Have you ever wondered which states are the most similar to each other? Some might be tempted to say North Dakota – South Dakota or North Carolina – South Carolina because of their names. However, according to the State Similarity Index, the data suggests that Georgia and South Carolina are two the most similar pairs of states. Based on the selected criteria, these states have extremely similar demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. Still there is no clear cut answer to this question. The following article takes a look at the five least similar pairs of states and analyzes the reasons why they are so alike.
Georgia – South Carolina
Georgia and South Carolina have fairly similar demographics. The majority of people in both states are White, but 33% of Georgians and 27% of South Carolinians are Black. The White people in these states have similar ancestry. They have an even mix of Irish, English, and German heritage. Furthermore, the vast majority of the people in these states are Protestant and they have relatively few Catholics. Both states have more women than men. Their average income and levels of education are nearly identical. The biggest difference may be that Georgia has a slightly younger population.
These states gained statehood in 1788, since they were part of the original 13 colonies. Both states used to allow slavery and were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Even after the Civil War, segregation persisted for decades in public places. There is little difference in their religious beliefs as well. Over 40% of people in Georgia and South Carolina attend services weekly. The Baptist church is by far the largest denomination in both states. Football is by far the most popular sport in these states. Both states have universities that are part of the SEC and the ACC.
The laws in Georgia and South Carolina are extremely similar as well. Neither state allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses or in-state college tuition. They also have few laws protecting civil rights. Their laws do not favor unionization and their minimum wage is the lowest legally allowed by the federal government. Furthermore, both states require a photo ID to vote. Neither state bans smoking in public places. Other than the lottery, they do not allow gambling. Both states still allow the death penalty. The people in both states favor the Republican Party, although the Democratic Party has been growing strength in Georgia in recent years.
The average house in both Georgia and South Carolina was built in the 1980s. Due to recent growth, their infrastructure is relatively young. Both states have an army, navy, and air force base. Since these states do not get much snowfall, neither salts their roads. These states are also part of the same electrical grid. Both states use a mix of natural gas, coal, and nuclear power to create electricity. Most often their homes are heated by electrical units. Furthermore, the vast majority of communities in these states fluorinate their public water supply. They also have about the same amount of roads and railroads per square mile.
Both states border the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, since they are neighboring states, their climates are alike. Both have a subtropical climate. As a result, their flora and fauna is nearly identical. The Appalachian Mountains runs through the northern portion of both states. Their ratio of farmland to forested land is also similar. Both have about 70% forested land and 30% farmland. They also have about the same population density and amount of urban area. Both states grow a lot of cotton and peanuts, however South Carolina grows far more soybeans.
Alabama – Mississippi
The majority of people in both Alabama and Mississippi are White, however they also have significant Black populations as well. In fact, Mississippi has the highest percentage of Blacks in the country, while Alabama has the fifth highest. They also have extremely few Latinos or Asians. In addition, these states have relatively high divorce rates. They have high poverty rates as well. Moreover, these states have some of the highest rates of obesity in the country. Both have more women than men.
Alabama and Mississippi are two of the most religious states in the country. Around 50% of their people attend church weekly. Their people tend to have a similar Southern accent. These states are particularly found of football. Both have two universities in the SEC. Despite the fact that the people in both states are known to be quite friendly, these states have high incarceration rates. In addition, about 55% of their adults own guns. Like Georgia and South Carolina, they were also part of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
They are among the most conservative states in the country, so Republicans dominate their governments. Since 1980, these states have only voted for Republican presidential candidates and the vast majority of the representatives in their state legislatures are Republican as well. They almost always vote for the same presidential primary candidates as well. The Death penalty is still allowed in both states. They have extremely few laws restricting guns, but have many laws restricting abortions. Their voting laws are similar as well. Both have open primaries and require photo IDs.
A high percentage of the houses in Alabama and Mississippi are mobile homes. These states have very few airplane or Amtrak passengers per capita. Since these states do not get much snowfall, neither salts their roads. Most often their homes are heated by electrical units. These states are also part of the same electrical grid. Neither state has a well developed system of public transportation. However, there are significantly less vehicles per capita in Mississippi. These state have about the same amount of physicians per capita as well.
There are few significant differences between the geography of Alabama and Mississippi. Both states have little coastline and both border the Gulf of Mexico. They are both in the Central Time Zone as well. However, Mississippi is less hilly, since the Appalachian Mountains do not run through the state. Both states have a subtropical climate and the majority of their land is forested. Their crops are similar as well. Both states grow a lot of soybeans and cotton. Still, Alabama’s population density is higher than Mississippi’s.
Kentucky – Tennessee
The vast majority of people in Kentucky and Tennessee are White, but they are also around 10% Black. The plurality of White people in these considered themselves to have “American” ancestry, but there are also many people with English, Irish, and German heritage. Their populations have about the same average as well. There are slightly more women than men in these states. They also have about the same percentage of married people. Furthermore, these states have high rates of divorce. Still, a higher percentage of people in Tennessee have a college degree.
The vast majority of people in Kentucky and Tennessee are Protestant. The Baptist church is by far the largest denomination. These states also have a large number of evangelical Christians. Few people in these states natively speak a language other than English. Although Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, it had once allowed slavery. Furthermore, these states continued to segregate races in public places and not allow interracial marriage after the war. The people in both states are known to be friendly and conventional. They also especially love country music. However, people in Kentucky are more interested in basketball.
