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 coastal states in the South
Florida is a fairly unique state, only a few are similar. Since it is a peninsula at the southern most portion of the continental United States, it has unique geography. It also has unique demographics, since it has an old but relatively diverse population. The top 5 states all happen to have the most coastline in the South.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Florida
- Georgia is just to the north of Florida. Both states grow peanuts and cotton, but also have a significant amount of orchards as well. Nowadays, many people are moving to Atlanta from other parts of the country, similar to Florida. They both have a greater interest in football than most other states. However, there is a far higher percentage of African Americans in Georgia than Florida. Furthermore, most Floridians do not have a Southern accent, like Georgians.
- South Carolina is just to the north of Georgia. It is another popular beach destination in the United States. Their laws are similar. They both have few restrictions on guns and allow capital punishment. However, it does not have any large metro areas, like the other states on this list. In addition, its Latino population is quite small in comparison to Florida. Another difference is that the majority of its electricity is created by nuclear power.
- North Carolina is another Southern state with a few different large cities that are more cosmopolitan than its rural areas. They have roughly the same average level of education and wealth. Although both states have about the same percentage of agricultural land, North Carolina predominately grows soybeans. It is also much more mountainous than Florida, since a significant portion of the state is covered by the Appalachian Mountains.
- Texas is more similar to Florida than stereotypes may suggest. Both states have large Latino populations, although their origins are different. Florida has many Cubans and Puerto Ricans, while Texas has many Mexicans. The eastern portion of Texas has a similar climate to Florida, although the western part is mostly desert. Furthermore, their laws are alike. They have lenient restrictions on guns. Both states do not impose income taxes. Both also allow beer and wine in grocery stores, but not spirits. In addition, since 1999 both states have had Republican governors, although on the presidential level Obama won Florida twice.
- Louisiana is another state with a lot of wetlands. Both states are quite flat and get a lot of rainfall. However, Louisiana has a higher percentage of African Americans and a lower percentage of Latinos. Furthermore, many more people have French ancestry there. Still, Florida also has a some French Creole-speaking population due to Haitian immigration there. In addition, both states allow medicinal marijuana but have not decriminalized it. Their infrastructure is also similar because natural gas is used to create a majority of the electricity in both states.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Florida
- Alaska is in the extreme northwest corner of the United States, in contrast to Florida, so its climate is much colder. In addition, Alaska has the highest mountain in North America, while Florida is incredibly flat. One thing they both share is that they are both peninsulas. They are also both relatively conservative states, although Alaska does not allow either capital punishment or life imprisonment.
- Wyoming is landlocked, mountainous, and has a cold climate, in contrast to Florida. It is also much less developed. Furthermore, Wyoming uses far more water and electricity per capita than Florida. In addition, Wyoming’s population is not diverse. It has very few African Americans and Latinos. Although both states favor Republicans, Wyoming is more conservative.
- Vermont is the only state in the Eastern Time Zone on this list. It is a rural, landlocked, and mountainous state. It has no major cities. It is also far less diverse than Florida. It has one the highest percentages of White people in the country. Furthermore, Vermont is far more liberal and less religious than Florida. Marijuana is legal and the state is much more friendly to unions.
- Utah is the youngest state, a by-product of the state’s unique Mormon demographics. In contrast, Florida has one of the oldest populations, due to many retirees moving there. Not only is Utah landlocked, but it is also one of the driest states and most of the rain that falls there does not even flow into the ocean. One similarity is that Utah did allow slavery in its past, like Florida. The states also both favor Republicans, although Florida has significantly more Democrats.
- North Dakota is the second coldest state, after Alaska. It also has a far greater percentage of farmland than Florida and their crops are quite different. Not only is North Dakota’s demographics much less diverse than Florida, but even their white populations have different origins. North Dakota has a far greater percentage of people with German and Norwegian ancestry.
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