Extremely Different States with Similar Culture

For the most part, states with similar culture tend to also share many other characteristics. Still, there are some unique pairs of states that may have a similar beliefs, traditions, and habits, 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 a biggest difference between their infrastructure and their other aspects, including demographics, politics, infrastructure, and geography.


Despite not bordering each other, Illinois and Rhode Island have many cultural traits in common. Both states have multicultural populations. About the same percentage of people believe in god and attend religious services weekly in these states. They also remained part of the Union during the Civil War. In addition, these states outlawed school segregation and allowed interracial marriage before 1900. Illinois and Rhode Island also have higher than average rates of union membership.

However, one big difference between these states is their geography. Rhode Island is in the Northeast region and borders the Atlantic Ocean. On the other hand, Illinois is landlocked, although it does have a small amount of shoreline along Lake Michigan. A higher percentage of Rhode Island is forested, while a significantly lower percentage is farmland. Furthermore, Illinois is less densely populated than Rhode Island. They are also in different time zones.

Another big difference is their infrastructure. Chicago is the home of the world’s first skyscraper and also the Willis Tower, the world’s tallest skyscraper for almost 25 years. In contrast, Rhode Island’s tallest building is less than 500 feet tall. Most of the energy in Illinois is created by coal or nuclear power, while Rhode Island is reliant on natural gas. In addition, a much higher share of its homes are heated with fuel oil. Moreover, Illinois has a much denser network of railroads, despite being more sparsely populated.


Idaho and Washington border each other. Both states were part of the Oregon Territory before becoming independent. Their people are known to be relaxed and creative. They also tend to do a lot of exercise, due to their shared love for the outdoors. Furthermore, their native residents have similar accents. In addition, these states outlawed segregation in schools and allowed interracial marriage before 1900. Although Idaho is more rural than Washington, neither state is particularly religious.

Interestingly enough, despite these shared cultural traits, Idaho and Washington are far different in regards to politics. Idaho is a much more conservative state and as a result heavily favors the Republican party in elections. Washington’s laws are much more friendly to immigrants and minority groups. Another difference in their laws is that the recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington. In addition, its minimum wage is far higher than Idaho’s.

Washington’s population is more diverse than Idaho’s, since it has a higher percentage of Asians and Blacks. In addition, its people tend to be more educated and wealthier than Idaho’s population. Since it is more rural and sparsely populated, Idaho’s internet speeds are much slower than Washington’s. Another difference is that Idaho is landlocked, while Washington has a lot of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. Seattle is an important logistical port for the region.


The people in North Carolina and Texas tend to be quite religious. Both states have a high percentage of Evangelical Christians. In addition, their native residents have similar Southern accent. Both states used to allow slavery and were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Even after the war, they segregated their schools and did not permit interracial marriage. Both states have low rates of union membership. In addition, Country music is especially popular in these states.

However, Texas has a much higher percentage of Latinos. Since it borders Mexico, it has many immigrants. Texas is located along the Gulf of Mexico, while North Carolina is on the Atlantic Coast. Since the Appalachian Mountains run through North Carolina, its terrain is more mountainous. The climate in Texas is significantly drier as well. As a result, the state is also less densely forested than North Carolina. Another difference is that North Carolina is more densely populated than Texas.

The infrastructure in these states is also significantly different. There is little mining in North Carolina, while Texas extracts a lot of oil and natural gas from its land. Therefore, it has more pipeline than North Carolina. Texas is also unique in that it has its own electrical grid. The state also uses more electricity per capita than North Carolina. Another difference is that North Carolina has a much higher percentage of mobile homes and also less skyscrapers than Texas.


State 1State 2Demo.Cult.Poli.Infra.Geog.TotalCult. – Total Ave.
IllinoisRhode Island16.014.513.412.010.666.61.2
North CarolinaTexas15.214.613.313.011.968.01.0

(Minimum 72% Cultural Similarity)

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