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America’s Demographic Extremes

The Biggest Outliers in the United States

May 2023


America is a land of extremes … including when it comes to our population.

Which states are the biggest demographic outliers?

America’s most religious states can be found in the Deep South, where 77% of residents of Alabama and Mississippi say religion is very important in their lives.i

The least religious states, meanwhile, are in New England. Only 33% of residents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire say religion is important to them.ii

The state with the youngest population is Utah, where an abundance of children makes the median age slightly over 31.iii The state with the oldest population is Maine, with a median age of nearly 45.iv

Maine is also America’s least diverse state, with a population that is 90.8% white.v

The state with the largest proportion of African American residents is Mississippi, at The highest proportion of Hispanic residents belongs to New Mexico, at 47.7%.vii The largest proportion of Asian residents is in Hawaii, at 37.2%.viii And the largest proportion of Native Americans can be found in Alaska, where they make up 15.2% of the population.ix

The state with the highest percentage of residents with a college degree is Massachusetts, at 46.6%,x while the state with the lowest percentage of college graduates is West Virginia, at 24.1%.xi

The most Republican state in the country is Wyoming, where 57% of the population favors the GOP,xii while the most Democratic one is Vermont, also at 57%.xiii

The state with the highest proportion of its residents serving in the military is South Carolina,xiv while the state with the lowest levels of service in uniform is North Dakota.xv

Wyoming is the state with the most pet owners at 72%,xvi while Rhode Island has the least, at only 45%.xvii

There’s also one state that is extreme for … not being extreme.

Analysis that factors in race, religion, education, income, and age, has found that the state that looks the most like the country as a whole is … Illinois.xviii



  1. America’s most religious states can be found in the Deep South, while the least religious states are in New England.
  2. Thanks to an abundance of kids, Utah is the youngest state. Maine is the oldest state.
  3. Analysis that factors in race, religion, education, income, and age found that Illinois is the state that looks most like the country as a whole.


  1. How Religious Is Your State? — Pew Research Center
  2.  Ibid. 
  3. "Median Age in the United States in 2020, by State" (Erin Duffin) — Statista
  4. Ibid.
  5. Race and Ethnicity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census — U.S. Census Bureau
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid. 
  9. Ibid.
  10. Bachelor's Degree or Higher by State — Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  11. Ibid. 
  12. Party Affiliation by State — Pew Research Center 
  13. Ibid.
  14. Population Representation in the Military Services: Fiscal Year 2018 Summary Report — U.S. Department of Defense
  15. Ibid.
  16. "Where the (Not-So) Wild Things Are: AVMA Releases Data on Top, Bottom States for Dog, Cat and Overall Pet Ownership" (Michael San Filippo) — American Veterinary Medical Association
  17.  Ibid. 
  18. "The Perfect State Index: If Iowa, N.H. Are Too White To Go First, Then Who?" (Asma Khalid) — NPR


SOUND: "I’m an Old Woman" (Barbara Martin)  


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