Have you ever wondered how similar or different two states are? The State Similarity Rating attempts to quantify how similar states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each state. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 5 States Most Similar to New Mexico
New Mexico is a Western state that is part of the Southwest region. The five most similar states are also sparsely populated lands that are quite mountainous and have a dry climate. Four of the five most similar states are landlocked. With the exception of Montana, these states have a high population of immigrants from Mexico. They also have a lot of new buildings, since their population has grown quickly in the past few decades.
- Arizona is directly to the west of New Mexico. Before 1860, Arizona was actually a part of New Mexico Territory until they were divided. Both became states in 1912. Like Nevada, it also has a large Latino population. They also have a sizable Native American population, since the Navajo Reservation spans both states. However, the Democratic Party is far stronger in New Mexico than Arizona, so it has fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Nevada, like Arizona and New Mexico, has many immigrants from Mexico. Their climate and terrain are similar. Like Nevada, New Mexico has relatively few married people and many divorced people. Large portions of both states are used by the military to conduct missile testing. It is likely that this is the reason these places are famous for UFO and alien sightings. One big difference is that Nevada is a much bigger tourist destination, due to Las Vegas.
- Colorado is another state in the Rocky Mountains, located directly to the north of New Mexico. However, Colorado is significantly wealthier. It also has a lower percentage of Latinos. Still, both states tend to vote for Democrats and their laws are alike. They have few gun restrictions or abortion restrictions. They also allow cousin marriage and have a low age of consent. In addition, Colorado and New Mexico have banned capital punishment.
- California also has many immigrants from Mexico, but it also has far more Asian Americans and also more African Americans. Still, a high percentage of people in both states are Catholic. They both border Mexico, but unlike other states on this list, California is not landlocked. Another difference is that New Mexico is also significantly poorer and has a far greater percentage of its people living in mobile homes.
- Montana, like New Mexico and Colorado, is located at the transition between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Neither state is wealthy and they both have high rates of suicide. Like New Mexico, Montana also has several prominent Native American reservations. However, Montana is much more northern, so it is significantly colder. In addition, its population is mostly White and has very few Latinos, so it tends to favor the Republican Party.
Top 5 States Least Similar to New Mexico
The five least similar states to New Mexico are located in the Eastern part of the United States. These states are all more heavily forested than New Mexico. In addition, four of the five were part of the original thirteen colonies. With the exception of Vermont, they all border the Atlantic Coast. These states tend to have a significantly lower Latino population than New Mexico as well.
- Massachusetts is by far the least similar state to New Mexico. It is one of the wealthiest and most educated states. While Massachusetts has few suicides, New Mexico has one of the highest rates in the country. Furthermore, it produces more professional athletes and its people are much more interested in ice hockey. Still, they are not completely different. The biggest similarity between them is that their people tend to be more liberal. In addition, they both have many Catholics, although most of them are Irish or Italian.
- New Hampshire is yet another state in the Northeast on this list. Its population is predominately White and it has few Latinos. It is colder and also gets a lot more snowfall. While New Mexico has very hard water, New Hampshire has the softest water in the country. In addition, it relies mostly on nuclear energy to create electricity, not natural gas or coal. However, unlike other states on the list, it also has a low population density.
- Georgia has a much higher Black population than New Mexico and a significantly lower percentage of Native Americans. Although both states are about the same latitude, their flora and fauna are quite different, since Georgia’s climate gets more rainfall. Football and Hip-Hop music are far more popular in Georgia than in New Mexico. Georgia’s laws are also very less friendly towards immigrants.
- South Carolina is a much more conservative state than New Mexico. It heavily favors Republicans, unlike New Mexico. Their voting laws are quite different. A photo ID is required in South Carolina. It also has an open primary system, unlike New Mexico. Furthermore, South Carolina’s people tend to be more religious as well. In addition, it has far less Catholics and far more Protestants than New Mexico. South Carolina also gets far more rainfall than New Mexico.
- Vermont is the third state in New England on this list. Since Vermont is much further north, its climate is significantly colder than New Mexico’s. It also gets far more snowfall. Vermont has a much higher percentage of forested land too. In contrast to New Mexico, it has one of the highest percentages of White people in the country. Its population also has a higher average age.
New Mexico is like if Arizona was more like Colorado
The most similar state to New Mexico is Arizona, according to the Index. However, the data shows that Colorado has some characteristics of New Mexico that Arizona lacks. This is mostly due to politics. The people in Colorado and New Mexico tend to be significantly more liberal. Unlike Arizona, they have often voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past decades. They also have more friendly laws towards immigrants and minority groups. In addition, the Rocky Mountains run through both Colorado and New Mexico, but not Arizona.
All data accurate as of 2020.