On Monday, February 26, U.S. Magazine released its 2018 Best State Rankings, and Utah ranks number three overall. U.S. Magazine ranked all 50 states across eight metrics: healthcare, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life, to gauge how well each state is providing for its citizens. The study pulled thousands of data points from extensive and reliable government and private sources, in addition to proprietary data collected by U.S. Magazine in conjunction with McKinsey and Company. The data collected from outside sources was used to generate a score for each state. U.S Magazine and McKinsey conduct a semi-annual survey asking US residents to rank the eight categories from most to least important in order of which matter most to their overall happiness and satisfaction with their home state. This data is then used to weigh the eight categories to reflect the metric’s importance to the public. Using the weighted metrics and states’ scores in the individual metrics, the study generates an overall score which is used for the final ranking.
The Top Ten States are:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
Utah came in first for financial stability, which evaluated both the long and short-term fiscal stability of the state. Key factors for determining this metric include the state’s ability to issue bonds at reasonable costs, which is heavily based on the state’s credit rating, and a balanced budget. Utah’s fiscal stability is reflective of the state’s continuous AAA credit ratings with all three agencies starting all the way back in 1965. The state’s fiscally conservative government and diverse, strong economy also contribute to its overall fiscal stability. The state ranked second overall for economy. Utah’s steady economic growth, low unemployment, high labor force participation rates, and business-friendly environment are all factors for the state’s strong economic ranking. Utah also ranked third in education. The state’s high enrollment and graduation rates for both high school and college, low tuition costs, and a highly educated workforce all played a role.
This study confirms what those already living in the state know to be true: Utah is one of the best places to live, work, and play.