The second and third most common suggestions appear to be almost opposites. Some argued that rich people abandon the Midwest as soon as they can. Reasons given included bad weather and fewer elite educational opportunities for their children. Retiree migration to Florida and Arizona was offered as evidence of this behavior. Others believe that Midwestern values predispose people to more egalitarian behavior—that the innate goodness and “we’re all in this together” attitude of Midwesterners in some way draws their incomes closer together.

Beyond the top three suggestions there was an extremely wide range of other ideas related to economics, policy, and diversity. Several of the most specific and interesting suggestions got lumped into the “Other” category, such as this one from the president of the Peterson Institute:

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the responses is how different they all are. The most common idea appeared in only a fifth of all suggestions. What’s more, at least five readers expressed certainty that their idea was correct—but they all proposed different things. The wisdom of our crowd is, it seems, inconclusive.

Perhaps, as economist David Wiczer told Quartz, some “concert of answers” is the best explanation. Until someone sorts it all out, midwesterners can hold fast to the theory that being unswervingly pleasant might make them a little more equal.

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