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.
The top five states most similar to Connecticut all border the Atlantic Ocean and have a temperate climate. These states are also located in BosWash, the highly urbanized swath of land on the Atlantic Coast between Boston and Washington DC, which is centered around New York. These areas tend to have more immigrants and are quite racially diverse. They are also some of the areas where the Democratic Party is the strongest.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Connecticut
- Massachusetts is to the north of Connecticut. Both states have mountainous terrain and a low percentage of their land is used for farming. The states are politically similar as well. Both states are dominated by the Democratic Party, but have had Republican governors in the last decade. They have laws that are favorable to unions. Their demographics are also extremely similar. The people in both states tend to be highly educated and also have many millionaires. However, Connecticut tends to be slightly more religious than Massachusetts.
- Rhode Island is another densely populated state to the east of Connecticut. Their geography is nearly identical, although Rhode Island is less mountainous. Their infrastructure is also similar. Unlike other states on this list, they both do not have subways systems and their people rely less on mass transit. Due to their close proximity to the ocean, both states have navy and coast guard bases. However, Connecticut is generally wealthier and has a higher percentage of millionaires.
- New Jersey is yet another densely populated state that borders New York and is close to New York City. Most people in both states are within an hour’s drive to the beach. These states also have many people with Italian and Irish ancestry. On average, their people also tend to be quite wealthy. Their laws regarding abortion, civil rights, and guns are almost identical. However, New Jersey has fewer restrictions on gambling. New Jersey’s terrain also tends to be less mountainous, especially in its southern portion.
- New York is directly to the west of Connecticut. Much of the state is in New York City’s metro area. The governments of both states are dominated by the Democrats. They have banned capital punishment. Furthermore, they have high union membership rates. However, New York has a lower higher percentage of urban area, since much of upstate New York is sparsely populated. In addition, a far higher percentage of people in New York use public transportation and a lower percentage own cars.
- Maryland is another relatively wealthy state on the East Coast where much of the population lives in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area. It is also mountainous and densely populated. A high percentage of the land in both states is developed. However, Maryland is warmer since it is significantly further south. It has a higher percentage of farmland and grows far more corn and soybeans. There are also some demographic differences. Maryland has a lower percentage of Catholics and a higher percentage of African Americans.
Four of the top five least similar states to Connecticut are located to the west of the Mississippi River. These states are all significantly less densely populated than Connecticut. With the exception of Mississippi, these states have a much lower percentage of forested land. The five least similar states have more conservative laws, since Republicans dominate the governments in these states.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Connecticut
- Wyoming is the least densely populated state, after Alaska. Its infrastructure is quite different from Connecticut’s. Almost all of its electricity is created by coal power plants, while Connecticut uses natural gas and nuclear power. It also uses the most electricity per capita of any state. While most people in Connecticut live close to the ocean, Wyoming is landlocked. In addition, Wyoming also has many gun owners and hunters, unlike Connecticut.
- Utah has a majority Mormon population and is more religious than Connecticut. Utah’s population is also one of the least diverse in the country. Furthermore, Utah has the highest percentage of married people, in contrast to Connecticut. In addition, the average age of Utah’s population is the lowest in the United States. Like several other states on this list, it is landlocked and its climate is much drier than Connecticut’s.
- Idaho is one of the most conservative states. It has less restrictions on guns and more restrictions on abortion than Connecticut. In further contrast, very few Democrats hold elected office there. It also is more rural and far less developed than Connecticut. It has some of the slowest internet speeds in the the country and has relatively few physicians per capita.
- Mississippi‘s demographics and culture differ greatly from Connecticut Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States and very few Catholics. Its climate is much warmer and it rarely gets snow. In addition, Mississippi is far less affluent. Its people tend to be poorer and less educated than Connecticut’s. However, one similarity is that there are relatively few married people in both states.
- Oklahoma is another conservative, landlocked state on this list. It was one of the last states to gain statehood, in contrast to Connecticut. Although, both states have a similar racial makeup, the ancestries of their people are quite different. Oklahoma has more people that identify themselves as having German and American ancestry. It also has a much warmer climate and a far greater percentage of farmland.
Connecticut is like if Massachusetts was more like Illinois
Massachusetts is the most similar state to Connecticut. However, an analysis of the data shows that Illinois has some traits of Connecticut that Massachusetts lacks. Unlike Massachusetts, there are more Protestants than Catholics in Connecticut and Illinois. Furthermore, the people in Connecticut and Illinois are slightly more religious than in Massachusetts. These states also allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition. They also have lower income taxes. In addition, the state legislatures in Massachusetts are more heavily dominated by Democrats than Connecticut and Illinois.
All data accurate as of 2020.
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