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 Nevada
The five most similar states to Nevada tend to be mountainous and have relatively dry climates. A large percentage of their people are live in large cities. With the exception of Oregon, these states have a high population of Latinos as well. Furthermore, a large portion of the land in these states is owned by the federal government and they have many national parks. Four of the five most similar states tend to favor Democrats.
- Arizona and Nevada are the two driest states. They both have many immigrants from Mexico. They are also major tourist destinations. Although casinos are technically not allowed in Arizona, the state still has many casinos located on reservations for Native Americans. In addition, in both states, marijuana is legal and the sale of alcohol in the grocery store is allowed. One difference is the state tends to favor Republicans more than Nevada, although that has recently started to change. It also has a much older population, since there are many retirees in Arizona.
- New Mexico, like Arizona and Nevada, also has many immigrants from Mexico. Their climate and terrain is similar. They also have relatively few married people and many divorced people. Large portions of both states are used by the military to conduct missile testing. It is likely that this is the reason these places are famous for UFO and alien sightings. One big difference is that Nevada is a much bigger tourist destination. It also has a higher Native American population.
- California borders Nevada to its west. While California is famous for its beautiful beaches, Nevada is landlocked. Still, the states have many similarities. Both states have a lower percentage of high school graduates than average and a high percentage of unionized workers. However, Nevada’s laws are less favorable to unions and it has a much lower minimum wage. There are also several differences in their gambling and smoking laws, as California’s are more restrictive.
- Colorado is another mountainous state on this list. Both states have legalized marijuana and few gun restrictions. These states are also located at about the same latitude. However, Colorado is wealthier and has a far higher percentage of college graduates. It also has a lower percentage of both Latinos and Asians.
- Oregon borders Nevada to its north. Much of its western portion is sparsely populated, mountainous desert, like Nevada. In addition, the average income of their people is about the same. They also have and a high percentage of unionized workers. One difference is that Oregon has much higher income and sales taxes. Furthermore, it has a higher minimum wage. Oregon also has a lower percentage of Latinos than other states on this list.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Nevada
The five least similar states to Nevada are all located in the Eastern portion of the United States. They all border the Atlantic Ocean. These states also get significantly more rainfall and have a higher percentage of forested land. These states are among the first states to become part of the United States. They are also significantly more densely populated than Nevada.
- Alabama is one of the most religious states. It has a far higher percentage of Baptists and lower percentage of Catholics than Nevada. While Nevada has few restrictions on gambling, Alabama does not even allow the lottery. While Alabama has relatively few immigrants, Nevada has many from Mexico and the Philippines. In addition, a high percentage of its people are in unions, unlike Alabama.
- South Carolina is another southern state on this list. It is one of the original thirteen colonies. South Carolina famous for its beautiful beaches, including Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, while Nevada is landlocked. In addition, the state has far more mobile homes as well. Furthermore, it is primarily powered by nuclear energy, while Nevada also relies on natural gas to create electricity. It is also one of the most conservative states in the country.
- Massachusetts is one of the 13 original colonies, while Nevada became part of the United States much later. In contrast to Nevada, it is one of the most educated states. A lower percentage of its people are religious. Furthermore, it is far more densely forested, in part because it gets significantly more rainfall. It also has a colder climate on average.
- Rhode Island is similar to Massachusetts. It is the smallest state in land area. It is also one of the most densely populated states. In contrast to landlocked Nevada, most people in Rhode Island live relatively close to the coast. The state also is not especially mountainous. The state also has a higher percentage of Catholics than Nevada.
- Louisiana gets the most rainfall of any state, in contrast to Nevada. As a result, it has a much higher percentage of farmland and has different crops. Louisiana also has one of the biggest ports in the country. One interesting similarity is that both states allow casinos and do not have restrictive gambling laws. Another difference is that Louisiana has the second highest percentage of Blacks in the country, while Nevada only has 10%.
Nevada is like if Arizona was more like California
According to the Index, Arizona is the most similar state to Arizona. However, there are some key differences between these states. California is one state that the data shows has some characteristics of Nevada that Arizona lacks. The people in these states tend to be less religious. They also have more liberal laws than Arizona. They restore the voting rights of prisoners immediately after they are released. California and Nevada also have less restrictions on abortion. Furthermore, they have less restrictions on gambling. Another difference is that Arizona has a far lower percentage of union members than California and Nevada.
All data accurate as of 2020.