For the second time in a row, Washington state came out on top on U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of Best States.
The state won by virtue of top-10 placings in five of the eight weighted categories, and top-half finishes in the other three.
Virginia ranked seventh, buoyed by top-10 rankings in opportunity (No. 8) and crime and corrections (No. 9), but weighed down by a 39th-place showing in the infrastructure category, which constituted energy, internet access and transportation.
Maryland came in 17th, with highlights including a No. 6 showing in health care and the lowlight consisting of a No. 38 in infrastructure.
D.C., not being a state, was not ranked.
You can see all the numbers on the U.S. News site.
The whole top 10:
- New Hampshire
The information U.S. News used to compile the rankings came from publicly available government sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Census Bureau and the Department of Energy. It also surveyed 26,000 people across the nation about their level of satisfaction with their state governments.
U.S. News added in a statement that factors such as culture and history — which aren’t “measurable citizen outcomes and factors that a government can influence with policy” — weren’t included in the rankings.
The data were compiled into eight categories: crime and corrections, economy, education, the environment, fiscal stability, health care, infrastructure and opportunity. The categories were weighted according to surveys of Americans on which areas they felt were most important.
Health care and education came out at the top of the surveys and were thus given the most priority; then came the economy, infrastructure, opportunity (defined as including equality, economic opportunity and affordability), crime and corrections, and the environment.
The data they used came out in or before January, but U.S. News said in a statement that a lot of the information was released before the worst of the pandemic.
In the public survey done between Nov. 20 and Feb. 1 that contributed to the ranking, respondents were pretty equally divided as to whether their own states had responded well to the pandemic, while — by a margin of 71% to 18% — they said the federal government had done a poor job.