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 Arizona and Nevada
New Mexico is similar to other landlocked states in the Western United States. The five most similar states are also sparsely populated lands that are quite mountainous and have a dry climate. With the exception of Montana, these states have a high population of immigrants from Mexico. They also have a lot of new buildings, since their population has grown quickly in the past few decades.
Top 5 States Most Similar to New Mexico
- Arizona is directly to the west of New Mexico. Before 1860, Arizona was actually a part of New Mexico Territory until they were divided. Both became states in 1912. Like Nevada, it also has a large Latino population. They also have a sizable Native American population, since the Navajo Reservation spans both states. However, the Democratic Party is far stronger in New Mexico than Arizona, so it has fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Nevada, like Arizona and New Mexico, has many immigrants from Mexico. Their climate and terrain are similar. Like Nevada, New Mexico has relatively few married people and many divorced people. Large portions of both states are used by the military to conduct missile testing. It is likely that this is the reason these places are famous for UFO and alien sightings. One big difference is that Nevada is a much bigger tourist destination, due to Las Vegas.
- Colorado is another state in the Rocky Mountains, located directly to the north of New Mexico. However, Colorado is significantly wealthier. It also has a lower percentage of Latinos. Still, both states tend to vote for Democrats and their laws are alike. They have few gun restrictions or abortion restrictions. They also allow cousin marriage and have a low age of consent. In addition, Colorado and New Mexico have banned capital punishment.
- California also has many immigrants from Mexico, but it also has far more Asian Americans and also more African Americans. A high percentage of people in both states are Catholic. Unlike other states on this list, is not landlocked. New Mexico is also poorer and has a far greater percentage of people living in mobile homes.
- Montana, like New Mexico and Colorado, is located at the transition between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Neither state is wealthy and they both have high rates of suicide. Like New Mexico, Montana also has several prominent Native American reservations. However, Montana is much more northern, so it is significantly colder. In addition, its population is mostly White and has very few Latinos, so it tends to favor the Republican Party.
The five least similar states to New Mexico are located in the Eastern United States. These states are most heavily forested than New Mexico, Four of the five were part of the original thirteen colonies and they border the Atlantic Coast. They tend to have a significantly lower Latino population than New Mexico as well.
Top 5 States Least Similar to New Mexico
- Massachusetts is by far the least similar state to New Mexico. It is one of the wealthiest and most educated states. While Massachusetts has few suicides, New Mexico has one of the highest rates in the country. Furthermore, it produces more professional athletes and its people are much more interested in ice hockey. The biggest similarity is that both states tend to be more liberal. In addition, they both have many Catholics, although most of them are Irish or Italian.
- New Hampshire is yet another state in the Northeast on this list. Its population is predominately White and it has few Latinos. It is colder and also gets a lot more snowfall. While New Mexico has very hard water, New Hampshire has the softest water in the country. In addition, it relies mostly on nuclear energy to create electricity, not natural gas or coal. However, unlike other states on the list, it also has a low population density.
- Alabama is a much more conservative state than New Mexico. It heavily favors Republicans, unlike New Mexico. Furthermore, its people tend to be more religious. It has far less Catholics and far more Protestants than New Mexico. Alabama also gets far more rainfall than New Mexico.
- Rhode Island is the smallest state by land area and has one of the highest population densities. In contrast to landlocked New Mexico, most people in Rhode Island live close to the coast. Its climate is colder and wetter than New Mexico’s. However, both states do have large Catholic populations.
- Georgia is another Southern state on this list. Although both states are about the same latitude, their flora and fauna is quite different, since Georgia’s climate gets more rainfall. It also has a much higher Black population than New Mexico and a significantly lower percentage of Native Americans.
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