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 mountainous states in the Western US
Oregon is a relatively unique state. Only Washington and Colorado have a lot in common with it. These states are quite mountainous. People in these states often do a lot of exercise as well. They often vote for Democrats in state-wide elections. The federal government still owns a significant portion of the land in the most similar states to Oregon.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Oregon
- Washington is just to the north of Oregon. Until 1853, it was part of Oregon Territory. Their geography is highly similar. They both border the Pacific Ocean and have a similar climate. In addition, their terrain is quite mountainous. Aside from major cities along the western portions of their states, they are quite sparsely populated. Both states are known for their counter culture. They are also similar politically. Both states have many Democrats, since Republicans rarely win statewide election there. As a result, they have liberal laws. Recreational marijuana is legal in both states. However, Oregon is not as wealthy as Washington.
- Colorado does not border Oregon, but it does have many similarities. Although Colorado is landlocked, their landscape is similar. 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.
- California borders Oregon to the south and both states are located along the Pacific Coast. However, California’s climate is warmer. It also has far more Latinos than Oregon. Still, Union membership is quite high in these states. Since 1992, these states have only voted for Democratic presidential candidates. They both have high minimum wages. These states have about the same percentage of farmland, but Oregon is more forested.
- Montana and Oregon have a lot of people with German ancestry, but also many with Irish and English ancestry. However, a much higher percentage of people in Montana own guns and have hunting licenses. Both states do not have many restrictions on either guns or abortion. Their people almost always vote for the same presidential candidates in primaries as well. In addition, both states have banned smoking in public places.
- Arizona is much further to the south of Oregon, but it does have some characteristics in common with it. The average age of their people is similar. In addition, circumcision rates in these states are quit low. Most of their people are located in large urban areas. However, Arizona has far more immigrants from Mexico. Another big difference is that Arizona is mostly desert and has a much hotter climate than Oregon.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Oregon
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. Furthermore, its geography is quite different from Oregon since it has few mountains and a greater percentage of its land is farmed. It is also one of the poorest states and has the fewest amount of cars per capita. Unlike Oregon few people use public transportation as well.
- Louisiana is far less mountainous than Oregon. Louisiana also gets the most rainfall of any state. Oregon also gets significant rainfall, but some areas of the state have a relatively dry climate as well. Like Mississippi, it has a far higher percentage of people with African ancestry. The state is also far less wealthy than Oregon.
- Alabama is another extremely conservative state on this list. It is quite similar to Mississippi and Louisiana. Alabama is one of the most religious states and has a far higher percentage of Baptists than Oregon. Its climate is significantly hotter than Oregon’s as well. In addition, the state has far less coastline. It is also more densely populated.
- South Carolina is yet another Southern state on this list. It is one of the original thirteen colonies. In addition, the state has far more mobile homes than Oregon as well. Furthermore, it is primarily powered by nuclear energy, while Oregon relies on hydropower and natural gas. It is also one of the most conservative states in the country.
- North Dakota has a much higher percentage of farmland than Oregon. Very few areas of the state are forested. Although both states are mostly White, a far greater percentage of people in North Dakota have Norwegian ancestry. Another big difference is that North Dakota almost always votes for Republicans in state-wide elections.
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.