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 landlocked Western states
The five most similar states to Arizona tend to be mountainous and have dry climates. They are also sparsely populated, landlocked states with many of their inhabitants concentrated in large cities. With the exception of Idaho, these states have large populations of Latinos as well. A large portion of the land in these states is owned by the federal government and they have many national parks. The five most similar states are also among the latest to join the United States.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Arizona
- Nevada and Arizona are the two driest states. They both have many immigrants from Mexico. They are also major tourist destinations. Although casinos are technically not allowed in Arizona, the state still has many casinos located on reservations for Native Americans. In addition, in both states, marijuana is legal and the sale of alcohol in the grocery store is allowed.
- New Mexico is directly to the east of Arizona. 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 Nevada. It has far fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Idaho is further north than Nevada and New Mexico. It borders Canada, not Mexico. Still, it has a lot in common with Arizona. Republicans tend to be favored in these states and they both have conservative laws as well. Much of the land in both states is sparsely vegetated. The people in these states are neither specially poor nor rich.
- Colorado is another mountainous country on this list. Both states have legalized marijuana and few gun restrictions. They also have several military bases and relatively high enlistment rates. However, Colorado has a few major differences. Its climate is colder than Arizona. It is also significantly wealthier and has more college graduates . The states also rarely vote for the same presidential primary candidates. In fact, the 2004 presidential primary was the last time the states voted for the same candidate, when John Kerry won 46 states.
- Utah‘s geography and infrastructure are extremely similar to Arizona. Both states are mostly desert. They also have many national parks with prominent mountains and canyons. In addition, less than 50% of their people have cable television. The states also tend to have very hard water. However, Utah’s demographics are extremely different. While Arizona is one of the oldest states, with many elderly retirees, Utah is the youngest state. Another big difference is religion, since most people in Utah are Mormon. Furthermore, there are relatively few Latinos in Utah.
The five least similar states to Arizona are located in the Northeast region of the United States. They all border the Atlantic Coast. Their land is much more densely populated than Arizona. It is also more heavily forested. The governments of these states tend to have many Democrats, in contrast to Arizona. Another difference is that these states tend to be significantly less religious than Arizona.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Arizona
- Massachusetts is one of the least religious states, in contrast to Arizona. It is far more liberal and has a higher percentage of LGBT people. It also has a much lower suicide rate than Arizona. Its population is more wealthy and educated. In fact, Massachusetts has the highest percentage of college graduates in the country. Furthermore, its people are more interested in ice hockey. It has a significantly colder climate than Arizona as well.
- New Jersey is yet another state on the Atlantic Coast on this list. However, New Jersey has a much lower percentage of Mexicans and a higher percentage of Hindus. In addition, New Jersey is far less mountainous than Arizona. Its infrastructure is also much more densely developed.
- Rhode Island is quite similar to Massachusetts. It is the smallest state by land area, so much of the state is urbanized. Although Rhode Island is not an actual island, it does have a lot of coastline. It also has a higher percentage of Catholics than Arizona.
- New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Its laws are also friendly to unionization, in contrast to Arizona, and it has a much greater percentage of union members. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer people have cars. While both states have a relatively high Latino population, New York has few Mexican immigrants. It has more immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. It also has a higher percentage of African Americans.
- Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the country. Most of its land is close to the coast, unlike landlocked Arizona. Most of the water withdrawals it uses come from the sea, not ground water. Connecticut is also much more liberal than Arizona.
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