For the most part, states with similar demographics tend to also share many other characteristics. Still, there are some unique pairs of states that may have a similar types of people, but have little else in common. A list of these states was developed by analyzing the data from the State Similarity Index, that weighs equally five major aspects of American states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The following three pairs of states were found to have the biggest difference between their demographics and their other aspects, including culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography.
Over 90% of the people in Wyoming and Maine are White, although Wyoming has a slightly larger percentage of Latinos. In addition, the majority of their population is Protestant. The two states have a similar income per capita as well. Neither state is especially rich or poor. In addition, over 50% of the adult population in each state is married. These states also have about the same obesity rate.
Still, these states have many differences as well. Mining is one of the biggest industries in Wyoming, in contrast to Maine. The state relies on coal power to create electricity, whereas Maine uses many renewable energy sources, like hydro and wind power. Wyoming also consumes far more electricity and water per capita than Maine. Furthermore, most houses in Maine use fuel oil for heating, while natural gas is more often used in Wyoming.
Their culture and politics are also quite different. Ice hockey is much more popular in Maine than Wyoming. A lower percentage of people in Maine own guns and have hunting liscences. Their native residents tend to have significantly different accents as well. The Democratic Party is also far more popular in Maine. Wyoming also has a lower minimum wage than Maine.
The populations of Montana and Maine have an extremely similar racial composition. Over 90% of their people are White, although Montana has a larger percentage of Native Americans. They also have many people with English and Irish ancestry, even though Wyoming has a higher percentage of people with German ancestry than Maine. In both states, the median age is over 40 years old. The education level of their people is also similar. Around 35% of the people in each state have a Bachelor’s degrees.
However, in many ways these states are far different from each other, especially geographically. Maine is one of the most forested states in the country, while Montana is dominated by the Rocky Mountains, with vast expanses of high plains and pasture land. Maine is well known for its rugged coastline, with many small islands along the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast, Montana is landlocked.
Their history is far different as well. Montana was colonized much later than Maine. Most of its land was acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. So Montana got its statehood almost 70 years later than Maine. In the past, Montana has also leaned more conservative politically and often elects Republican candidates.
Kansas and Oregon have about the same percentage of Whites and Latinos. The ancestry of their people is also similar. German heritage is most common, but English and Irish heritage is also common. In addition, both states have more women than men. Around 35% of the people in each state have a Bachelor’s degrees. They also have about the same income per capita. However, one difference in their demographics is that a higher percentage of people in Kansas are married.
Other than demographics, these states have little in common. Oregon is located on the Pacific Coast, while Kansas is double landlocked and in the middle of the country. A much higher percentage of the land in Kansas is used for agriculture, especially soybean and corn production. Oregon is also significantly more mountainous and forested than Kansas.
Another big difference is their politics and culture. Oregon tends to be more liberal and progressive. The state has a history of electing Democratic governors. In contrast, Kansas leans more conservative. As a result, their people often vote for candidates from the Republican Party. Oregon’s abortion laws are significantly less restrictive. Furthermore, Oregon has a higher rate of drug and alcohol usage than Kansas, but it also has a lower rate of homicide and incarceration.
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(Minimum 72% Demographic Similarity)