Iowa Isn’t the ‘Best State,’ Because Ranking States Is Rather Stupid

US News' annual state rankings are out. Ignore them.

By Kirk Miller

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27 February 2018

You can move anywhere for a better life. And you’re going to choose ... Iowa?

U.S. News just released its annual “Best States Ranking,” using 75 weighted metrics to determine which state is “best for [its] citizens.” Healthcare, education, state economies, opportunities and infrastructure were some of the criteria used in making the list.

The data here was sourced from McKinsey & Company's Leading States Index and based on two years of data taken from an annual national survey, which asked more than 30,000 people to prioritize each subject (healthcare, education, economy, etc.) in their state. Once the dust settled, the Hawkeye State came out on top.

Look, we’ve heard great things about Iowa. Several of us at InsideHook are Midwestern-ers, and we can vouch for the serenity, natural beauty and politeness of the entire region. But here's the issue: while the list positions itself as objective and analytical (full explanations on each category can found here), the process of selecting categories by which to rank states is ... anything but objective or analytical.

Take the emphasis on health and safety over, say, culture and diversity. As someone who’s driven through North Dakota a few times, I can’t say that state deserves to be number one in something called “quality of life” while my current home state — New York, one of the country's centers of culture and diversity — sits at a lowly 37.

Besides, Iowa isn’t perfect. We’re tired of the political pandering we have to endure every four years for the Iowa caucuses. We’re not impressed by the list of famous Iowans (sorry, “world’s greatest tuba player” Bill Bell). And the state’s legislative agenda leaves a lot to be desired.

One upshot to the list? New York is ranked 25th overall. It’s nice to be average, for once.

Photo: Tumbling Run/Flickr Creative Commons license

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