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 to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 5 States Most Similar to Indiana
Indiana is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region. This area is also known as the Rust Belt, a region of the United States that was once dominated by the manufacturing industry, before its recent decline due to outsourcing. The five most similar states to Indiana also have an ample amount of farmland. Corn and soybean are their most common crops. These states are neither extremely densely populated nor are they sparsely populated as well.
- Ohio is just to the east of Indiana. Both states were part of the Northwest Territories, until it was split up into Ohio and Indiana territory in the early 1800s. They both border the Ohio River and the Great Lakes. The states have a similar climate, so their agriculture is similar as well. They both grow a mix of corn and soybeans. Furthermore, their demographics are alike. Both states are mostly White, but have small populations of Blacks and Latinos as well.
- Missouri does not border Indiana, but the states have a lot in common. These states heavily favor Republicans. In addition, both states do not have restrictive alcohol laws, since they even allow hard liquor to be sold in grocery stores. They also have few restrictions on smoking in public. Their average incomes are about the same. However, Indiana has more manufacturing jobs and a lower percentage of college graduates.
- Michigan borders Indiana to the North. Their demographics are quite similar as well, except that Michigan has a higher percentage of Blacks. Another difference is that Michigan tends to vote Democrats more than Republicans, although these states have voted for the same Democratic presidential primary candidates in the most recent elections. In addition, Michigan has far more coastline than Indiana, since it borders four of the five great lakes. It gets much more snowfall and has a colder climate than Indiana, since it is further north.
- Kentucky is located across the Ohio River border from Indiana. These states are split between the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Country music and basketball are especially popular in both states. Most of their state legislators are Republicans. In addition, both states have several large automobile factories. Furthermore, their electricity primarily relies on coal power. However, Kentucky is more mountainous.
- Wisconsin and Indiana both border Lake Michigan. However, since Wisconsin is more northern, it gets much more snowfall and has a colder climate. Although Wisconsin favors the Democratic party more, both states have right to work laws. They also few restrictions on guns and many restrictions on abortion. In addition, these states only allow a limited amount of medical marijuana, but have few restrictions on the sale of alcohol. These states also have a similar population density.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Indiana
The five least similar states to Indiana are all located to the west of the Mississippi River. These states all have a far lower percentage of farmland than Indiana. They are also significantly more mountainous. Another difference is that Indiana is a major transportation hub so it has a high density of roads and railroads, while in contrast the infrastructure of five least similar states is not as densely developed. These also states tend to have relatively few manufacturing jobs, unlike Indiana.
- Hawaii has far different demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure and geography from Indiana. It has by far the highest percentage of Asian in the country, so it has a low percentage of White people. Hawaii is also one of the most liberal states and in recent years almost always votes for Democrats. It is also the farthest state from Indiana. Since it is so far south, its climate is much hotter than Indiana’s too.
- California also has far different demographics and culture from Indiana. It has a much higher percentage of Latinos and a lower percentage of White people. A far greater percentage of its people rely on public transportation. California is also one of the most liberal states. Its people earn more money per capita and it also has a higher minimum wage. A lower percentage of its land is used for farming and it tends to grow fruit and vegetables, not soybean and corn like Indiana.
- Alaska is colder, far more mountainous, and has much more coastline than Indiana. It is also far less densely populated and developed. While Indiana has a lot of farmland, Alaska is too cold to be farmed commercially. Alaska’s Native American population is significantly higher than Indiana’s as well. While cell phone coverage is nearly ubiquitous across all parts of Indiana, an extremely low percentage of Alaska’s land has coverage.
- New Mexico‘s climate is much drier than Indiana’s, so much of the state is barren desert. New Mexico is also significantly more mountainous. Furthermore, New Mexico tends to have more liberal laws than Indiana. It more often votes for Democratic presidential candidates. Another difference is that New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinos in the country. Furthermore, little manufacturing is done in New Mexico.
- Utah‘s culture and geography are extremely different from Indiana. Although both states are fairly religious, Utah’s population is mostly Mormon. In addition, Utah is the youngest state in the country on average. Furthermore, it has a higher percentage of married people. In addition, much of Utah is a desert. Although both states favor Republicans, Utah and Indiana do not often vote for the same presidential primary candidates.
Indiana is like if Ohio was more like Kansas
Ohio is by far the most similar state to Indiana, according to the Index. However, these states also have a few differences as well. The data shows Kansas is one state that has some of the attributes of Indiana that Ohio lacks. These states more often vote for Republican candidates than Ohio. Kansas and Indiana also have fewer doctors, firefighters, and policemen per capita. Another reason is that basketball is more popular in Kansas and Indiana, since they have very successful college basketball programs. Furthermore, these states have a higher percentage of farmland and a lower percentage of forested land than Ohio.
All data accurate as of 2020.