As states go, it doesn’t get much better than Minnesota, according to an annual “Best States” survey by U.S. News & World Report. The Land of 10,000 Lakes came in at No. 3.
The survey ranks states based on 70 metrics, including education, health care, the economy, public safety, roads and the fiscal health of the state’s government, as well as “the opportunity it affords its residents,” the report said.
Washington ranked No. 1, followed by New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont.
At the bottom of the list were Mississippi (48th), Alabama (49th) and Louisiana (50th).
U.S. News & World Report said Washington state ranked at the top not just because of its big technology employers, such as Microsoft and Amazon, but also because it had “an abundance of relatively inexpensive energy” because of its hydropower and wind sectors.
Minnesota got its highest marks in the “opportunity” and “natural environment” categories, both of which ranked third in the nation.
The survey listed household income and poverty rates as factors in the “opportunity” category. It compared Minnesota’s median household income of $68,388 to the national average of $60,336 and put the state’s poverty rate at 9.5% compared to 13.4% nationally.
The “natural environment” ranking was based on pollution levels as well as air and water quality.
Minnesota’s No. 3 ranking was down one spot from last year. The state also ranked third in 2017.