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The United States of sperm

In biology class, we’re taught that sperm is an endlessly renewable natural resource, relentlessly produced in the millions, providing redundancy upon redundancy. After puberty, it’s just there, ready when you need it, no worries.

In reality, scientists are worried. Worldwide, the average sperm count has dropped 50% in the last 50 years. Sperm health can no longer be taken for granted. The body’s original auto-renew subscription can be affected by almost every variable of everyday life, from diet and exercise to chemical exposure.

And that can be affected by where you live. Let’s dive into Legacy’s data to see how sperm health might vary across state lines.

How we ranked the states

Our team analyzed data from over 22,000 semen samples tested by Legacy’s labs, the largest dataset of its kind.

Legacy’s clinic-grade sperm testing evaluates all industry-standard metrics of sperm health.

Our team ranked each state by sperm concentration, the number of sperm per milliliter of semen. Normal sperm concentration ranges from 15 million to more than 200 million sperm per milliliter. A low sperm count is defined as fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter.

For this ranking, we’ve included fertile and infertile men and trans women from the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC — all areas served by Legacy’s mail-in semen analysis kits. We excluded men who’d had a vasectomy, as their sperm concentration was likely to be zero (or close to zero).

Best and worst sperm concentration

5 states with the highest sperm concentration

  1. Wyoming
  2. Idaho
  3. Montana
  4. Iowa
  5. Washington, D.C.

5 states with the lowest sperm concentration

  1. Mississippi
  2. South Carolina
  3. Oklahoma
  4. North Dakota
  5. Delaware

The best and worst sperm in the US, by state

#49: Worst sperm in the United States: Mississippi

Average sperm concentration: 25.7 million/mL

Mississippi

Mike Beaumont/Unsplash

#48: South Carolina

Average sperm concentration: 28.9 million/mL

South Carolina

Leo Heisenberg/Unsplash

#47: Oklahoma

Average sperm concentration: 29.1 million/mL

Oklahoma oil field

Zbynek Burival/Unsplash

#46: North Dakota

Average sperm concentration: 30.2 million/mL

North Dakota bison in field

Jason Rojas/Unsplash

#45: Delaware

Average sperm concentration: 30.7 million/mL

Delaware boardwalk

Gary Cole/Unsplash

#44: West Virginia

Average sperm concentration: 30.98 million/mL

West Virginia bridge

Sharosh Rajasekher/Unsplash

#43: Tennessee

Average sperm concentration: 31 million/mL

Tennessee road and fields

Nathan Kosmak/Unsplash

#42: Utah

Average sperm concentration: 32.3 million/mL

Utah rock formation

Andrey Grinkevich/Unsplash

#41: Alabama

Average sperm concentration: 32.9 million/mL

Alabama

Nathan Anderson/Unsplash

#40: Kentucky

Average sperm concentration: 33.5 million/mL

Barn in Kentucky

Amy Reed/Unsplash

#39: Connecticut

Average sperm concentration: 34.3 million/mL

Connecticut

Rusty Watson/Unsplash

#38: Wisconsin

Average sperm concentration: 34.5 million/mL

Wisconsin dairy farm

Caroline Gunderson/Unsplash

#37: Arizona

Average sperm concentration: 34.7 million/mL

Arizona mountains

Kaileen Fitzpatrick/Unsplash

#36: Kansas

Average sperm concentration: 35.13 million/mL

sunflower field in Kansas

Laura Gilchrist/Unsplash

#35: Florida

Average sperm concentration: 35.15 million/mL

Florida

Denys Kostyuchenko/Unsplash

#34: Indiana

Average sperm concentration: 35.2 million/mL

Indiana

Steven Van Elk/Unsplash

#33: Maine

Average sperm concentration: 35.81 million/mL

Maine lighthouse and coastline

Mercedes Mehling/Unsplash

#32: Arkansas

Average sperm concentration: 35.82 million/mL

Arkansas river

Oliver Graham/Unsplash

#31: Rhode Island

Average sperm concentration: 35.95 million/mL

Rhode Island

Michael Denning/Unsplash

#30: Texas

Average sperm concentration: 36 million/mL

Texas

Courtney Rose/Unsplash

#29: Louisiana

Average sperm concentration: 36.2 million/mL

Louisiana

Kristina Volgenau/Unsplash

#28: Michigan

Average sperm concentration: 36.46 million/mL

Michigan

Dan Gomer/Unsplash

#27: New Mexico

Average sperm concentration: 36.5 million/mL

New Mexico

Chase McBride/Unsplash

