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 landlocked Southern states
The five most similar states to Oklahoma are all landlocked. It is part of the Bible Belt, the most religious area of the United States. Because of this, states like Oklahoma tend to be conservative politically and heavily favor Republicans. Furthermore, fewer people have graduated from college than average in these states. With the exception of Kansas, these states had allowed slavery in the past.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Oklahoma
- Kansas is just to the north of Oklahoma. The states have similar geography. They are both mostly farmland and not especially mountainous. They are also relatively sparsely populated. However, Kansas did not allow slavery when it was admitted into the union, unlike other states on this list. It also has a slightly higher percentage of Catholics. Although they are fairly similar politically, Kansas has significantly more bans on smoking in public places.
- Arkansas is to the east of Oklahoma. It is another state with portions of both the Ozark and Ouchita Mountains. The states have similar demographics and culture. Most people in both states have either Irish, German, or English ancestry, and many just identify as just American. However, Arkansas has a lower percentage of farmland. Furthermore, it grows less wheat and hay. It also gets more rainfall.
- Missouri also has the Ozark Mountains in its Southwestern corner, but other than that both states are relatively flat and have a lot of farmland. However, Missouri tends to grow more soybean and corn. Few people in both states do not believe in God. They also have many Evangelical Christians. However, one difference is that Missouri gets most of its electricity from coal power, while Oklahoma relies on natural gas.
- Tennessee is yet another state located along the Mississippi River on this list. It is another state, where the majority of its people are Evangelical Protestants. Both states have an army and an air force base. While people in both states have about the same access to the internet, Oklahoma tends to have slower internet speeds. Tennessee is also much more mountainous than Oklahoma.
- Kentucky is another relatively poor, landlocked state in the South. The states are especially similar politically. Both have a low minimum wage. They also have few restrictions on guns but many restrictions on abortion. However, Kentucky’s climate is colder and it gets more snowfall. Although both states were not part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, they both historically allowed slavery.
Four of the five least similar states to Oklahoma are located in the Northeastern portion of the United States. In addition, all these states have a significant amount of coastline, in contrast to landlocked Oklahoma. They all favor the Democratic Party and tend to have more liberal laws as well. Furthermore, these states are more mountainous than Oklahoma and have a higher percentage of forested land.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Oklahoma
- Massachusetts is one of the most liberal states in the country. It is also one of the most well educated and affluent states. Many of its people are Catholic, while in Oklahoma, less than 10% are. Moreover, Massachusetts is also one of the least religious states. Its climate is also much colder and it gets a lot more snow than Oklahoma. While some of the first British settlements in North America were located in Massachusetts, Oklahoma was one of the last territories to officially become a state.
- Hawaii, like Massachusetts, is one of the most liberal states, despite being located on the other side of the country. Few republicans are elected there. Furthermore, its demographics are extremely different from Oklahoma, since it has by far the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any state. In addition, it has a high percentage of military personnel. Its tropical climate and agriculture is also quite different from Oklahoma. While Oklahoma is landlocked and relatively flat, Hawaii is a group of mountainous islands.
- New York‘s culture and politics are extremely different from Oklahoma. It has many restrictions on guns and few restrictions on abortion. New Yorkers are also more interested in hip-hop music than country music. A much larger percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation as well. Furthermore, it is much more racially diverse than Arkansas. Even its White population is quite different, since a majority are in New York are Italian in origin and few people identify as just being “American”.
- Rhode Island is yet another state on the East Coast on this list. Unlike Oklahoma, it is the state with the highest percentage of Catholics. Furthermore, the state has a lot of coastline and most people live in relatively close proximity to a beach. The state also has a much higher percentage of people in unions. They also have different laws. In Rhode Island, grocery stores are not allowed to sell alcohol.
- Connecticut is somewhat like New York, since a large portion of its population is in the New York metropolitan area. It is also one of the wealthiest states in the country. Much of Connecticut’s land is close to the ocean, unlike landlocked Oklahoma. Like other states on this list, its people are also much less conservative as well. It has more restrictions on guns and less restrictions on abortions.
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