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 states in BOSWASH
BOSWASH is the name for the highly urbanized swath of land on the Atlantic Coast between Boston and Washington DC, which is centered around New York. These areas tend to have more immigrants and are racially diverse. They are also some of the areas where the Democratic Party is the strongest. The top 5 states most similar to Rhode Island are in this area.
Top 5 States Most Similar to New York
- Connecticut is to the west of Rhode Island. Their geography is nearly identical, although Connecticut is more mountainous. Their infrastructure is also similar. Unlike other states on this list, they both do not have subways systems and their people rely less on mass transit. Due to their close proximity to the ocean, both states have navy and coast guard bases. However, Connecticut is generally more wealthy and has a higher percentage of millionaires.
- Massachusetts is to the north and east of Rhode Island. It is another state with a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean. It has the second highest percentage of Catholics, behind Rhode Island. The states are politically similar. Both states are dominated by the Democratic Party, but have recently had Republican governors. The states have nearly the same policies in regards to guns, abortion, and civil rights. Their demographics are also extremely similar. Both states have many immigrants from Portugal. However, Massachusetts is more educated and less religious.
- New Jersey is the most densely populated state, while Rhode Island is second. Most people in both states are within an hour’s drive of the beach. Rhode Island and New Jersey also have many people with Italian and Irish ancestry. Despite the fact that they are both “sanctuary states”, neither state allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. In addition, these states have relatively few restrictions on gambling. However, New Jersey has a higher percentage of married people.
- New York is yet another Atlantic Coast state on this list. Not only are the incomes of people in New York and Rhode Island are about the same, but also their poverty rate and percentage of millionaires. Both states are dominated by the Democrats and have high union membership rates. Still, Rhode Island also has more restrictions on abortion and less restrictions on guns. Rhode Island is also a smaller state that has a higher percentage of urban area and it is not as mountainous. In addition, unlike New York, few people use mass transit and a higher percentage of people have cars.
- Maryland is another state that has a close relationship to the ocean. Since both states are situated around bays, they have a large amount of coastline relative to their area. They are also densely populated and a high percentage of their land is developed. However, Maryland is warmer since it is significantly further south. It has a higher percentage of farmland and grows far more corn and soybeans. There are also some demographic differences. Maryland has a lower percentage of Catholics and a higher percentage of African Americans. In addition, it has a lower percentage of drug users but a higher homicide rate.
Top 5 States Least Similar to New York
- Wyoming is the least densely populated state, after Alaska. Its infrastructure is quite different from Rhode Island. Almost all of its electricity is created by coal power plants, while Rhode Island mostly uses natural gas. It also uses the most electricity per capita of any state. It has a far lower density of roads. While Rhode Island’s culture is tied to the ocean, Wyoming is landlocked. In addition, Wyoming also has many gun owners and hunters, unlike Rhode Island.
- Utah has a majority Mormon population and is more religious than Rhode Island. Utah’s population is also one of the least diverse in the country. Furthermore, Utah has the highest percentage of married people, in contrast to Rhode Island. Like Wyoming, it is landlocked and its climate is much drier.
- Oklahoma is a yet another conservative, landlocked state on this list. It was one of the last states to gain statehood, in contrast to Rhode Island. Although, both states have a similar racial makeup, the ancestries of their people are quite different. Oklahoma has more people that identify themselves as having German and American ancestry. It also has a much milder climate and a far greater percentage of farmland. There are also few Catholics there.
- Idaho is one of the most conservative states. In contrast to Rhode Island, very few Democrats hold elected office there. It also is more rural and far less developed than Rhode Island. It has some of the slowest internet speeds in the United States and has few physicians per capita.
- Mississippi‘s demographics and culture differ greatly from Rhode Island. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States and very few Catholics. Its climate is much warmer and it rarely gets snow. In addition, Mississippi is far less affluent. It is poorer and less educated. However, one similarity is that there are relatively few married people in both states.
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