Similar States with Extremely Different Infrastructure

There are some unique pairs of states that are similar, except that their demographics are quite different. A list of these states was developed by analyzing the data from the State Similarity Index, which weighs equally five major aspects of states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The following three pairs of states were found to have a biggest difference between their demographics and their other aspects, including culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography.


The infrastructure in Louisiana and South Carolina is quite different. One reason is that Louisiana is a major part of the oil and gas industry, unlike South Carolina. It houses major refineries, LNG export terminals, and petrochemical complexes. As a result of the manufacturing process, Louisiana uses far more electricity per capita. Furthermore, most of South Carolina’s electricity is created by nuclear power, while most of Louisiana’s is created by natural gas. Since New Orleans is a major port at the end of the Mississippi River, Louisiana has much more complex shipping infrastructure. It also has more pipelines.

However, other than their infrastructure, these Southern states are incredibly similar. Both Louisiana and South Carolina have subtropical climates. They also are not particularly mountainous, but they have plenty of wetlands. In addition, about 70% of their land is forested, featuring a mix of coniferous and broadleaf trees.

Furthermore, their demographics and culture are similar. Both states have a relatively high percentage of Black people. In addition, they have high poverty rates and lower than average incomes. Furthermore, a low percentage of their people are members of unions. Although Louisiana has more Catholics, both states have many Baptists. Moreover, their people are quite conservative and often favor Republicans in elections.


Another pair of states, South Dakota and Wyoming, also have significantly different infrastructure. While little mining is done in South Dakota, Wyoming has many coal and uranium mines. As a result of the extraction process, Wyoming uses more water and electricity per capita. In fact, most of Wyoming’s electricity comes from coal power, while most of South Dakota is generated by hydropower. Another difference is that most of South Dakota’s electrical grid is on the Eastern Interconnection, while Wyoming’s is on the Western Interconnection. Moreover, South Dakota’s cell phone coverage is better, since it is not as sparsely populated as Wyoming.

Still, these states have a lot in common despite these differences in infrastructure. A very high percentage of their population is White and many have German heritage. The median age of their people is about the same as well. A relatively high percentage of their people are married. These states also have a similar percentage of college graduates.

The culture in Wyoming and South Dakota is not far different. Both states have high gun ownership rates and many people with hunting licenses. However, they also have low homicide rates, although they have high suicide and incarceration rates. Their people are generally known to be conventional and especially friendly. They tend to drink more alcohol and smoke at higher rates than the average state. Moreover, Country music is the most popular genre in both states.


Although Arkansas and North Carolina are both considered to be Southern states, their infrastructure is not especially similar. Arkansas uses more water and electricity per capita. However, North Carolina’s internet speeds tend to be much faster and a higher percentage of its people have cable television. Another difference is that Arkansas does not have any major airports, while Charlotte is a major airline hub. Furthermore, North Carolina has far more military per capita, since it has many major military bases. North Carolina also has better hospitals and research facilities, due to major universities like Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest.

Other than these differences in infrastructure, Arkansas and North Carolina have a lot in common. Both states once allowed slavery. Even after the Civil War, these states mandated that their schools stay racially segregated. Their demographics are alike, since they have similar percentages of Blacks and Latinos. They also have about the same proportion of Protestants. Both have many Baptists, but few Catholics. In addition, few people are members of unions.

Both states have a subtropical climate and are about the same latitude, although Arkansas is further to the west. They are also both mountainous, even though the Ozark Mountains run through Arkansas and the Appalachian Mountains run through North Carolina. Most of their land is forested as well, but their farmlands both tend to grow a lot of soybeans.


State 1State 2Demo.Cult.Poli.Infra.Geo.TotalInfra. – Total Avg.
South CarolinaLouisiana16.715.5513.9412.8715.874.9-2.1
WyomingSouth Dakota1714.7514.6412.5813.4572.4-1.9
North CarolinaArkansas17.314.6213.3113.0315.373.6-1.7
North CarolinaLouisiana16.214.5214.7313.0814.973.4-1.6

(Minimum 72% Overall Similarity)

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