Variance in Physical Traits by US State

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. 20% of the index is based on demographics. 20% of a state’s demographic score (4% of the overall State Similarity Rating) is allocated for their physical traits. This includes age, gender, weight, disability, and circumcision. The following is an explanation on how they were calculated:

Median Age

Utah has by far the lowest median age (31.3) in the country, nearly 4 years younger than the next youngest states, Texas and Alaska. This is due to the fact that most people in Utah are Mormon and they are encouraged to have many children. On the other end of the spectrum, the average age in Maine (45.0), almost 14 years older. New Hampshire, Vermont, and West Virginia are also quite old. They are all rural states that have some of the highest percentages of White people in the country.

Source: US Census Bureau

States were categorized into the following groups by average age:
31.25-32.5, 32.5-33.75, 33.75-35, 35-36.25, 36.25-37.5, 37.5-38.75, 38.75-40, 40-41.25, 41.25-42.5, 42.5-43.75, 43.75-45

Percentage of Children

The percentage of children under 18 years old in each state is highly correlated with average age. Again, Utah (30.8%) has the most children, while Maine (19.0%) has the least. Idaho (26.7%) also has a high percentage, since it has the second highest percentage of Mormons.

Source: American Community Survey

States were categorized into the following groups by percentage of children:
19-21, 21-23, 23-25, 25-27, 27-29, 29-31

Percentage of Elderly

The percentage of people over 65 years old in each state is highly correlated with average age. Again, Utah (11.5%)has the most children, while Maine (21.3%) has the least. Florida (21.1%) and Hawaii (19.7%) also have high percentages due to many retirees moving there.

Source: American Community Survey

States were categorized into the following groups by percentage of elderly:
11-13, 13-15, 15-17, 17-19, 19-21, 21-23

Obesity Rate

Poorer Southern states generally have the highest obesity rates. West Virginia (38.1%) and Mississippi (37.3%) have the highest rates. More affluent Western states have far lower obesity rates. Colorado (22.6%) and Hawaii (23.8%) have the lowest rates. Their people generally have a more active lifestyle.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

States were categorized into the following groups by obesity rate:
22.33-25, 25-27.66, 27.66-30.33, 30.33-33, 33-35.66, 35.66-38.33

Disability Rate

West Virginia (19.1%) has by far the highest percentage of people with disabilities. In general, poorer states with aging populations have more. In contrast, Utah (9.6%) has the lowest percentage of people with disabilities. More affluent states with younger populations tend to have less.

Source: Statista

States were categorized into the following groups by disability rate:
9.25-11, 11-12.75, 12.75-14.5, 14.5-16.25, 16.25-18, 18-19.75

Circumcision Rate

The overall rate of circumcision in the United States is around 50%, but it can vary greatly by state. Interestingly enough, the states with the highest rates of reported circumcisions by hospitals are all located along the Ohio River or in the Midwest. West Virginia (91.0%) has the highest rate. Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana also have high rates. Hospitals in the Western United States in comparison do few circumcisions. Washington and Nevada just a 10% rate, while other Western states have a relatively low rate.

Source: World Population Review

States were categorized into the following groups by circumcision rate:
10-23.33, 23.33-36.66, 36.66-50, 50-63.33, 63.33-76.66, 76.66-90

Gender Ratio

In general, states in the Eastern United States have more females than males. In contrast, states in the Northwestern quarter of the United States usually have more males than females. Alaska has the most males per female. This could be due to more males moving to these states to take lucrative jobs related to the mining industry.

Source: US Census Bureau

States were categorized into the following groups by females per male:
48-48.66, 48.66-49.33, 49.33-50, 50-50.66, 50.66-51.33, 51.33-52

Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one state is to another. How would you quantify how similar one state is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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