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Welcome to the Washington Opportunity Scorecard!  We’ve compiled independent data across 16 variables to score all 50 states based on performance against our core priorities of Achieve, Connect and Employ. The dial is set so the score of the 10th best state is 100 and the median state is 75. Our goal is to make Washington a top 10 state overall in each category.

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Washington’s Overall Performance

50-State Ranking: 27 •  Opportunity Score: 74

(Previous Ranking: 28 • Previous Score: 68)

Washington’s performance: Washington moves up one spot as compared to the winter of 2016, now ranking 27th among all states with an overall Opportunity Score of 74. Our state improved slightly in the Connect ranking, as bridge conditions worsened in other states. Our goal is to be in the top 10, and significant improvement is needed in every category. Washington continues to hover near the median,  offering opportunity to some, but not all.

Top Performer: Utah continues to lead the nation with an Opportunity Score of 149. That state ranks 5th in Achieve, 11th in Connect, and 3rd in Employ. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Indiana round out the top five.

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ACHIEVE 50-State Ranking: 21 • Score: 78

(Previous Ranking: 21 • Previous Score: 80)

Washington’s Performance: Our state again comes in 21st, although with a slightly lower Achieve score as compared to Winter 2016. In 2014, the state’s postsecondary institutions produced fewer associate’s, bachelor’s and advanced degrees per capita than the previous year. One bright spot: Production of STEM bachelor’s degrees per capita was up year-over-year.

Top performer: Massachusetts holds on to its 1st place position. The Bay State outperforms Washington on all K-12 measures as well production of bachelor’s and advanced degrees per capita. Washington beats Massachusetts in associate’s degrees awarded per capita, reflecting our state’s emphasis on a network of community and technical colleges.

The Data: Measures include 4th grade reading and 8th grade math proficiency; high school graduation rate; and associate’s, bachelor’s, STEM bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees awarded.

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CONNECT 50-State Ranking: 38 • Score: 42

(Previous Ranking: 38 • Previous Score: 41)

Washington’s Performance: Our state remains 38th in Connect, coming in well below the median on the combined transportation and infrastructure measures. According to new data on bridge conditions, Washington is holding steady with 25.8 percent of bridges rated as functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. However, conditions have worsened in other states, giving Washington a bump up in the Connect score.

Top performer: Kansas takes the top spot with a Connect score of 121. Eighty-two percent of roads in that state are rated good or very good, compared to 50 percent in Washington. Kansas also has a lower percentage of deficient bridges (16.3 percent) compared to Washington. Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and New Mexico round up the top five in Connect.

The Data: Measures of transportation system performance include commute times, bridge quality, and road quality.

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EMPLOY 50-State Ranking: 26 • Score: 75

(Previous Ranking: 26 • Previous Score: 74)

Washington’s Performance: Washington ranks 26th with an Employ score of 75. Our state continues to be a leader in private sector R&D spending at $2,131 per capita. However, Washington continues to impose high unemployment insurance costs, and businesses carry a comparatively high tax burden.

Top performer:  Virginia leads the nation with an Employ score of 140. Compared to Washington, Virginia businesses shoulder a much lower percentage of the state and local tax burden (40.6 percent compared to 58 percent in Washington). Virginia’s unemployment insurance tax burden is less than a third that of Washington. Bright spot: Washington brings in four times as much in private sector R&D investment per capita as Virginia.

The Data: Indicators of economic vitality include two business tax measures, the UI tax, private sector R&D investment, and entrepreneurial activity.