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Is Manteca going to hell? WalletHub points to number of fast food joints as a warning
7 deadly sins

The undisputed Sin City in the United States?

It’s — surprise, surprise — Las Vegas.

But did you know that Ripon, Manteca, and Lathrop are sandwiched between the 109th and 133rd cities on the Internet-age Sodom and Gomorrah list compiled by the five academia experts assembled by WalletHub?

Coming in at No. 109 was Stockton. Modesto was at No. 133.

WalletHub is not a bible thumping — or would that be keyboard tapping — keeper of virtues on the Internet. It is a personal financial website.

They are known for mixing together raw data to come up with cotton candy concoctions that appeal to America’s growing fascination with lists inspired by Internet sites eager to drum up “news” to snag clicks.

WalletHub is tame, and more relevant, compared to the basic genre. It’s main “gotcha” is the ranking places where people live by comparing them with other places. It’s a new take on the old “my town is better than your town” bragging.

WalletHub use a framework of methodology to come up with its conclusions. That’s opposed to some 20-Something pulling down six figures working 18 hours in front of a screen while chugalugging Rockstar in some tech blackhole compiling lists inspired by what is trending on TikTok.

And they always try to tie it back to a financial lesson.

In this week’s “2022’s Most Sinful Cities in America” posting, it notes vices are expense. Gambling addiction, as an example, costs U.S. consumers more than $100 billion annually. It tops ID and fraud scam that rack up yearly losses of $52 billion.

And, as financial writer Adam McCann points out, the cost of smoking in terms of impacts on health care is $300 billion a year.

The sin city study of 180 cities used “38 key indicators of vice and illicit behavior” to come up with its rankings by using per capita samplings of various crimes and excesses.

It’s a modern take on the Seven Deadly Sins.

But instead of dubbing them as pridegreedwrathenvylustgluttony and sloth WalletHub lists them as anger & hate, jealousy, greed, lust, vanity, and laziness.

It includes the predictable stats about crime (ID theft, as an example, falls under jealously) and teen birth rate (listed under lust).

But they also include things you might not consider.

Vanity, for example, includes tanning salons per capita and the Google Search Interest Index for the “Top 5 Plastic Surgeries”.

Laziness covers share of adults not exercising, average weekly hours worked, high school dropout rate and volunteer rate among others.

Lust includes Google Search traffic for Tinder as well as adult entertainment establishments per capita.

Greed covers casinos per capital charitable donations as share of income, and share of adults with gambling disorders.

Excesses and vices touches on debt-to-income ratio. But it also covers fast food establishments per capita — is Manteca going to hell? Also, on the list is share of obese adults, DUI related fatalities per capita, retail opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons, share of adult coffee drinkers, as well as share of population using marijuana.

Anger and hatred includes sex offenders, deaths due to firearms and hate crime incidents and hate groups per capita. It also covers violent crimes and aggravated assaults per 1,000 residents. For good (or is it bad)  measure the bullying rate, number of mass shootings and presence of terrorist attacks are tossed into the mix.

Clearly, Las Vegas — which has strayed far from its Old Mormon Fort roots — is top of the list. But ready for a few surprises?

St. Louis from the wholesome Midwest is No. 2, Philadelphia that gave us the Declaration of Independence so we could be free to legally enjoy a number of the Seven Deadly Sins is No. 3, Houston from holier-than-California is No. 4, and Atlanta from the Bible Belt is No. 5.

A city from California — a place that is supposedly in a state of protracted decay that everyone is fleeing to go to Texas and Georgia — doesn’t pop up until No. 6 on the list. That, of course, is the devil’s playground better known as the City of Angels in English and Los Angeles in Spanish.

Surprisingly a Florida enclave doesn’t pop up until No. 18 when Miami squeezed between Dallas at No. 17 and a sibling of “The Sin City” at No. 19 in the form of North Las Vegas. Perhaps they spend too much time fleeing hurricanes in Florida to build up adequate sin statistics  to crack the Top 10.

Given there is no measure in the methodology of government waste, political abuses, overzealous regulators, or sloth bureaucrats you could argue the ratings for Washington, D.C., (No. 25) and Sacramento (No. 61) are way too low.

Based on how odds are stacked against people in DC and Sacramento, government could never be a legally sanctioned gambling vice in Nevada based on the rules of that state’s gambling commission

Speaking of Nevada, you’re probably not surprised it is the No. 1 “Sinful State in the United States” according to WalletHub. Apparently it lives yup to is reputation. California is No. 2 followed by “perfect” Texas at No. 3, Florida at No. 4 and the home of New Orleans and Mardi Gras decadence, Louisiana, at No. 5.

Reno, for the record, is losing its sin city luster much like a dingy 1950s era casino. It came in at No. 23.

It’s topped by Willington, Joe Biden’s adopted hometown at No. 22, as well as Midwest standard Kansas City at No. 20.

Reno is even surpassed by the San Bernadino in Southern California at No. 16.

To show you how far San Bernadino has come from being a wide spot on the road east of LA, it is the second highest ranking sin city in the  Golden State.

It tops Riverside at No. 46 and San Francisco at 51.

Surprisingly Oakland is also losing its sin city mojo along with professional sports franchises as it comes in at No. 86. That said it is still way ahead in the sin game than San Jose at No.45.

And for sin’s favorite stomping grounds in the San Joaquin Valley, it’s the birth place of Buck Owens in Bakersfield at No. 84 while the city that gave us “the dancing raisins”, Fresno, is No. 89

Fresno, for the record, beat out Salt lake City at No. 93 but was obliviated by Albuquerque at No. 70.

Could New Mexico be breaking bad worse than the San Joaquin Valley?


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at