The laws in Kentucky and Tennessee are also similar. Both states have not banned corporal punishment in schools or smoking in public places. They also have strict laws against marijuana, but few laws regulating guns. Their minimum wage is the lowest legally allowed by the federal government. The majority of the legislators in these states are Republicans, but they have also had a few Democratic governors in the past few decades. They are both part of the 6th federal court circuit as well.
Both Kentucky and Tennessee have multiple car manufacturing plants. The median construction date of the houses in both states is 1978. Furthermore, the vast majority of communities in these states fluorinate their public water supply. Neither state has a well developed system of public transportation. They also have about the same vehicles per capita. Another similarity is that they are both part of the same electrical grid. However, Kentucky relies more on coal power, while Tennessee relies more on nuclear power.
The geography of Kentucky and Tennessee is very similar as well. Their terrain is quite hilly, since the Appalachian Mountains run through both states. They are both landlocked but they do border the Mississippi River. In addition, both states are split between the Eastern and Central Time Zones. These states have a similar temperate climate as well, but Kentucky is slightly colder since it is located further to the north. Another small difference is that Tennessee is more densely populated than Kentucky.
Oregon – Washington
The vast majority of people in Oregon and Washington are White. The plurality of these people have German ancestry. The average age of the people in these states is similar as well. A higher percentage of their people have graduated from college than the national average. Relatively few males in these states are circumcised, unlike most states. Both states have more women than men. Furthermore, they have about the same percentage of adults who have never been married. One difference is that Washington is wealthier than Oregon.
Both states were part of Oregon Territory, before they were split up. They are not particularly religious and a relatively low percentage of their people go to church on a weekly basis. People from these states are known to have creative and relaxed personalities. Their people tend to do a lot of aerobic activity and do not watch a lot of television. Furthermore, these states have relatively little crime. They have a significantly lower homicide and incarceration rate than the national average. Another similarity is that these states never allowed slavery. Both states have universities in the Pac-12, Big Sky, and West Coast conferences.
Oregon and Washington are more liberal than most states, so Democratic Party has a majority in their legislatures. Since 1988, Democratic presidential candidates have won both states. They almost always vote for the same presidential primary candidates as well. The laws in these states heavily favor unions and their minimum wages are significantly higher than the federal minimum. Neither state allows marriages between first-cousins. They also do not allow smoking in public places. Another similarity is that marijuana is legal in both states.
Both states are well known for manufacturing high-technology like state-of-the-art airplanes and computer chips. However, since a large portion of these states is sparsely populated, cell phone coverage can be spotty in their rural areas. Hydropower accounts for a majority of the electricity created in both states. Interestingly enough, these states use brine instead of rock salt to treat their roads during snowstorms. In addition, more people use public transportation in Oregon and Washington than the national average. These states also have a high number of policemen per capita.
Oregon and Washington both border the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. On their coasts, these states have a temperate and humid climate, moderated by the ocean. However, some western portions of these states are significantly drier so their landscape is devoid of vegetation. Wheat is the most common crop in their farms. Oregon and Washington also have many tall mountains and dormant volcanos. One difference is that Oregon has a lower population density and less urban area.
Massachusetts – Rhode Island
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have very similar demographics. The majority of the people in both states are White, but they also have significant populations of Latinos, Blacks, and Asians as well. These states have an especially high amount of people with Irish and Italian ancestry. As a result, they both have significantly more Catholics than Protestants. The average age of the people in these states is around 40. Both states have an especially low percentage of married people compared to the national average. However, one difference is that people in Massachusetts are wealthier and more educated than people in Rhode Island on average.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island are two of the original 13 colonies. Both states were part of the Union during the Civil War. Neither state allowed segregation or slavery. Both states have Ivy League schools. Furthermore, these states have relatively little crime. They have a significantly lower homicide and incarceration rate than the national average. The Catholic church is by far the largest religious denomination in these states, although neither is particularly religious. Football is not as popular in these states as it is in the rest of the country, while ice hockey is more popular than average.
The Democratic Party has deep roots in both states. Since 1988, both states have only voted for Democratic presidential candidates. Still, in the past 20 years, moderate Republicans have been elected as governors in these states. Both states have many laws protecting civil rights and unionization. They also have a much higher minimum wage than the national average. Furthermore, they have outlawed corporal punishment and the death penalty. Another similarity is that marriages between first-cousins are completely legal in these states. In addition, the judges in their courts are appointed by the governor, but unlike in other states they can only serve a single term.
Mobile homes are very rare in these states. In fact, Massachusetts and Rhode Island also have a low percentage of single family homes. The infrastructure in these states is aging. The median house was built in the 1950s. These states also use relatively little water and electricity per capita. The vast majority of the electricity in these states is generated by natural gas. Their homes are almost always heated by natural gas or fuel oil. The people in both states heavily utilize Amtrak. However, a much lower percentage of people in Rhode Island use public transportation.
Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island border the Atlantic Ocean. Since these states have a lot coastline, they have a lot of wetlands as well. Both states have a temperate climate, although Massachusetts is slightly colder. As a result, their flora and fauna is the same. Their lands are filled with broadleaf forests, so they have little agricultural land. A high percentage of both states is urbanized, but Rhode Island is more densely populated. Another difference is that Rhode Island’s terrain is not as hilly since the Appalachian Mountains do not run through the state.