The data from the State Similarity Index groups the Western states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado into the Rocky Mountain region. Here are some of the characteristics most of these states share:
As their name suggests, all the states in this region are in the Rocky Mountains. As a result, they have many of the most prominent peaks in the United States. Every state, except Idaho, is double landlocked. Since their land is at a high elevation and relatively high latitudes, the region’s climate is colder than the United States average. Furthermore, these states get little rainfall. They have a wide variety of different vegetation, including forests, pastures, and farmlands. These states are also some of the most sparsely populated in the country. A high percentage of their people are concentrated in urban areas. Only northern Idaho is not in the Mountain Time Zone.
A high percentage of the population in the Rocky Mountain region is White. They tend to have either English, Irish, or German ancestry. However, due to recent immigration from Mexico, some of these states also have significant Latino populations. On the other hand, few Black people live in this region. Furthermore, this region has a higher percentage of married people than the national average. Every state in this region has more men than women as well. However, the average age of people greatly varies in this region. Utah’s population is the youngest in the nation, while Montana has one of the oldest.
A high percentage of the people in the Rocky Mountain region live in single-family homes. This region also has nearly as many vehicles as people, however they do not have a dense network of roads. Since these states are landlocked and do not have navigable rivers, their goods are transported by semi-trucks and freight trains. Most of their railroads are controlled by the Union Pacific and BNSF companies. These states have many mines. Gold, silver, and uranium are some of the region’s valuable commodities. However, the Rocky Mountain region has relatively little manufacturing output. These states tend to use a high amount of water per capita, since they irrigate their land.
Among the Rocky Mountain states, Utah is the one big outlier in the culture category. Its people are mostly Mormon and more religious than the other states. Utah is the only state that allowed slavery in the region, although it was not widely practiced. These states joined the US after 1875. With the exception of Utah, these are some of the most individualist states in the country. Still, Utah’s culture is not completely different from the other states in the region. Their people tend to have a similar accent. A high percentage of people have guns and hunting licenses in these states. Their suicide rates are quite high as well. Furthermore, football is more popular in these states than average, while hip-hop music is less popular.
With regards to politics, Colorado is an outlier in this region. It is the only state that is not controlled by the Republican Party. Colorado is also the only state that regularly votes for Democratic presidential candidates. Unlike most states, the Rocky Mountain region preferred Ted Cruz to Donald Trump in the presidential primaries. They also preferred Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Still, these states have some similar laws. They all have few restrictions on guns. They also do not ban driving with a cell phone in your hand. Surrogacy is generally unregulated in this region as well.
The Rocky Mountain region’s Most Representative State: Wyoming (76.2 regional average)
Most Similar Region to the Rocky Mountain region: North Plains region
(Statistics as of 2020)