Americans are often quick to notice the ways in which foreign countries are different from the U.S. while overlooking some of ways -- both good and bad -- we're more alike than we realize.(Story continues below)
"We sort of think of other parts of the world as being poor," Estately blogger Ryan Nickum told The Huffington Post when explaining that issues often associated with foreign countries are ones that also run rampant in our own 50 states.
"For example, we point out how [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is so homophobic for having so much anti-gay legislation, while there are still states here in the U.S. passing that same stuff," Nickum said.
On Nickum's map, states' names are swapped out for the foreign country that's most similar to them in one or more (often unusual) ways.
"I could have picked an individual metric like GDP to base the comparisons on, but I thought it would be more fun to base them on something interesting or unusual," Nickum said, explaining the criteria that resulted in unrelated categories like Buddhism, peaches and robbery.
"I looked at hundreds of lists out there for things like 'Most Drunk Cities' or top crime cities -- because everyone loves top ten lists -- and I used that as initial search criteria," Nickum said.
In the case of some states -- like Connecticut, "which doesn't have anything extreme" -- Nickum was forced to make some admittedly pat comparisons. In the case of the Nutmeg State, he determined its international twin was the island country of Grenada since the former produces a lot of nutmeg, the latter is known for spices and both places are tiny.
Nickum said that while the map is meant to be entertaining, it does address some important issues.
"I think they're fairly accurate depictions. It makes you think about [the shared qualities] and really consider what kinds of issues are facing our states," Nickum said. "We're a lot more similar than we think."