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 Maine
Maine is a part of the North New England region. Four of the five most similar states border the Atlantic Ocean. A high percentage of White people live in these states. Unlike most other states with little racial diversity, they tend to have more liberal laws. They are also among some of the least religious states. In addition, these states get high snowfall totals. Their land is also quite mountainous, since the four most similar states are in the Appalachian Mountains.
- Vermont is another state that borders both Quebec and New Hampshire. Neither state was one of the 13 original colonies, instead both became independent from other states. Still today they are sparsely populated and have no cities with over 70,000 people. Both states use hydropower, wind power, and even wood to create electricity. Both states are heavily forested and have the same climate. One difference is that Maine is slightly less well educated than Vermont. Maine also has a lot of coastline, while Vermont is landlocked.
- New Hampshire is the only state that Maine borders. A low percentage of their land used for agriculture and they mostly grow hay. Both states border the Atlantic Ocean. Their laws are also similar, since these states have few restrictions on both guns and abortion. Their homes are most often heated by fuel oil and almost never heated by electricity, since they have such a cold climate. One big difference is that New Hampshire uses mostly nuclear power to create electricity.
- Connecticut is even further south of Vermont and New Hampshire. Both states are heavily forested, but Connecticut is more densely populated. Although both states favor Democrats, one big difference is that Connecticut’s gun laws are much more restrictive. Another difference is that Connecticut is much more racially diverse than Maine. It has far higher percentages of Latinos and African Americans. Both states have a similar minimum wage, but Connecticut is far more wealthy.
- Massachusetts and Maine were once part of the same territory, until the District of Maine became a separate state in 1820. Both states are primarily Democratic, although Maine has far less restrictions on guns. They both have a low rate of incarceration and have banned the death penalty. However, a larger percentage of its people live in urban areas, in contrast to more rural Maine. Massachusetts is also wealthier and its people tend to be more educated.
- Rhode Island is similar to Massachusetts. It is another state in New England with a lot of coastline. However, it is also much more densely populated than Maine. Still, these states have some similar traits. They have about the same rate of obesity. They also have low rates of homicide and incarceration. Despite Rhode Island having better mass transportation options, these states have about the same number of vehicles per capita.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Maine
The four of the five least similar states to Maine are located to the west of the Mississippi River. These states all have significantly warmer climates than Maine. They also have a lower percentage of forested land. With the exception of Utah, these states have a relatively low percentage of White people, compared to other states. Another difference is that these states tend to be more religious than Maine.
- Texas has a hotter climate and gets far less snowfall than Maine. Its demographics and culture are also quite different from Maine. Texas has far more Latinos and its population is on average much younger. Still, their average incomes are alike, although Texas has higher rates of poverty. In addition, a far higher percentage of the state’s land is used for agriculture and it grows different crops than Maine.
- Louisiana is one of the hottest and rainiest states. It gets very little snowfall and is not nearly as mountainous as Maine. One interesting similarity is that both states have many people with French ancestry. However, Louisiana has far more African Americans. Due to its large industrial sector, Louisiana also uses far more electricity per capita than Maine and it creates most of it using natural gas.
- Mississippi‘s demographics and culture also differ greatly from Maine. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States and it is also one of the least educated states. In addition, it is one of the most religious states, in stark contrast to Maine. Football is also far more popular in Mississippi and few people are interested in ice hockey there. One similarity is that both states are quite rural and are sparsely populated.
- Utah is a landlocked state that has a far drier climate than Maine. While Maine is one of the least religious states, people in Utah are predominately Mormon. It also has one of the youngest average populations in the United States. Furthermore, because of recent population growth, its infrastructure tends to be newer than Maine’s. Still, both states are fairly mountainous and get significant snowfall.
- Hawaii is a group of tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, it is at the most southwestern point of the country, while Maine is at the most northeastern point. A low percentage of people in Hawaii are White, since much of the population has origins in East Asia or are Native Hawaiian. Furthermore, while Maine does not have any skyscrapers or high-rises, many people in Hawaii live in them.
Maine is like if New Hampshire was more like Oregon
According to the Index, New Hampshire is the most similar state to Maine. Since they are so similar, few states are a lot more similar to it than New Hampshire. Oregon is one state that has a few characteristics of Maine that New Hampshire lacks. These state have a lower average income than New Hampshire. They also have fewer college graduates. Unlike New Hampshire, both states had outlawed interracial marriage before 1900. Oregon and Maine also have higher rates of gun ownership and more people with hunting licenses. These states are also less densely populated than New Hampshire and have more coastline.
All data accurate as of 2020.