Providence ranked least-honest city in honor system test

People in Rhode Island’s capital city are among the least honest in the country according to the National Honesty Index released Tuesday by the Honest Tea organic beverage company in Bethesda, Md. More

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Providence ranked least-honest city in honor system test

COURTESY HONEST TEA
BOTH THE CITY OF Providence and the state of Rhode Island ranked as least-honest in the annual survey conducted by Honest Tea organic beverage company. Only 80 percent of Providence residents passed Honest Tea's test, compared with 95 percent nationwide.
Posted 8/20/14

PROVIDENCE – People in Rhode Island’s capital city are among the least honest in the country according to the National Honesty Index released Tuesday by the Honest Tea organic beverage company in Bethesda, Md.

In an honesty test conducted between June 16 and Aug. 12, Honest Tea set up unmanned racks of Honest Tea beverages offered for $1 on the honor system in 60 locations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Honest Tea also conducted an online test that asked participants to share an inspirational quote on their Facebook wall in return for a coupon.

More than 28,000 people participated in the Honest Tea test in person and online.

Eighty percent of Providence residents paid the $1 for the beverage or shared the inspirational quote on Facebook, compared with the national average of 95 percent, Honest Tea said. In 2013, 92 percent of Providence residents passed the Honest Tea test, and the year-over-year drop was the largest in any city nationwide except Minneapolis, which also fell 12 percentage points.

Honolulu ranked as the most honest city this year, with a 100 percent honesty rate. Lake George, N.Y.; Manchester, Conn.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Nashville, Tenn., each earned 99 percent honest rates.

Providence residents are also slightly less honest than the average Rhode Islander, according to the Honest Tea survey. Eighty-three percent of Rhode Islanders passed the company’s honor-system test, but the state still ranked last in the country on the National Honesty Index.

Among the six New England states, Connecticut and Maine ranked highest on the index, each with a 96 percent honesty rate, followed by Vermont with 92 percent, New Hampshire with 91 percent and Massachusetts with 90 percent.

The most honest states in the country are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii and Tennessee, each with 98 percent, Honest Tea said.

“We seek to infuse honesty into everything we do, from the way we run the company to the organic ingredients we use, so we developed this experiment to see if people around the country share that same value,” said Seth Goldman, co-founder and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea. “The 95 percent honesty rate that we saw this year suggests that Americans are a lot more honest than we give ourselves credit for.”

In addition to ranking the honesty index by geographic region, Honest Tea also provided demographic breakdowns based on a person’s gender, hair color and other characteristics as well as favorite sports teams, television shows and hobbies.

Women proved more honest than men with a 95 percent honesty rate versus 93 percent for men. Fans of the Boston Red Sox ranked No. 43 among 56 professional sports teams’ fans at 93 percent. New England Patriots fans ranked slightly better at No. 30, with 95 percent.

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