US News: Iowa 'Best State,' Vermont 9th

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US News: Iowa 'Best State,' Vermont 9th

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:32pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Iowa is the best state in the country, according to the second annual 2018 Best States study from US News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and civic journalism. US News evaluated all 50 states across a range of criteria, from education and health care to infrastructure and the economy, to capture how states best serve their citizens. Vermont ranked 9th overall, with its best sub-categories being Health Care, Opportunity and Crime & Corrections. It lagged in Economy and Infrastructure and was only average in Quality of Life.

"Our Best States ranking from U.S. News is a humbling tribute to our people who have proven time and again that in Iowa, if you're willing to work hard, you can accomplish anything. My top priority as governor is to build on our current success by bringing new resources and opportunities to every corner of our state," said Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa. "Every Iowan contributes to the success of their community and our state, and we celebrate this honor knowing that our work to build a better Iowa will never be finished." 

Quality of life was added as a new category this year in an effort to factor in the natural and social environment in a state. Metrics include drinking water quality, pollution, voter participation and community engagement. North Dakota takes the top spot on that list, followed by No. 2 Minnesota and No. 3 Wisconsin.

"U.S. News & World Report is well-known for producing in-depth, data-driven rankings in education and health care that help people make key life decisions," said Eric Gertler, chairman of U.S. News & World Report. "In evaluating the best states in the nation, we have combined trusted, high-quality data with the power of journalism to fill the current gap in local reporting, and ultimately to empower citizens, business leaders and policymakers to engage in improving their states."  

Key findings in the 2018 Best States Report:

  • The top 10 states overall are geographically and politically diverse. Iowa is No. 1 due to its strong performance in two important categories: opportunity and access to high-quality health care. Opportunity takes into account metrics such as education and income inequality to evaluate whether a state is granting all its residents the tools to succeed economically. Minnesota follows at No. 2 and Utah comes in at No. 3.
  • In the thick of Congressional debates on the topic, citizens around the country weighted health care as the most important topic for their governments to solve. Hawaii remains the No. 1 state for health care quality and has the second-healthiest population in the nation. Washington and Iowa are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the list.
  • Massachusetts is the best state for education, New Jersey comes in at No. 2 and Utah rounds out the top three. States that rank highly in education do well in the overall rankings, with eight of the top 10 states overall also landing in the top 10 for education. This ranking looks at metrics for Pre-K – 12 and higher, such as high school and college graduation rates, college readiness and low debt at graduation.
  • Rocky Mountain states Colorado and Utah take the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the economy, respectively, which factors in GDP growth, unemployment rate and a state's business environment. While energy production and resource mining are large industries in a number of states, those known for coal mining or crude oil production – AlaskaNew Mexico and Wyoming – generally rank at the bottom of the list due to high unemployment and lower GDP growth.
  • Iowa comes out on top for infrastructure, due to high scores for internet access, public transportation, commute times and bridge and road quality. Utah is No. 1 for fiscal stability, New Hampshire is the best for opportunity and Maine is at the top for crime and corrections.

The rankings are based on 77 metrics and tens of thousands of data points provided by McKinsey & Company's Leading States Index. In determining the weights of the eight categories in the rankings, two years of data were used from McKinsey's "citizen experience" survey, which asked more than 30,000 people to prioritize each subject in their state and provide levels of satisfaction with government services. Health care and education remain the most highly weighted factors in the methodology, followed closely by the economy.

The Best States rankings are the centerpiece of the growing U.S. News Best States portal, a platform combining analysis, daily reporting, historical information and photos on state issues. The interactive data explorer tool allows citizens and government leaders to draw comparisons between their own states and others through more than 100,000 charts. Best States is part of the expanding civic journalism at U.S. News, which includes the Best Countries report and the upcoming Healthiest Communities project.

