Which States are Most Similar to Tennessee?

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

Many states are similar to Tennessee. Four of the top five states were all part of the Confederacy during the Civil War and they all had slavery in the past. In addition, they are all part of the Bible Belt, the most religious area of the United States. Because of this, they tend to be very conservative politically and heavily favor Republicans. In addition, most of these states are fairly mountainous as well.

Top 5 States Most Similar to Tennessee

  1. Kentucky is located just to the north of Tennessee. Their geography is extremely similar. They have about the same average temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, both states are landlocked and quite mountainous. Around half of their land is forested. One historical difference is that Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy, even though it allowed slavery. Another difference is that Tennessee is more reliant on nuclear power and less reliant on coal.
  2. Alabama is to the south of Tennessee. It is another deeply religious state, where a vast majority of its people are Protestants. Their people tend to have a similar accent. One difference is that Tennessee produces far more top musicians than Alabama, due to the large music industry in Nashville. However, Alabama has a warmer climate and is not landlocked. It also has a higher percentage of forested land and a lower percentage of farmland.
  3. Arkansas and Tennessee are landlocked and both border the Mississippi River. Although Arkansas is not in the Appalachian Mountains, its terrain is comparable since it has the Ozark Mountains. Their demographics are also incredibly similar. Both states are mostly White but are also around 15% Black. Like Alabama, these states also have very few Catholics and have many Protestants. In addition, these states have very few Union members.
  4. South Carolina does not border Tennessee and is located on the Atlantic Coast, the two states still have a lot in common. Most of the drinking water in both states comes from freshwater reservoirs. They also rely on nuclear energy to create much of their electricity. Their people have about the same amount of wealth and level of education. However, South Carolina has a slightly higher percentage of Blacks.
  5. North Carolina is to the east of Tennessee, just across the Great Smokey Mountains. Because of their similar climate, their crops are alike. Their populations have about the same average age. Their people also have around the same amount of wealth and level of education on average. Both states require photo IDs to vote, have similar abortion laws, and do not allow undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses.

Top 5 States Least Similar to Tennessee

  1. Hawaii is one of the most liberal states in contrast to Tennessee. Few republicans are elected there. Furthermore, its demographics are also extremely different, since it has by far the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any state. In addition, a high percentage of its people are military personnel. Its tropical climate and agriculture is also quite different from Tennessee. While Tennessee is landlocked, Hawaii is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
  2. California is another extremely liberal state that borders the Pacific Ocean. It legalized marijuana but bans smoking from public places. Its Latino population is far higher than Tennessee’s. As a result, it also has a far higher percentage of Catholics. Another difference is that its agriculture land grows more fruits and vegetables. 
  3. Alaska is yet another state that borders the Pacific Ocean. Its climate is also colder than Tennessee, since it is far more north. Its population density is much more sparse. Furthermore, the state has far more coastline and many islands, unlike Tennessee. A higher percentage of its people are Native American. Still, both states do often vote for Republicans in presidential elections.
  4. Massachusetts is one of the most well educated and wealthiest states. A majority of its people are Catholic. It is also one of the least religious states. Although the Appalachian Mountains run through both states, its climate is much colder and it gets more snowfall. Natural gas is its biggest source of electricity, while Tennessee creates a lot of nuclear power.
  5. Vermont is another landlocked state in the Appalachian Mountains, however other they that these states have few things in common. Vermont is much more liberal than Tennessee and its people are significantly less religious. It has an older average population and a higher percentage of its people are White. It also has a lower incarceration rate and also a lower homicide rate.

Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Tennessee

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s