All 50 United States are in this thing together, but there is still room for competition between them. U.S. News & World Report has released its annual rankings of all 50 states based on eight different factors, using them to definitively say which states are the best and worst to live in this year.
The eight factors U.S. News used to rank the states were healthcare, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime & corrections, fiscal stability and quality of life. Each state was given an individual ranking between one and 50 in those categories, and then those rankings were averaged out to decide which states were the best and worst overall.
— U.S. News (@usnews) March 1, 2018
The best state in 2018 is Iowa, according to the metrics. It ranks at the top in infrastructure and in the top 20 in every other category except for fiscal stability, where it sits at 21. Rounding out the top five are Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota and New Hampshire. Last year’s winner, Massachusetts, dropped all the way to eighth place, while Iowa rocketed up to the top spot from sixth.
Unfortunately for Louisiana, it held the dubious honor of worst overall state for the second year in a row. The Pelican State ranked dead last in opportunity and was in the 40s in every other category, the only state to accomplish that feat. The runnerup, Mississippi, was still sixth in total quality of life. New Mexico and Arkansas, which were both also in the bottom five overall states, still managed to rank in the top 10 in quality of life.
However, a spokesperson for Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards called the ranking a “disservice to Louisiana” that was not made using up-to-date metrics, The Advocate reported. According to the Edwards administration, the data ignored the state’s 2016 Medicaid expansion, which gave health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Louisianans.
One final note is that California, which ranked 32 overall, was dead last in quality of life. The Golden State may have nice weather and the fourth-ranked economy, but it ranked low in opportunity and fiscal stability.