Washington ranks No. 5 in a new “best states” ranking from U.S. News & World Report. The magazine bills the rankings as a comprehensive look at what matters to citizens.
The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the integrity and health of state government.
More weight was accorded to some state measures than others, based on a survey of what matters most to people. Health care and education were weighted most heavily. Then came the opportunity states offer their citizens, their crime & corrections and infrastructure. State economies followed closely in weighting, followed by measures of government administration.
Washington performed well on most measures, ranking 9th on health care, 7th on education, 25th on crime and corrections, 2nd on infrastructure, 17th on opportunity, 11th on economy and 8th on government. (Click through to the link to see the details; the definitions and metrics matter. For example, the high infrastructure ranking is attributable to low energy costs and high internet access.)
Topping the list is Massachusetts, ranking first in education and second in health care, followed by New Hampshire. Massachusetts and New Hampshire come in second and third in our latest Opportunity Scorecard, which is topped by Utah, which comes in seventh on the U.S. News rankings.
The website is flexible and functional.
This highly interactive platform enables users to explore thousands of important benchmarks and easily draw state-to-state comparisons. Build a chart. Share it. And ultimately learn what all the states can learn from one another. The site also delivers a freshly updated menu of reporting and analysis on state trends and developments, making it a must-read source for anyone interested in what’s happening nationally.
U.S. News does a commendable job of disclosing its measures and weightings. Here’s how they describe the methodology.
The overall Best State ranking from U.S. News & World Report shows how each of the 50 U.S. states ranks in 68 metrics across seven categories. The data behind the rankings were based on McKinsey & Company’s Leading States Index.
In calculating the rankings, each of the seven categories were assigned weightings based on a national survey that asked people to prioritize each subject in their state:
- Health Care: 18 percent
- Education: 16 percent
- Infrastructure: 14 percent
- Crime & Corrections: 14 percent
- Opportunity: 14 percent
- Economy: 13 percent
- Government: 10 percent
While there’s always room to quibble – that’s part of the appeal of these rankings – the U.S. News rankings provide a wealth of good, valid information.