"The Best State Report" by U.S. News and World Report ranks Washington state as the fifth-best in the nation for how well states are serving their citizens. The ranking compared health care, education, infrastructure, crime and more.
Washington state is No. 5 in a new national ranking of how well states are serving their citizens.
The state got high marks for health care and education, according to the The Best States Report, released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report. The report noted the high overall educational attainment and low debt at student graduation in the state. Washington’s economy also scored well, with strong growth in its population of young people, the net migration of people into the state and job growth.
The state scored highest on infrastructure, which included bridge and road quality. Our score was boosted by high public-transit use, third best in the country. And we ranked sixth in bridge quality despite a dramatic collapse of an Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in 2013 and a Seattle Times analysis that found that 143 bridges in the state were structurally deficient. That high infrastructure score was despite the poor showing for road quality, in which, compared to all the other states, we ranked 41st.
The state did least well on measures of crime and corrections, where we had a relatively high prison population and high property crime rate, and in a category called “opportunity,” where we were hurt by high housing costs.
The report compared states across seven categories and 68 metrics weighted to reflect performance measures that citizens say they value. Massachusetts was the top state in the country, with high scores for education and health care, while four Southern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana – finished last.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s office seemed to be excited about the ranking — and even ordered a custom cake to celebrate, according to a tweet from The News Tribune’s Walker Orenstein. U.S. News and World Report ranked Washington 8th in its “government” category, however.
U.S. News famously ranks colleges, but they rank lots of other things, too. Seattle was the sixth-best place to live in another ranking last month.