forum One Communications, who chose public health statistics to represent each sin.

For example, a county’s gluttony is determined by its rate of adult obesity and greed by income inequality.

The site was created for Sunlight Lab’s Design For America Contest, which challenges art and design professionals to make government data accessible and comprehensible to the American public. CountySinRankings.org won first place in the health data division last month.

Father Joe Fogal, pastor at Austin’s St. Edward’s Catholic Church, had not yet seen the site Friday but said he was intrigued by it.

He added that people should not — and probably would not — take it too seriously.

“It sounds like kind of a novelty thing; it’s something to get people talking,” Fogal said.

County Sin Rankings creators say the site is meant for just that.

“Our goal was show that data can be amusing and engaging while promoting good public health policy,” states Forum One managing director Andrew Cohen on www.forumone.com.

So, folks in Steele County shouldn’t go throwing stones at those in Mower — and not only because they came up a bit less prideful, greedy and slothful.

“We are individuals of different religions and spirituality,” Fogal said. “You cannot really generalize morality, or the capital sins.”

He added, “I don’t know that this is going to determine much as far as how people behave. But, who’s to say.”

To compare county sin rankings, go to www.countysinrankings.org and type in the county, state abbreviation. Different data methods are used for different states.

The sins of Mower County

Pride — 16%

Envy — 5%

Gluttony — 27%

Sloth — 12%

Greed — 43 (0-100 scale, 0=good)

Lust — 230 (reported as rate per 100,000)

Wrath — not applicable

Sin Key

Pride = High school drop out rate

Envy = unemployment rate

Gluttony = adult obesity

Sloth = self-reported poor or fair health

Greed = income inequality

Lust = chlamydia rate

Wrath = violent crime rate

— from www.countysinrankings.org