America’s Weirdest Obsessions
Love line dancing? Shuffle down to Durham. Want to catch a ghost? Try San Diego. Then find other places where hardcore hobbyists hang out
Americans have always had strange obsessions, and how we interact online now gives us the ability to measure just how intense these interests are in different parts of the country. Meetup.com, a 12-year-old social networking site that allows people to organize gatherings around specific interests, offers just this opportunity.
To determine where, for example, Americans most like to line dance, TIME looked at every Meetup group that included this activity around the country and made a simple per capita calculation. In this case, Durham, N.C. was the clear winner: With a total of about 2,500 members in groups like Down South Shuffle, about one in a thousand people are involved in the activity.
The following list shows the cities have the strongest affinity for various activities, providing a set of the new hobby capitals that dot America. Groups were matched to the nearest metropolitan area, and population counts include both cities and the surrounding suburbs.
|Museums||New York City|
|Dungeons and Dragons||Raleigh|
|Line dancing||Durham, NC|
|Single Christians||Littleton, CA|