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.
Washington’s Overall Performance
50-State Ranking: 22 • Opportunity Score: 79
(Previous Ranking: 19 • Previous Score: 83)
Washington’s Performance: Washington falls three spots and now ranks 22nd among all states with an overall Opportunity Score of 79. As compared with the prevoius update in Spring 2018, Washington dropped seven spots in the Achieve category, while moving up one spot in each of the Connect and Employ categories.
Top Performer: Utah again leads the nation with an impressive Opportunity Score of 156. That state ranks 2nd in Achieve, 5th in Connect, and 3rd in Employ. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, and Missouri round out the top five.
ACHIEVE 50-State Ranking: 25 • Score: 76
(Previous Ranking: 18 • Previous Score: 85)
Washington’s Performance: Our state drops seven spots in the Achieve ranking and nine points in the category score as compared to the most recent update. This is due to a drop in graduation rate from 79.7 for the class of 2016 to 79.4 for the class of 2017. Washington also saw drops in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math performance, as well as lower associate’s and bachelor’s degrees awarded per capita. The bright spots include increases in STEM bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded per capita.
Top Performer: Massachusetts remains the top state for Achieve. The Bay State outperforms Washington on all education measures, except for associate’s degrees awarded per capita.
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.
CONNECT 50-State Ranking: 35 • Score: 63
(Previous Ranking: 36 • Previous Score: 61)
Washington’s Performance: Washington moves up one spot in the Connect rankings. The average commute time increased slightly from 27.8 minutes to 28.4 minutes, but the percent of highways not rated good or very good decreased. This positive movement is both welcome and expected, as the state further implements new projects and overdue maintenance of roads, highways, and bridges as a result of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package.
Top Performer: Kansas again takes the top spot with a Connect score of 120. Less than 15 percent of roads in that state are not rated in good or very good, and the average commute time (19.7 minutes) is the fourth shortest average time in the nation.
The Data: Measures of transportation system performance include commute times, bridge quality, and road quality.
EMPLOY 50-State Ranking: 20 • Score: 79
(Previous Ranking: 21 • Previous Score: 82)
Washington’s Performance: Washington moves up one spot and now ranks 20th with an Employ score of 79. Business taxes per employee increased from $7,000 to $7,800 per year in Washington, and our state’s Tax Climate Index dropped slightly from 5.4 to 5.3. However, the unemployment insurance tax per employee dropped from $545 to $496, driving the slight improvement in Washington’s Employ ranking.
Top Performer: Kansas overtakes Utah as the top state for Employ, with a score of 125. Unemployment insurance taxes ($183) and business taxes per employee ($5,400) are significantly less in Kansasas than in Washington. Missouri climbs to the second spot, and Utah falls to number three, both slightly behind Kansas.
The Data: Indicators of economic vitality include two business tax measures, the UI tax, private sector R&D investment, and startup job creation activity.