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 northern landlocked states
The top 5 states most similar to Wyoming are all sparsely populated and have no large metro areas. They are some of the least diverse states in the nation, with a vast majority of their people being White. As a result, their governments are generally dominated by the Republican Party and therefore have few gun restrictions.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Wyoming
- Idaho‘s demographics and culture are extremely similar to Wyoming. Both states are predominately White with mostly German and English ancestry. They also both have around 7% Latinos. Wyoming was actually part of Idaho Territory for a short period in its history. Although the states are also alike politically, a photo ID is not required to vote in Wyoming. It also spends much less per capita on education and health care spending. Another difference is that Wyoming relies on coal to create electricity, while Idaho uses mostly hydropower. Idaho and Wyoming are also the states that use the most water per capita. They also have some of the highest home ownership rates in the country.
- Montana is located to Wyoming’s north, but their climates are quite similar. Both states get little rainfall, but a significant portion of snow. Despite being so far west, most of their water flows east, towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Montana’s demographics are also similar to Wyoming and Idaho, however it has a lower percentage of Latinos. The economies of both states also rely on mineral extraction.
- South Dakota is to the east of Wyoming. In fact a large portion of Wyoming was once part of Dakota Territory. The states have nearly the same education level and average age. Both states have many people with hunting licenses and also have a low drug usage rates. They are also similar politically, but one big difference is that marijuana is legal in South Dakota. Their geography is somewhat different. It is has a far higher percentage agricultural land. In addition, it has a significantly higher percentage of surface water area.
- North Dakota is another state with an economy that has recently relied upon fracking to extract oil. As a result of this industry, these states use the most electricity per capita. Coal power plants also provide a majority of the electricity for both states. However, North Dakota is significantly less mountainous than Wyoming. Furthermore, a vast majority of its land is used for farming. Still, both states have little forest cover. In addition, North Dakota is much more interested in ice hockey, than Wyoming. The state also has far more Catholics and Lutherans.
- Kansas has much more agricultural land and its landscape is not nearly as mountainous as Wyoming. In addition, its crops are completely different, since Wyoming mostly grows hay, while Kansas grows a mix of wheat, sorghum, and corn. Still, the two states have some major cultural and political similarities. Neither state is especially religious in their daily lives, but both states have few people that do not believe in god. In addition, they both have a low minimum wage and still allow the death penalty, although it is rarely used. In addition, only a limited amount of marijuana is allowed for medicinal purposes in these states.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Wyoming
- New Jersey is the most densely populated state and Wyoming (with the exception of Alaska) is the least densely populated state. New Jersey’s population is also very diverse, while Wyoming is predominately White, with German ancestry being most common. Furthermore, most of the state is near the beach, in contrast to landlocked Wyoming. In addition, very few Democrats get elected in Wyoming, unlike New Jersey.
- Massachusetts is more diverse than Wyoming. It has a higher percentage of Asians and African Americans. In addition, it has many Chinese, French, and Portuguese speakers. Its people are also far less religious. Massachusetts is the most highly educated state, in contrast to Wyoming. It is also far more densely populated and most of its people live in urban areas.
- New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Very few people have guns or hunting licenses, in contrast to Wyoming. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer have cars. The national origins of its people is much different than Wyoming, since New York is much more diverse and its White population is mostly Italian and Irish in origin and has a much lower percentage of people with German ancestry.
- Rhode Island has the highest Catholic population of any state, in contrast to Wyoming. Rhode Island is also much more densely populated and far less mountainous. A large percentage of its land is urban and close to the coast. It also relies on natural gas to create electricity, while a majority of Wyoming’s electricity is created by coal power plants.
- Hawaii is the opposite of Wyoming in a number of different geographic ways. It is an island in the Pacific Ocean that gets a lot of rainfall. However, both states are mountainous. In addition, Hawaii is far less conservative than Wyoming. Very few Republicans get elected there. In addition, its population of Native Hawaiian and East Asian ancestry is much higher.
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