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 Oregon
Oregon is a Western state in the Pacific Coast region. It is a relatively unique state. The five most similar states to Oregon are quite mountainous. With the exception of California, the vast majority of people in these states are White. Their culture is relatively similar as well. People from these states tend to have a similar accent. Furthermore, their people do more exercise than the United States average. The federal government still owns a significant portion of the land in the most similar states to Oregon.
- Washington is just to the north of Oregon. Until 1853, it was part of Oregon Territory. Their geography is highly similar. They both border the Pacific Ocean and have a similar climate. In addition, their terrain is quite mountainous. Aside from major cities along the western portions of their states, they are quite sparsely populated. Both states are known for their counter culture. They are also similar politically. Both states have many Democrats, since Republicans rarely win statewide election there. As a result, they have liberal laws. Recreational marijuana is legal in both states. However, Oregon is not as wealthy as Washington.
- Colorado does not border Oregon, but it does have many similarities. Although Colorado is landlocked, their landscape is similar. Their people tend to do more exercise than most other states. Their demographics are also similar, although Colorado has a higher percentage of Latinos and a lower percentage of Asians. They are also both more affluent than most states. Like Washington and Oregon, Colorado also has liberal laws. Both states allow recreational marijuana.
- California borders Oregon to the south and both states are located along the Pacific Coast. However, California’s climate is warmer. It also has far more Latinos than Oregon. Still, union membership is quite high in these states. Since 1992, these states have only voted for Democratic presidential candidates. They both have high minimum wages. These states have about the same percentage of farmland, but Oregon is more forested.
- Idaho borders Oregon to the east and they are also at a similar latitude. Both states are sparsely populated, but have large swathes of forested land as well as open pastures. Idaho was part of Oregon territory for more than a decade. However, the states are far different politically. Idaho is far more conservative than Oregon, so it has more Republicans in its government. Another difference is that Idaho is landlocked, although most of the water in both states flows to the Pacific.
- Montana and Oregon have a lot of people with German ancestry, but also many with Irish and English ancestry. However, a much higher percentage of people in Montana own guns and have hunting licenses. Both states do not have many restrictions on either guns or abortion. Their people almost always vote for the same presidential candidates in primaries as well. In addition, both states have banned smoking in public places.
Top 5 States Least Similar to Oregon
The five least similar states are all located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Four of the five border the Gulf of Mexico. These states are also significantly more conservative than Oregon and have more Republicans in their governments. They were all part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Furthermore, the Black population is much higher in these states than in Oregon.
- Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country, while Oregon only has around 2 percent. In addition, it is a very conservative state that rarely votes for Democrats. Furthermore, its geography is quite different from Oregon since it has few mountains and a greater percentage of its land is farmed. It is also one of the poorest states and has the fewest amount of cars per capita. Unlike Oregon few people use public transportation as well.
- Louisiana is far less mountainous than Oregon. Louisiana also gets the most rainfall of any state. Oregon also gets significant rainfall, but some areas of the state have a relatively dry climate as well. Like Mississippi, it has a far higher percentage of people with African ancestry. The state is also far less wealthy than Oregon. Louisiana’s homicide rate and incarceration rate are both much higher than Oregon’s as well.
- Alabama is another extremely conservative state on this list. It is quite similar to Mississippi and Louisiana. Alabama is one of the most religious states and has a far higher percentage of Baptists than Oregon. Its climate is significantly hotter than Oregon’s as well. In addition, the state has far less coastline. It is also more densely populated.
- South Carolina is yet another Southern state on this list. It is one of the original thirteen colonies. In addition, the state has far more mobile homes than Oregon as well. Furthermore, it is primarily powered by nuclear energy, while Oregon relies on hydropower and natural gas. It is also one of the most conservative states in the country. Although both states border the ocean, South Carolina is on the Atlantic Coast, while Oregon is on the Pacific Coast.
- Georgia‘s population is much more diverse than Oregon’s. The state also has a younger population on average. Hip Hop music tends to be more popular in Georgia than Oregon. Their agricultural production is significantly different as well. Oregon grows a lot of fruit and wheat, while Georgia grows a lot of cotton and peanuts. However, Georgia is not as conservative as the other states on this list
Oregon is like if Washington was more like Idaho
Oregon and Washington are two of the most similar states. However, there are few small differences between them. Idaho is one state that has some characteristics of Oregon that Washington lacks. Oregon is slightly less diverse than Washington, since it has a lower percentage of Blacks and Asians. Furthermore, people in Oregon and Idaho have a lower average income than people in Washington. Both Oregon and Idaho use more water per capita than Washington. Interestingly enough, many people in the Eastern Oregon want their counties to become part of Idaho instead.
All data accurate as of 2020.