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Geocoded data reveals which American states have the most photogenic sunsets

Yosemite at sunset, California, USA.(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the warm summer nights and late night barbecue's are fast approaching, many of us will have our cameras at the ready and be looking out for the beautiful sunsets that we often miss out on in the cooler months. 

Experts on travel insurance over at Forbes Advisor have done their homework in a curious attempt to discover the most picturesque US states, solely based on how many geocoded photos of sunsets are uploaded to Instagram. 

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This new research kindly brought to us by Forbes Advisor (opens in new tab), reveals that California lives up to its name and really is the golden state. Ranking in at top of the list, California had a percent of 20.45% sunset posts taken within the state. The average likes per images of sunsets uploaded to Instagram, captured in California, was 115.39 with the number of comments per post averaging at 5.72. 

Take a look at the table we created below for a run down of the results gathered by Forbes Advisor, revealing the states with the most picturesque sunsets.

Most Picturesque American States for Sunsets on Instagram
RankAmerican State % Of Sunset Posts Taken in StateAverage Likes Per Sunset PostAverage Comments Per Sunset Post
1California20.45%115.395.72
2Florida16.55%48.654.29
3Kentucky9.80%614.2
4New York6.05%127.425.41
5Hawaii4.36%134.735.93
6Arizona3.80%118.985.09
7North Carolina3.28%77.994.25
8Illinois3.23%55.534.14
9Indiana3.20%65.793.55
10Texas3.14%85.695.66

The research has ranked Florida in second place for the most picturesque sunsets, following closely behind California in percentage of sunset posts captured in the state at 16.55%. The data interestingly also shows that Florida in fact had the worst average number of likes per post, at a sparse 48.65 likes. 

This actually doesn't seem like very little at all, considering many Instagram users receive around 20 likes per post. Although, when compared with the mighty Arizona (rank 6) having the highest number of average likes at 118.98 per post, and beating out California, the data gets put into perspective. 

Downtown Orlando, Florida Skyline at sunset. (Image credit: bobbyuzda /Getty Images /iStockphoto)
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The Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge sunset in New York City. (Image credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto)
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The source of this data, gathered by Forbes Advisor, is based on the premise of asking what percentage of the overall number of posts on Instagram, specifically using the hashtag sunset and located in America, come from the mentioned state.

The research team supposedly reverse geocoded the collated #sunset Instagram posts, using America state level boundary lines from the United States Census Bureau. Popularity metrics were then calculated that involved recording the percentage of Instagram posts coming from specific states, the average number of likes per post and average number of comments per post.

The research compiled a dataset on 47 American states (Image credit: Forbes Advisor)
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A full dataset was comprised of 47 American states, with Maine, Guam, Virgin Islands and Nevada in joint-42nd place as the states with the least picturesque sunsets. 

Surprisingly, despite only having 0.26% of sunset-related Instagram posts coming from New Hampshire (rank 38), the State has the highest engagement metrics with sunset posts achieving an average of 273.34 likes and 12.94 comments per post.

American states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Tennessee, Mississippi, and West Virginia were excluded from the research data as researchers stated the geocoding analysis of the mentioned states had no or marginal results.

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A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.