US States with the Least Similar Geography

MAP OF STATES WITH THE LEAST SIMILAR geography - hawaii and north dakota

Geography plays a crucial role in shaping the characteristics and identities of a place. But have you ever wondered which pair of US states have the most different geography?

According to the State Similarity Index‘s geography category, Hawaii and North Dakota are the states with the least similar geography. The analysis reveals stark contrasts in their topography, location, population density, habitat types, flora, climate, and land cover. Florida and Alaska are another pair of states that exhibit striking differences in their geography. These comparisons highlight the immense variation and diversity of the landscapes in the United States.

Hawaii & North Dakota

Few states can rival the stark contrast in geography between Hawaii and North Dakota. Hawaii is much further south than North Dakota. It is an archipelago located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while North Dakota is a landlocked state that borders Canada. They are not even on the same tectonic plates.

One of the most noticeable differences between Hawaii and North Dakota is their climate. Hawaii has a tropical climate, while North Dakota has a continental climate. The average temperature in Hawaii is around 77°F, while in North Dakota, it is much colder, with an average temperature of around 43°F . Hawaii receives abundant rainfall, with an average precipitation of 63 inches per year, compared to North Dakota, which receives only about 16 inches of precipitation annually.

As a result, the vegetation in Hawaii and North Dakota is also extremely different. Most of Hawaii is covered in lush rainforests that are home to a diverse array of plant species, including many endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. In contrast, North Dakota is known for its vast stretches of grasslands, with agricultural lands dominating the landscape. While Hawaii grows sugarcane and a variety of tropical fruits, North Dakota grows mostly soybean and corn.

Hawaii is known for its volcanic mountains, with Mauna Kea being the tallest mountain in the state, soaring to a height of 13,796 feet above sea level. Hawaii also has a significant amount of elevation variation, with its mountains rising dramatically from the sea level. In contrast, North Dakota is relatively flat, with an average elevation of about 2,000 feet (610 meters) above sea level. The state lacks significant mountain ranges and is characterized by gentle slopes and rolling prairies.

Their population densities are also far different. It has around 219 people per square mile. In contrast, North Dakota has only about 11 people per square mile, so it is among the lowest in the country. Another notable difference between Hawaii and North Dakota is the extent of built-up areas. Hawaii has densely populated urban areas, with cities such as Honolulu and Hilo. In contrast, North Dakota has fewer built-up areas, with small towns scattered across the state.

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Alaska & Florida

Two other states that have significant differences in geography are Alaska and Florida. While both states are peninsulas with a lot of coastline, they have little else in common. Alaska is located at the extreme northwest portion of the United States, while Florida is at the extreme southeast portion. There is four hours of time difference between Anchorage and Miami.

Due to the large difference in latitude, Alaska’s climate is significantly different from Florida’s. Most of the state has a subarctic climate, while Florida has a subtropical climate. The average temperature in Alaska ranges from below freezing in winter to only about 60°F in summer. In contrast, Florida is hot and humid. The average temperature in Florida ranges from around 70°F in winter to over 90°F in summer.

Florida is the flattest state. Its highest point is only 345 feet above sea level. In fact, due to sea level rise, much of its land may be underwater in the coming centuries. It has extensive wetlands, marshes, and swamps, including the famous Everglades. The state is also known for its sandy beaches and coastal dunes. In contrast, Alaska has the highest peak in North America, Denali, at 20,310 feet. Its rugged mountains, including the iconic Alaska Range, dominate the landscape in many parts of the state. It is also home to numerous glaciers and tundras, characterized by low-growing vegetation.

Alaska is known for its vast wilderness. It has the lowest population density in the United States, with only about 1.3 people per square mile. In contrast, Florida has a higher population density, with around 400 people per square mile. A high percentage of its land is urbanized, with many large cities, like Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville.

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The Least Similar US States

US States with the Least Similar Demographics
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US States with the Least Similar Geography

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