Have you ever wondered how similar or different two states are? The State Similarity Index 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 Index
Similar to other coastal states in the South
Florida is a fairly unique state, only Georgia has a high degree of similarity. Since it is a peninsula at the southern most portion of the continental United States, it has unique geography. It also has unique demographics, since it has an old but relatively diverse population. The top five states all border the Atlantic Ocean and usually get a lot of rainfall. These also states tend to have conservative laws, since they are often governed by Republicans. They were all once part of the Confederacy.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Florida
- Georgia is just to the north of Florida. Both states grow peanuts and cotton, but also have a significant amount of orchards as well. Nowadays, many people are moving to Atlanta from other parts of the country, similar to Florida. They both have a greater interest in football than most other states. However, there is a far higher percentage of African Americans in Georgia than Florida. Furthermore, most Floridians do not have a Southern accent, like Georgians.
- South Carolina is just to the north of Georgia. It is another popular beach destination in the United States. Their laws are similar as well. They both have few restrictions on guns and allow capital punishment. However, it does not have any large metro areas, like the other states on this list. In addition, its Latino population is quite small in comparison to Florida. Another difference is that the majority of its electricity is created by nuclear power.
- North Carolina is another Southern state with a few different large cities that are more cosmopolitan than its rural areas. They have roughly the same average level of education and wealth. Although both states have about the same percentage of agricultural land, North Carolina predominately grows soybeans. It is also more mountainous than Florida, since a significant portion of the state is covered by the Appalachian Mountains.
- Louisiana is another state with a lot of wetlands. Both states are quite flat and get a lot of rainfall. However, Louisiana has a higher percentage of African Americans and a lower percentage of Latinos. Furthermore, many more people have French ancestry there. Still, Florida also has a some French Creole-speaking population due to Haitian immigration there. Their infrastructure is also similar because natural gas is used to create a majority of the electricity in both states.
- Alabama, like Georgia, borders Florida to the north. However, Alabama is significantly more religious than Florida. Both states are especially interested in football. Their people tend to watch a lot of television, although a higher percentage of households in Florida have cable television. Most of their buildings are relatively new, since many Americans have moved to the South in the past decades.
It is no surprise that the five least similar states to Florida are located much further to the north. They are sparsely populated and relatively mountainous states that have colder weather. Four of the five states are landlocked. In addition, mining is an important industry in four of these five states. With the exception of Vermont, they all have a lower percentage of forested land than Florida.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Florida
- Wyoming is landlocked, mountainous, and has a cold climate, in contrast to Florida. It is also much less developed. Furthermore, Wyoming uses far more water and electricity per capita than Florida. In addition, Wyoming’s population is not diverse. It has very few African Americans and Latinos. Although both states favor Republicans, Wyoming is more conservative.
- Utah is the youngest state, a by-product of the state’s unique Mormon demographics. In contrast, Florida has one of the oldest populations, due to many retirees moving there. Not only is Utah landlocked, but it is also one of the driest states and most of the rain that falls there does not even flow into the ocean. One similarity is that Utah did allow slavery in its past, like Florida. The states also both favor Republicans, although Florida has significantly more Democrats.
- Alaska is in the extreme northwest corner of the United States, in contrast to Florida, so its climate is much colder. In addition, Alaska has the highest mountain in North America, while Florida is incredibly flat. One thing they both share is that they are both peninsulas. They are also both relatively conservative states, although Alaska does not allow either capital punishment or life imprisonment.
- Montana is yet another sparsely populated state that borders Canada on this list. A high percentage of its land is either farmland or grassland. Montana’s population is also far less diverse than Florida’s. Its people are predominately White and the state has an extremely low percentage of Blacks.
- Vermont is the only state in the Eastern Time Zone on this list. It is a rural, landlocked, and mountainous state. It has no major cities. It is also far less diverse than Florida. It has one the highest percentages of White people in the country. Furthermore, Vermont is far more liberal and less religious than Florida. Marijuana is legal and the state is much more friendly to unions.
Do you agree with the list?
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