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.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Hawaii
Hawaii is the most unique state in the United States. No other states are similar to it. It has by far the highest percentage of East Asians of any state in the nation. It is the most southern state, so it has a tropical climate. The five most similar states also border ocean and have a lot of coastline. As a result, these states have some beautiful beaches and also have large cargo shipping ports. Like Hawaii, their people are also quite liberal and their governments are dominated by Democrats.
- California also has beautiful beaches and warm weather, although on average it is much drier. Both states produce a lot of fruit. California also has the second highest percentage of Asian Americans, after Hawaii, although it has more people with Chinese ancestry and less people with Japanese ancestry. Both states have health conscious people, so they tend to do a lot of exercise and have low smoking rates. In addition, California and Hawaii are some of the few states that have a base for each branch of the military. One big difference is that California’s Latino population is one of the highest in the country, while Hawaii has relatively few.
- Washington is another mountainous state on the Pacific Coast, like Hawaii and California, although its climate is much cooler. In addition, it also has many liberal and health conscious people. Their governments are both run by Democrats. Washington also has relatively many Asian Americans, consisting of mostly Chinese and Filipinos. These states also have around the same percentage of Latinos, at around 10% of the population.
- Oregon is the third straight state on the Pacific Coast on this list. Like Hawaii, it also has many elderly people and few children. Both states have few African Americans as well, although Oregon has a far higher percentage of White people. The states have some of the lowest homicide rates in the country. Oregon and Hawaii tend to be quite liberal. Both states have strong civil rights laws, protecting minorities and the LGBTQ community. In addition, since 2000, Hawaii and Oregon have voted for all the same candidates in the presidential primaries.
- Maryland‘s government is especially similar to Hawaii. It is also primarily run by the Democratic Party. Both states allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses, but are not sanctuary states. They also have decriminalized marijuana, although they have not legalized it. In addition, marriages to cousins are still legal in these states. Both states are fairly prosperous and few people have mobile homes. Although Maryland is not an island, due to the Chesapeake Bay, it has a lot of coastline relative to its size. It is also mountainous, due the Appalachians, although its peaks are not nearly as high.
- New Jersey is another state where many people live close to the ocean. Both states have many skyscrapers as well. Furthermore, these states have always allowed interracial marriage and did not allow slavery. The states have similar politics as well. Both have laws that favor unionization. They also have many gun restrictions. However, New Jersey is more densely populated and not nearly as mountainous.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Hawaii
The five least similar states to Hawaii are all located to the east of the Mississippi River. These states have little coastline. Furthermore, these states are more conservative than Hawaii and favor Republicans more. They also tend to have a much lower percentage of East Asian people than Hawaii. In addition, these states are not as wealthy as Hawaii. Furthermore, people in these states tend to do less exercise and watch more television.
- Arkansas and Hawaii are two of the least similar states. Arkansas has a far higher percentage of hunters than Hawaii. Its laws are also much more conservative. Unlike Hawaii, its voters are required to have photo IDs. It also has more laws restricting abortion. Like Mississippi, the state is fairly poor and its people are less educated than average.
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country and very few Asian Americans. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. However, one similarity is that both states get a lot of rain and rarely get snowfall, although Mississippi is far more flat. It is also one of the poorest states.
- North Dakota‘s geography is far different from Hawaii. It is one of the coldest states and gets a lot of snowfall. As a result, its people like ice hockey far more than Hawaiians. North Dakota’s terrain is also quite flat, while Hawaii is one of the most mountainous states. Furthermore, its people favor the Republican Party much more than Hawaii. A low percentage of its land is forested.
- West Virginia has a much colder climate than Hawaii so it gets far more snowfall. Most homes in Hawaii have no heating system, while West Virginian homes typically use either gas or electric heating systems. Although both states are mountainous, Hawaii is an a Volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, while West Virginia is landlocked. In addition, West Virginia has no military bases, in contrast to Hawaii.
- Alabama is similar to Mississippi and Arkansas. It another extremely conservative state. Few democrats are elected there. It has far more restrictions on abortion, but less restrictions on guns. One of the few similarities between Alabama and Hawaii is that both have very restrictive gambling laws. Neither state even has a lottery.
Hawaii is like if California was less like Nevada
Although California is the most similar state to Hawaii, actually no states are very similar. One state that California is like, but Hawaii is far different from is Nevada. It is landlocked and has the driest climate in the United States, while Hawaii and California get more rainfall and have a lot of coastline. They are also more densely populated than Nevada. Furthermore, they have a higher percentage of East Asians. In addition, Hawaii and California have far stricter gun restrictions and allow marriage to first cousins, unlike Nevada.
All data accurate as of 2020.