The data from the State Similarity Index only groups the Southern states of Texas and Oklahoma into the South Central region of the United States. Here are some of the characteristics that these two states share:
As the name of the region suggests, the Great Plains physiographic region runs through both Texas and Oklahoma. As a result, these states are not very mountainous. All their water eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The region gets about the same amount of rainfall as the United States average. However, their western portions are significantly drier than their eastern portions. As a result, they have about equal percentages of pasture land, farmland, and forested land, with pastures concentrated in the west and forests concentrated in the east. These states also have hotter temperatures than most states, since they are at relatively low latitudes. Except for El Paso, the entire region is in the Central Time Zone.
The people in Texas and Oklahoma tend to be very religious. A high percentage of their people are Evangelical Christians. Both states allowed slavery before the Civil War. Even after the war, they practiced racial segregation and did not allow interracial marriage until the 1960s. In addition, these states have similar interests. Football and country music are generally more popular in this region than average. Both states have universities in the Big XII. Furthermore, these states have high rates of incarceration and allow the death penalty, since their societies are tough on crime. Despite these measures, the region only has an average amount of homicides per capita.
Since 1980, the Republican candidate for president has always won Texas and Oklahoma. Their governments are generally run by Republicans too. As a result, they generally have few restrictions on their citizens and businesses. Their minimum wages are the lowest allowed by the federal government. They have low regulation on homeschooling and do not ban corporal punishment in schools. These states also still allow smoking in public places. Furthermore, they have few restrictions on guns. One exception to this rule is that Texas and Oklahoma have implemented many limits on abortion. Another restriction is that recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in this region.
The production of fossil fuels is an important industry in the South Central region. A huge amount of oil and gas is extracted from Oklahoma and Texas, so they have many pipelines. Despite their abundance of fossil fuels, around 30 percent of their electricity actually comes from wind power. These states have recently built many windmills to take advantage of the strong winds in the region. Their people generally consume more energy than the average American. Most of their homes either use natural gas or electricity for heating. Few people in these states use public transportation, since their cities are sprawling and most of their households have vehicles.
Demographics is one aspect in which this region varies widely. Texas has far more Latinos, since it has many immigrants from Mexico, while Oklahoma has far more Native Americans. As a result, Texas tends to have more Catholics as well. Still, their White people have similar ancestry. While there are many people with German, English, and Irish heritage in the region, there are relatively few people with French, Italian, or Scandinavian heritage. Texas and Oklahoma also have about the same percentage of married people. Their poverty rate is similar as well. In addition, both states have more women than men.