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 other Southern states
Many states are similar to South Carolina. The top five states were all part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. They tend to be conservative politically and favor Republicans. These states also have a predominately White population, but also large percentages of Blacks. Most people in these states are quite religious and a vast majority of them are Protestant. The five most similar states also tend to have hot and humid climates. With the exception of Mississippi, the most similar states have the Appalachian Mountains running through them as well.
Top 5 States Most Similar to South Carolina
- Georgia is another state on the Atlantic Coast, located just to the south of it. These states have similar percentage of forested and farmland. Neither has had a Democratic governor in the past 16 years. They almost always vote for the same candidates in presidential primaries as well. They also do not have bans on smoking in public places. Both states have colleges in both the SEC and the ACC.
- North Carolina is to the north of South Carolina. They were actually part of the same British province until they split in 1712. Their people tend to have a similar accent. Both states have a high percentage of mobile home owners. In addition, union membership is extremely low in these states. However, North Carolina is moderate politically. In fact, four of their last five governors have been Democrats. It also has less restrictions on abortion.
- Alabama‘s demographics are extremely similar to South Carolina. Their percentage of Whites, Blacks, and Latinos are comparable. Both states have many Evangelical Christians. The average age of their people is about the same. Furthermore, both states have more females than males. However, Alabama borders the Gulf Coast, not the Atlantic Ocean. It also has far less coastline.
- Tennessee does not border South Carolina, but they have many traits in common. It is another deeply religious state, where a vast majority of its people are Protestants. Although both states are deeply Republican, another difference is that Tennessee has less restrictive abortion laws than South Carolina. Both states rely in large part on nuclear power. However, Tennessee is landlocked and is also far more mountainous.
- Mississippi is another state similar to South Carolina, although it has a larger percentage of Blacks. In addition, the people in Mississippi are not as affluent. These states are not are not especially mountainous as well. Still, despite being located far from each other, their climate is extremely similar. Their farms also grow a mix of cotton, corn and soybean. Both states require a photo ID to vote. They both still allow smoking in public places as well.
The least similar states to South Carolina are all located to the west of the Mississippi River. While South Carolina was an original colony of the United States, these states joined the union much later. These states also have a significantly lower percentage of Black people than South Carolina. Furthermore, Democrats tend to be more popular in these states. Four of the five voted for the Democratic candidate in the last presidential election. Their laws are less conservative.
Top 5 States Least Similar to South Carolina
- Hawaii and South Carolina both have hot and humid climates, but their similarities largely end there. While South Carolina was one of the original colonies, Hawaii is the 50th state added to the nation. Their demographics are far different as well. Hawaii has by far the highest Asian population in the United States and has relatively few Black people. It is also one of the most liberal states and Democrats are heavily favored there, in contrast to South Carolina.
- California is another state located on the Pacific Coast. It has a far bigger Latino population than South Carolina. Another difference is that a much higher percentage of its people are part of a union. Politically they are extremely different as well. California has more restrictions on guns and less restrictions on abortion. It also bans smoking in public places. However, California has a drier climate.
- Alaska‘s climate is also far colder and gets more snowfall than South Carolina. The state is also less densely populated and has a much lower percentage of agricultural land. It is one of the newest states, while South Carolina is an original colony. The state also has a much larger Native American population than South Carolina. However, both states do tend to be run by Republicans and have more conservative laws.
- Nevada is the driest state in the country and the vast majority of its land is barren desert. The state also has a much higher percentage of Latinos than South Carolina, so a significantly higher percentage of its people can speak Spanish. In addition, Nevada has less conservative laws. In contrast to South Carolina, there few manufacturing plants, but many mines in Nevada
- Colorado is another landlocked and mountainous state, however it is located much further to the west than Vermont. It also has a significantly lower percentage of forested land than Colorado. Its people are also less religious than South Carolina. Another difference is that Colorado has a higher minimum wage. Furthermore, marijuana is legal in Colorado, unlike in South Carolina.
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