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 Texas
Texas is a unique state in the South Central region. It is a large state that has many regions which are dissimilar from each other. However, the five most similar states are located in the Southeastern region of the United States. These states tend to be very religious and conservative, so they favor Republicans. Furthermore, the climate is warmer in these states than most other regions of the United States. Four of the five most similar states were once part of the Confederacy.
- Oklahoma is just to the north of Texas, so its geography is extremely similar to North Texas. Both states are about 75% farmland. The economies of both states rely upon the energy industry, especially oil extraction. Their people especially enjoy listening to country music. However, Oklahoma’s population has a lower percentage of Latinos and African Americans. It also has more of a Native American influence, since many were once forced to live in reservations in the state, although less than 10% of the state is Native American now.
- Georgia is another prosperous Southern state, with a diverse population, although it has more African Americans and less Latinos. East Texas also has a similar climate to Georgia, since both areas are hot and humid. They are the two biggest producers of cotton in the United States. Texas has similar laws as well, since both states tend to be more conservative. They both still use the death penalty and require photo IDs to vote. Both states are also major transportation hubs. However, Georgia is far further to the east and does not border Texas or the Gulf Coast.
- Louisiana is just to the east of Texas. It also borders the Gulf of Mexico. The petrochemical industry is a huge part of the economy in both states. They have many oil refineries and crude oil pipelines. Unlike most Southern states, about 25% of their population is Catholic. However, Louisiana has a greater French influence, while Texas has a greater Mexican influence. Texas also has a drier climate than Louisiana.
- Mississippi is located between Louisiana and Alabama. Mississippi’s government and laws are especially similar to Texas’. Both states have many restrictions on abortion and few restrictions on firearms. Neither state allows smoking in public places. They both also love to play football. However, Mississippi has a much higher percentage of Blacks and a much lower percentage of Latinos. It is also significantly poorer than Texas on average.
- Alabama is yet another Southern state on this list. Although it is further East, it has about the same population density as Texas. While both states border the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama has far less coastline. It is more mountainous as well. These states also have high rates of incarceration. Their military enlistment rates are higher than average too. However a higher percentage of people have hunting licenses and firearms than in Texas.
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Top 5 States Least Similar to Texas
Four of the five least similar states to Texas are located in New England. Their people tend to be less religious than Texas. Their laws are significantly more liberal, since these states tend to favor Democrats. Relatively few Latinos live in these states. Their climate is also much colder than in Texas so they get significantly more snowfall.
- Vermont is a rural, landlocked, and extremely mountainous Northern state. Unlike Texas, it has no major cities. Its demographics are also far less diverse, since it has one the highest percentages of White people in the country. Furthermore, Vermont’s laws are also more liberal. Although there are few gun restrictions in both states, marijuana is legal in Vermont. It also has less restrictions to abortion.
- Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest and most educated states. Furthermore, its people are much more interested in ice hockey and less interested in football. Like Vermont, Massachusetts is also far more liberal and less religious than Texas, although both states have many Catholics. Furthermore, its population density is much higher.
- Hawaii, unlike the other states on this list, is on the opposite side of the country, although it is also very liberal. Its demographics are extremely different from Texas, since it has by far the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any state and few Latinos. Its tropical climate and agriculture is also quite different from most of the state, although South Texas does have some beautiful beaches. One interesting thing is that both states have high gun ownership rates, but few people with hunting licenses. In fact, contrary to stereotypes, Hawaii actually has a higher gun ownership rate than Texas, although it has far more gun restrictions.
- New Hampshire is yet another state in New England on this list. New Hampshire is more conservative than Vermont and Massachusetts, but it still favors the Democratic Party. Its infrastructure is also quite different. Texas has hard water, while New Hampshire has the softest water in the country. In addition, a high percentage of its water withdrawals come from the ocean, not freshwater reservoirs or lakes.
- Rhode Island is similar to Massachusetts. It is another densely populated state that borders the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest state by area, while Texas is the second largest. Unlike Texas, most people in Rhode Island live close to the coast. Rhode Island’s laws are far different from Texas as well since they are more friendly to unions and the state has a higher minimum wage.
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Texas is like if Oklahoma was more like Florida
According to the Index, Oklahoma is the most similar state to Texas, but they also have many differences. One state that has many traits of Texas that Oklahoma lacks in Florida. Both states have long coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico. In contrast, Oklahoma is landlocked. Furthermore, Florida and Texas have more diverse populations. They have a much higher percentage of Catholics and Latinos than Oklahoma. However, it is important to note that most Latinos in Florida are from Cuba or Puerto Rio, while in Texas they tend to be Mexican. Texas and Florida also have significantly lower rates of smoking and suicide than Oklahoma.
Full Ranking of States Most Similar to Texas
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Arizona
Most Similar Culture: Georgia
Most Similar Government: Mississippi
Most Similar Infrastructure: Oklahoma
Most Similar Geography: Oklahoma
Least Similar Demographics: New Hampshire
Least Similar Culture: Vermont
Least Similar Government: New York
Least Similar Infrastructure: Vermont
Least Similar Geography: Alaska
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