Which States are Most Similar to Iowa?

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 Midwestern states

Iowa is like many states in the Midwest. These states tend to have a lot of farmland, producing both soybeans and corn. In addition, these states do not have a particularly diverse population. The plurality of their White people have German heritage. Furthermore, these are all states that did not have slavery. They also have similar climates. They are colder than most states and also get a moderate amount of precipitation. With the exception of Wisconsin, these states have extremely flat terrain as well.

Top 5 States Most Similar to Iowa

  1. Kansas does not border Iowa, but it has many similarities. Both states primarily use both coal and wind power to create electricity. Kansas and Iowa also have a low number of doctors per capita. They also have few single people. Both states are landlocked and have a lot of farmland, but the climate in Kansas isn’t as cold. Another difference is that the Democratic Party tends to do better in Iowa. Both states have a low minimum wage, but neither state is especially wealthy or poor.
  2. Nebraska  is to the directly to west of Iowa. Both states have a lot of farmland and tend to grow a lot of soybeans and corn. For the most part, they have a similar climate as well. They get about the same amount of snowfall. Their people have similar rates of atheism and belief in evolution. They also have low homicide rates. However, Iowa also less restrictions on both gambling and abortion. Like Kansas, it also favors the Republican Party more than Iowa.
  3. South Dakota is another conservative state in the Great Plains, just to the north of Nebraska. Their geography is quite similar. Both states are relatively flat and have a lot of farmland. However, far more people own guns and have hunting licenses in South Dakota. Another difference is that most of South Dakota’s electricity is produced by hydropower, whereas coal is the predominate source in Iowa.
  4. Wisconsin is to the northeast of Iowa. The states have extremely similar demographics. Most of their population is White and has German heritage. They also have about the same average age and level of education. Both states are moderate politically, but Wisconsin favors Democrats slightly more. These states both have army bases, but have relatively few people enlisted in the military. However, it is much more forested than Iowa and has less farmland.
  5. Minnesota is located to the north of Iowa. While these states have a lot in common, they also have some significant differences. Minnesota has more people with Scandinavian heritage. As a result, both states have many Lutherans. However, in presidential elections, Minnesota almost always votes for Democrats, unlike Iowa, which is a swing state. Like Wisconsin, it is also more forested than Iowa. Still, they have a similar population density.

Top 5 States Least Similar to Iowa

  1. Hawaii is the opposite of Iowa in a number of different geographic ways. It is an island in the Pacific Ocean that gets a lot of rainfall. It is also quite mountainous and a far higher percentage of its land is forested. In addition, Hawaii is far less conservative than Iowa. Very few Republicans get elected there. In addition, its population of people with Native Hawaiian and East Asian ancestry is much higher than Iowa’s.
  2. California is yet another state that borders the Pacific Ocean on this list. It has a far higher percentage of Latinos and Asian Americans than Iowa. Like Hawaii, its climate is much warmer and its terrain is more mountainous. A large part of the state is desert land. Furthermore, it is one of the most liberal states in the country.
  3. Massachusetts is far more diverse than Iowa. It has a higher percentage of Asians and African Americans. In addition, it has many immigrants. Its people are also less religious and more educated than Iowa. Not only do most people live close to the ocean, but it is also much more densely populated than Iowa. A low percentage of the state’s land is used for agriculture.
  4. New York is another state that has a far more diverse population than Iowa. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer people have cars. The national origins of its people are much different than Iowa as well, since New York’s White population is mostly Italian and Irish in origin. Like other states on this list, Democrats are heavily favored in this state.
  5. Alaska is much less densely populated than Iowa. It also has very little agricultural land, since its climate is significantly colder. Another difference is that more of its people have Native American ancestry. It is also quite mountainous and has a lot of coastline, in stark contrast to Iowa.

Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Iowa

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

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