R.I. gains slightly on opportunity index, Vermont No. 1 in U.S.
RHODE ISLAND improved on the yearly Opportunity Index in 2013 one place to No. 29 on the nation ranking of economic, educational and civic opportunities of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, but it remained the lowest-ranking New England state.
BOSTON – Rhode Island ranks No. 29 among U.S. states and the District of Columbia in an analysis of states’ opportunity and economic mobility, released Monday by nonprofit organizations Measure of America and Opportunity Nation.
The Opportunity Index, scored out of 100, combines 16 different indicators in the categories of economy, education and community. It measures 16 factors that influence economic and social mobility, and as such provides a comparison tool for economic, educational and civic opportunities available to individuals in the United States.
The Ocean State’s overall score of 51.5 placed it slightly above the national average of 50.9, but Rhode Island’s score was the lowest among New England states.
In the categories of education and community, Rhode Island scored above the national average, but the state’s high unemployment rate and relatively low percentage of households spending less than 30 percent of household income on housing costs meant that Rhode Island fell short of the national average in the economy category.
Rhode Island’s 2013 scores for economy, education and community were 48.5, 49.4 and 56.5, respectively.
In 2012, Rhode Island placed No. 30 in the ranking, with an Opportunity Index score of 50.9. The state’s economy and education scores were both lower in 2012 than in 2013, at 46.9 and 48.5 respectively, while its 2012 community score of 57.3 was 0.8 points higher than the 2013 score.
The 2013 nationwide average scores in economy, education and community were 49.4, 49.3 and 54.1, respectively.
Massachusetts placed at No. 7 in the 2013 ranking, with an overall Opportunity Index of 58.9 and scores well above the national average in all three subcategories. The Bay State’s relatively high graduation rate and percent of adults with an associate degree or higher earned it an especially high education score of 61.2, while the state’s economy and community scores were 56.1 and 59.5, respectively.
Vermont ranked No. 1 in the country, with an overall Opportunity Index of 65.9. New Hampshire also scored well, at No. 4, with an index total of 60.7. Connecticut (No. 13) and Maine (No. 14) scored 56.9 and 56.5, respectively.