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 Northwestern states
Colorado is relatively unique. Interestingly enough, the three states most similar to it do not border it, unlike other states. The five most similar states are all mountainous.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Colorado
- Washington does not border Colorado, but the states have many similarities. Although Colorado is landlocked, their landscape is similar. Both states are in the Rocky Mountains and they have several national parks. Their people tend to do more exercise than most other states. Their demographics are also similar, although Colorado has a higher percentage of Latinos and a lower percentage of Asians. They are also both more affluent than most states. Like Washington and Oregon, Colorado also has liberal laws. Both states allow recreational marijuana.
- Montana is another state to the north of Colorado. Their geography is similar since both states are landlocked and the Rocky Mountains run through them. Their average rainfall is about the same, but Colorado gets more snowfall. Both states do not have great cell phone coverage, but the internet speeds in Colorado are far better. Montana is also significantly more favorable for Republicans than Colorado. Still, their laws are not far different. Both states have legalized marijuana and have few gun control laws. Furthermore, they have also banned smoking in public places.
- Oregon is yet another state to the northwest of Colorado on this list. Its culture is not far different from Oregon’s. Their people tend to be more active than most other states, doing more exercise and watching less television. Both states have high rates of drug usage as well. Their laws are also similar. They have few restrictions on abortion and guns, while the possession of marijuana is legal. However, Oregon has more coastline and gets more rainfall than Colorado.
- New Mexico borders Colorado to the south. The Rocky Mountains run through both states. However, New Mexico has some significant differences from Colorado. It has far more Spanish-speakers and people with Mexican heritage. It is also less affluent than Colorado. Far fewer people have cable television and more people live in poverty. Still, they both primarily get their electricity from a mix of gas and coal power plants. They are also similar politically as well.
- Nevada and Colorado are at about the same latitude, but Nevada is farther west. Like New Mexico, it has more Spanish-speakers and people with Mexican heritage than Colorado. Its people tend to be less well educated and far fewer have graduated from college. Still, the states have many attributes in common as well. The average age of their people is about the same. Neither state is especially religious. In addition, many people in these states live in large urban areas, like Las Vegas or Denver.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Colorado
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans of any state. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. Furthermore, its geography is quite different from Colorado since it has few mountains and it is not landlocked. It is also one of the poorest states and has the fewest amount of cars per capita. Its people tend to watch more television and less exercise.
- Louisiana is far less mountainous than Colorado and has far more coastline. Louisiana also gets the most rainfall of any state. It has a far higher percentage of people with African ancestry than Colorado. Its people tend to be less wealthy and less educated. It has one of the busiest seaports in the country, while Colorado is landlocked. Still, interestingly enough, most of Colorado’s land was part of the Louisiana Purchase.
- Alabama is another extremely conservative state on this list. It is quite similar to Mississippi. Alabama is one of the most religious states and has a far higher percentage of Baptists than Colorado. Its climate is significantly hotter than Colorado’s as well. However, Alabama is more mountainous than Mississippi or Louisiana, since part of the Appalachian Mountains run through the northern portion of the state.
- South Carolina is yet another Southern state on this list. It is one of the original thirteen colonies, while Colorado became a state almost 100 years later. In addition, South Carolina has far more mobile homes than Colorado. Furthermore, it is primarily powered by nuclear energy, while Colorado relies on fossil fuels. It is also one of the most conservative states in the country.
- Florida‘s geography is far different from Colorado, since it is one of the least mountainous states and has far more coastline, since it is a peninsula. Its climate is also much hotter and it gets more rainfall. However, it is not as poor as other states on this list. Furthermore, the Democratic party is stronger there than most other states in the south, although their laws still tend to be more conservative than Colorado’s.
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