Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is a State's Shaw Index?

I've been doing a little research this afternoon which has mainly consisted of collecting a lot of data on the different states in these United States of America.  As I collected the data, I thought I would give my own rankings of the states.
I asked three questions.  Does the state have enough beer?  Is the state Blue enough? What are the state's religious attitudes?  Since I wanted the Shaw Index of a state to be out of 10 points, I weighted each question at 5, 3, and 2 respectively in terms of importance.  

The beer index was computed by first finding data on breweries per capita for each state.  The smallest was 0.2 and the largest was 6.3.  So, I subtracted 0.2 from every value and divided by 0.61 to make my index out of 10 points.  Oregon scored 10 points on this one.  Mississippi scored 0.  

My Democratic Advantage Index was computed by first finding the percentage of democrats or those that lean democrat minus the percentage of republicans or those that lean republican.  The minimum value was -35.5, and the maximum value was 21.8.  So, I added 35.5 to every value and divided by 5.73 to make my index out of 10 points. Massachusetts scored a 10, while Wyoming scored 0. 

My religious index was computed by first finding the percentage of individuals in the state who are NOT Religious and subtracted the percentage of individuals in the state that are VERY religious.  This gave a minimum value of -51 and a maximum value of 34.  So, I added 51 to every value and divided by 8.5 to make the index out of 10 points.  Vermont scored 10 points, while Mississippi scored 0.  

And finally, the Shaw Index of each state was computed using the weights I mentioned previously.  Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 states and their respective Shaw Index scores. 

Top Ten
1. Vermont 9.619603468
2. Oregon 8.608007391
3. Maine 7.442944054
4. Colorado 6.909343808
5. Washington 6.783063307
6. Montana 6.241676806
7. Alaska 5.840852843
8. Massachusetts 5.396142719
9. New Hampshire 5.176209061
10. California 4.89817385

Bottom 10 
1. Utah 1.099424942
2. Mississippi 1.429319372
3. Alabama 1.49611798
4. Tennessee 2.006263537
5. Louisiana 2.149722064
6. Georgia 2.218384688
7. Oklahoma 2.21904608
8. Arkansas 2.282781079
9. South Carolina 2.28290427
10. Texas 2.465057783

Montana and Alaska having a higher Shaw Index than California seems surprising.  It is also surprising that California has a Shaw Index lower than 5.  


  1. I'm guessing the Beer Index is what brought CA down and AK up.

  2. The accuracy to 9 decimal places may have been a tad excessive. Sorry for the oversight.

  3. This is really interesting! I think you should periodically update the Shaw Index with additional information, like number of bikes owned per capita, number of homebrewing organizations, etc.