#26: Nevada

Average sperm concentration: 36.65 million/mL

Nevada

Grant Cai/Unsplash

#25: Nebraska

Average sperm concentration: 36.66 million/mL

Nebraska

Balazs Busznyak/Unsplash

#24: Colorado

Average sperm concentration: 36.8 million/mL

Colorado

Sam Dellaporta/Unsplash

#23: Missouri

Average sperm concentration: 37 million/mL

Missouri

Brittney Butler/Unsplash

#22: Virginia

Average sperm concentration: 37.2 million/mL

Virginia

Stephen Poore/Unsplash

#21: Massachusetts

Average sperm concentration: 37.6 million/mL

Boston Massachusetts

Leo Heisenberg/Unsplash

#20: New Hampshire

Average sperm concentration: 38 million/mL

New Hampshire coastline

Rafael Rodrigues/Unsplash

#19: California

Average sperm concentration: 38.3 million/mL

California

Joonyeop Baek/Unsplash

#18: Georgia

Average sperm concentration: 38.7 million/mL

Georgia

Ian Baldwin/Unsplash

#17: New York

Average sperm concentration: 39.1 million/mL

New York

Thomas Habr/Unsplash

#16: Ohio

Average sperm concentration: 39.4 million/mL

Ohio

Jake Blucker/Unsplash

#15: Oregon

Average sperm concentration: 39.6 million/mL

Oregon

Cedric Letsch/Unsplash

#14: North Carolina

Average sperm concentration: 39.7 million/mL

North Carolina

Daniel Weiss/Unsplash

#13: New Jersey

Average sperm concentration: 39.9 million/mL

New Jersey

Kealan Burke/Unsplash

#12: Washington

Average sperm concentration: 40.17 million/mL

Washington state skyline

Stephen Plopper/Unsplash

#11: South Dakota

Average sperm concentration: 40.18 million/mL

South Dakota

Sophia Simoes/Unsplash

#10: Pennsylvania

Average sperm concentration: 40.22 million/mL

Pennsylvania

Yuhan Du/Unsplash

#9: Illinois

Average sperm concentration: 41 million/mL

Illinois

Nikhil Mistry/Unsplash

#8: Maryland

Average sperm concentration: 41 million/mL

Maryland boardwalk and beach

Kat Keeling/Unsplash

#7: Vermont

Average sperm concentration: 45.2 million/mL

Vermont

Peter James Eisenhaure/Unsplash

#6: Minnesota

Average sperm concentration: 45.4 million/mL

Minnesota

Lee Vue/Unsplash

#5: Washington, DC

Average sperm concentration: 49.1 million/mL

Washington, DC. Capitol building

Andy Feliciotti/Unsplash

#4: Iowa

Average sperm concentration: 51.3 million/mL

Iowa

Joel Drzycimski/Unsplash

#3: Montana

Average sperm concentration: 54.4 million/mL

Montana

John Kakuk/Unsplash

#2: Idaho

Average sperm concentration: 55.6 million/mL

Idaho

Abigail Loney/Unsplash

#1 best sperm in the United States: Wyoming

Average sperm concentration: 56.8 million/mL

Wyoming

Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash

Why did the states rank this way?

Although we can’t reach definitive conclusions from this analysis, decades of scientific research suggest that a person’s environment and lifestyle can affect their sperm health. 

In fact, scientists believe the worldwide decline in sperm count has been primarily caused by widespread exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These toxic agents — present in thousands of common household items including soap, shampoo, detergents, packaging, home furnishings, and clothing — mimic hormones and seem to inhibit testosterone and sperm production. 

Other environmental factors linked to sperm health include:

  • Increasing temperatures due to climate change, which lower sperm production
  • Air quality, which is increasingly affected by pollution and wildfires
  • Time spent in or near nature

Studies have also found that sperm health tracks with many factors that influence overall health — including diet, activity level, body composition, stress level, sleep quality, access to healthcare, and alcohol or drug use.

Considering these factors, it makes sense that several of the country’s hottest states are in the bottom 5 for sperm production, while cooler states rank higher. Additionally, states with lower scores in other health metrics (such as air quality or access to healthcare) also rank low for sperm health.

For more information on how the environment affects sperm quality — and how you can clean up your surroundings to protect your sperm — download our exclusive guide and check out our recent webinar:

And to see how you rank in comparison to your state, test your sperm.

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