Which States are Most Similar to Virginia?

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 other Southern states

Virginia is a Southern state, but it has some traits of states in the Mid-Atlantic as well. The four of the 5 most similar states were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War and they all allowed slavery in the past. The Appalachian Mountains run through all of these states as well. With the exception of Tennessee, they are original colonies that border the Atlantic Coast. Furthermore, the people in these states tend to have a similar accent.

Top 5 States Most Similar to Virginia

  1. North Carolina borders Virginia to the south. Their demographics are quite similar. However, Virginia has a higher percentage of Asians. Both states have a lot of military personal and also many different military bases. These states have recently voted for most of the same presidential primary candidates as well. North Carolina and Virginia also have few people that are members of a union. However, one big difference is that North Carolina is not as wealthy and far more of their people own mobile homes.
  2. Maryland is the only other state that borders the Chesapeake Bay. Their demographics are very similar, since the suburbs of Washington DC are in both states. However, unlike other states on this list, Maryland was not part of the Confederacy. The states have voted for all the same presidential primary candidates since 1996, although Maryland has less conservative laws. It has less restrictions on abortion, and more restrictions on smoking. Moreover, the death penalty is not legal there.
  3. Georgia is much farther south than Virginia, so its climate is significantly warmer than Virginia’s. Still, these states have many similarities as well. They have a similar percentage of gun owners and people with hunting licenses. Both states do not ban smoking in public settings. Another similarity is that both states predominately use natural gas and nuclear power to create electricity.
  4. South Carolina is yet another state on the Atlantic Coast on this list. Both states were original colonies. However, South Carolina favors Republicans significantly more than Virginia. Another difference is that its people are not as wealthy and less well educated on average. Unlike the other states on the list, it does not have any major metro areas.
  5. Tennessee is the only state on the list that does not border the Atlantic Ocean. Still, the two states have a lot in common. Both states are quite mountainous, since the Appalachians run though them. The White people in these states tend to have a mix of English, German, and Irish heritage. However, Tennessee is less racially diverse. It has a lower percentage of Blacks, Latinos, and Asians than Virginia.

Top 5 States Least Similar to Virginia

  1. Wyoming is a sparsely populated, landlocked state. Wyoming’s infrastructure is especially different from Virginia. The state uses far more energy per capita. Furthermore, it has much lower density of roads and railroads. It also has little racial diversity. Few minorities live there. Its electricity is mostly powered by coal, while Virginia’s two biggest sources are natural gas and nuclear energy.
  2. Alaska‘s climate is far colder than Virginia and it gets more snowfall. The state is also less densely populated and has a much lower percentage of agricultural land. Although both states are mountainous, Alaska’s peaks are significantly higher. It is one of the newest states, while Virginia is an original colony. The state also has a much larger Native American population than Virginia. 
  3. North Dakota, like Alaska, is another state that borders Canada. Not only does it have less racial diversity than Virginia, a far higher percentage of its people have German and Norwegian ancestry. Their landscapes are far different as well. North Dakota has a higher percentage of farmland. It is also not nearly as mountainous.
  4. Montana is another state with an extremely low population density on this list. It also has a colder and drier climate. Furthermore, it is landlocked. It is also less diverse than Virginia, since the vast majority of its people are White and few minorities live there. The state has a higher percentage of high school graduates, but a lower percentage of people that completed college and have advanced degrees.
  5. South Dakota is quite similar to North Dakota, especially in regards to geography. A far higher percentage of people in the state have hunting licenses than in Virginia. Unlike Virginia, the vast majority of its representatives are Republicans. Still, interesting enough, these states have voted for all the same presidential primary candidates since 1996.

Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Virginia

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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