In fact, a politician looking for that mythical microcosm -- the most typical state in the country -- should look no further than Wisconsin.
The Badger State comes closer than any other to state-by-state averages on 12 key measures, according to a new analysis by CNN Polling Director Keating Holland that takes a fresh look at U.S. Census data. ... Holland identified 12 key statistics -- four that measure race and ethnicity, four that look at income and education, and four that describe the typical neighborhood in each state -- and added up how far each was from the figures for the average state on each measure. ... So, what makes Wisconsin so special -- or, to put it another way, what makes Wisconsin so average? It is about as close to the average state as you can get on most of the 12 measures included in this study.
For example, let's take the number of college graduates who live in each state. Wyoming is dead center among all 50 states, with 30.22% of its population holding a college degree. In Wisconsin, the number is 30.24%.
Or take housing values. On a state-by-state basis the median housing value, in North Carolina, is just over $111,600. The median housing value in Wisconsin is roughly $111,500. The Badger State is also fairly close to the state-by-state average on population growth, home ownership, population density, and the number of blacks and Hispanics who live there. The number of whites and blue-collar workers who live in Wisconsin is much further away from the average state's figures on those measures, but not enough to keep the Badger State from claiming the top spot.
I'd have to agree that our state is quite an interesting one. Madison is an over-educated liberal Mecca; Milwaukee is a large, diverse (*cough*segregated*cough*) ex-industrial center; the Fox Valley is a religious suburban-sprawling stretch; and the rest of the state is an odd mixture of rural, mostly-independent farmers and blue-collar laborers.