According to the AP’s analysis of Census Bureau data, Illinois is America’s most American state, most closely reflecting the nation as a whole on “21 demographic factors, including race, age, income, education, industrial mix, immigration and the share of people living in urban and rural areas.”
Illinois is the fifth largest state, with a big city in Chicago, rolling countryside in the south and a lot of sprawling suburbs. And it has Peoria, which, it turns out, really is a barometer of America’s preferences. Many companies continue to use the city in central Illinois as a test market, taking literally the adage about how things play there.
…Illinois was followed by Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Delaware.
West Virginia was the least typical state, poorer, whiter, and more rural, followed by Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont and Kentucky.
Iowa was 41st. If anyone’s counting, that means some of the least representatively American states have been responsible for shaping the American presidential elections. Which is, you know, something a lot of brown/LGBT/urban-dwelling/very liberal type people have been saying for years.
But don’t mind us.
America is becoming more diverse, with minorities topping 100 million for the first time in 2006, according to Census Bureau figures being released Thursday. About one in three Americans was a minority last year, a slight increase.
In 2006, the nation was 67.6 percent white, non-Hispanic; 15 percent Hispanic; 13.4 percent black; 5 percent Asian; 1.5 percent American Indian or native Alaskan and 0.3 percent Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. The percentages add up to more than 100 in part because some people identify with more than one race and Hispanics can be of any race.
Illinois’ racial composition matches the nation’s better than any other state. Education levels are similar, as is the mix of industry and the percentage of immigrants. Incomes in Illinois are a little higher and the state is more urban the rest of the nation. But the age of the population is very close to the country’s mix of minors, seniors and those 18 to 64.
Republican candidates for statewide office in Illinois are undoubtedly more liberal than Republican candidates for national office. In the last gubernatorial election, the candidates from both parties were big on multiculturalism and diversity, and the Republican candidate was pro-choice and pro-gay rights; she’d participated in Chicago’s gay pride parade for years. They can’t win any other way. Of course, Illinois governors aren’t elected via an antiquated, unfair, and generally fucked up electoral college system, either. Just saying.
Top 5 Most American States: Illinois, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, and Delaware.
Top 5 Least American States: West Virginia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Vermont.
Huh. Whaddaya know. All five of the most American states are blue. What a coincidence.