BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota offers the best quality of life in the country and ranks fourth overall among U.S. states for the second year in a row in U.S. News & World Report’s Best States rankings released today.
This is the first year the magazine’s annual rankings have included a quality of life category, and North Dakota topped the list. The state also ranked first in four metrics – growth of young population, labor force participation rate, low food insecurity and budget balancing – and ranked second in the infrastructure and fiscal stability categories.
“Thanks to U.S. News & World Report for reinforcing what the people who live and visit here already know: North Dakotans enjoy an unmatched quality of life, with abundant natural resources, endless recreational opportunities and hardworking citizens who make this the best place to live, work and a raise a family,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “We’re committed to creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation and helping communities reach their fullest potential to make our state an even more vibrant, healthy place to live.”
U.S. News noted the state boasts some of the nation’s best roads and short-term finances, as well as one of the highest voter participation rates and strong social and natural environments.
“The state's small towns promote a positive social environment in which people are not only supportive of one another, but they are able to engage in their communities and feel that they are making a difference,” it stated, adding, “Despite a rapid growth in North Dakota's energy sector over recent years, the state still has some of the best air quality in the nation.”
U.S. News evaluated states across 77 metrics to create the Best States rankings, based on tens of thousands of data points provided by McKinsey & Co.’s Leading States Index. In determining the weights of the eight categories in the rankings, two years of data were used from McKinsey’s “citizen experience” survey, which asked more than 30,000 people to prioritize each subject in their state and provide levels of satisfaction with government services. Health care and education remain the most highly weighted factors in the methodology, followed closely by the economy.