The Northeastern State Most Similar to the South

The United States is often split into different regions. However, the lines between these regions can sometimes be blurry. Some states exhibit traits of two different regions.

Determining the state in the Northeastern region of the United States most similar to the South requires considering a variety of different factors. One way to answer this complex question is by analyzing the data from the State Similarity Index. The index attempts to quantify how similar American states are to each other relative to other states, using a variety of statistics from five broad categories: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography.

An analysis of the data shows that Pennsylvania is the most similar Northeastern state to the South. On the other end of the spectrum, the data shows that Massachusetts is the least similar.

(Southern states defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia)

Graph of most similar Northeastern states to the South - state similarity index

Maryland and Delaware are sometimes considered part of the South region, since they once allowed slavery, unlike other Northeastern states. However, Pennsylvania actually stands out as having the most in common with the South now. Pennsylvania is often described as Philadelphia in the East, Pittsburgh in the West, and Alabama in the middle. Culture and demographics are two reasons why Pennsylvania stands out.


Pennsylvania tends to be more conservative than other states in the Northeast region. Over 40% of its residents own firearms, one of the highest rates in the region. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of the states with the most NRA members. Both states have a strong emphasis on outdoor activities. Hunting, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits are popular pastimes. Furthermore, Pennsylvania has the highest rate of smoking tobacco in the Northeast, while the South region has the highest rate of smoking in the country. Incarceration rates tend to be higher in the South, than the rest of the country as well. In the Northeast region, only Delaware has a higher rate than Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania has a higher percentage of people living in rural areas than Maryland and Delaware. Great economic disparities and variations exist within Pennsylvania. Certain areas of the state face economic challenges similar to those found in the South. Therefore, it has a relatively high poverty rate. In contrast, the Northeast region tends to particularly wealthy and well educated. However, Pennsylvania is one notable exception. It is closer to the American average. As a result, some of its demographics are more similar to the South.

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