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 states in the Northeast
Vermont is a fairly unique state. The five most similar states are all located in the Northeastern portion of the United States and border the Atlantic Ocean. Their land is heavily forested and also quite mountainous, since they are in the Appalachian Mountains. In addition, these states have high snowfall totals. With the exception of New York, the vast majority of the people in these states are White. They are also some of the least religious states in the country.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Vermont
- Maine is another state that borders both Quebec and New Hampshire. Neither state was one of the 13 original colonies, instead both became independent from other states. Still today they are sparsely populated and have no cities with over 70,000 people. Both states use hydropower, wind power, and even wood to create electricity. Both states are heavily forested and have the same climate. One difference is that Maine is slightly less well educated than Vermont. Maine also has a lot of coastline, while Vermont is landlocked.
- New Hampshire is located between Maine and Vermont. Both states predominately covered by Maple forests. A low percentage of their land used for agriculture and they mostly grow hay. In addition these states are well educated. Their homes are most often heated by fuel oil and almost never heated by electricity, since they have such a cold climate. One big difference is that New Hampshire uses mostly nuclear power to create electricity. It is also slightly more conservative politically.
- Massachusetts is to the south of Vermont. Both states have some of the lowest military enlistment rates in the country. Both states have banned smoking in public places and capital punishment. In addition, they have both legalized marijuana and surrogacy. Although both states are primarily Democratic, in the past four contested primary elections, they have never voted for the same candidate. Massachusetts tended to back candidates endorsed by the political establishment. Furthermore, a large percentage of its people are urban and live in Boston, in contrast to more rural Vermont.
- Connecticut is even further south of Vermont and Massachusetts. Vermont and Connecticut are quite liberal, although they have both had Republican governors recently. One big difference is that Connecticut’s gun laws are much more restrictive. Still, both states have laws that are friendly to immigrants. However, Connecticut is much more racially diverse than Vermont. It has far higher percentages of Latinos and African Americans. Connecticut is also far more wealthy.
- New York borders Vermont to the west. Their climates are alike. Upstate New York is quite similar to Vermont, but New York City has a much more diverse population. It has a lower percentage of White people and a higher percentage of Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. Like Connecticut, another big difference is that New York has much more restrictive gun laws than Vermont. Still, the people in both states tend to be fairly liberal.
The five least similar states to Vermont are all located at much lower latitudes, so they have hotter climates and get significantly less snowfall. They tend to have a far lower percentage of White people. They are also more religious and have more conservative laws than Vermont. Another difference is that football tends to be more popular in these states, while ice hockey is less popular.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Vermont
- Louisiana is one of the hottest and rainiest states. It gets very little snowfall and is not nearly as mountainous as Vermont. One interesting similarity is that both states have many people with French ancestry. However, Louisiana has far more African Americans. Louisiana is also has one of the biggest ports in the country, while Vermont is landlocked. Due to its large industrial sector, Louisiana also uses far more electricity per capita than Vermont and it creates most of it using natural gas.
- Texas is to the west of Louisiana. Its demographics and culture are quite different from Vermont. Texas has far more Latinos and its population is on average much younger. Still, their average incomes are alike. The landscape of Western Texas is especially different from Vermont, since it is much dryer and hotter. In addition, a far higher percentage of the state’s land is used for agriculture and it grows different crops than Vermont.
- Mississippi‘s demographics and culture also differ greatly from Vermont. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States and it is also one of the least educated states. In addition, it is one of the most religious states, in stark contrast to Vermont. Football is also far more popular in Mississippi and few people are interested in ice hockey there. One similarity is that both states are quite rural and are sparsely populated.
- Oklahoma is a yet another conservative Southern state on this list. The state is much less liberal and even its urban areas tend to vote for Republicans. It has more restrictions on abortions and less restrictions on smoking in public. Still, both states have few restrictions on guns. Oklahoma is also less rural than Vermont, since a high percentage of its people live in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, although their population densities are alike.
- Arizona‘s climate is significantly hotter and drier than Vermont. It also has a far lower percentage of forested land. In addition, Arizona has a higher percentage of Latinos, since it has many immigrants from Mexico. Despite being a location where many elderly people move to, Arizona still has a younger population than Vermont. Mining is also a bigger part of the economy of Arizona.
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