Which States are Most Similar to South Dakota?

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 states in the prairies

South Dakota is similar to many states. The top five are all located along the Missouri River and are predominately grasslands. They are all landlocked, sparsely populated, and have most of their land devoted to agriculture. In addition, they have a high percentage of White people and also favor the Republican Party.

Top 5 States Most Similar to South Dakota

  1. Nebraska is directly to the south of South Dakota. Their infrastructure and geography are extremely similar. Both states are relatively flat and have a lot of farmland. In addition, the both grow a lot of corn and soybeans. Their people have many vehicles, but few roads since they are not densely populated. However, there are still some political differences. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. It also has more restrictions on abortion. Furthermore, no ID is needed to vote in Nebraska.
  2. North Dakota and South Dakota both became states in 1889. Both populations have primarily German ancestry but they also have a lot of Norwegian ancestry. As a result, there are many Lutherans in these states. In addition, the states have high gun ownership rates and many people with hunting licenses. However, North Dakota and South Dakota rarely vote for the same candidates in presidential primaries. In addition, North Dakota has more mining activity. It uses far more energy per capita due to fracking there. Furthermore, their people tend to have different accents.
  3. Iowa borders South Dakota to its southeast. It is another landlocked state that has a lot of farmland and a similar climate. Their people tend to have a similar accent. They also incredibly safe states, since they have low homicide rates. One big difference is that the Democratic Party tends to do better in Iowa. It voted for Obama twice. Another difference is that Iowa also has more gun restrictions, although they both have few restrictions on abortion.
  4. Kansas has a warmer climate than South Dakota and it gets less snow. Still, the states are fairly similar. They are both not mountainous and have lots of agricultural land. The average incomes of people in these states are similar. These states also strongly favor Republicans. Both states require a photo ID to vote. However, wine and spirits cannot be bought in grocery stores in Kansas. Another difference is that Kansas has a higher percentage of Latinos.
  5. Montana is to the west of South Dakota. Most of its land was once part of Dakota Territory. The states receive about the same about of snow and rainfall. Both are primarily White and have little racial diversity. Many people in these states have German ancestry. One big difference is Montana is much more mountainous. It is also in the Mountain Time Zone, not the Central Time Zone, like other states on this list. Furthermore, it is not on the same electrical grid.

Top 5 States Least Similar to South Dakota

  1. Hawaii is the opposite of South Dakota in a number of different geographic ways, since 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 South Dakota. Very few Republicans get elected there. In addition, its population of Native Hawaiian and East Asian ancestry is much higher.
  2. Massachusetts is far more diverse than South Dakota as well. It has a higher percentage of Asians and African Americans. It also has less people with German and Norwegian ancestry and more Irish and Italians. In addition, it has many immigrants. The state is also wealthier and more educated than South Dakota. Not only do most people live close to the ocean, but it is also much more densely populated. However, both states get significant snowfall.
  3. New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, while South Dakota has many gun owners and people with hunting licenses. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer people have cars. New York is also more mountainous than South Dakota and has a much higher percentage of forested land.
  4. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in contrast to South Dakota. A low percentage of its land is used for farming. They also create electricity differently. New Jersey relies on nuclear power and natural gas, while South Dakota primarily uses hydropower. Furthermore, most of the state is near the beach, in contrast to landlocked South Dakota. In addition, far fewer Republicans are elected there.
  5. California is yet another coastal state on this list. California has a far higher percentage of Latinos and Asian Americans than South Dakota. Like Hawaii, its climate is much warmer and its terrain is more mountainous. It also has a lower percentage of farmland and their crops are significantly different. Furthermore, it is one of the most liberal states in the country.

Full Ranking of States Most Similar to South Dakota

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

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