Most Distinctive Obituary Euphemism for 'Died' in Each State

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If you’re an American alive today, chances are you’ve heard or used one of over 100 different euphemisms for death. A common reason many people don’t just say someone has “died” is a desire to not want to appear too harsh. This happens not just in everyday conversation, but also in obituaries we read in newspapers and increasingly online.

Are some expressions for dying more prevalent in obituaries than others? Are there regional variations? To find out the answers to these questions, I reached out to, a leading online provider of paid death notices. According to the data they provided, in 2015, they hosted 2,408,142 obituaries across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 1,341,870 included one of their 10 most common euphemisms, or the word died.

The top term is unsurprising. “Passed away” was used in 32.5 percent of all obituaries and topped the national list. In every single state, it was either “passed away” or “died” (20.6 percent nationwide at #2) that was used most often. The relative prevalence of each of these terms paints a much more diverse picture, however.

Using a similar methodology to the “Most Distinctive Causes of Death” map, I calculated the difference between the regional and national prevalence of each term. The highest value gives the phrase that is most “characteristic” to that state. As it turns out, some terms are used comparatively more often than others depending on where you’ve died—or at least where your obituary is published.

Graphic by Chloe Effron 

Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Jelly Bean Flavors in America, State by State

America loves jelly beans. According to the National Confectioners Association, U.S. candy lovers buy about 16 billion jelly beans per year. But which flavors are they buying? Just like every state has its favorite horror movie, dog breed, and comic-book universe, America’s love of certain jelly bean flavors varies by region. went through more than a decade of its sales data and polled 12,000 candy customers through SurveyMonkey and Facebook to figure out the top jelly bean flavor across the country and in each state, creating an interactive infographic with the results.

Though it sounds like an unusual flavor to us, buttered popcorn is a shockingly popular taste, ranking No. 1 nationally and in 10 states. Black licorice was ranked No. 2 nationally, and was the state-wide favorite in eight states.

Other flavors were not as widely beloved. Coconut was the favorite flavor of just one state, Massachusetts. Chocolate was a popular flavor only in Illinois, ranking first there, but almost at the bottom of the list nationally—21 out of 30 flavors.

Some flavors the survey asked about didn’t even make it on the state list. Pomegranate wasn’t in the running—even when you include data on each state’s first, second, and third-favorite flavors. Nor was raspberry, lime, or other seemingly tasty jelly beans.

Scroll over the infographic to see which flavor each state’s candy lovers chose. See if your state’s candy tastes are accurately represented, then scroll down to see the full list of national rankings.

Source: 10+ years online candy sales data from

1. Buttered Popcorn
2. Black Licorice
3. Cinnamon
4. Watermelon
5. Cherry
6. Pear / Juicy Pear
7. Orange
8. Green Apple
9. Toasted Marshmallow
10. Coconut
11. Strawberry
12. Cotton Candy
13. Blueberry
14. Bubblegum
15. Root Beer
16. Peach
17. Coffee
18. Grape
19. Lemon
20. Red Apple
21. Chocolate
22. Banana
23. Lime
24. Sour Jelly Beans
25. Tutti Frutti
26. Maple
27. Vanilla
28. Cream Soda
29. Raspberry
30. Pomegranate

Disney/Marvel Studios
Afternoon Map
Marvel vs. DC: This Map Shows Each State’s Favorite Comic Universe
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Which comic book company is the best: Marvel or DC? This is a perennial argument on middle-school playgrounds and Reddit threads, but this map, courtesy of, might just give us a definitive answer. The information here is broken down by state, using information provided by Google Trends to give us a clear winner of not only the most popular comic book company but also the most popular individual hero in each state (let’s show a little respect to Indiana for championing the Martian Manhunter).

According to the map, Marvel is the most popular publisher in 37 states, with DC trailing behind at eight, and five additional states coming to a 50/50 stalemate. The totals weren’t a blowout, though. In certain states like Mississippi, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, the favored company only won by a point. And just because a state searches Google for a specific publisher the most doesn’t mean an individual character from the opposing team isn’t its favorite—Hawaii is listed as favoring Marvel overall, yet they love Aquaman on his own. Same with DC-loving Maryland showing Black Panther some love (helps to have a big movie coming out). Take a look at some of the most notable state preferences below:

So how did Marvel amass so many states when there are just as many DC TV shows and movies out there? Well, according to Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate program in social media, the answer lies in the depth at the House of Ideas.

“While Superman and Batman may be dominant characters,” Selepak said in a statement, “the DC Universe offers few other well-known heroes and villains and when these other characters are presented to the audience in film and on TV, they often are less than well-received.” This is opposed to Marvel, which launches new heroes on the big and small screen seemingly every year.

Does this map tell the whole story? That’s up for debate. When it comes to comics sold, DC and Marvel are always in a close battle: In January 2018, DC had six of the 10 best-selling comics of the month, placing four of the top five. Marvel, meanwhile, had three, while Image Comics had one with The Walking Dead. In terms of overall retail market share, though, Marvel eked out DC 34.3 percent to 33.8 percent.

This is a battle that's been raging since the 1960s, and for an industry that thrives on a never-ending fight between good and evil, we shouldn't expect the Marvel vs. DC debate to be settled anytime soon.