The 6 Unique Regions of the United States

Map of the Regions of the United States, based on data

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar American states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each state.

The data from the State Similarity Index was used to cluster American states into different regions. Some unique states, like Alaska and Hawaii, are very difficult to group with other states. Therefore, it was necessary to make the largest regions still have a great deal of variation within them. This resulted in 6 distinct macro-regions:

  1. Alaska
  2. Northeast
  3. West
  4. South
  5. Midwest
  6. Hawaii

Please see this article, which compares these groupings to other regional maps created by geographers. These macro-regions are further broken up into 12 sub-regions, since there are still some significant differences within them. States as different as California and Utah are still grouped together. Three changes were made from the initial hierarchical clustering. The data showed that two states have attributes of two different regions. Therefore, Pennsylvania is grouped with both the Northeast and the Midwest, while Missouri is grouped with both the Southeast and the Midwest. Furthermore, although Oklahoma clustered with the states in the Southeast region, final analysis of the data showed it has more in common with Texas than the average state in the Southeast.
The states in each region and their individual pages are as follows:




North New England
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, East Pennsylvania
Delaware, Maryland


Rocky Mountain
Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
Pacific Coast
Oregon, Washington
Arizona, Nevada
New Mexico


Great Lakes
Illinois, Indiana,Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Great Plains
Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Missouri


South Central
Texas, Oklahoma
Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
West Virginia



It is hoped that this study has created a more rigorous and logical regional map of the United States than any previously created. More information on the similarities of each region to follow in later articles.

Here is the hierarchical clustering dendrogram, the primary source of the map’s regions:

A larger, high resolution version of the United States regions map:

Finally it may best to look at states as a connected web, not hierarchical clusters.
Here is a version of the map as a connected web:

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