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
Arizona is a Southwestern state. The five most similar states to it tend to be mountainous and have dry climates. They are also sparsely populated, landlocked states with many of their inhabitants concentrated in large cities. With the exception of Idaho, these states have a significant population of Latinos as well. A large portion of the land in these states is owned by the federal government and they have many national parks. The five most similar states are also among the latest to join the United States.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Arizona
- Nevada and Arizona are the two driest states. They both have many immigrants from Mexico. They are also major tourist destinations. Although casinos are technically not allowed in Arizona, the state still has many casinos located on reservations for Native Americans. Both states have seen significant growth in the past decades, so most of the homes in these states were built after 1990. In addition, in both states, marijuana is legal and the sale of alcohol in the grocery store is allowed.
- New Mexico is directly to the east of Arizona. Before 1860, Arizona was actually a part of New Mexico Territory until they were divided. Both became states in 1912. Like Nevada, it also has a large Latino population. They also have a sizable Native American population, since the Navajo Reservation spans both states. However, the Democratic Party is far stronger in New Mexico than Nevada. It has far fewer restrictions to abortions. Its laws are also more friendly to unions, although neither state has many union members.
- Idaho is further north than Nevada and New Mexico. Still, it has a lot in common with Arizona. Republicans tend to be favored in these states and they both have conservative laws as well. In fact, almost all the judges in their state supreme courts are Republicans. A large portion of the land in both states is sparsely vegetated. The people in these states are neither specially poor nor rich. However, Idaho has a much higher percentage of White people.
- Colorado is another mountainous state on this list. Both of their governments have legalized marijuana and do not have many restrictions on guns. They also have several military bases and relatively high enlistment rates. However, Colorado has a few major differences. Its climate is colder than Arizona. It is also significantly wealthier and has more college graduates . The states also rarely vote for the same presidential primary candidates. In fact, the 2004 presidential primary was the last time the states voted for the same candidate in a competitive race.
- Utah‘s geography and infrastructure are extremely similar to Arizona. Both states are mostly desert. They also have many national parks with prominent mountains and canyons. In addition, a low percentage of their people have cable television. The states also tend to have very hard water. However, Utah’s demographics are extremely different. While Arizona is one of the oldest states, with many elderly retirees, Utah is the youngest state. Another big difference is religion, since most people in Utah are Mormon.
The five least similar states to Arizona are located in the Northeast region of the United States. Four of the five border the Atlantic Coast. Their land is more densely populated than Arizona as well. They are also get more rainfall and are also more heavily forested. The governments of these states tend to have many Democrats, in contrast to Arizona. Another difference is that these states tend to be less religious than Arizona.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Arizona
- Massachusetts is one of the least religious states, in contrast to Arizona. It is far more liberal and has a higher percentage of LGBT people. It also has a much lower suicide rate than Arizona. Its population is more wealthy and educated. In fact, Massachusetts has the highest percentage of college graduates in the country. Furthermore, its people are more interested in ice hockey. It has a significantly colder climate than Arizona as well.
- New Jersey is yet another state on the Atlantic Coast on this list. However, New Jersey has a much lower percentage of Mexicans and a higher percentage of Hindus. In addition, New Jersey is far less mountainous than Arizona. Its infrastructure is also much more developed, since it is the most densely populated state in the country Furthermore, the state does not cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement, while Arizona has some of the strictest immigration laws.
- New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Its laws are also friendly to unionization, in contrast to Arizona, and it has a much greater percentage of union members. A large percentage of its people use regularly use mass transportation, so far fewer people have cars. While both states have a relatively high Latino population, New York has few Mexican immigrants. It has more immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. It also has a higher percentage of African Americans.
- Vermont has a much higher percentage of White people than Arizona. Furthermore, its people tend to favor independents and the Democratic party, since they tend to be quite liberal. In general, they are also more educated, since the state has a high percentage of people with post-graduate degrees. Since most people in Vermont live in small towns, but most people in Arizona live in large cities, Vermont has a much higher percentage of people with septic systems and private water wells. However, both states are landlocked.
- New Hampshire is very similar to Vermont. It is another densely populated state in New England with a high percentage of White people. One big difference is that New Hampshire consumes much more alcohol per capita. The state has a much lower incarceration rate than Arizona as well. Furthermore, people from New Hampshire tend to be wealthier. The state also has a higher percentage of married people.
Arizona is like if Nevada was more like Texas
According to the Index, the most similar state to Arizona is Nevada. However, these states also have some significant differences as well. The data shows that Texas has many characteristics of Arizona that Nevada lacks. Arizona was once a confederate territory and allowed slavery, unlike Nevada. In addition, Republicans are more popular in Arizona and Texas than in Nevada. While there are few restrictions on abortion in Nevada, both Texas and Arizona have many restrictions. Arizona and Texas also have warmer climates than Nevada, since they are located further to the south. Moreover, both states produce a significant amount of cotton.
All data accurate as of 2020.
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.