Similar States with Extremely Different Culture

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 history of Missouri and Wisconsin is quite different. Missouri allowed slavery, unlike Wisconsin. Even after the civil war, school segregation was mandated in Missouri, but outlawed in Wisconsin. Even today, Wisconsin’s people tend to be more progressive. It has a stronger European influence, with many immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, and Poland. Missouri is also much more religious than Wisconsin. More of its people attend religious services weekly and pray daily. Missouri has a higher portion of evangelical Christians as well, while Wisconsin has more Lutherans and Catholics. In addition, Missouri has a higher rate of smoking and homicide.

However, other than their culture, these states are in many ways alike. Missouri and Wisconsin have similar demographics. These states are predominately White, but have small communities of Latinos and Blacks. The median age of their people is about the same. The also have a similar percentage of college graduates. In addition, they have similar levels of obesity.

Furthermore, their geography is not significantly different either. Both states are in the Central Time Zone and border the Mississippi River. They also have similar percentages of mountainous area and forested area. Soybean and corn are the most common crops in their farms. Neither state is especially densely or sparsely populated. They have about the same percentage of urban land.


Oklahoma and Texas border each other but their culture is different in a number of ways. One reason is that Texas has more of a Mexican influence. As a result, many of its people speak Spanish and are Catholic. In contrast, Oklahoma is one of the states with the lowest percentage of Catholics. Oklahoma was also more influenced by Native Americans, since many reservations are located in the state. Furthermore, Oklahoma was part of the Louisiana Purchase, but one of the last states to join the union, while Texas was once an independent country and got its statehood much earlier. Another big difference is that the rate of smoking and suicide is much lower in Texas.

Despite these notable differences, Oklahoma and Texas a lot in common otherwise. Both states have very conservative governments that are controlled by Republicans. Their laws are similar as well. Both states have few restrictions on guns, but many restrictions on abortion. In addition, their state governments have not banned smoking in public places. Furthermore, the minimum wage in these states has not been raised higher than the national minimum.

In addition, Texas and Oklahoma have similar economies as well. The oil and gas industry plays a big role in both states. As a result they have many pipelines and oil derricks. They also create a lot of energy by wind power as well. Farming is another industry that plays an important role in both states. They have many cattle large ranches on their pasture lands.


There are also big differences in the culture between Maryland and Massachusetts. Before the Civil War, Maryland allowed slavery, while Massachusetts led the abolitionist movement. It did not segregate its public schools and even allowed interracial marriage around 100 years earlier than Maryland. Massachusetts is also one of the least religious states in the country. It is one of the few states that is mostly Catholic as well. Maryland is more religious and has a significantly larger Protestant population. Furthermore, the accent of their native people is notably different. In Massachusetts, many people drop their r’s and they have unique vowel sounds too.

Still, these states have a lot in common politically nowadays. Since 1992, both Maryland and Massachusetts have voted for Democratic presidential candidates. In addition their states legislatures are full of Democrats as well. Both states have based many laws to protect the civil rights of minorities. In addition, they have laws that strongly favor unions.

Although Massachusetts is much further north than Maryland, other aspects of their geography are extremely similar. Both states have a lot of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The Appalachian Mountains also run through both as well. They are also quite densely populated due to their relatively small areas, but large port cities like Boston and Baltimore.


State 1State 2Demo.Cult.Poli.Infra.Geo.TotalCult. – Total Avg.
Rhode IslandMaryland1412.515.1214.9216.272.7-2.0

(Minimum 72% Overall Similarity)

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