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 no other states
Hawaii is the most unique state in the United States, no other states are similar. However, the closest would be the states on the Pacific Coast. Like Hawaii, they are also quite liberal and their governments are dominated by Democrats. In addition, their geography is somewhat similar. They all are quite mountainous states that also have volcanos.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Hawaii
- California also has beautiful beaches and warm weather, although on average it is much drier. Both states produce a lot of fruit. California also has the second highest percentage of Asian Americans, after Hawaii, although it has more people with Chinese ancestry and less people with Japanese ancestry. Both states have health conscious people, so they tend to do a lot of exercise and have low smoking rates. In addition, California and Hawaii are some of the few states that have a base for each branch of the military. One big difference is that California’s Latino population is one of the highest in the country, while Hawaii has relatively few.
- Washington is another mountainous state on the Pacific Coast, like Hawaii and California, however its climate is much cooler. In addition, it also has many liberal and health conscious people. Washington also has relatively many Asian Americans, consisting of mostly Chinese and Filipinos. Hawaii and Washington also have around the same percentage of Latinos, at around 10% of the population.
- Oregon is the third straight state on the Pacific Coast on this list. Like Hawaii, it also has many elderly people and few children. Both states have few African Americans as well, although Oregon has a far higher percentage of White people. The states have some of the lowest homicide rates in the country. Oregon and Hawaii tend to be quite liberal. Both states have strong civil rights laws, protecting minorities and the LGBTQ community. In addition, since 2000, Hawaii and Oregon have voted for all the same candidates in the presidential primaries.
- New Jersey is another state where many people live near the beach, although it is on the Atlantic Ocean and its climate is much cooler. The states also get a similar amount of rainfall. Interestingly enough, New Jersey and Hawaii are the states with by far the two lowest percentages of residents that receive fluorinated water at less than 15%. In addition, both states create their electricity primarily using natural gas, however few houses have heating systems in Hawaii, unlike New Jersey. New Jersey also has far fewer guns per capita, although few people in either state hunt. Another big difference is that New Jersey is much more densely populated.
- Maryland‘s government is especially similar to Hawaii. It is also primarily run by the Democratic Party. Both states allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, but are not sanctuary states. They also have decriminalized marijuana, although they have not legalized it. In addition, marriages to cousins are still legal in these states. Both states are fairly prosperous and few people have mobile homes. Although Maryland is not an island, due to the Chesapeake Bay, it has a lot of coastline relative to its size. It is also mountainous, due the Appalachians, although its peaks are not nearly as high.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Hawaii
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country and very few Asian Americans. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. However, one similarity is that both states get a lot of rain and rarely get snowfall, although Mississippi is far more flat. It is also one of the poorest states.
- Arkansas has a far higher percentage of hunters than Hawaii. Its laws are also much more conservative. Unlike Hawaii, its voters are required to have photo IDs. It also has more laws restricting abortion. Like Mississippi, the state is fairly poor and its people are less educated than average.
- Alabama is similar to Mississippi and Arkansas. It is one of the most conservative states. Few democrats are elected there. One of the few similarities between Alabama and Hawaii is that both have very restrictive gambling laws. Neither state even has a lottery.
- Oklahoma is a landlocked and fairly flat state just north of Texas. Although Oklahoma is famous for being the home of many Native American people, they are now less than 3% of their population. Its people do far less exercise and watch more television. Unlike Hawaii, the death penalty is still actively used in Oklahoma. In addition, it does not allow cousin marriage and does not have many protections to the civil rights of its people.
- North Dakota‘s geography is basically the opposite of Hawaii, it is a cold, landlocked, relatively dry state. In addition, it is fairly flat and a very high percentage of its land is used for farming, so it does not have many forested areas. In addition, its population is far less diverse than Hawaii. It is one of the Whitest states in the country.
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