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 research combines 1,000 different data points. Each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: State Similarity Rating
Similar to other Southern states
Many states are similar to Alabama. The top 5 states were all part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. In addition, they are all part of the Bible Belt, the most religious area of the United States. Because of this, they tend to be very conservative politically and heavily favor Republicans. The top 5 states also all have a humid subtropical climate.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Alabama
- Mississippi‘s geography is especially similar to Alabama. In fact, Alabama was part of Mississippi’s territory until it separated in 1817. They are both located on the Gulf Coast, but they have little coastline. Both states produce an unusually high amount of professional athletes. One difference is that Mississippi is less affluent. While Alabama has one of the highest cars per capita rates in the United States, Mississippi has one of the lowest despite a lack of mass transit systems.
- South Carolina is the most similar politically to Alabama. Neither has had a Democratic governor in the past 16 years nor voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter. Marriage to cousins is fully legal in both states. In addition, both states have not decriminalized marijuana. In addition, their farmlands are extremely similar since they grow a mix of corn, cotton, soybean, and peanuts. However, it is located on the Atlantic Coast.
- Arkansas is the most similar state to Alabama west of the Mississippi. Both states are relatively poor and are quite conservative. Although Arkansas is not in the Appalachian Mountains, its terrain is comparable since it has the Ozark Mountains. However, its farms are much more devoted to growing soybeans than in Alabama.
- Tennessee borders Alabama to the north. It is another deeply religious state, where a vast majority of its people are Protestants. One difference is that Tennessee produces far more top musicians than Alabama, due to the large music industry in Nashville. Although both states are deeply Republican, another difference is that Tennessee has less restrictive abortion and gambling laws than Alabama.
- Georgia‘s territory included most of Alabama and Mississippi until 1802. Their people tend to have a similar accent and national origin, although Georgia is more diverse. Due to Atlanta’s recent growth, Georgia is more affluent than Alabama as well. Furthermore, Georgia has a higher percentage of military personnel and a naval base.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Alabama
- Hawaii is one of the most liberal states. Few republicans are elected there. Furthermore, its demographics are extremely different, since it has by far the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any state and few African Americans. In addition, it has a high percentage of military personnel. Its tropical climate and agriculture is also quite different from Alabama. One of the few similarities between Alabama and Hawaii is that both have very restrictive gambling laws. Neither state even has a lottery.
- California is another extremely liberal state that borders the Pacific Ocean. Its Latino population is far higher than Alabama and as a result it also has a far higher percentage of Catholics. Another difference is that its agriculture land grows more fruits and vegetables. California is also far more mountainous.
- New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, in contrast to Alabama. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer have cars. The national origins of its people is much more diverse than Alabama. Even its White population is quite different, since a majority are Italian in origin. In contrast, Alabama has very few Italians.
- Massachusetts is one of the most well educated and affluent states. A majority of its people are Catholic. It is also one of the least religious states. Unlike Alabama, where football is by far the most popular sport, Massachusetts also has a lot of interest in basketball, baseball, and hockey. Its climate is also much colder.
- New Jersey is somewhat like New York, since a large portion of its population is in the New York metropolitan area. It is also much more diverse than Alabama. Furthermore, New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country. One similarity is that their forests both have a mix of Loblolly and Hickory trees, but most of New Jersey’s land is close to the ocean, unlike Alabama.
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