R.I. drops to No. 28 on U.S. News’ ‘Best States’ rankings

Updated at 12:13 p.m.

RHODE ISLAND RANKED No. 28 in the U.S. News 2018 Best States rankings. / COURTESY U.S. NEWS
RHODE ISLAND RANKED No. 28 in the U.S. News 2018 Best States rankings. / COURTESY U.S. NEWS

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked No. 28 on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best State 2018 rankings, last in New England, U.S. News announced Tuesday.

The ranking was based on thousands of data points and weighted states’ rankings in eight metric categories: health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, fiscal stability, and quality of life.

U.S. News said it created the “Best States” rankings, “to provide a platform for citizens, government leaders and business executives alike to compare and better understand the issues, insights and best practices that matter most for states.”

In 2017, Rhode Island ranked No. 21 among U.S. states.

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Three New England states made the top 10 states in the 2018 ratings. New Hampshire ranked highest among the New England states at No. 5, followed by Massachusetts at No. 8 and Vermont at No. 9. Maine was ranked No. 22 and Connecticut ranked No. 24, all ahead of Rhode Island’s No. 28 ranking. Iowa ranked No. 1 in the study of all states while Louisiana ranked last among the states.

  • Rhode Island’s best ranking was for its health care, at No. 8 among the states. Hawaii ranked No. 1 for health care. Two New England states ranked better than the Ocean State on health care, Connecticut and Massachusetts, which ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Health care rankings were based on access to health care, health care quality and public health.
  • Rhode Island received its worst score for its infrastructure, ranking No. 48 in the nation, last in New England states. Iowa ranked No. 1 in the nation for infrastructure. This metric was based on the quality of a state’s bridges, public transportation, power grids and broadband access.
  • Rhode Island’s second-best ranking in 2018 was for crime and corrections at No. 13, which was also the lowest ranking in New England. Maine ranked No. 1 for crime and corrections in the United States. Crime ranking was based on recidivism rates, racial equality in jailing, rates of violent crime and the rate of property crime.
  • The Ocean State ranked No. 23 for quality of life, third in New England. New Hampshire ranked No. 1 for quality of life at No. 4 in the U.S., while North Dakota ranked No. 1. Quality of life was based on a state’s air quality, pollution, voter participation, social support as well as thing such as the quality of drinking water.
  • Rhode Island ranked No. 27 for education, last in New England. Massachusetts ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Education was based half on its higher education performance and half on its K-12 education performance.
  • Rhode Island ranked No. 29 for its economy, third in New England. Massachusetts ranked No. 9 in the U.S., the highest of any New England State. Colorado ranked No. 1 in the nation for economy. Economy rankings were based on growth of the young population, growth through migration, GDP growth, employment and business environment.
  • Rhode Island ranked No. 33 in the U.S. for fiscal stability, fourth in New England. Massachusetts ranked No. 15 in the U.S., which was the highest fiscal stability ranking in New England. Utah was given the highest fiscal stability rating in the country. The ranking was based on government credit ratings, liquidity, pension fund liability and budget balancing.
  • Opportunity in Rhode Island was ranked No. 34 in the U.S., last in New England. Meanwhile, New Hampshire ranked No. 1 for opportunity in the country. The U.S. News opportunity ranking was based on poverty, and housing affordability and equality for woman, minorities and people with disabilities.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.