Washington is the apple of America’s eye.
The Pacific Northwest state that’s home to Amazon
— not to mention producing almost half of the apples grown in the U.S. — was named the No. 1 state in the union in U.S. News & World Report’s Best State Rankings for 2019.
The annual list draws on metrics such as health care and education data, as well as the state’s economy, infrastructure, safety and opportunities for its residents, to rate each state. And Washington jumped from fifth place overall last year to take the top spot for 2019 thanks to its booming tech sector making it the state with the fastest-growing economy, and the fourth-best economy overall. And this growth is being fueled by affordable and eco-friendly electricity from hydroelectric dams, windmills and solar arrays, according to the report, as well as its strong broadband internet network.
“Renewable energy projects create significant new revenues for rural communities where most of these projects are sited,” Washington governor and Democratic presidential nominee Jay Inslee said in a statement. “New wind development projects in Washington generate millions of dollars in annual lease payments; much of it goes to small rural landowners.”
The state also placed second in the nation for infrastructure, and was No. 4 for both health care and education.
New Hampshire was the second-best state overall, boosted by being the No. 1 state for both public safety and in opportunities for its growing population of immigrants and refugees, with Minnesota, Utah and Vermont rounding out the top five.
These are the 10 overall best states rankings for 2019:
In other honorable mentions, Hawaii was the top-ranked state for health care (followed by Massachusetts and Connecticut); and Massachusetts was best in the country for education (with New Jersey and Florida rounding out the top three); while Colorado boasted the best overall economy (followed by Utah and Washington.)
On the flip side, last year’s top state, Iowa, dropped to the 14th spot after its health care ranking plummeted from being the third best in the nation last year to number 20 this year, along with steep drops in its scores for economy and infrastructure.
Many of the lowest-ranked states were based in the south, with Louisiana landing in the bottom spot for the third year in a row, taking the 50th spot for public safety and natural environment, and being among lowest-scoring states for economy, education and infrastructure.
The bottom 10 states with the worst rankings for 2019, starting with the 50th state, are: