See Which States Top the 'Camelot Index'

The annual ranking combines health, economy, government performance and other factors.
by | April 26, 2012

Just about every news outlet thrives on releasing a never-ending stream of rankings of cities and states. The trend is best exemplified by Forbes, which has told us that Utah is the best state for business, Texas is the top state for jobs, and Vermont is the healthiest state.

But one study offers the grandaddy of all state rankings system: the Camelot Index.

The annual report appears this week in State Policy Reports, a newsletter published by Federal Funds Information for States, which tracks federal budget and spending information for state leaders.

As FFIS writes, the index is "based on the premise that most people share a common set of preferences: fewer taxes are better than more, small class sizes are better than large, low death rates are better than high, less crime is better than more and so on."

The index contains 25 different metrics that are used to analyze states in six different categories that are weighted equally: economic health, residents' health, education, crime, state government prudence, and the health of society -- with includes factors like home ownership and voting rates.

A state that performed better than all others in every category would have an index score of 1, and a state that was the worst in all categories would have an index of 50.

North Dakota was the top-ranked state, with a Camelot Index of 7.0*. That's no surprise, given the state's booming economy due to the oil industry as well as its relatively low crime rates.

Rounding out the top five are South Dakota, New Hampshire, Nebraska and Wyoming.

The authors note that the states with the highest scores are among the least populated states in the country, and large numbers of people are not choosing to live there.

Louisiana has the lowest score of 41.0, largely due to poor marks for residents' health and crime rates. Oklahoma has made the most progress in recent years, advancing 11 slots in the aggregate ranking since 2007.

The authors also note that, given North Dakota's score, it's clear that no state is near perfect.

Rank State Camelot Index
1 North Dakota 7.0
2 South Dakota 9.5
3 New Hampshire 10.0
4 Nebraska 11.3
5 Wyoming 11.7
6 Iowa 12.2
7 Minnesota 12.7
8 Virginia 13.3
9 Idaho 13.7
10 Wisconsin 14.2
11 Utah 15.2
11 Vermont 15.2
13 Connecticut 17.0
14 Colorado 17.2
15 Washington 17.7
16 Massachusetts 18.3
16 Montana 18.3
18 New Jersey 19.7
19 Oregon 21.0
20 Maine 22.3
21 Alaska 23.8
22 Pennsylvania 24.2
23 Maryland 25.7
23 Missouri 25.7
25 Illinois 26.5
26 Kansas 27.3
27 North Carolina 27.5
28 Hawaii 28.0
29 New York 28.2
30 Rhode Island 28.7
31 Texas 29.2
32 Delaware 30.2
33 California 30.3
34 Oklahoma 31.2
35 West Virginia 31.3
36 Florida 32.5
37 Georgia 33.8
37 Indiana 33.8
39 Ohio 34.0
40 Michigan 35.8
41 Nevada 36.3
42 Kentucky 36.7
43 Mississippi 37.3
44 Alabama 37.5
45 Tennessee 38.0
46 Arkansas 38.2
47 Arizona 38.5
47 South Carolina 38.5
49 New Mexico 39.2
50 Louisiana 41.0

Note: A previous version of this article contained slightly different index figures due to an error in FFIS's initial report. FFIS has corrected its study, and this article reflects its updated numbers.

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