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 Louisiana
Louisiana is a Southeastern state. The five states most similar states were all part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. In addition, they are all part of the Bible Belt, the most religious area of the United States. Because of this, they tend to be very conservative politically and heavily favor Republicans. The top five states also all have a humid subtropical climate. However one characteristic that is unique to Louisiana is that it has more of a French influence. It used to be a French colony before it was purchased by the United States. As a result, it also has a much higher percentage of Catholics.
- Mississippi is the only another state that borders the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. Both states are have relatively flat terrain. They also have a low percentage of married people. These states tend to produce an unusually high amount of professional athletes. In addition, both states primarily use natural gas to create electricity. However, Louisiana uses far more electricity per capita, since it has more oil refineries.
- Alabama is very similar to Mississippi. Both Alabama and Louisiana are located on the Gulf Coast, but Alabama has little coastline. Both states have many restrictions on abortion, but few restrictions on guns. They both have many cars per capita. Most people have electric heating in their homes. In addition, both states receive high amount of rainfall. However, Alabama is more mountainous. Its agriculture is also different, since it grows more cotton and hay than Louisiana.
- Arkansas is to the north of Louisiana. It is another state that borders Mississippi River. One big difference is that Arkansas is landlocked. Another difference is that Arkansas is more mountainous, since it has the Ozark and Ouchita Mountains. Arkansas has a lower percentage of Blacks as well. Still, neither state is especially affluent. Both states have a low percentage of college graduates and also have lower incomes than average as a result.
- Georgia is another state considered to be part of the Deep South, although it is in the Eastern Time Zone, not the Central Time Zone. Both states have highest percentage of Blacks. One big difference is that Georgia is less rural and far more affluent. The average income in Georgia is higher and more people have college degrees. Another difference is that, Georgia has been turning more favorable for Democrats in recent years, but Republicans still dominate the state.
- South Carolina is on the Atlantic Coast, not the Gulf Coast, but still both states have many similarities. The laws in both states are not favorable to unions and few people are in unions. Neither state has voted for a Democratic president, governor, or senator in the last 15 years. One difference is that South Carolina primarily uses nuclear energy to create electricity, while Louisiana primarily uses natural gas.
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Top 5 States Least Similar to Louisiana
The five least similar states to Louisiana are spread out throughout the United States. With the exception of Utah, Democrats tend to be favored in these state since their people tend to be more liberal. In contrast to Louisiana, these states are all quite mountainous. Another difference is that the five least similar states do less manufacturing and less shipping. Furthermore, Louisiana has a much higher percentage of Black people.
- Hawaii is one of the most liberal states. Few republicans are elected there. Furthermore, its demographics are extremely different from Louisiana’s, since it has by far the highest percentage of Asians of any state and a low percentage of Blacks. Its agriculture is also quite different from Louisiana, although both states have hot and humid climates. In addition, Hawaii is far more mountainous.
- Vermont is extremely different from Louisiana. Vermont has a far lower percentage of African Americans. Its infrastructure is especially different, since Vermont predominately uses hydropower to create electricity. Furthermore, Vermont is much colder and gets far more snowfall. Most of its homes are heated by fuel oil, not electrical units like in Louisiana. Another difference is that Vermont is significantly more mountainous. Vermont is also far more liberal, although both states have few restrictions on guns.
- New Hampshire is another rural state in New England on this list. Like Vermont, it is mostly White and lacks diversity. However, New Hampshire has a few more things in common with Louisiana than Vermont. Both states are not landlocked. In addition, New Hampshire favors Republicans more than Vermont. Still, New Hampshire is colder and far more mountainous.
- Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest and most highly educated states, in contrast to Louisiana. The national origins of its people are much more diverse than Louisiana. Even its White population is quite different, since a majority are Irish in origin. Like New Hampshire, Massachusetts is also more mountainous and has a significantly colder climate. It is also much more densely populated.
- Utah is another relatively conservative state, but other than that, the two states have little in common. Utah gets far less rainfall and is landlocked. Furthermore, although many people are religious in both states, most people in Utah are Mormons. The state is mostly White and lacks diversity. Even their White people have differing heritage. While the many people in Louisiana have French ancestry, a high percentage of Utah’s population has English ancestry.
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Louisiana is like if Mississippi was more like Florida
According to the Index, Mississippi is the most similar state to Louisiana. However, Florida has some traits of Louisiana that Mississippi lacks. While Mississippi has the lowest percentage of Catholics in the country, Louisiana and Florida have over 20 percent. These states also have a significantly lower percentage of circumcised males than Mississippi. They are also more densely populated and have more skyscrapers. Their people also have more more access to the internet and faster internet speeds. Furthermore, Louisiana and Florida have more coastline with lots of swamp land.
Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Louisiana
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Mississippi
Most Similar Culture: Mississippi
Most Similar Government: Missouri
Most Similar Infrastructure: Texas
Most Similar Geography: Mississippi
Least Similar Demographics: Hawaii
Least Similar Culture: California
Least Similar Government: Vermont
Least Similar Infrastructure: New York
Least Similar Geography: Alaska