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 states in BOSWASH
BOSWASH is the name for the highly urbanized swath of land on the Atlantic Coast between Boston and Washington DC, which is centered around New York. These areas tend to have more immigrants and are racially diverse. They are also some of the areas where the Democratic Party is the strongest. The top five states most similar to Massachusetts are in this region.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Massachusetts
- Rhode Island is a smaller state to the south of Massachusetts. Both states are located along the Atlantic Ocean and have major port cities. Rhode Island is the only state that has a higher percentage of Catholics than Massachusetts. The states are politically similar. Both states are dominated by the Democratic Party, but have recently had Republican governors. The states have nearly the same policies in regards to guns, abortion, and civil rights. Their demographics are also extremely similar. Both states have many immigrants from Portugal. However, Rhode Island is slightly less educated and more religious.
- Connecticut borders both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Their geography is similar. Both states are mountainous and a low percentage of their land is used for agriculture. They also have about the same population density. Their demographics are also similar. Both states are mostly White, but they also have a significant population of Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. In addition, both states are highly educated and their people tend to have higher than average incomes.
- New York is yet another Atlantic Coast state on this list. Many people in both states use mass transit, since much of their population lives in densely populated cities. Both states are dominated by the Democratic party. However, New York’s population is more diverse than Massachusetts’. While few people in either state have hunting licenses, Massachusetts has more gun owners per capita.
- New Jersey is further south than Massachusetts. It is also less mountainous. Still, the states have some similarities. A large percentage of their land is urbanized. Both states have many laws to protect civil rights. In addition, no ID is needed to vote in these states. Furthermore, Marijuana is legal in both states. Although both states have a lot of coastline, New Jersey has more shipping infrastructure. Like New York, it is also more diverse than Massachusetts.
- Maryland is another state that has a close relationship to the ocean. Both states have their capitals and largest cities located along bays. They are also densely populated and a high percentage of their land is developed. However, Maryland is warmer and gets far less snowfall since it is significantly further south. There are also some demographic differences. Maryland has a lower percentage of Catholics and a higher percentage of African Americans. In addition, it has a higher homicide rate.
The four of five least similar states to Massachusetts are landlocked. They are all also significantly less densely populated. Another big difference is that these states get much less snowfall. Furthermore, the people in these states tend to be much more religious. Republicans are much more popular in these states. In addition, these states have very few Catholics compared to Massachusetts.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Massachusetts
- Wyoming is the least densely populated state, after Alaska. Its infrastructure is quite different from Massachusetts’ as well. Almost all of its electricity is created by coal power plants, while Massachusetts mostly uses natural gas. It also uses the most electricity per capita of any state. It has a far lower density of roads. In addition, Wyoming also has a high percentage of gun owners and hunters, unlike Massachusetts.
- Oklahoma is yet another conservative, landlocked state on this list. It was one of the last states to gain statehood, in contrast to Massachusetts. Although, both states have a similar racial makeup, the ancestries of their people are quite different. Oklahoma has more people that identify themselves as having German and American ancestry. It also has a much milder climate and a far greater percentage of farmland. There are also fewer Catholics there.
- Idaho is one of the most conservative states. In contrast to Massachusetts, very few Democrats hold elected office there. It also is more rural and far less developed than Massachusetts. It has some of the slowest internet speeds in the United States and has few physicians per capita. Its people also tend to be less well educated. Like other states on this list, it is much less densely populated.
- Mississippi‘s demographics and culture differ greatly from Massachusetts. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States and very few Catholics. Furthermore, it is much more religious. Its climate is much warmer and it rarely gets snow. In addition, Mississippi is far less affluent. Its people also tend to be significantly poorer and less educated than people from Massachusetts.
- Utah has a majority Mormon population and its people are much more religious than in Massachusetts. Utah’s population is also one of the least diverse in the country. Furthermore, Utah has the highest percentage of married people, in contrast to Massachusetts. Like Wyoming and Oklahoma, it is landlocked and its climate is much drier than Massachusetts’.
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