Iowa is the best state in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Hawkeye State jumped up from its sixth place spot last year to No. 1 in U.S. News’ 2018 Best States Report. Iowa’s economic opportunity and “access to high-quality health care” helped push the state to the top, U.S. News said in a news release.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called the 2018 ranking “a humbling tribute” to the work ethic of Iowans.
“Every Iowan contributes to the success of their community and our state, and we celebrate this honor knowing that our work to build a better Iowa will never be finished,” Reynolds said in the release.
Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota and New Hampshire all followed Iowa to round out the top five “best states.” Louisiana came in at No. 50.
U.S. News evaluated states based on eight broad categories, each of which had their own more specific data points. Iowa ranked first in only one category, infrastructure, because of high scores for its internet access, public transportation, commute times, and bridge and road quality, U.S. News said.
The state ranked fourth for opportunity, a measurement of whether residents can succeed economically, and third for health care. It also ranked fifth for education, ninth for quality of life, 15th for crime and corrections, 17th for its economy, and 21st for fiscal stability.
U.S. News weighted health care, education and the economy the heaviest when determining states’ overall rankings.
In more specific categories, Iowa ranked high for access to health care (fifth), its affordability (third), employment levels (eighth), access to broadband (first) and education systems (eighth).
Iowa ranked low, however, for its business environment (46th), equality (36th), short-term fiscal stability (36th) and the efficiency of its state prisons (33rd).