Most states excel in something, but which state is the best overall? Some states have dynamic economies, others have a well-developed infrastructure. So, what goes into the calculation to determine who is best?

When determining the ranking of the United States, U.S. News & World Report evaluated over 70 metrics. In addition to economy and infrastructure, the metrics include a state’s healthcare, education, crime rate, fiscal stability, opportunity, environment and more. More weight is given to some state measures than others, based on what matters most to the people. Health care and education were identified as the most important.

The ultimate findings from U.S. News & World Report yielded Washington as the top state in the nation (literally, and in ranking), while Louisiana was the worst state in the nation.

Backed by a booming economy boasting a GDP of $524.323 billion and possessing strong scores in healthcare, education, and infrastructure, Washington took the #1 in the study. The aerospace industry and military sectors have a lot to contribute to the scores as well, employing “the second-largest number people in Washington.” Washington is also home to some of the top companies in the world, like Starbucks Coffee, Microsoft, and Amazon. Fiscal stability was the lowest grade for the state, but still fared above average at 22.

Louisiana, on the other hand, struggles in economic strength and healthcare. The job growth is so low that it is -0.2%, whereas the national average is 1.2%. Also, the quality of the healthcare and public health ranks in the bottom 10% of U.S. State. The obesity rate of 36.2% is above the national average of 31.3%.  Of the eight major categories of scoring in the study, Louisiana never ranked above 43.

Looking at the whole picture in terms of health care, the top state in the nation is Hawaii, with Massachusetts and Connecticut right behind. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi and Arkansas fall short in this regard.

Leading the nation in education is Massachusetts, followed by New Jersey, Florida, Washington, and New Hampshire. These states offer quality through the enrollment in pre-K, standardized tests, graduation rates, higher educational attainment, and college debt.

Lastly, the economic stability and potential of the state are largely based on unemployment rates, growth, and the business environment. The states with the best economy are Colorado with Utah, Washington, and California right behind. West Virginia and Louisiana were at the bottom.

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