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 Arizona and Nevada
True to its name, New Mexico is similar to other landlocked states in territory that was originally part of Mexico and have many Mexican immigrants, including Arizona and Nevada. They are also sparsely populated lands that are quite mountainous and have a dry climate. Uncommonly, the states least similar to New Mexico actually have one major aspect in common with New Mexico: they often vote for Democrats and have similar laws.
Top 5 States Most Similar to New Mexico
- Arizona is directly to the west of New Mexico. 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 Arizona, so it has fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Nevada, like Arizona and New Mexico, has many immigrants from Mexico. Their climate and terrain are similar. Like Nevada, New Mexico has relatively few married people and many divorced people. Large portions of both states are used by the military to conduct missile testing. It is likely that this is the reason these places are famous for UFO and alien sightings. One big difference is that Nevada is a much bigger tourist destination, due to Las Vegas.
- Colorado is another state in the Rocky Mountains, located directly to the north of New Mexico. However, Colorado is significantly wealthier. It also has a lower percentage of Latinos. Still, both states tend to vote for Democrats and their laws are alike. They have few gun restrictions or abortion restrictions. They also allow cousin marriage and have a low age of consent. In addition, Colorado and New Mexico have banned capital punishment.
- Montana, like New Mexico and Colorado, is located at the transition between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Neither state is wealthy and they both have high rates of suicide. Like New Mexico, Montana also has several prominent Native American reservations. However, Montana is much more northern, so it is significantly colder. In addition, its population is mostly White and has very few Latinos, so it tends to favor the Republican Party.
- California also has many immigrants from Mexico, but it also has far more Asian Americans and also more African Americans. A high percentage of people in both states are Catholic. Unlike other states on this list, is not landlocked. New Mexico is also poorer and has a far greater percentage of people living in mobile homes.
Top 5 States Least Similar to New Mexico
- Massachusetts is by far the least similar state to New Mexico. It is one of the wealthiest and most educated states. While Massachusetts has few suicides, New Mexico has one of the highest rates in the country. Furthermore, it produces more professional athletes and its people are much more interested in ice hockey. The biggest similarity is that both states tend to be more liberal. In addition, they both have many Catholics, although most of them are Irish or Italian.
- New Jersey is has extremely different demographics, infrastructure, and geography from New Mexico. It is wealthier and has a much higher percentage of African Americans and Asian Americans. A far higher percentage of people have cable TV and use mass transportation as well. It is also one of the most densely populated states. In addition, most of its people live close to the beach. Interestingly enough, despite these vast differences in other aspects, both states tend to be liberal and have similar laws.
- New Hampshire is yet another state in the Northeast on this list. Its population is predominately White and it has few Latinos. It is colder and also gets a lot more snowfall. While New Mexico has very hard water, New Hampshire has the softest water in the country. In addition, it relies mostly on nuclear energy to create electricity, not natural gas or coal. However, unlike other states on the list, it also has a low population density.
- Hawaii is a tropical island in the Pacific, in contrast to dry, landlocked New Mexico. Due to the climate, few houses are heated in Hawaii, while most houses in New Mexico are heated by natural gas. However, both states are mountainous. Although both states have a relatively low White population, Hawaii has few Latinos and more people with Asian ancestry. Both states also tend to be more liberal, although Hawaii has much stricter gambling laws. It does not even have a lottery.
- New York also has many Latinos, but they are mostly Puerto Rican or Dominican, while New Mexico’s Latinos are mostly Mexicans. Both states are mountainous, although New Mexico’s mountains are much taller. Although both states have laws that favor unions, New York has a far higher percentage of union members. Their housing situations are far different too, since New York has a higher percentage of renters and few people living in mobile homes.
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