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 Southwestern states
Arizona is similar to other states in territory that was originally part of Mexico, but later was taken over by the United States. These tend to be very mountainous and have a dry climate. They are also sparsely populated with many of their inhabitants concentrated in large cities.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Arizona
- Nevada and Arizona are the two driest states. They both have many immigrants from Mexico. They are also major tourist destinations. Although casinos are technically not allowed in Arizona, the state still has many casinos located on reservations for Native Americans. In addition, in both states, marijuana is legal and the sale of alcohol in the grocery store is allowed.
- New Mexico is directly to the east of Arizona. 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 Nevada. It has far fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Texas is another diverse Southwestern state. It has relatively similar demographics since both states have many immigrants from Mexico, although Texas has a higher percentage of African Americans. The states are also similar politically. In the past, both states were dominated by the Republican Party, but are now much more competitive. Texas and Arizona have many restrictions on abortion and gambling, but also have few restrictions on guns. Still, the eastern portion of Texas has much more rainfall. In addition, Texas is the only state in the top 5 that is not landlocked.
- Colorado is another mountainous country on this list. Both states have legalized marijuana and few gun restrictions. They also have several military bases and relatively high enlistment rates. However, Colorado has a few major differences. Its climate is colder than Arizona. It is also significantly wealthier and has more college graduates . The states also rarely vote for the same presidential primary candidates. In fact, the 2004 presidential primary was the last time the states voted for the same candidate, when John Kerry won 46 states.
- Utah‘s geography and infrastructure are extremely similar to Arizona. Both states are mostly desert. They also have many national parks with prominent mountains and canyons. In addition, less than 50% of their people have cable television. The states also tend to have very hard water. However, Utah’s demographics are extremely different. While Arizona is one of the oldest states, with many elderly retirees, Utah is the youngest state. Another big difference is religion, since most people in Utah are Mormon. Furthermore, there are relatively few Latinos in Utah.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Arizona
- Vermont is one of the least diverse states. It is mostly White and has few Latinos. Despite this, Vermont is also more liberal than Arizona. Another big difference between these states is their weather. Arizona is hot and dry, while Vermont is cold and gets a lot of snowfall. The air conditioning systems in their buildings are quite different, as most homes in Arizona use electric units to cool their homes, while most homes in Vermont use fuel oil. While Arizona relies on natural gas and nuclear power to create electricity, Vermont uses hydropower and wind.
- Massachusetts is one of the least religious states, in contrast to Arizona. It is far more liberal and has a higher percentage of LGBT people. It also has a much lower suicide rate than Arizona. Its population is more wealthy and educated. In fact, Massachusetts has the highest percentage of college graduates in the country. Furthermore, its people are more interested in ice hockey.
- New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Its laws are also friendly to unionization, in contrast to Arizona, and it has a much greater percentage of union members. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer people have cars. While both states have a relatively high Latino population, New York has few Mexican immigrants. It has more immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. It also has a higher percentage of African Americans.
- New Hampshire is yet another state in New England on this list. Like Vermont, its population is predominately White and gets a lot of snowfall. New Hampshire is more conservative than Vermont, but both states favor the Democratic Party. Still, both Arizona and New Hampshire have few gun restrictions, but Arizona has far more restrictions on abortion.
- Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the country. Most of its land is close to the coast, unlike landlocked Arizona. Most of the water withdrawals it uses come from the sea, not ground water. Connecticut is also much more liberal.
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