What State Has The Most Incest: Top 20 Most Inbred States

What State Has The Most Incest

The most inbred states in the United States aren’t necessarily the ones you’d expect. As we all know, this phenomenon is not a social taboo anymore. Some people even do it without considering themselves as blood-related.

The United States is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. But, as it turns out, there are still pockets of America that live in isolation and are closed off from the rest of the world

These communities are the ones that have the highest number of inbreeding. This article will discuss inbreeding, its effects on human genes, and so much more.

What State Has The Most Incest

The states with the highest incest incidence rates are; Kentucky, Maine, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana,  New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, and South Dakota. 

What Is Incest?

Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives or persons who live together. Unlike many other sexual taboos, incest has been documented for virtually every human society for thousands of years. 

Roughly 4% of the world’s population has engaged in sexual activity with someone from their family at some point in their lives.

In most cases, incest involves sexual activity between a child and a parent or sibling. Still, it can also include grandparents, uncles, aunts, half-siblings, first cousins, and some extended family members.

Incest is illegal in most countries and considered morally wrong by most people. It can be divided into three categories:

  • Oedipus complex; This is a Freudian term describing a child’s sexual attraction to their parent. This form of incest is rare.
  • Sexual abuse; occurs when one family member forces another into a sexual act.
  • Incest between siblings; between step-siblings and biological siblings, between cousins and between half-siblings and full siblings

What Is Inbreeding?

Inbreeding refers to the mating of genetically related individuals who share a common ancestor, which occurs in many species. In humans, it’s the process of reproducing with your close relatives.

It’s been known to occur frequently in human communities due to customs such as cousin marriage and endogamy. 

The closer the relationship, the higher the chances that their offspring will be affected by genetic abnormalities. 

It ranges from the first cousins (considered inbred) to siblings and beyond. The practice of inbreeding has been around throughout human history, and it is widespread in cultures where they encourage arranged marriages.

The actual genetic makeup of those sperm and eggs might not be identical, but they share enough genetic information that their offspring will be more likely to inherit any bad genes.

It has been observed in many different species across the animal kingdom, but it is prevalent in domestic canids such as dogs, wolves, and coyotes. 

It also happens naturally when two small groups of the same species live in isolation from each other and intermarry over generations.

Reasons For Interbreeding

In many species, there are no other options. But why would one want to mate with their sibling or parent? Why would they instead mate with someone “in the family”?

The most common reasons for inbreeding are to;

  • Preserve desired traits; nature’s way of preserving rare genes and promoting desirable characteristics.
  • To produce offspring that carry these traits, such as livestock and familial relationships. 
  • Inbreeding is common in plants and animals with a low reproduction rate and thus needs to keep their bloodlines within a small population. 
  • Inbreeding is most common within small, isolated human populations because it helps keep their bloodlines from being lost, mainly because it helps preserve the purity of native bloodlines. 

This means that inbreeding is common in areas with small populations which are not exposed regularly to outsiders.

Inbreeding is a widespread practice in many parts of the world. This practice was common in the past, and it still occurs in many cultures today. 

In many cultures, inbreeding (considered incest) is seen as a social taboo, while in others, it is acceptable or even encouraged.

With the advent of modern transportation, people are less likely to marry someone they know well. 

Today, inbreeding occurs most often within closed communities such as religious sects, culturally isolating groups like immigrant populations, and ethnic groups with strong social connections like the Amish or Mennonites. 

In contrast, larger communities have more opportunities to meet and inter-marry.

How Does Inbreeding Affect The Human Genome?

Some forms of inbreeding are harmful, while others are beneficial. Data suggest that inbreeding is a solid and ancient reproductive strategy but severely negatively affects offspring. 

  1. Inbreeding results in increased rates of offspring mortality and decreased fertility.
  2. In addition, deleterious alleles are passed from parents to offspring and can increase the expression of genetic disorders. 
  3. In most species, including humans, inbreeding between close relatives is generally avoided because it often leads to offspring with lower fitness. 
  4. This phenomenon, known as inbreeding depression, is well documented and appears to be caused by the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations. 

Inbreeding depression is not a change brought about by a single gene but rather a complex interaction of several factors.

Inbreeding has a reputation for being negative and harmful, but the truth is that it doesn’t always have adverse effects. 

While inbreeding can be detrimental to a population, there are many examples of species that have evolved mechanisms in their genome to mitigate this.

The Most Inbred State!

The most inbred state in the United States is a simple question with an incredibly complicated answer. The most inbred state in the country in Kentucky.

This might come as a shock, especially if you’re from Kentucky. But the state has a surprisingly high amount of consanguinity (inbreeding). Why is this? And why does it matter?

The reason is that people moved to the mountains where the cost of living is cheaper. 

People with common ancestors in Appalachia and isolated communities are more likely to intermarry. This geographic and cultural isolation has led to an exceptionally high level of genetic isolation.

A prominent example is the Fugate Family. The Fugates of Kentucky, who have lived for centuries in Pike County in the Appalachian Mountains, is a family of people with an inherited disorder.

The most intriguing thing about the Fugates is their rare blue skin. They came into light because of their rare blue skin condition, which occurs when the related parents pass down recessive genes onto an offspring.

What Is The Legality Of Incest In The United States?

With all the time spent on marriage and inbreeding, it’s essential to find out what the law says. Incest is illegal and is a criminal offense in most states except a few in the United States. 

The Mendelian-based laws are a part of the criminal code, and the state law cannot modify them.

In New Jersey and Rhode Island, incestuous relations are not a criminal offense so long as it occurs between two consenting adults; that is 16+ in Rhode Island and 18+ in New Jersey. However, marriage is a different scenario in both cases and is not allowed by law.

Ohio is another state that allows incestuous relations between consenting adults as long as one is not a parental figure to the other person.

First Cousin Marriage In The US

The topic is a little sensitive and might need some extra explanation. First cousin marriage is when two people who are both cousins get married. 

This trend has been growing in the US; it’s become routine for people who live in the South to marry their first cousins.

The United States has a long history of inbreeding, with about 250,000 of the population marrying a first cousin at some time in their family history. 

With all the time spent on marriage and inbreeding, it’s essential to find out what the law says. It turns out that the laws about cousin marriage vary by state, and there are plenty of exceptions;

  • 24 states prohibit first-cousin marriages
  • 19 allow first-cousin marriages
  • 7 allow only some first-cousin marriages
  • 7 prohibit first-cousin-once-removed marriages

In the United States, a person may legally marry their first cousin if both individuals are over the age of consent (usually 18), regardless of whether they are male or female. 

However, most states don’t recognize marriages between cousins greater than second cousins unless they are from states that allow first-cousin marriage. In those cases, it’s usually only allowed for very distant cousins.


In our 20- state list, we have found that the most incest occurs in the “Bible Belt,” where more than one way of life exists. This includes many different religions, which have been known to breed hate, intolerance, and incest because they are so close-minded. 

With that said, it’s clear that incest occurs a lot more often than people think. We hope that this list has been helpful and not too shocking.