I’m hoping to go OOS for school. How much effort do schools exert looking for diversity of region? Do bigger and/or public schools want it more?
State universities are more likely to have a preference for in-state applicants for admission, financial aid, and/or scholarships.
In addition to what @ucbalumnus stated, look at Section C7 of the Common Data Set for the school(s) you are interested in. Under “Nonacademic” factors for admission, there is a category for “geographical residence”; this may tell you what if any weight a school places on geographical diversity.
Some schools do consider it - noted on the CDS. But I suspect you need to be from North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, etc. to have it make a meaningful difference. They like saying “we have students from every state and xxx countries”.
@RichInPitt I’d add MT (my home state) to that list.
At #42, you probably fall into the “etc” category. Small,but not quite small enough.