The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar American states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each state.
The data from the State Similarity Index was used to cluster American states into different regions. Some unique states, like Alaska and Hawaii, are very difficult to group with other states. Therefore, it was necessary to make the largest regions still have a great deal of variation within them. This resulted in 6 distinct macro-regions:
Please see this article, which compares these groupings to other regional maps created by geographers. These macro-regions are further broken up into sub-regions, since there are still some significant differences within them. States as different as California and Utah are still grouped together. Please note that simply using the hierarchical clustering does not tell the full story, since some states can have nearly equal attributes of two different regions. This is especially true from Missouri and Pennsylvania. Further analysis of the data requires comparing each state’s average to the resulting regions and creating a map of linkages between similar states to create a more refined map.
The states in each region and their individual pages are as follows:
North New England
— Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
— Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island
— Delaware, Maryland
— Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
— Oregon, Washington
— Arizona, Nevada
— New Mexico
— Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee
— Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
— West Virginia
— Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
— Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
Here is the hierarchical clustering dendrogram, used to create the map:
Here is the resulting map:
Do you agree with these regions of the United States?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.