Everyone knows the Pacific Northwest is the best and Washington is the best of the best, especially compared to other states.

But that seems kind of mean and elitist, so we don’t talk about it too much among our friends from other states, right? Right?

U.S. News & World Report, however, has no such compunction, boldly naming Washington the best state in the union for the second time in a row — the only state to be so named twice — and unapologetically identifying the worst.

The most recent rankings, released on Tuesday, were drawn from government and proprietary data covering more than 70 metrics and weighted to what U.S. News & World Report said matters most to people: health care, education, the economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime, corrections and a state’s natural environment.

“Washington’s low-carbon energy system and robust secondary education system continue to rank among the nation’s best, as does the state’s economy, the fastest growing in the nation,” according to an article on the Best States rankings.

The other states at the top of the 2021 ranking are: Minnesota, Utah, New Hampshire and Idaho, in second through fifth places respectively.


At the bottom of the list are Alabama in 46th place, followed by West Virginia, New Mexico and Mississippi, with Louisiana coming in dead last.

Watch out, though, Washington. We’ve got to be careful lest we also end up at the top of a smuggest states list.

Mount Rainier looks out over Lake Washington on Monday, as warm fall weather is expected to stick around for a while. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)