Which States are Most Similar to Alaska? 2.0

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 no other states

No other states are especially similar to Alaska. It is an isolated state with unique geography and sparse infrastructure. The five most similar states to it are also sparsely populated and have colder climates than the average state. They all have part of the Rocky Mountains running though them as well. Furthermore, these states are among the ten last states admitted to the union.

Top 5 States Most Similar to Alaska

  1. Idaho may have the most similar climate compared to Alaska of any other state. It has roughly the same percentage of forests and is also extremely mountainous. However, despite the fact that both states favor Republicans, Idaho has far more conservative laws than Alaska. While Alaska does not even allow life in prison, the death penalty is still legal in Idaho. Idaho does not even allow medical marijuana. Furthermore, it has more restrictions to abortion.
  2. Montana is another cold, mountainous, and sparsely populated state. It is also extremely similar in regards to religion, except for the fact that Alaska has more Orthodox Christians. Although both states favor electing Republicans, Montana has had many Democratic governors recently. Both states have also legalized marijuana and banned smoking in public places. Another similarity is that both states have a significant Native American population, although Alaska’s is over twice as large.
  3. Washington is the closest state in proximity to Alaska. Both states border the Pacific Ocean. However, Washington is significantly more liberal than Alaska, so it has far more Democrats in its government. Still, they have some similar laws. Both states have abolished the death penalty. They also have laws favorable to unions and a higher than average minimum wage. Interestingly enough, when Alaska was still a territory, congress passed a law that required all goods entering or leaving the territory to be shipped to Seattle first.
  4. Wyoming has the second lowest population density, after Alaska. Like Alaska, its primary crop is hay, although Wyoming has a much larger percentage of agricultural land. Both states use a lot of energy due to industrial activities. However, Wyoming creates fat more electricity per capita than Alaska. Furthermore, most of its electricity is created by coal power plants, unlike Alaska.
  5. Colorado is another state that has a long history of mining in the Rocky Mountains. Both scenic states are very snowy and mountainous. Their demographics are also fairly similar, although Alaska has less Latinos. They both have relatively high military enlistment rates. Both states have banned the death penalty and also smoking in public places. However, Colorado tends to favor the Democratic Party in elections, unlike Alaska.

The five least similar states to Alaska are all far more densely populated. They are all located in the Eastern portion of the United States and border the Atlantic Ocean. These states are much older than Alaska, since they were all admitted to the union before 1820. In addition, the five least similar states have a higher percentage of forested land than Alaska.

Top 5 States Least Similar to Alaska

  1. New Jersey, in contrast to Alaska, has the densest population of any state. As a result, its infrastructure is much more developed. Furthermore, New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country. Another difference is that New Jersey heavily favors Democrats. It also has a higher percentage of Blacks and people with Italian heritage than Alaska.
  2. Mississippi is one of the poorest states. It has the highest percentage of Blacks in the United States. The state has little interest in hockey, but produces a high amount of football players. However both Alaska and Mississippi are quite rural and conservative. Both states favor Republicans. Another difference is that Mississippi’s terrain is relatively flat and it also has a significantly warmer climate.
  3. Rhode Island is the smallest state by area, in contrast to Alaska. It also has the highest percentage of Catholics. A large percentage of its area is urban land. Rhode Island is one of the heaviest users of Amtrak in the United States, while Alaska is heavily reliant on airplanes and ships for travel between states.
  4. Massachusetts is one of the most well educated and affluent states. A majority of its people are Catholic. It is also one of the least religious states. While Massachusetts hosted the first permanent English colony in North America, Alaska was the second to last state admitted to the union. However, both states are relatively cold and they also both like hockey. 
  5. Alabama, like Mississippi, is another extremely conservative southern state on this list. It has a much higher percentage of Blacks and a much lower percentage of Native Americans than Alaska. It is also significantly warmer and gets more rainfall as well. The state has very little coastline, unlike Alaska, which is located on a peninsula.

Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Alaska

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


  1. I don’t think I’ve seen yet, even in the Country Similarity Index, an entity which is most similar in one aspect but least similar in another.


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