US States with the Least Similar Culture

MAP OF STATES WITH THE LEAST SIMILAR culture - massachusetts and oklahoma

The United States is a large country and the culture of the people in its different states can vary greatly. But have you ever wondered which pair of US states have the most different culture?

According to the State Similarity Index‘s culture category, the statistics show that Massachusetts and Oklahoma are the states with the least similar culture. The analysis reveals stark contrasts in respect to history, religion, accent, as well as differing beliefs, behavior, habits, and traditions. Massachusetts and Alabama are another pair of states that exhibit striking differences in their culture. These comparisons highlight the large variation in culture across the United States.

Massachusetts & Oklahoma

Few states can rival the stark contrast in culture between Massachusetts and Oklahoma. Massachusetts was home to many of the earliest British colonies in North America, dating back to the 1620. Later many immigrants from Europe, especially from Ireland and Italy, settled in the state, giving it its unique character. Oklahoma was one of the last states to join the United States, in 1907. Its territory was originally set aside by the US government in the 1830s as a place to relocate Native American tribes who were forced to leave their ancestral lands. However, the state is predominately White now.

Massachusetts has a history of religious tolerance and intellectualism. Nowadays it is one of the least religious states in the country. A high percentage of its people are atheists. 45% of its population seldom or never attend religious services. Unlike the vast majority of states, Catholics outnumber Protestants in Massachusetts. Oklahoma is significantly more religious and few of its people are Catholic. Churches and religious organizations play a vital role in the social fabric of the state. 43% of Oklahomans attend religious services at least once a week.

Language and speech patterns are key indicators of culture, and Massachusetts and Oklahoma differ significantly in this aspect as well. Massachusetts is known for its distinctive accent, commonly referred to as the “Boston accent” or “Eastern New England accent,” characterized by unique vowel sounds and pronunciation patterns. On the other hand, Oklahoma does not have a specific accent that is commonly associated with the state. The state has a more neutral accent that is often considered closer to the “General American” accent.

People in Massachusetts tend to drink significantly more alcohol than people in Oklahoma. However, the rate of smoking is much higher in Oklahoma. Furthermore, Oklahoma has a significantly higher rate of suicide, homicide, and incarceration than Massachusetts. A much higher percentage of its people have hunting licenses as well.

Oklahoma and Massachusetts also have different music preferences. In Oklahoma, country music is very popular. The state has produced many famous country music artists, such as Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, and Blake Shelton. Massachusetts has a rich tradition of jazz and folk music. The state is also known for its famous rock bands, such as Aerosmith, the Pixies, and the Cars. The states have different sports preferences as well. People in Massachusetts are more interested in ice hockey and baseball, while Oklahomans are especially interested in college football.

These states have distinct food traditions as well. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts is known for its seafood, with dishes such as clam chowder and lobster rolls. Oklahoma’s cuisine is influenced by cowboy culture and cattle ranches. Barbecue is especially popular in the state, with beef brisket and pulled pork being favorites.

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Massachusetts & Alabama

Massachusetts and Alabama are another pair of states that have contrasting cultures. Their history is quite different. Massachusetts was a prominent supporter of the Union during the Civil War. The state had a strong abolitionist movement, which had long advocated for the end of slavery. Alabama, on the other hand, was the site of the Confederacy’s first capitol. Even after the Civil War, Alabama continued to enforce segregation between races, until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination.

Religion plays a significant role in shaping the culture of a region, and Massachusetts and Alabama are no exceptions. In Massachusetts, religious practices are more diverse and progressive, with a significant portion of the population identifying as non-religious or affiliated with liberal Christian denominations. In contrast, Alabama is one of the most religious states. Just 1% of its people are atheist. Around half are Evangelical Christians. They prioritize missionary work and the literal interpretation of the Bible.

As a result, Alabama is more conservative than Massachusetts. Same-sex marriage was only legalized in Alabama in 2015, and there are no statewide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. In contrast, Massachusetts has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights for decades. In 2004, it became the first state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage, paving the way for marriage equality nationwide.

Furthermore, these states have their own distinctive regional accents that deviate from the “General American” accent. Most people in Alabama have a “Southern accent.” This accent is known for its slower pace, melodic tone, and unique vocabulary. While both states have non-rhotic features, in the Southern accent, the “r” sound is often dropped after vowels, particularly in the final position or before a consonant. However, in the Boston accent the “r” sound is usually dropped regardless of its position.

While each person is different, people in Massachusetts are known to have a temperamental and uninhibited personality, whereas Alabamans are typically more friendly and conventional. A higher percentage of people in Alabama are enlisted in the military. Furthermore, a much higher percentage of its people have firearms and hunting licenses as well.

Like Oklahoma, surveys show that country music is very popular in Alabama, unlike in Massachusetts. In addition, these states have different sports preferences as well. People in Massachusetts are more interested in ice hockey and baseball, while Alabamans are especially interested in college football. However, both states do boast some of the most successful football teams in the country, although the New England Patriots are a professional team. Alabama does not have a NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, or MLS team. Massachusetts has all five.

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