PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island placed 28th in a new Politico report ranking the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for overall living standards.
The ranking compiled 14 different state rankings from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI on quality-of-life factors such as high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rates.
Rhode Island was the only New England state not among the top 15 states on the list. New Hampshire topped the list at No. 1, followed by Minnesota at No. 2 and Vermont at No. 3. Massachusetts came in at No. 5, Connecticut at No. 10 and Maine at No. 14.
The three states found to have the worst overall living standards in the Politico report were Mississippi at No. 51, Louisiana at No. 50 and Arkansas at No. 49.
The report was inspired by a 1931 study by H.L. Mencken and Charles Angoff at the American Mercury, which similarly compiled rankings of state data to determine “The Worst American State” – which they concluded was Mississippi, just as in Politico’s ranking. The “best” states in the American Mercury study were Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Although Politico admitted that its average of 14 different rankings does not offer a scientific or comprehensive ruling on the best and worst states in terms of living standards, “given that eight of the lowest-ranking states on our list overlap with the bottom 10 on [Mencken’s], maybe less has changed in the past 83 years than you’d think.”