2018 Best States Rankings

(See full table below)

Overall – Top 10

  1. Iowa
  2. Minnesota
  3. Utah
  4. North Dakota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Washington
  7. Nebraska
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Vermont
  10. Colorado

Health Care

  1. Hawaii
  2. Washington
  3. Iowa

Education

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Jersey
  3. Utah

Economy

  1. Colorado
  2. Utah
  3. Washington

Opportunity

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota

Infrastructure

  1. Iowa
  2. North Dakota
  3. Oregon

Crime & Corrections

  1. Maine
  2. New Hampshire
  3. New Jersey

Fiscal Stability

  1. Utah
  2. North Dakota
  3. Florida

Quality of Life

  1. North Dakota
  2. Minnesota
  3. Wisconsin

Best States Overall Ranking

Download Full Rankings: 2018

Overall

State

Health Care

Education

Economy

Opportunity

Infrastructure

Crime & Corrections

Fiscal Stability

Quality of Life

#1

 Iowa

3

5

17

4

1

15

21

9

#2

 Minnesota

7

13

20

3

6

11

24

2

#3

 Utah

10

3

2

35

8

14

1

22

#4

 North Dakota

14

10

19

17

2

23

2

1

#5

 New Hampshire

13

4

11

1

37

2

26

4

#6

 Washington

2

6

3

27

4

39

27

21

#7

 Nebraska

19

9

21

13

9

19

11

14

#8

 Massachusetts

5

1

9

14

45

5

40

25

#9

 Vermont

6

8

31

6

35

7

16

26

#10

 Colorado

9

20

1

28

14

29

31

10

#11

 Wisconsin

17

18

27

8

26

22

19

3

#12

 Idaho

18

30

7

42

10

6

7

20

#13

 Maryland

16

11

24

2

25

26

23

31

#14

 South Dakota

21

17

28

24

7

40

4

5

#15

 Florida

34

7

5

36

11

31

3

33

#16

 Oregon

20

33

6

32

3

20

30

18

#17

 Hawaii

1

29

23

18

27

17

35

36

#18

 Delaware

25

32

10

7

18

46

15

24

#19

 New Jersey

12

2

41

10

28

3

49

49

#20

 Virginia

29

12

30

9

39

4

14

41

#21

 Wyoming

33

15

47

15

36

12

9

11

#22

 Maine

22

19

37

26

43

1

29

12

 

#23

 North Carolina

37

16

18

40

24

21

6

34

#24

 Connecticut

4

14

43

29

41

8

41

38

#25

 New York

15

23

35

43

19

10

28

37

#26

 Tennessee

43

28

13

31

15

41

5

28

#27

 Montana

26

22

26

37

34

36

12

13

#28

 Rhode Island

8

27

29

34

48

13

33

23

#29

 Kansas

30

21

42

12

16

37

39

16

#30

 Missouri

39

25

33

21

20

45

10

15

#31

 Georgia

42

31

14

33

17

35

13

32

#32

 California

11

26

4

46

38

28

43

50

#33

 Indiana

40

35

25

11

30

30

8

48

#34

 Nevada

35

44

12

19

5

44

38

43

#35

 Illinois

27

24

39

22

13

24

50

47

#36

 Texas

38

37

8

47

21

27

17

46

#37

 Michigan

32

36

22

20

40

32

32

29

#38

 Pennsylvania

23

38

34

16

29

25

42

44

#39

 Arizona

24

43

16

45

12

38

34

39

#40

 Ohio

36

41

32

25

23

18

37

40

 

#41

 Kentucky

45

34

45

30

22

9

46

27

#42

 South Carolina

41

48

15

39

33

42

18

30

#43

 Oklahoma

48

39

36

38

31

34

22

17

#44

 Alaska

28

40

50

5

42

50

47

19

#45

 Arkansas

49

42

40

41

46

47

20

7

#46

 Alabama

46

47

38

48

32

43

25

35

#47

 West Virginia

44

45

49

23

50

33

36

45

#48

 New Mexico

31

50

46

44

47

49

44

8

#49

 Mississippi

50

46

48

49

49

16

45

6

#50

 Louisiana

47

49

44

50

44

48

48

42

For more information on Best States, follow coverage on Facebook and Twitter using #BestStates. U.S. News will also host its "Workforce of Tomorrow" summit April 4-6, 2018 in Washington, D.C.  Committed to examining and advancing solutions for a STEM skilled workforce, the U.S. News STEM Solutions Presents: Workforce of Tomorrow conference is the preeminent conference for leaders in education, policy and workforce development. To learn more, visit USNewsSTEMsolutions.com.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a global digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 30 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2018  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report www.usnews.com