Variance in Organizational Affiliations by US State

State Similarity Index - Culture Category - Organizational Affliations

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on culture. 10% of a state’s culture score (2% of the overall State Similarity Index score) is derived from the specific organizations states and their people are affiliated with. These include educational institutions, labor unions, and the armed services.

College Conferences

In the United States, college conferences are affiliations that bring together universities not only for sports but also for academic collaboration. In general, these conferences are regional. The Atlantic Coast Conference primarily covers the eastern United States, featuring schools like Clemson, Florida State, and Duke. Most schools in the Big Ten Conference are located in the Midwest. It includes iconic universities such as Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. The Big XII Conference is mostly in the central area of the country, with many notable schools like Texas and Oklahoma. The Pac-12 Conference is based on the West Coast, and includes universities like USC, UCLA, and Stanford. The Southeastern Conference has a strong presence in the southeast region, with powerhouse programs like Alabama, Florida, and LSU.

States were categorized by the college conferences their major universities are members of:
Major conferences:
ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC
Minor conferences:
American, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, CUSA, GNAC, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Mountain West, NEC, OVC, Patriot, SoCon, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, SWAC, Missouri Valley, WAC, WCC


University Accreditation

Accrediting organizations enforce education quality standards that align with the diverse priorities of different regions. There are six distinct regional accrediting organizations operating in the United States. The HLC primarily accredits institutions in the Midwest, while the MSCHE oversees the mid-Atlantic region. The NECHE is responsible for accrediting universities in New England, and the NWCCU oversees institutions in states primarily located in the northwestern portion of the country. The SACSCOC accredits universities in the southern states, and the WASC is responsible for accrediting institutions in California and Hawaii. Each organization plays a crucial role in upholding academic standards and ensuring the quality and integrity of higher education in their respective regions.

Regional accrediting organizations:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Standardized Testing

The ACT and the SAT are the two most commonly taken college entrance exams in the United States. While colleges themselves do not have a strong preference for either test, there are regional differences in test-taking patterns. More students take the ACT in the central part of the country, especially in the Midwest, while students on the East and West Coasts often focus on the SAT. In Wisconsin, 95% of college students took the ACT. However, in New Jersey, less than 10% of college students reported ACT scores. It was once common for colleges on the East and West coasts to favor the SAT, leading to the large discrepancy.

States were categorized by the percentage of students who take the ACT:
5-20, 20-35, 35-50, 50-65, 65-80, 80-95

College Raptor

Union Membership

Hawaii and New York have the highest percentage of union membership at over 20%. These states have highest living costs, so labor unions are attractive for their workers seeking better wages, benefits, and job security. South Carolina and North Carolina have the lowest percentage of people in unions at less than 3%. The states have policies that generally favor businesses and employers over unions. Their laws prohibit employers from requiring employees to join or financially support a union as a condition of employment. In general, liberal states have a higher percentage of people in unions, while conservative states have a lower percentage.

States were categorized by the percentage of people in labor unions:
2.2-5.7, 5.7-9.2, 9.2-12.7, 12.7-16.2, 16.2-19.7, 19.7-23.2

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Military Enlistment

Hawaii is the state with the highest share of 18-24 year olds in the military. The state is not especially large, but it has 11 military bases, due to its strategic importance in the Pacific Ocean. North Dakota is the state with the lowest share of 18-24 year olds in the military. However, in general, people from the Southern states are overrepresented in the military while people from the Northeastern states are underrepresented. New England is generally more liberal and its people tend to have an anti-war sentiment compared to some other regions. The Northeast also has more higher educational opportunities for its young people.

States were categorized by the enlisted NPS accession-share to civilian-share ratio:
0.5-0.66, 0.66-0.83, 0.83-1, 1-1.16, 1.16-1.33, 1.33-1.5

Department of Defense

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