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
Hawaii is the most unique state in the United States, no other states are similar. It has far more East Asians than the other states. It also has a unique tropical climate. However, the three most similar states also border the Pacific Coast. Like Hawaii, they are also quite liberal and their governments are dominated by Democrats. In addition, their geography is somewhat similar. They all are quite mountainous states that also have volcanos.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Hawaii
- California also has beautiful beaches and warm weather, although on average it is much drier. Both states produce a lot of fruit. California also has the second highest percentage of Asian Americans, after Hawaii, although it has more people with Chinese ancestry and less people with Japanese ancestry. Both states have health conscious people, so they tend to do a lot of exercise and have low smoking rates. In addition, California and Hawaii are some of the few states that have a base for each branch of the military. One big difference is that California’s Latino population is one of the highest in the country, while Hawaii has relatively few.
- Washington is another mountainous state on the Pacific Coast, like Hawaii and California, however its climate is much cooler. In addition, it also has many liberal and health conscious people. Washington also has relatively many Asian Americans, consisting of mostly Chinese and Filipinos. Hawaii and Washington also have around the same percentage of Latinos, at around 10% of the population.
- Oregon is the third straight state on the Pacific Coast on this list. Like Hawaii, it also has many elderly people and few children. Both states have few African Americans as well, although Oregon has a far higher percentage of White people. The states have some of the lowest homicide rates in the country. Oregon and Hawaii tend to be quite liberal. Both states have strong civil rights laws, protecting minorities and the LGBTQ community. In addition, since 2000, Hawaii and Oregon have voted for all the same candidates in the presidential primaries.
- Colorado is landlocked, but it still has a few traits similar to Hawaii. The people in both states tend to be more liberal and not especially religious. Furthermore, the people in these states do a lot of exercise and spend a lot of time in the outdoors, due to their beautiful natural landscapes. Both are popular vacations spots, except Colorado is known for skiing more than swimming. Both states have extremely tall mountains.
- Maryland‘s government is especially similar to Hawaii. It is also primarily run by the Democratic Party. Both states allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, but are not sanctuary states. They also have decriminalized marijuana, although they have not legalized it. In addition, marriages to cousins are still legal in these states. Both states are fairly prosperous and few people have mobile homes. Although Maryland is not an island, due to the Chesapeake Bay, it has a lot of coastline relative to its size. It is also mountainous, due the Appalachians, although its peaks are not nearly as high.
The five least similar states to Hawaii are all located to the east of the Mississippi River. These states have little coastline. Furthermore, these states are more conservative than Hawaii and favor Republicans more. They also tend to have a much lower percentage of East Asian people than Hawaii. In addition, these states are not as wealthy as Hawaii. Furthermore, people in these states tend to do less exercise and watch more television.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Hawaii
- Arkansas has a far higher percentage of hunters than Hawaii. Its laws are also much more conservative. Unlike Hawaii, its voters are required to have photo IDs. It also has more laws restricting abortion. Like Mississippi, the state is fairly poor and its people are less educated than average.
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country and very few Asian Americans. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. However, one similarity is that both states get a lot of rain and rarely get snowfall, although Mississippi is far more flat. It is also one of the poorest states.
- Alabama is similar to Mississippi and Arkansas. It is one of the most conservative states. Few democrats are elected there. One of the few similarities between Alabama and Hawaii is that both have very restrictive gambling laws. Neither state even has a lottery.
- Kentucky is another landlocked state that borders the Mississippi River on this list. Its laws are far less liberal than Hawaii’s. Furthermore, Kentucky’s demographics are also extremely different, since it has a significantly higher percentage of White people. In addition, a low percentage of its people in the military, in contrast to Hawaii. Kentucky’s climate is also much colder than Hawaii’s.
- West Virginia has a much colder climate than Hawaii so it gets far more snowfall. Most homes in Hawaii have no heating system, while West Virginian homes typically use either gas or electric heating systems. Although both states are mountainous, Hawaii is an a Volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, while West Virginia is landlocked. In addition, West Virginia has no military bases, in contrast to Hawaii.
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